Diary

The Catholic Church brings peace to the presidential contest for one evening

No Comments 18 October 2012

President Barack Obama, left, talks with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, second left, as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Ann Romney are seated at right as they attend the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a charity gala organized by the Archdiocese of New York, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.

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Diary

Debate 2: Obama won

The stakes were exceedingly high and that the 2nd presidential debate a dramatic event not to be missed. Barack Obama woke up out of his slumber and wrestled a victory in his 2nd debate with Mitt Romney.  At one moment the tension became so high that could feel that they wanted to smack one another like parliamentarians in Italy even modern times happen to do. But to become president your can smack your opponent in a TV ad but not with your own fists in front of millions of people. We did not see a fist fight but a great duel for the presidency. Round 2 goes to Obama.  JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY in the NY Times provides the details of the evening.

Rivals Bring Bare Fists to Rematch
President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney.

 

No Comments 17 October 2012

The stakes were exceedingly high and that the 2nd presidential debate a dramatic event not to be missed. Barack Obama woke up out of his slumber and wrestled a victory in his 2nd debate with Mitt Romney.  At one moment the tension became so high that could feel that they wanted to smack one another like parliamentarians in Italy even modern times happen to do. But to become president your can smack your opponent in a TV ad but not with your own fists in front of millions of people. We did not see a fist fight but a great duel for the presidency. Round 2 goes to Obama.  JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY in the NY Times provides the details of the evening.

Rivals Bring Bare Fists to Rematch
President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney.

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Diary

Poem of the Day: “Bless Their Hearts”

At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,
she said. He rents storage space for his kids’
toys—they’re only one and three years old!
I said, my father, bless his heart, has turned
into a sentimental old fool. He gets
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting
on our voice mail. Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.

“Bless Their Hearts” by Richard Newman, from Domestic Fugues. © Steel Toe Books, 2009.

No Comments 15 October 2012

At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,
she said. He rents storage space for his kids’
toys—they’re only one and three years old!
I said, my father, bless his heart, has turned
into a sentimental old fool. He gets
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting
on our voice mail. Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.

“Bless Their Hearts” by Richard Newman, from Domestic Fugues. © Steel Toe Books, 2009.

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Diary

How FDR won reelection in 1936 under similar circumstances Obama is in

No Comments 14 October 2012

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Diary

VP Debate: The Winner is Martha Raddatz

imageJoe Biden did a good job of forcefully defending the policies of the Obama administration. Paul Ryan did not screw up. But the real winner is Martha Raddatz who did a fantastic job keeping the combative candidates in check. She also asked very good questions. I don’t agree with Ryan, but more than Romney he believes in outlining for voters what he wants to do so that he has a mandate to actually implement of radical cuts to the federal budget.

No Comments 12 October 2012

Joe Biden did a good job of forcefully defending the policies of the Obama administration. Paul Ryan did not screw up. But the real winner is Martha Raddatz who did a fantastic job keeping the combative candidates in check. She also asked very good questions. I don’t agree with Ryan, but more than Romney he believes in outlining for voters what he wants to do so that he has a mandate to actually implement of radical cuts to the federal budget.

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Diary

Poem for Columbus Day

Columbus sailed the ocean blue
Back in 1492.
He sailed across and spotted land,
A beach, and people on the sand.

He called them Indians because
He had no idea where he was,
India was just a guess.
When in doubt, declare success.
“Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

Poem by Ramon Montaigne

No Comments 8 October 2012

Columbus sailed the ocean blue
Back in 1492.
He sailed across and spotted land,
A beach, and people on the sand.

He called them Indians because
He had no idea where he was,
India was just a guess.
When in doubt, declare success.
“Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

Poem by Ramon Montaigne

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Movies, Drama

Moonrise Kingdom

imageWes Anderson’s new film (co-written by Roman Coppola) is a wonderful exploration the trials and tribulations of growing up. In his films, Anderson always focuses on people who don’t fit in society well. This time he centers his attention on two kids (a 12-year-old boy and girl) who not only have trouble fitting in, but we are told that they also have real psychological problems. But that is not how they come across at all. I know plenty of psychologically challenged kids and adults, but they don’t act nothing like the two in Anderson’s film.  So the movie is a fantasy but it is one that you will enjoy falling into.

No Comments 7 October 2012

Wes Anderson’s new film (co-written by Roman Coppola) is a wonderful exploration the trials and tribulations of growing up. In his films, Anderson always focuses on people who don’t fit in society well. This time he centers his attention on two kids (a 12-year-old boy and girl) who not only have trouble fitting in, but we are told that they also have real psychological problems. But that is not how they come across at all. I know plenty of psychologically challenged kids and adults, but they don’t act nothing like the two in Anderson’s film.  So the movie is a fantasy but it is one that you will enjoy falling into.

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Diary

Debate 1: Romney won

Romney scored against Obama last night. He was an agile fighter, Obama seemed tired.  The LA times summarizes well was transpired.

Mitt Romney makes smooth shift to center in debate with Obama

In his first debate with the president, the Republican works on his empathy problem and appears to gain momentum.

WASHINGTON — The small group of voters who remain undecided or at least open to persuasion in the presidential campaign consistently tell pollsters that they want to hear specifics and don’t like partisan attacks. President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, obliged them.

Their debate often wandered far into the byways of Washington policy, including financial regulation, “qualified mortgages” and competing healthcare plans. Obama left aside much of the central thrust of his campaign — the fierce attacks on Romney’s business record, personal taxes and ideology.

 

No Comments 4 October 2012

Romney scored against Obama last night. He was an agile fighter, Obama seemed tired.  The LA times summarizes well was transpired.

Mitt Romney makes smooth shift to center in debate with Obama

In his first debate with the president, the Republican works on his empathy problem and appears to gain momentum.

WASHINGTON — The small group of voters who remain undecided or at least open to persuasion in the presidential campaign consistently tell pollsters that they want to hear specifics and don’t like partisan attacks. President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, obliged them.

Their debate often wandered far into the byways of Washington policy, including financial regulation, “qualified mortgages” and competing healthcare plans. Obama left aside much of the central thrust of his campaign — the fierce attacks on Romney’s business record, personal taxes and ideology.

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Movies, Documentary

Looper

imageTime travel sci-fi flicks have been around for a long time. The first third of the film challenges your brain to simply keep track of whether we are the in the future or the present and how the two realms are connected.  Looper then spooks you because coming back from the future, Bruce Willis’ character knows that a little kid will grow up to be a mass-murderer. He wants to kill him to prevent a Hitler-type of tragedy. But the director wants to us to side with hope that we can spare the kid and with love and attention he will turn out to be a different version of his self.

