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). 

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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

*******

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.

pc2019

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

 

Things People Should Talk About

timeline.jpgI’ve been absent for a while.  Why?  Because the last few weeks have been harder on me.  Basically when it comes to emotions and things like that.  I say this because spring time, for some reason although it’s pretty self-explanatory when I think about it, is harder for me than any other time of the year.  It’s an anniversary of sorts, as the saying goes.  More than likely this is when life as I knew it came crumbling down around me although I always knew eventually it would dump on my head and cause me a big headache.  It’s the emotional stuff that continues to grip tight.  It’s that emotional stuff that has tripped me up more than anything else, and for good reason.

After such a long time of not really wanting to share with the rest of the world or whoever reads this, I felt it necessary for part of my healing process to write what I’m about to write.  I won’t be going in-depth so no need to fear reading a novel length piece.  I see brave people talking about their experiences as when children and are now adults of their abusive experiences by the hands of mothers, fathers, other family members, and equally messed up by strangers.  One of them includes a good friend of mine whose father abused her and then was so nice enough to pass it on and abused his grandchildren when they were young.  It’s a vicious cycle and an ugly one.  It perplexes me why people think it’s okay to abuse young children.  It shouldn’t be so hard of a concept to understand, but when you look at the Catholic Church, mainly the behind the door activities conducted by priests and their choir boys, it should be alarming to people who aren’t and are Catholics.  Get the priests some sexual outlet because obviously what is required of them now is clearly not working.

Bringing this back to my own personal life, it isn’t my biological father smacking me or knocking me down that stuck with me.  It isn’t even the time he purposely burned me because I pissed him off so much that I had to suffer for pissing him off so bad.  It’s the things I can’t go in-depth about because frankly, it’s too painful to even admit that happened even though I know it did.  It’s those things that made me wish at one point he was still alive so I could do everything to him that he did to me.  He left me with many unresolved emotions where I didn’t know my head from my ass.  It was damn painful and still is to an extent.  This is the part that if I were an outsider looking in, well it makes it all more tragic.  It didn’t have to be this way.  He didn’t have to treat me so poorly, but it’s no use wishing things were different.  Some parents hate their kids.  My biological father was one of them.  I know this because he told me this many times.

My saving grace is I was plucked out of there before it got even worse.  This post is to all those survivors who did survive and those who never got a chance.  This post is to all those who still struggle with herself or himself while trying to improve and heal themselves.  Without getting too preachy or mushy, this shit lasts a lifetime.  This is basically my disclaimer that yes, my biological father was abusive.   For everything that happened to me, there were many good things that occurred too after the fact.  This is my way of saying I’m glad I survived because I have a lot more to accomplish and want to be thankful for.

2019

 

Movie Recommendation: Black Sea (2014)

Quote from Black Sea by Daniels: “What happens when one of them starts to figure out their share gets bigger, and there is less people to share it with?”

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Producers: Jim Cochrane, Alexander Dostal, Alasdair Flind, Merve Harzadin, Kevin Macdonald, Jane Robertson, Tessa Ross, and Charles Steel

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Screenwriter: Dennis Kelly

Major Cast: Jude Law, Karl Davies, Konstantin Khabernskiy, Daniel Ryan, Scoot McNairy, Tobias Menzies, Michael Smiley, David Threlfall, Sergey Kolesnikov, Sergey Puskepalis, Sergey Veksler, and Grigoriy Dobrygin
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some graphic images and violence

Running Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes

*******
This adventure, drama, and thriller is about Captain Robinson (Jude Law) and the men he brings with him on a gold finding expedition on sunken U-boat deep in the waters.  They include the financier’s representative, Daniels (Scoot McNairy) and a young man, Tobin (Bobby Schofield).  When everyone is chosen for the expedition, half the crew is Russian and the other half British.  Everyone involved is promised a sizable portion of the gold once it is found.  Key word if it is found.  As they go further in the submarine, issues arise including communication with the Russians.  As you probably guessed it, motives are revealed as the men learn who they can trust and can’t trust.  Since Robinson is the captain, he’s the one who makes the final decisions and the submarine remains underwater despite previous explosions and damage.  It’s a given not everyone survives because not everyone usually survives in this kind of movie so who survives?  I’m not telling you nor will I give away the ending, but I will say the acting of Jude Law is impeccable.  He really commands every inch of the screen.  Black Sea has some twists and turns, some of it predictable, but it’s a solid movie from start to finish.

 

I rate Black Sea FOUR FINGERS at 90%

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Documentary Recommendation: Farewell Ferris Wheel (2016)

Quote from Farewell Ferris Wheel by Carnival Owner : “No one has to tell them what to do, how to do it, they start working.”

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Writers: Miguel ‘M.i.G’ Martinez and Jamie Sisley

Directors: Miguel ‘M.i.G’ Martinez and Jamie Sisley

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Running Time: 1 hour and 12 minutes

*******

Documentary filmmakers usually sway either for or against the topic they are covering.  I’ve only seen a few documentaries where you are given equal sides to the topic.  By the end of these films, you have to decide what you feel, think, and know to be true and accurate.  Farewell Ferris Wheel delves into the U.S. Carnival industry, covering both owners’ and workers’ struggles and rights in as neutral position as possible.  The workers who construct and tear down the rides are Mexican migrant workers, and are given H-2B guest worker visas.  The carnival owners use these H-2B workers because they can’t get afford or won’t to hire U.S. citizens.  The issue with American workers according to one owner is that they cause problems by not showing up on time and as the days go by the labor force become non-existent.  This points to two things.  One, this is hard manual labor that most people would rather not do or can’t do.  Two, this is hard manual labor with risks that aren’t worth the pay (even with minimum wages although never discussed).  As you watch the work done by these migrant workers, sometimes without electricity in their housing quarters in addition to the lack of sleep, you can’t help but wonder is it worth it?  Many of the workers know this is backbreaking work and still they come back year after year.  This doesn’t mean they love what they do although they put on a nice smile for the camera, but the fact remains they come back the following year if asked because of the limited opportunities in their country.  They are workers who make do with what’s in front of them because they too have mouths to feed.  I’m not sure who was giving the more accurate reading of the economic situation, but an interesting part of this so-called relationship were tactics used by both in order to better their pockets.  The owners had greater access to government policymakers, but on the flip side there were organizations fighting for migrant workers’ human rights.  The issues of H-2B visas begs another bigger question of economic distribution not only in the U.S. but in the world.  While 3.3% of the U.S. population is unauthorized immigrants according to Pew Research in 2016, I find the following statistics much more troublesome.  According to Forbes in 2016, the top three wealthiest men own as much as the bottom 50% of Americans and the richest 5% of Americans own 2/3 of the wealth.  While migrant workers should definitely get paid their due, so should everyone else.  This documentary is worth watching and is on Netflix. 

I rate Farewell Ferris Wheel Four Fingers of GREAT at 90%

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