Journal Entry Type #11: Time to Bust Out the Humidifier!

My blog posts have been few and far between because of this sinus pressure my face has been holding onto especially last week.  It pretty much kept me unable to do many of the things I would’ve liked to do: writing, blogging, exercising, etc.  My head feels like it’s in a fog and my eyes feel like they are being stretched in all directions.  I try to go without taking medicine, but this weekend I downed Benedryl and today I used nasal spray.  It’s time to bring out the humidifier and use warm wash clothes on my face on a regular basis.  It’s definitely allergy season, and I know I’m not the only one having to sleep with cough drops in my mouth.  I’m really hoping this subsides a little bit, enough where I feel like I’m not a useless human being.  I forced myself to go out and have brunch with someone on Saturday and took a few pictures as I was leaving Bellagio of the flowers.  I got a lot of Netflix/Hulu watching done this weekend as that is all I could do.  I’m hoping for less pain this week and weekend.  Please!

2019

Book Recommendation: The Anatomy of Motive

“There are certain crimes that are simply too cruel, too sadistic, too hideous to be forgiven.”

-John Douglas-

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Publisher: Pocket Books

Reissue Edition: July 1, 2000

Page Number: 432

There are many reasons why I read this book, but the main three were to understand better the personality traits of certain small pocket of society.  The other reason was to gain insight into exactly what motivates these people as the title suggests although I had my own theories.  The last reason was to get a more intimate view of a character for a future story I want to write in the faraway future.  While I didn’t agree with everything mentioned by Douglas, most of it rang true.  He covers motives and mentalities of people who take part in school shootings, arson, poisonings, hijacking, assassinations, etc.  He posits these people are usually part of one of the following three kinds of killers: serial, mass murderer, or spree.  He speaks of narcissism, antisocial personality, violence, and escalation of sociopathic tendencies such as lack of empathy, manipulation, hostility, impulsiveness, cruelty, and instant gratification.  The flip side of this book is the detective or agent who needs to find the person(s) responsible.  He covers the who done it and why did s/he do it.  The last chapter gives you the chance to test your ability as a quasi profiler where you make a conclusion to the motive and kind of killer you’re up against.  If you like this kind of stuff, you won’t have trouble reading it.  If you don’t like this kind of stuff, why are you still reading this blog post.  It’s easy to think these kinds of people are roaming the streets in every city, but the top ten leading causes of death from WorldAtlas aren’t listed in this book.  These types of killers are few and far between so focus on your health because the top nine causes of death are all medical related except the last one of road injury.  Getting back to the book, it’s informative in many ways.

2019

Quotes About Water

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2019

Documentary: Water & Power: A California Heist (2017)

Quote by Jeffrey Mount from PPIC Water Policy Center

“We’ve been living off borrowed water.”

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Director: Marina Zenovich

Writer: Mark Arax

MMPA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some language and brief smoking

Running Time: 1 hour and 27 minutes
 
*******
In addition to the problem of homelessness in California especially in the larger cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego, there is the issue of water distribution that has plagued the state for years.  It took a little bit to get going, but once it did it was well worth it.  Water & Power: A California Heist (2017) explains how a few corporate land owners were able to control the state’s water behind closed doors in the 1960s.  This decision, based much on greed, lead to abundance of water in certain cities and severe droughts in other cities over the decades.  It lead to a further divide between the rich and poor farmers and rich and poor residents.  With the heavy amount of agribusiness spread across California today, it requires massive amounts of water.  In the absence of it, the ground hasn’t been able to support itself due to the heavy groundwater pumping being done to grow the crops.  Basically, the Central Valley that includes San Joaquin and Sacramento Valley is sinking.  I probably won’t be eating so many almonds or drinking Pom Wonderful anymore.  This documentary was educational, but it left me feeling quite dismal by the end of it.  There wasn’t much to be hopeful for because water affects just about everything.  We need it to grow food and to survive.  We can go without food for a while, but without water we don’t last long.  One day the fresh water will run out.  The projected timeline is around the year 2030 and latest around the year 2050.  I’m hoping the scientists, environmentalists, and even politicians can work together so fresh water that should be a human right doesn’t become a full-fledged luxury item where only a few can afford while the rest of us are forced to drink the leftover contaminated water.  Food for thought or should I water to drink.

 

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This satellite image was from 2015. 

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I rate Water & Power: A California Heist GREAT at 90%.