No Comments 30 September 2012

Time travel sci-fi flicks have been around for a long time. The first third of the film challenges your brain to simply keep track of whether we are the in the future or the present and how the two realms are connected.  Looper then spooks you because coming back from the future, Bruce Willis’ character knows that a little kid will grow up to be a mass-murderer. He wants to kill him to prevent a Hitler-type of tragedy. But the director wants to us to side with hope that we can spare the kid and with love and attention he will turn out to be a different version of his self.

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Diary

Revealing Mitt Romney

image I suspected that a key motivation for Mitt Romney to run for president is that he wants to achieve what his father did not. Nicholas Lehman in his New Yorker profile provides evidence that this interpretation is correct. The profile make you understand Mitt Romney very well.

TRANSACTION MAN: Mormonism, private equity, and the making of a candidate.

Lehman explores Romney’s background through historical research, and by talking at length with Romney’s friends and colleagues, as well as with the candidate himself. If elected, Romney, scion of an old, distinguished Mormon family (his ancestors had a direct connection to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young), would arguably be the most actively religious President in American history; he’s been deeply influenced by the Mormon values of personal discipline and business-centric practicality. His approach to problem-solving, meanwhile, has developed over the course of a long career as a consultant, at Bain & Company, and in private equity, at Bain Capital; he thinks of himself as a rescuer, someone who can apply data-driven analyses to otherwise intractable problems and emerge with workable solutions. Romney, in short, presents an unusual combination: personally, he is driven by old-fashioned values, while professionally he is thoroughly modern, a prime mover in the finance-driven, post-corporate, essentially transactional economy that has come to define America in the early twenty-first century. Though Romney is direct, pleasant, and engaged in small groups, his campaign has been hindered by his inability to open up in front of crowds.

Download Full Article here.

No Comments 28 September 2012

I suspected that a key motivation for Mitt Romney to run for president is that he wants to achieve what his father did not. Nicholas Lehman in his New Yorker profile provides evidence that this interpretation is correct. The profile make you understand Mitt Romney very well.

TRANSACTION MAN: Mormonism, private equity, and the making of a candidate.

Lehman explores Romney’s background through historical research, and by talking at length with Romney’s friends and colleagues, as well as with the candidate himself. If elected, Romney, scion of an old, distinguished Mormon family (his ancestors had a direct connection to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young), would arguably be the most actively religious President in American history; he’s been deeply influenced by the Mormon values of personal discipline and business-centric practicality. His approach to problem-solving, meanwhile, has developed over the course of a long career as a consultant, at Bain & Company, and in private equity, at Bain Capital; he thinks of himself as a rescuer, someone who can apply data-driven analyses to otherwise intractable problems and emerge with workable solutions. Romney, in short, presents an unusual combination: personally, he is driven by old-fashioned values, while professionally he is thoroughly modern, a prime mover in the finance-driven, post-corporate, essentially transactional economy that has come to define America in the early twenty-first century. Though Romney is direct, pleasant, and engaged in small groups, his campaign has been hindered by his inability to open up in front of crowds.

Download Full Article here.

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Diary

The Turning Point in the Election

image This may be the turning point in the election.  David Brooke’s explains why.

Thurston Howell Romney

In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do. In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.

There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.

 

No Comments 18 September 2012

This may be the turning point in the election.  David Brooke’s explains why.

Thurston Howell Romney

In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do. In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.

There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.

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Diary

Michael Lewis on what is it like to be President

image Michael Lewis was able to spent 6 months following Barak Obama. He provides us we a good glimpse of what it is like to be President in his Vanity Fair article.

Here is the key passage:

This was the third time I’d put the question to him, in one form or another. The first time, a month earlier in this same cabin, he’d had a lot of trouble getting his mind around the idea that I, not he, was president. He’d started by saying something he knew to be dull and expected but that—he insisted—was nevertheless perfectly true. “Here is what I would tell you,” he’d said. “I would say that your first and principal task is to think about the hopes and dreams the American people invested in you. Everything you are doing has to be viewed through this prism. And I tell you what every president ... I actually think every president understands this responsibility. I don’t know George Bush well. I know Bill Clinton better. But I think they both approached the job in that spirit.” Then he added that the world thinks he spends a lot more time worrying about political angles than he actually does.

 

No Comments 17 September 2012

Michael Lewis was able to spent 6 months following Barak Obama. He provides us we a good glimpse of what it is like to be President in his Vanity Fair article.

Here is the key passage:

This was the third time I’d put the question to him, in one form or another. The first time, a month earlier in this same cabin, he’d had a lot of trouble getting his mind around the idea that I, not he, was president. He’d started by saying something he knew to be dull and expected but that—he insisted—was nevertheless perfectly true. “Here is what I would tell you,” he’d said. “I would say that your first and principal task is to think about the hopes and dreams the American people invested in you. Everything you are doing has to be viewed through this prism. And I tell you what every president ... I actually think every president understands this responsibility. I don’t know George Bush well. I know Bill Clinton better. But I think they both approached the job in that spirit.” Then he added that the world thinks he spends a lot more time worrying about political angles than he actually does.

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Diary

Where the polls on Obama vs. Romney

image From ABC News: The American public may be divided on “Obamacare,” but when faced with choosing a candidate to care for them if illness struck, President Obama is their man. By a 13 point margin - 49-36 percent - registered voters polled by ABC News chose the president over Mitt Romney to nurse them back to health.
When asked who they thought “would make a more loyal friend,” the results were about the same. By a 50-36 percent count, respondents said Obama was more likely to stick with them through trying times.
As for suppertime, still more ugly numbers for Romney. Fifty-two percent of registered voters polled by ABC News said they’d rather have Obama visit their homes for dinner. Just 33 percent said they’d prefer Romney at the table.
But it’s not a total wipeout for the Republican. On what ABC News poll chief Gary Langer calls the most instructive question - which candidate they’d rather have “as the captain of a ship in a storm” - Romney loses to Obama, but by just three points, 46-43 percent.
“Obama’s advantages, in turn, include a persistent lead over Romney in empathy; registered voters by 50-40 percent think Obama better understands the economic problems people are having, and continue to rate him as more personally likeable, by a broad and steady 61-27 percent,” Langer eports. “When the two views are tested against each other, empathy independently predicts vote preferences to a far greater degree than does likability.”
These latest numbers will only build confidence among Obama and his supporters, as the Democrats appear to be enjoying a significant post-convention bump in the polls. The most recent figures have the president with a growing lead nationally, 50-44 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post survey. Romney had been up a single point, 47-46 percent, in a poll taken just two weeks ago.

 

No Comments 12 September 2012

From ABC News: The American public may be divided on “Obamacare,” but when faced with choosing a candidate to care for them if illness struck, President Obama is their man. By a 13 point margin - 49-36 percent - registered voters polled by ABC News chose the president over Mitt Romney to nurse them back to health.
When asked who they thought “would make a more loyal friend,” the results were about the same. By a 50-36 percent count, respondents said Obama was more likely to stick with them through trying times.
As for suppertime, still more ugly numbers for Romney. Fifty-two percent of registered voters polled by ABC News said they’d rather have Obama visit their homes for dinner. Just 33 percent said they’d prefer Romney at the table.
But it’s not a total wipeout for the Republican. On what ABC News poll chief Gary Langer calls the most instructive question - which candidate they’d rather have “as the captain of a ship in a storm”- Romney loses to Obama, but by just three points, 46-43 percent.
“Obama’s advantages, in turn, include a persistent lead over Romney in empathy; registered voters by 50-40 percent think Obama better understands the economic problems people are having, and continue to rate him as more personally likeable, by a broad and steady 61-27 percent,” Langer eports. “When the two views are tested against each other, empathy independently predicts vote preferences to a far greater degree than does likability.”
These latest numbers will only build confidence among Obama and his supporters, as the Democrats appear to be enjoying a significant post-convention bump in the polls. The most recent figures have the president with a growing lead nationally, 50-44 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post survey. Romney had been up a single point, 47-46 percent, in a poll taken just two weeks ago.

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Diary

Obama getting lift on campaign trail from Pizza baker

image

No Comments 10 September 2012

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Movies, Phantasy

The Dark Knight Rises

image Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is in retirement and depressed. But a woman manages to sneak into his castle, stealing pearls and awakening his romantic feelings at least enough to lift him a bit out of his depression. Before long he is back in action saving the big city, which is now under attack from a mean terrorist. This film felt much the same as the previous one, which was also too long but at least it had the acting of Keith Ledger.  I had much more fun with Kick-Ass a few months ago because it did do something new with the genre.

No Comments 9 September 2012

Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is in retirement and depressed. But a woman manages to sneak into his castle, stealing pearls and awakening his romantic feelings at least enough to lift him a bit out of his depression. Before long he is back in action saving the big city, which is now under attack from a mean terrorist. This film felt much the same as the previous one, which was also too long but at least it had the acting of Keith Ledger.  I had much more fun with Kick-Ass a few months ago because it did do something new with the genre.

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Movies, Documentary

Rocky Mountain Express: An IMAX Experience

image Canada was formed in 1867. Four year later the colony British Columbia, which was in financial trouble, joined the confederation. The confederation promised British Columbia that it would pay for a railway link between Vancouver and Ontario. Building a railroad through the Rocky Mountains was an engineering feat. This documentary film tells the story how the railroad was built and how it made Canada into a viable country.  A few years ago, the Canadian Pacific railraod restored a steam locomotive. The director, Stephen Low, had to good sense to use it for a film.  He has wonderful job stripping Imax 3D cameras onto the train and filming the steam locomotive from helicopter and other places so you feel like you are travelling from Vancouver to Banff. The pictures are so extraordinary that you feel as if you are the conductor of the train.  After watching the film, one wants to do this trip not just in the movie theatre. In turns out there is a 2-day tour from Calgary to Vancouver running in the summer.

 

No Comments 8 September 2012

Canada was formed in 1867. Four year later the colony British Columbia, which was in financial trouble, joined the confederation. The confederation promised British Columbia that it would pay for a railway link between Vancouver and Ontario. Building a railroad through the Rocky Mountains was an engineering feat. This documentary film tells the story how the railroad was built and how it made Canada into a viable country.  A few years ago, the Canadian Pacific railraod restored a steam locomotive. The director, Stephen Low, had to good sense to use it for a film.  He has wonderful job stripping Imax 3D cameras onto the train and filming the steam locomotive from helicopter and other places so you feel like you are travelling from Vancouver to Banff. The pictures are so extraordinary that you feel as if you are the conductor of the train.  After watching the film, one wants to do this trip not just in the movie theatre. In turns out there is a 2-day tour from Calgary to Vancouver running in the summer.

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Diary

Mitt and “Believe in America”

image

No Comments 8 September 2012

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Diary

Obama’s pitch to the few undecided voters

image The Economists provides a good review of Obama’s acceptance speech.
The Democratic convention:  Barack Obama’s pitch to the centre

PERHAPS because there are so few of them, campaign strategists for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can describe the undecided voters who will help determine the outcome of this year’s election with remarkable precision. On Thursday evening in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the last night of the Democratic convention, Mr Obama made his case for re-election directly to those elusive swing voters. Who are they? At Mr Romney’s campaign headquarters in Boston recently, senior aides told your correspondent that their target swing voter was a married, middle-class, middle-aged woman who voted for Mr Obama in 2008. Inspired by his promises and swept up in the excitement of electing America’s first black president, such voters now feel deeply disappointed by the president’s actual record, it was asserted. In Tampa last week, Republicans predicted that the president, unable to run on his record, would have to mount a negative campaign and seek to suppress Mr Romney’s vote, paving the way for a grim, ground-out victory on the backs of the various special-interest groups that make up the Democratic base.

No Comments 7 September 2012

The Economists provides a good review of Obama’s acceptance speech.
The Democratic convention:  Barack Obama’s pitch to the centre

PERHAPS because there are so few of them, campaign strategists for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can describe the undecided voters who will help determine the outcome of this year’s election with remarkable precision. On Thursday evening in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the last night of the Democratic convention, Mr Obama made his case for re-election directly to those elusive swing voters. Who are they? At Mr Romney’s campaign headquarters in Boston recently, senior aides told your correspondent that their target swing voter was a married, middle-class, middle-aged woman who voted for Mr Obama in 2008. Inspired by his promises and swept up in the excitement of electing America’s first black president, such voters now feel deeply disappointed by the president’s actual record, it was asserted. In Tampa last week, Republicans predicted that the president, unable to run on his record, would have to mount a negative campaign and seek to suppress Mr Romney’s vote, paving the way for a grim, ground-out victory on the backs of the various special-interest groups that make up the Democratic base.

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Diary

Bill versus Mitt

image The conservative commentator put the finger on Mitt’s problem.

Given the state of the economy, by any historical standard, Barack Obama should be 15 points behind Mitt Romney. Why is he tied? The empathy gap. On “caring about average people,” Obama wins by 22 points. Maintaining that gap was a principal goal of the Democratic convention. It’s the party’s only hope of winning in November.

Given the state of the economy, by any historical standard, Barack Obama should be 15 points behind Mitt Romney. Why is he tied? The empathy gap. On “caring about average people,” Obama wins by 22 points. Maintaining that gap was a principal goal of the Democratic convention. It’s the party’s only hope of winning in November.