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2019

Netflix TV Show Recommendation: Designated Survivor (2016-2019)

Quote from Designated Survivor by Seth Wright

Maybe he’ll realize he has no business running the country.”

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Creator: David Guggenheim

Executive Producers: Mark Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Jeff Melvoin, Jon Harmon Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Suzan Bymel, Paul McGuigan, Amy Harris, Aditya Sood, David Guggenheim, Simon Kinberg, and Neal Baer

Directors: Chris Grismer, Frederick E.O. Toye, Peter Leto, Paul A. Edwards, Joe Lazarov, Leslie Libman, Sharat Raju, Mike Listo, Timothy Busfield, Michael Katleman, Richard J. Lewis, Paul McGuigan, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, Brad Turner, Norberto Barba, Milan Cheylov, Kenneth Fink, Fred Gerber, Stephen Surjik, Jeannot Szwarc, Ian Toynton, Tara Nicole Weyr, Carol Banker, Jeff T. Thomas, David Warry-Smith, and Bosede Williams

Writers: David Guggenheim, Pierluigi Cothran, Patrick Cunnane, Tracey Rice, Keith Eisner, Paul Redford, Michael Russell Gunn, Sang Kyu Kim, Dana Ledoux Miller, Bill Chais, Ashley Gable, Jennifer Johnson, Jenna Richman, Jessica Grasl, Jon Harmon Feldman, Tom Garrigus, Jeff Melvoin, Barbie Kligman, Carol Flint, and Neal Baer

Major Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett, Tanner Buchanan, Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Jake Epstein, Paulo Costanzo, Zoe McLellan, Ben Lawson, McKenna Grace, Ben Lawson, Tanner Buchanan, and Reed Diamond

TV Rating: TV-14

Episode Running Time: 42 minutes

Total Seasons: 3 (ABC Studios: Season 1 and 2 and Netflix: Season 3)

*******

I wish I had all the time to watch TV shows morning, noon, and night although sometimes I think I devote way too much time to them.  Again, this show had been sitting in my queue for a while and decided to give it a try.  I really like Kiefer Sutherland as an actor and instead of watching 24 again although I really wished the reboot had continued beyond the first season, I thought I should step out of my comfort zone.  I’m still watching season 1 and so far so good, but I heard due to it moving to Netflix it was able to get into the more nitty gritty of Washington politics.  The third season comes out this Friday.  Designated Survivor has all the workings of a political thriller where there’s more mystery than West Wing, but less hip swinging than Scandal.  So what is Designated Survivor about?  It begins with Tom Kirkman, played by Kiefer Sutherland, as he’s now the President of the United States after the unfortunate bombing on the U.S. Capitol.  After he is sworn in wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, the race is on to find who is responsible for the bombing while trying to bring the country back to some normalcy.  Those that managed to survive do their best to help a man who never wanted anything to do with politics from the start.  I have to say Adan Canto as Aaron Stone, Kal Penn as Seth Wright, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter, and Maggie Q as Hannah Wells had solid performances too.  While I have not watched season 2 yet, I did look ahead to get the gist of it.  The story lines progress between and among characters.  I know this doesn’t offer much insight, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who want to watch this later.  There is some predictability to this kind of show, but overall it keeps your attention.  I look forward to catching up so I can watch season 3 and see how the new characters play out especially the dysfunctional couple of Mars and Lynn Harper (Anthony Edwards and Lauren Holly).

I rate Designated Survivor GREAT at 90%.

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2019

 

Poem: You Were Not There

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I saw you to be around ten feet tall.

Maybe, eleven on a good day and twelve on a great day.

Let’s be honest with each other. 

I wasn’t there for your supposed height.

It’s your mystery that mattered.

Your projected image in public.

I suppose your shyness took over.

You turned your back to gain privacy.

This must be the real you.

No shame, guilt, fear, or care in every step.

My worth depended on you.

I did not want to be alone.

We had a connection.

I searched for you months after.

You were not there, when I was here.

2019

Poem: In the Darkness

closet

Open the door and shove it inside.

That’s where it should go.

That’s where it will stay.

Remaining in the dark.

It grows.

It contorts.

It survives.

It’s the ugly part I keep.

Buried under my living conditions.

Like a poisonous mushroom.

I want it to be hidden.

No one needs to see it.

The cut.

The rawness.

The scar.

It’s better that way.

It’s not as scary.