George H. W. Bush, Romney-like in aloofness, was once famously handed a staff cue card that read: “Message: I care.” That was supposed to be speech guidance. Bush read the card. Out loud.

Not surprisingly, he lost to Bill Clinton, a man who lives to care, who feels your pain better than you do — or at least makes you think so. In politics, that’s a trivial distinction.

No Comments 7 September 2012

The conservative commentator put the finger on Mitt’s problem.

Given the state of the economy, by any historical standard, Barack Obama should be 15 points behind Mitt Romney. Why is he tied? The empathy gap. On “caring about average people,” Obama wins by 22 points. Maintaining that gap was a principal goal of the Democratic convention. It’s the party’s only hope of winning in November.

Given the state of the economy, by any historical standard, Barack Obama should be 15 points behind Mitt Romney. Why is he tied? The empathy gap. On “caring about average people,” Obama wins by 22 points. Maintaining that gap was a principal goal of the Democratic convention. It’s the party’s only hope of winning in November.

George H. W. Bush, Romney-like in aloofness, was once famously handed a staff cue card that read: “Message: I care.” That was supposed to be speech guidance. Bush read the card. Out loud.

Not surprisingly, he lost to Bill Clinton, a man who lives to care, who feels your pain better than you do — or at least makes you think so. In politics, that’s a trivial distinction.

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Diary

Bill Clinton Makes the Case for Obama’s reelection

Last night I was never a big fan of Clinton the person but last night’s speech to win over people who have not made up their mind on how to vote was masterful.

 

No Comments 6 September 2012

Last night I was never a big fan of Clinton the person but last night’s speech to win over people who have not made up their mind on how to vote was masterful.

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Diary

Michelle Obama gives a great speech at DNC

No Comments 5 September 2012

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Music, Pop

Gotye’s amazing Video Remix of his imitators

No Comments 1 September 2012

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Diary

The Clint Eastwood show at the RNC

image Two minutes after ten Thursday night, I turned on my TV to watch Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. But there was Client Eastwood, giving an improvised speech that struck me as bizarre. During the past two days, the Client Eastwood show is the talked about event. If you have missed what Eastwood said, here is a transcript of it or the video.  MICHAEL BARBARO and MICHAEL D. SHEAR in the NY Times report how Clint Eastwood was allowed to speak unscripted in an otherwise fully scripted convention.

Before Eastwood’s Talk With a Chair, Clearance From the Top

TAMPA, Fla.—For all the finger-pointing about Clint Eastwood’s rambling conversation with an empty chair on Thursday night, the most bizarre, head-scratching 12 minutes in recent political convention history were set in motion by Mitt Romney himself and made possible by his aides, who had shrouded the actor’s appearance in secrecy.

No Comments 1 September 2012

Two minutes after ten Thursday night, I turned on my TV to watch Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech. But there was Client Eastwood, giving an improvised speech that struck me as bizarre. During the past two days, the Client Eastwood show is the talked about event. If you have missed what Eastwood said, here is a transcript of it or the video.  MICHAEL BARBARO and MICHAEL D. SHEAR in the NY Times report how Clint Eastwood was allowed to speak unscripted in an otherwise fully scripted convention.

Before Eastwood’s Talk With a Chair, Clearance From the Top

TAMPA, Fla.—For all the finger-pointing about Clint Eastwood’s rambling conversation with an empty chair on Thursday night, the most bizarre, head-scratching 12 minutes in recent political convention history were set in motion by Mitt Romney himself and made possible by his aides, who had shrouded the actor’s appearance in secrecy.

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Movies, Drama

The Family Stone

image There are many films about Christmas time and families coming together for a few days. This film is special in that it captures very well the rhythms of these family reunions. Most families find it difficult to keep any tensions that might exist under raps. The days move slowly, punctuated by rituals of eating, chatting, playing, waiting, and sometimes arguing.  Everett (Dermot Mulroney) one of the five children coming home to the parents suburban home for Xmas is brining his new girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). Even before her arrival, one family members labels Meredith as uptight and unlikable. Soon the entire family seems to be against her and when they find out that Everett wants to propose the next day, all but one person wants to torpedo that plan. This sets the stage for interesting drama with twists and turns.

No Comments 31 August 2012

There are many films about Christmas time and families coming together for a few days. This film is special in that it captures very well the rhythms of these family reunions. Most families find it difficult to keep any tensions that might exist under raps. The days move slowly, punctuated by rituals of eating, chatting, playing, waiting, and sometimes arguing.  Everett (Dermot Mulroney) one of the five children coming home to the parents suburban home for Xmas is brining his new girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). Even before her arrival, one family members labels Meredith as uptight and unlikable. Soon the entire family seems to be against her and when they find out that Everett wants to propose the next day, all but one person wants to torpedo that plan. This sets the stage for interesting drama with twists and turns.

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Movies, Comedy

A Thousand Words

image Eddie Murphy is one of most talented comic actors.  Unlike Ted which was fresh and made me laugh throughout the entire movie, 1000 Words has a few good scenes but remains pretty mediocre.  Murphy plays Jack, a high-flying literary agent, who is angry that his father abandoned the family when he was around 10. As he trying to sign a Deepak Chopra like figure for his agency, a tree suddenly appears in his garden and for every word he speaks another leaf will fall of the tree. When all leafs are gone, the tree and he might die. As he trying to conserve words, his marriage falls apart and he is fired.  To rescue himself, Jack needs to get in touch with his inner true self.

No Comments 30 August 2012

Eddie Murphy is one of most talented comic actors.  Unlike Ted which was fresh and made me laugh throughout the entire movie, 1000 Words has a few good scenes but remains pretty mediocre.  Murphy plays Jack, a high-flying literary agent, who is angry that his father abandoned the family when he was around 10. As he trying to sign a Deepak Chopra like figure for his agency, a tree suddenly appears in his garden and for every word he speaks another leaf will fall of the tree. When all leafs are gone, the tree and he might die. As he trying to conserve words, his marriage falls apart and he is fired.  To rescue himself, Jack needs to get in touch with his inner true self.

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Movies, Drama

Where Eagles Dare

image The Alps are a natural spectacle. Many directors, of course, have realized this. The Sound of Music, for example, was filmed in and around Salzburg. 50 Kilometers south of Salzburg lies the fortress “Werfen.” Where Eagles Dare exploits the dramatic scenery of the fortress and its vicinity to stage a James Bond like spy story set during World War II. Germans have infiltrated the British Secret service and now it is time to find out who is the mole. If you in the mood for spy film set in the Alps, this is the film for you.

No Comments 26 August 2012

The Alps are a natural spectacle. Many directors, of course, have realized this. The Sound of Music, for example, was filmed in and around Salzburg. 50 Kilometers south of Salzburg lies the fortress “Werfen.” Where Eagles Dare exploits the dramatic scenery of the fortress and its vicinity to stage a James Bond like spy story set during World War II. Germans have infiltrated the British Secret service and now it is time to find out who is the mole. If you in the mood for spy film set in the Alps, this is the film for you.

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Movies, Drama

The Ghostwriter

image Many of recent Roman Polanksi film were masterpieces. The Pianist was breathtakingly good. The Ghostwriter manages to create a special atmosphere. But the ending was a complete letdown. I understand why Polanksi is not very pleased with American authorities who have been trying to arrest him for over 30 years. (See my recent review). Anyone who follows the news realizes how incompetent the CIA was in assessing the economic situation in the Soviet Union before its downfall and the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The ending attributes competence to the CIA that bears no resemblance to reality.

No Comments 20 August 2012

Many of recent Roman Polanksi film were masterpieces. The Pianist was breathtakingly good. The Ghostwriter manages to create a special atmosphere. But the ending was a complete letdown. I understand why Polanksi is not very pleased with American authorities who have been trying to arrest him for over 30 years. (See my recent review). Anyone who follows the news realizes how incompetent the CIA was in assessing the economic situation in the Soviet Union before its downfall and the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The ending attributes competence to the CIA that bears no resemblance to reality.

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Diary

Pussy Riots is punished to two year of forced labor

I am too far away from Russia to have a sense whether Putin was clever or stupid to put a rock band behind bars for two years. Pussy Riots will become infinitely more famous after this judgement.

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No Comments 17 August 2012

I am too far away from Russia to have a sense whether Putin was clever or stupid to put a rock band behind bars for two years. Pussy Riots will become infinitely more famous after this judgement.

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Diary

America’s Aversion to Taxes

image Eduardo Porter in the NY Times gives a good overview of the relative taxation level in different countries. What he is leaving out is that the US at least twice as much on military expenditures than the other industrialized countries.

There is something to be said for universal health care systems.

When my son developed a rash on an Italian vacation in Liguria last month, the pharmacist showed me to the doctor downstairs, who diagnosed the problem at no charge and sent me off with a handshake and a joke about a daughter in med school at the University of California, San Diego.Italy may be in a funk, with a shrinking economy and a high unemployment rate, but the United States can learn a lot from it, and not just about the benefits of public health care. Italians live longer. Their poverty rate is much lower than ours. If they lose their jobs or suffer some other misfortune, they can turn to a more generous social safety net.

No Comments 16 August 2012

Eduardo Porter in the NY Times gives a good overview of the relative taxation level in different countries. What he is leaving out is that the US at least twice as much on military expenditures than the other industrialized countries.

There is something to be said for universal health care systems.

When my son developed a rash on an Italian vacation in Liguria last month, the pharmacist showed me to the doctor downstairs, who diagnosed the problem at no charge and sent me off with a handshake and a joke about a daughter in med school at the University of California, San Diego.Italy may be in a funk, with a shrinking economy and a high unemployment rate, but the United States can learn a lot from it, and not just about the benefits of public health care. Italians live longer. Their poverty rate is much lower than ours. If they lose their jobs or suffer some other misfortune, they can turn to a more generous social safety net.

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Diary

The Olympic Puzzle: Why does India only have 6 medals?

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There is a correlation between population size and medals won. But India is the puzzle. Britain did well, which seems to suggest that having the games at homes leads to better performance.

No Comments 12 August 2012

There is a correlation between population size and medals won. But India is the puzzle. Britain did well, which seems to suggest that having the games at homes leads to better performance.

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Diary

Enter Mr. Ryan

image No longer can anyone claim the two presidential tickets are not offering stark contrasts. Now a real debate about the future of government can take place. John Dickerson reports in Slate.

Someone Is Going To Be Very Disappointed By the Ryan VP Pick

Rejoice! It’s Ryan! Conservatives are thrilled by Romney’s VP pick. So are Democrats. One camp is very wrong.

JANESVILLE, Wis.— Mitt Romney has made his first presidential-level decision, picking Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old, seven-term Congressman from southern Wisconsin, as his running mate. The choice offers the first real hints about what kind of president Romney will be. Here’s what we learned: He takes risks, he can adapt, and he’s willing to campaign on a bold set of ideas rather than generalities. If you’re looking for the attributes of presidential leadership, these are all strong qualities. The Ryan pick also tells us less flattering things about Romney: He’s willing to discard what were once deeply held views about the necessity of business and executive experience and to cosset the GOP base for political reasons at the expense of independents.

No Comments 11 August 2012

No longer can anyone claim the two presidential tickets are not offering stark contrasts. Now a real debate about the future of government can take place. John Dickerson reports in Slate.

Someone Is Going To Be Very Disappointed By the Ryan VP Pick

Rejoice! It’s Ryan! Conservatives are thrilled by Romney’s VP pick. So are Democrats. One camp is very wrong.

JANESVILLE, Wis.— Mitt Romney has made his first presidential-level decision, picking Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old, seven-term Congressman from southern Wisconsin, as his running mate. The choice offers the first real hints about what kind of president Romney will be. Here’s what we learned: He takes risks, he can adapt, and he’s willing to campaign on a bold set of ideas rather than generalities. If you’re looking for the attributes of presidential leadership, these are all strong qualities. The Ryan pick also tells us less flattering things about Romney: He’s willing to discard what were once deeply held views about the necessity of business and executive experience and to cosset the GOP base for political reasons at the expense of independents.

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Movies, Documentary

Roman Polanski—Wanted and Desired

image This is an excellent documentary and it made me evaluate Polanski escape from the USA.  After watching it one wonders why American authorities attempted once again in 2010 to get Switzerland to arrest an extradite Polanski. After putting him under house arrest for 6 months, the Swiss authorities did not hand over Polanski to the American and this documentary, although finished before explains to explain why. Polanski is clearly guilty of one thing: Exceedingly poor judgment.

No Comments 9 August 2012

This is an excellent documentary and it made me evaluate Polanski escape from the USA.  After watching it one wonders why American authorities attempted once again in 2010 to get Switzerland to arrest an extradite Polanski. After putting him under house arrest for 6 months, the Swiss authorities did not hand over Polanski to the American and this documentary, although finished before explains to explain why. Polanski is clearly guilty of one thing: Exceedingly poor judgment.