It doesn’t belong in the light.

2019

 

Movie Recommendation: Kon-Tiki (2012)

Quote from Kon-Tiki by Erik Hesselberg: “Maybe I should introduce you first. This is Thor. A pompous, self-centered weirdo, but a very good leader. And because he is, we are about to do what Tiki did 1500 years ago. We are going to…”

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Executive Producers: Christopher Daniel, Lone Korslund, Marc Schmidheiny, Petter Skavlan, Johan Christopher Stenersen, Dario Suter, Peter Watson, Henrik Zein, and Harald Zwart

Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Writer: Petter Skavlan

Major Cast: Pål Sverre Hagenas as Thor Heyerdahl, Anders Baasmo Christiansen as Herman Watzinger, Tobias Santelmann as Knut Haugland, Gustaf Skarsgård as Bengt Danielsson, Odd-Magnus Williamson as Erik Hesselberg, Jakob Ofebro as Torstein Raaby, Agnes Kittelsen as Liv Heyerdahl, and Peter Wight as Herbert Spinden

MMPA Rating: PG-13 for a disturbing violent sequence

Running Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes (English) and 1 hour and 59 minutes (Norwegian)

*******

Kon-Tiki is produced by Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Roenbergfilm, Nordisk Film Production, DCM Productions, Film i Väst, Falkun Films, and Stunt Bros.  It is based on the true story of Thor Heyerdahl and his Norwegian crew except Bengt Danielsson who was Swedish.  After hearing countless rejections that South Americans could possibly have sailed across the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian islands, Heyerdahl gathers a crew of five and sets sail on their expedition in 1947 on a wooden raft they built. They plan to travel 4,300 miles from Peru to Polynesia although many think they will die along the way.  Heyerdahl names the raft, Kon-Tiki, after the Inca sun god.  There was a documentary by the same name made in 1951.  It supplements the movie and different running times can be found on YouTube.  I happened to watch the longer one, but the original was 1 hour and 17 minutes long.  It was the first Norwegian documentary to win an Oscar in 1952.  Heyerdahl also wrote a book about his expedition too.  There were creative liberties taken to increase the tension in the adaptation, but the cinematography remains the high point.  Many of the shots are amazing, and the interaction among the actors especially Pål Sverre Hagenas is captivating to watch.  I will say there was one scene that clearly strayed from the story and may have gone a bit overboard, but again creative license was taken.  Today, it is widely believed South Americans could not have settled on the Polynesian islands pre-Columbian times, but Heyerdahl’s expedition was a success in many ways.  The Kon-Tiki eventually crashed on the reefs outside Raroia.  It’s final resting place is at the Kon-Tiki Museum located in Olso, Norway.

*******

Thor Heyerdahl

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born 1914- died 2002 role was expedition leader

Herman Watzinger

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born 1910- died 1986 role was engineer and data recorder

Knut Haugland

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born 1917-died 2009 role was radio operator

Bengt Danielsson

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born 1921-died 1997 role was steward and translator

Erik Hesselberg

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born 1914-died 1972 role was navigator and artist

Torstein Raaby

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born 1918-died 1964 role was radio operator

I rate Kon-Tiki NEAR PERFECT with Four Fingers and One Thumb at 96%

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2019

Quick Introduction to Film Majors, Studios, Mini-Majors, and Independents

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If you’ve ever done any study about the earlier years of Tinseltown, you know about the Golden Age of Hollywood.  A major film studio is basically a production and distribution company that releases a substantial number of films and commands a significant share of box office revenue.  There were eight original major studios during this time.  They were Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, and RKO Radio Pictures.

Paramount was founded by Adolph Zukor in 1912.  Since 1994 has been run by Viacom although it split into two companies in 2006.

Universal Pictures was founded by Carl Laemmle, Pat Powers, Adam Kessel, Charles Baumann, Mark Dintenfass, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour in 1912.  Since 2004 NBCUniversal jointly owned it with General Electric in 2004 and Comcast in 2013.

20th Century Fox was founded by William Fox in 1915.  It was renamed 21st Century Fox in 2013 and bought by Disney in 2019 which makes it a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios

Columbia Pictures was founded by Harry Cohn, Joe Brandt, and Jack Cohn in 1918.  Since 1987 through 1991 it was run by Columbia Pictures Entertainment until Sony bought it in 1989.