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Diary

On the Money

The economist lays out well what the issues facing the next president are. It will be interesting to see who they will endorse before the election.
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The presidential campaign: Another fine mess
A useful debate has begun about America’s biggest domestic challenge, but it is comically shallow

AMID all the name-calling in America’s presidential campaign, a serious subject has begun to emerge: what role should government play? Earlier this month Barack Obama caused a stir when he said that entrepreneurs were not solely responsible for their success, but relied on the roads, bridges and other infrastructure which society constructs and which make commerce possible: “If you’ve got a business…you didn’t build that.” Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has told voters looking for state handouts to vote for the other guy.

No Comments 1 August 2012

The economist lays out well what the issues facing the next president are. It will be interesting to see who they will endorse before the election.

The presidential campaign: Another fine mess
A useful debate has begun about America’s biggest domestic challenge, but it is comically shallow

AMID all the name-calling in America’s presidential campaign, a serious subject has begun to emerge: what role should government play? Earlier this month Barack Obama caused a stir when he said that entrepreneurs were not solely responsible for their success, but relied on the roads, bridges and other infrastructure which society constructs and which make commerce possible: “If you’ve got a business…you didn’t build that.” Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has told voters looking for state handouts to vote for the other guy.

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Music, Pop

Gotye rules the world!

No Comments 16 July 2012

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Movies, Drama

Head-On (Gegen die Wand)

image A few years ago I had nothing good to say about Faith Akin’s 2007 film On the other Side. But Head On, which is only secondarily about the challenges of being born in Germany into a Turkish immigrant family, is a deep film.  Primarily it is about self-destruction and the strangeness of love. Sibel and Cahit meet in mental hospital because both seem to have attempted suicide. After some time Sibel convinces the much older Cahit to marry her so she can leave her parents and gain freedom. For six months Sibel and Cahit live without physical intimacy but then the fall in love and real trouble begins. The film becomes quite heavy but it is poetic despite the violence that accompanies the love between two multifaceted characters. What makes the film interesting is that it always takes unexpected turns.

 

No Comments 15 July 2012

A few years ago I had nothing good to say about Faith Akin’s 2007 film On the other Side. But Head On, which is only secondarily about the challenges of being born in Germany into a Turkish immigrant family, is a deep film.  Primarily it is about self-destruction and the strangeness of love. Sibel and Cahit meet in mental hospital because both seem to have attempted suicide. After some time Sibel convinces the much older Cahit to marry her so she can leave her parents and gain freedom. For six months Sibel and Cahit live without physical intimacy but then the fall in love and real trouble begins. The film becomes quite heavy but it is poetic despite the violence that accompanies the love between two multifaceted characters. What makes the film interesting is that it always takes unexpected turns.

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Movies, Phantasy

In Time

image Western democracies with the exception of the USA are remarkable in that life and death are a rather democratic affair. Especially in countries where the government runs most of the health care system (e.g. Britain, Canada, Australia) a worker may get a heart-transplant before a CEO get one. We don’t cut up workers and give his/her parts to save the life of more “important” people.  In the fictitious world of In Time every one is able to live until age 25 but then people only get to live one more year unless they obtain time from some one else. As a result the masses die on average young and the privileged can live forever, never biologically ageing more than 25 years. Will Salas’s (Justin Timberlake) mother dies early in the film because she literally runs out of time. When a privileged person with 100 years time on his account donates all his time to Salas because he is tired of living eternally, Salas drives into the region where the privileged classes live their wealthy eternal lives.

No Comments 11 July 2012

Western democracies with the exception of the USA are remarkable in that life and death are a rather democratic affair. Especially in countries where the government runs most of the health care system (e.g. Britain, Canada, Australia) a worker may get a heart-transplant before a CEO get one. We don’t cut up workers and give his/her parts to save the life of more “important” people.  In the fictitious world of In Time every one is able to live until age 25 but then people only get to live one more year unless they obtain time from some one else. As a result the masses die on average young and the privileged can live forever, never biologically ageing more than 25 years. Will Salas’s (Justin Timberlake) mother dies early in the film because she literally runs out of time. When a privileged person with 100 years time on his account donates all his time to Salas because he is tired of living eternally, Salas drives into the region where the privileged classes live their wealthy eternal lives.

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Movies, Phantasy

Inception

image The dream world is a miraculous space. The mind apparently needs to dream to keep things together. Sometimes watching dogs sleep I get the impression that they too dream. One of the most amazing dreams is when you within a dream you dream that you are falling asleep and starting to dream. Then you wake up in a dream and believe you are in reality although later on why you are truly awake you realize that you were still in a dream. Inception is about these multilevel dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to get people to talk in their sleep and reveal secrets. He uses this to engage in corporate espionage. But Cobb is also wanted by the government for allegedly killing his wife and he is not able to see his tow young kids. Now he is being offered a assignment which promises to give him back is old life.  But he has to use his skill to plant an idea into the mind of a corporate heir without that person realizing that the idea was implanted in his head while dreaming. The film is a remarkable exploration of our dream world.

No Comments 10 July 2012

The dream world is a miraculous space. The mind apparently needs to dream to keep things together. Sometimes watching dogs sleep I get the impression that they too dream. One of the most amazing dreams is when you within a dream you dream that you are falling asleep and starting to dream. Then you wake up in a dream and believe you are in reality although later on why you are truly awake you realize that you were still in a dream. Inception is about these multilevel dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has the ability to get people to talk in their sleep and reveal secrets. He uses this to engage in corporate espionage. But Cobb is also wanted by the government for allegedly killing his wife and he is not able to see his tow young kids. Now he is being offered a assignment which promises to give him back is old life.  But he has to use his skill to plant an idea into the mind of a corporate heir without that person realizing that the idea was implanted in his head while dreaming. The film is a remarkable exploration of our dream world.

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Movies, Phantasy

Ted

image I don’t know the reason why children like teddy bears and safety blankets so much. All I know is that like most kids I enjoyed them so much that I never wanted to give them up.  Unfortunately, one day I left my teddy bear behind in a hotel room and the hotel staff claimed that they could not find my companion. I was too old to want to get used to a new bear and for the next year missed falling asleep with him on my nose and this soothing smell of comfort. Our hero John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) did not suffer this fate. When he was ten he wished that his teddy would come alive so that he would have a best friend for life. Miraculously, his wish comes true. This blissful existence only becomes challenged when John has a girlfriend and she demands that John spends more time with her instead his best friend Ted. What now unfolds is the funniest movie I have seen in a long time. I laughed almost the entire film. If you like the humor of There is something about Mary, you will have a blast with this film. And if you had a teddy as a child, you will love the film!

No Comments 8 July 2012

I don’t know the reason why children like teddy bears and safety blankets so much. All I know is that like most kids I enjoyed them so much that I never wanted to give them up.  Unfortunately, one day I left my teddy bear behind in a hotel room and the hotel staff claimed that they could not find my companion. I was too old to want to get used to a new bear and for the next year missed falling asleep with him on my nose and this soothing smell of comfort. Our hero John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) did not suffer this fate. When he was ten he wished that his teddy would come alive so that he would have a best friend for life. Miraculously, his wish comes true. This blissful existence only becomes challenged when John has a girlfriend and she demands that John spends more time with her instead his best friend Ted. What now unfolds is the funniest movie I have seen in a long time. I laughed almost the entire film. If you like the humor of There is something about Mary, you will have a blast with this film. And if you had a teddy as a child, you will love the film!

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Movies, Drama

Red Dog

image If you don’t understand many peoples’ love for dogs, this film explains dogs can be humans’ being best friend. Based somewhat on a true story, this comedy takes you on a tour of Western Australia.  Even if you don’t care much about the canine species, Red Dog is a very special dog and he will soften your heart and make you appreciate why some people cannot think living without a canine friend.

No Comments 1 July 2012

If you don’t understand many peoples’ love for dogs, this film explains dogs can be humans’ being best friend. Based somewhat on a true story, this comedy takes you on a tour of Western Australia.  Even if you don’t care much about the canine species, Red Dog is a very special dog and he will soften your heart and make you appreciate why some people cannot think living without a canine friend.

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Diary

Hugo

image Hugo is the most wonderful film I have seen in a long while. It is much deeper than the Artist,which was good and imaginative but did not reach the psychological sophistication of Hugo. Both films tell take us back to a time when movies were new. If you love movies, you don’t want miss this enchanting film. Saying anything more about the film quickly runs the risk of spoiling your experience. So let me stop here. And after you have seen the film, you may want to read a bit about Brian Selznick, the creator of Hugo.  

 

No Comments 21 June 2012

Hugo is the most wonderful film I have seen in a long while. It is much deeper than the Artist,which was good and imaginative but did not reach the psychological sophistication of Hugo. Both films tell take us back to a time when movies were new. If you love movies, you don’t want miss this enchanting film. Saying anything more about the film quickly runs the risk of spoiling your experience. So let me stop here. And after you have seen the film, you may want to read a bit about Brian Selznick, the creator of Hugo. 

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Movies, Drama

This Means War

image Many of the comedies staring Reese Witherspoone are quite fun.This Means War, however, is painful to watch. Reese plays a marketing manager who has fallen on romantic dry land.  A friend put her profile on dating site. So far so good as hook. But then it becomes painful. Two guys who are working as James Bond’s at the CIA start dating and competing for her.  In the process they are using to resources of the CIA on each other’s dates. This is a comedy that is laim.

No Comments 19 June 2012

Many of the comedies staring Reese Witherspoone are quite fun.This Means War, however, is painful to watch. Reese plays a marketing manager who has fallen on romantic dry land.  A friend put her profile on dating site. So far so good as hook. But then it becomes painful. Two guys who are working as James Bond’s at the CIA start dating and competing for her.  In the process they are using to resources of the CIA on each other’s dates. This is a comedy that is laim.

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Movies, Drama

The Artist

image Recently a friend watched a film that I had seen before. I did not see it but only heard the dialogue through the speakers in an adjacent room. It quickly became obvious that without the pictures films don’t work. The Artist, however, shows that even decades after sound movies (talkies) displaced silent films, it is possible to make a silent movie. Moving pictures itself works. The Artist is a wonderful piece of art set in Hollywood just ask the talkies are luring movie goers away from the silent films. A big star of the silent movies meets a young nobody who has charms that his rich wife is missing. And now the drama starts.

No Comments 19 June 2012

Recently a friend watched a film that I had seen before. I did not see it but only heard the dialogue through the speakers in an adjacent room. It quickly became obvious that without the pictures films don’t work. The Artist, however, shows that even decades after sound movies (talkies) displaced silent films, it is possible to make a silent movie. Moving pictures itself works. The Artist is a wonderful piece of art set in Hollywood just ask the talkies are luring movie goers away from the silent films. A big star of the silent movies meets a young nobody who has charms that his rich wife is missing. And now the drama starts.

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Movies, Phantasy

Kick-Ass

image Kick-Ass reinvents the superhero genre (Spiderman, Batman, etc.) by making fun of the genre but also working with it. The film is billed as a comedy. There are a large number of funny scenes that will make you laugh.   But at times it also falls back on the genre that it makes fun off, given us a very entertaining action film. If you are faced with the choice of seeing the next Spiderman movie or Kick-Ass, I am confident that Kick-Ass is going to be more fun.

No Comments 16 June 2012

Kick-Ass reinvents the superhero genre (Spiderman, Batman, etc.) by making fun of the genre but also working with it. The film is billed as a comedy. There are a large number of funny scenes that will make you laugh.   But at times it also falls back on the genre that it makes fun off, given us a very entertaining action film. If you are faced with the choice of seeing the next Spiderman movie or Kick-Ass, I am confident that Kick-Ass is going to be more fun.

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Diary

The Election is fought over economic philosophy

imageDavid Brooks is providing the best possible interpretations what Republican intentions are all about. Instead of picking Spain and Greece he could have cited the Northern European countries which have been quite successful in reforming their welfare states. He notes correctly that Barak Obama outlined a very different position that economics policies will bring new prosperity to average American. I think that Obama is correct and hope that a majority of Americans will agree in November. 

What Republicans Think

By DAVID BROOKS (NY Times)
Democrats frequently ask me why the Republicans have become so extreme. As they describe the situation, they usually fall back on some sort of illness metaphor. Republicans have a mania. President Obama has said that Republicans have a “fever” that he hopes will break if he is re-elected.

No Comments 15 June 2012

David Brooks is providing the best possible interpretations what Republican intentions are all about. Instead of picking Spain and Greece he could have cited the Northern European countries which have been quite successful in reforming their welfare states. He notes correctly that Barak Obama outlined a very different position that economics policies will bring new prosperity to average American. I think that Obama is correct and hope that a majority of Americans will agree in November. 

What Republicans Think

By DAVID BROOKS (NY Times)
Democrats frequently ask me why the Republicans have become so extreme. As they describe the situation, they usually fall back on some sort of illness metaphor. Republicans have a mania. President Obama has said that Republicans have a “fever” that he hopes will break if he is re-elected.

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Movies, Phantasy

Monster Inc

image Monster Inc was made before Finding Nemo, which was the first Pixar film I ever saw. Monster Inc is cute and is fueled by the imaginary power that we are used to from Pixar. But I did not feel as touched by the film as I did by all the others. But it is a very good film for the family. Calling your kid “a little monster” takes on a whole new meaning after watching this film.