United Artists was founded by Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford in 1919.  Since 2005 it has been under MGM Holdings and in 2011 Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase are bondholders.

Warner Bros. was founded by Jack L. Warner, Harry Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner in 1923.  Since 1990 was known as Time Warner until 2018 when AT&T bought it and is referred to as WarnerMedia.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was founded by Marcus Loew in 1924.  Since 2005 it has been under MGM Holdings and in 2011 Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase are bondholders.

RKO Pictures was founded in 1928 by David Sarnoff.  Since 1989 Independent owns the company.
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Today there are five major film studios that were active during the Golden Age although two out the the five were part of the original eight.  Their various film productions and distribution subsidiaries command approximately 80–85% of U.S. box office revenue.  They are Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures.

Paramount was founded by Adolph Zukor in 1912.  Since 1994 has been run by Viacom although it split into two companies in 2006.

Universal Pictures was founded by Carl Laemmle, Pat Powers, Adam Kessel, Charles Baumann, Mark Dintenfass, William Swanson, David Horsley, and Jules Brulatour in 1912.  Since 2004 NBCUniversal jointly owned it with General Electric in 2004 and Comcast in 2013.

Warner Bros. was founded by Jack L. Warner, Harry Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner in 1923.  Since 1990 was known as Time Warner until 2018 when AT&T bought it and is currently referred to as WarnerMedia.

Walt Disney Pictures was founded by Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney in 1923.  Since 2011 it has been referred to as Disney.

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There are mini-majors, which are those companies that tend to take smaller and riskier projects.  Their distribution isn’t worldwide, but are still well financed.  The three known mini-majors of today is Lions Gate Entertainment, MGM, and DreamWorks.  There are a handful of mini-majors no longer in existence and is listed below.

Castle Rock Entertainment was purchased in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting System and TBS merged with Time Warner in 1996.

Allied Artists Pictures in 1967.

New Line Cinema was purchased in 1994 by Turner Broadcasting System, TBS merged with Time Warner in 1996, and New Line merged with Warner Bros. in 2008

Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 2015 and May 2018.  It sold to UltraV Holdings.

United Artists was relaunched in 2006 by Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise, but in 2008 MGM bought it.

Orion Pictures in 1990 was considered the last of the mini-majors.  Purchased in 1997 by MGM.

Avco Embassy in 1967 and acquired by Dino DeLaurentiis in 1986.

TriStar Pictures consolidated in 1987 into Columbia.

DreamWorks Animation acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016.

DreamWorks Pictures is now under Amblin Partners.

The Weinstein Companyfiled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but bought by Lantern Entertainment in 2018 and transferred to Spyglass Media Group.

Republic Pictures was formed by the consolidation of six minor studios.

FilmDistrict merged into Focus Features (Universal subsidiary) in 2014.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment sold to Universal Studios in 1999 and in 1996 library sold to MGM.

Artisan Entertainment purchased in 2003 by Lions Gate Entertainment.

Overture Films sold to Relativity Media in 2010 and Overture’s film library acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment in 2016.

Summit Entertainmentacquired by Lions Gate Entertainment in 2012.

The Cannon Group

Global Road Entertainment formerly known as Open Road Films filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2018.  It was purchased on approval as of December 2018 by a Delaware bankruptcy judge.

Miramax Films owned by The Walt Disney Company from 1993 to 2010.  It sold to beIN Media Group in 2016.

Weintraub Entertainment Group

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There are past independent companies and instant major studios listed below for reference.   There were three instant major studios in 1967, which was a film company that had instant success.

Past Independent Companies

New World Pictures acquired by News Corporation in 1997.

Turner Pictures purchased along with Hanna-Barbera, Castle Rock Entertainment, New Line Cinema and Turner Entertainment Co. in 1996 by Time Warner.

DreamWorks Pictures purchased by Viacom.

DreamWorks Animation purchased in 2016 by NBCUniversal.

Lucasfilm purchased in 2012 by The Walt Disney Company.

Marvel Studios/Marvel Entertainment purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney Company.

Pixar Animation Studios purchased in 2006 by The Walt Disney Company.

The Samuel Goldwyn Company purchased in 1997 by MGM.

Instant Major Studios

Cinerama Releasing Corporation (distributor for ABC Pictures Corporation).

National General Corporation (distributor for Cinema Center Films).

Commonwealth United Corporation

2019

Official End of May Quotes

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2019

 

 

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