No Comments 3 June 2012

Monster Inc was made before Finding Nemo, which was the first Pixar film I ever saw. Monster Inc is cute and is fueled by the imaginary power that we are used to from Pixar. But I did not feel as touched by the film as I did by all the others. But it is a very good film for the family. Calling your kid “a little monster” takes on a whole new meaning after watching this film.

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Diary

Enjoy a 5-min helicopter tour across the USA

No Comments 31 May 2012

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Humor, People

Black Humor on SNL

No Comments 30 May 2012

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Movies, Drama

Roman Holiday

imageMark Zuckerberg allegedly is spending is honey moon in Rome right now. If you are thinking you can can follow in his footsteps by watching Roman Holiday, you will be disappointed. The film did not age well. Our eyes need more than a princess who wants to break out her cage for a day by strolling through Rome with a dashing newspaper man. The last 10 minutes of the film give it some redeeming quality. Andrey Hepburn probably won the Oscar for these ten minutes, in which her face does an amazing acting job.If you are in mood for a romantic comedy, watch Pretty Womaninstead. 

 

No Comments 30 May 2012

Mark Zuckerberg allegedly is spending is honey moon in Rome right now. If you are thinking you can can follow in his footsteps by watching Roman Holiday, you will be disappointed. The film did not age well. Our eyes need more than a princess who wants to break out her cage for a day by strolling through Rome with a dashing newspaper man. The last 10 minutes of the film give it some redeeming quality. Andrey Hepburn probably won the Oscar for these ten minutes, in which her face does an amazing acting job.If you are in mood for a romantic comedy, watch Pretty Womaninstead. 

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Movies, Drama

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

imageBreakfast at Tiffany has receive higher ratings than in my mind it deserved. It is a love story with a cute cat and an always beautiful-to-watch Audrey Hepburn. But that is about it. Watch the wonderful My Fair Lady if you want to see Hepburn and experience a much deeper story. My Review of My Fair Lady.

No Comments 18 May 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany has receive higher ratings than in my mind it deserved. It is a love story with a cute cat and an always beautiful-to-watch Audrey Hepburn. But that is about it. Watch the wonderful My Fair Lady if you want to see Hepburn and experience a much deeper story. My Review of My Fair Lady.

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Diary

When the US shrank in the 19th century

image The internet today is removing barriers between people living in different places. The railroads were one of the technologies (telegraph and telephone were others) that this for 19th century.  The Writer’s Almanac reports:

The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed on this date in 1869. The project had been discussed since the 1830’s when Europeans were settling in California in increasing numbers, but people couldn’t decide on the best route. Some argued for a central route through Wyoming and Nebraska, and others felt a southern route through Texas was better because it would avoid the Rocky Mountains. Over time the Pony Express proved that the central route was passable even in winter, and Texas allied itself with the Confederacy in the Civil War, so the central route won out.

 

No Comments 10 May 2012

The internet today is removing barriers between people living in different places. The railroads were one of the technologies (telegraph and telephone were others) that this for 19th century.  The Writer’s Almanac reports:

The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed on this date in 1869. The project had been discussed since the 1830’s when Europeans were settling in California in increasing numbers, but people couldn’t decide on the best route. Some argued for a central route through Wyoming and Nebraska, and others felt a southern route through Texas was better because it would avoid the Rocky Mountains. Over time the Pony Express proved that the central route was passable even in winter, and Texas allied itself with the Confederacy in the Civil War, so the central route won out.

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Movies, Drama

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

image Watching this exquisite crime movie, I wondered:  Who wrote the story for the script. So I did some research and discovered that it was indeed a Swede to wrote the story. Frequently, writers live rather boring lives. Not so in the case of   Stieg Larsson.  According to his partner of 20 years, Larsson’s witnessed a rape when he was young and never forgave himself for not trying to stop it. In real life he tried to be a journalists but apparently did not have the social skills and personality to fit into a news organization. Larsson worked tirelessly to counter radical right wing activists in Sweden. This endangered his life. Larsson and his partner never married because the address of a newly married coupled is published in Sweden and Larsson’s would have been more easily targeted.  The hero, Mikael Blomkvist (Craig Daniel), and the heroine, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), seem to be an amplified version of Larsson, but not in a way that this would became in any way tedious.

No Comments 8 May 2012

Watching this exquisite crime movie, I wondered:  Who wrote the story for the script. So I did some research and discovered that it was indeed a Swede to wrote the story. Frequently, writers live rather boring lives. Not so in the case of   Stieg Larsson.  According to his partner of 20 years, Larsson’s witnessed a rape when he was young and never forgave himself for not trying to stop it. In real life he tried to be a journalists but apparently did not have the social skills and personality to fit into a news organization. Larsson worked tirelessly to counter radical right wing activists in Sweden. This endangered his life. Larsson and his partner never married because the address of a newly married coupled is published in Sweden and Larsson’s would have been more easily targeted.  The hero, Mikael Blomkvist (Craig Daniel), and the heroine, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), seem to be an amplified version of Larsson, but not in a way that this would became in any way tedious.

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Diary

Motorbike from Japan travels across the Pacific Ocean

image I could never imagine that sea currents are strong enough to wash a motorbike across the entire Pacific Ocean. Read this amazing story.

TOKYO (AP)—It must have been a wild ride. Japanese media say a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost in last year’s tsunami has washed up on a Canadian island about 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) away.
The rusted bike was found in a large white container where its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, had kept it. He was located through the license plate number, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.
“This is unmistakably mine. It’s miraculous,” Yokoyama told Nippon TV when shown photos of the motorcycle.
Yokoyama lost three members of his family in the March 11, 2011, tsunami, and is now living in temporary housing in Miyagi prefecture (state).
The motorcycle is among the first items lost in the tsunami to reach the west coast of North America. In March, an Alaska man found a football and later a volleyball from Japan; their owners were located last week using names that had been inscribed on the balls.

No Comments 2 May 2012

I could never imagine that sea currents are strong enough to wash a motorbike across the entire Pacific Ocean. Read this amazing story.

TOKYO (AP)—It must have been a wild ride. Japanese media say a Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost in last year’s tsunami has washed up on a Canadian island about 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) away.
The rusted bike was found in a large white container where its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, had kept it. He was located through the license plate number, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.
“This is unmistakably mine. It’s miraculous,” Yokoyama told Nippon TV when shown photos of the motorcycle.
Yokoyama lost three members of his family in the March 11, 2011, tsunami, and is now living in temporary housing in Miyagi prefecture (state).
The motorcycle is among the first items lost in the tsunami to reach the west coast of North America. In March, an Alaska man found a football and later a volleyball from Japan; their owners were located last week using names that had been inscribed on the balls.

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Humor, People

Barak Obama is funnier than Jimmy Kimmel

No Comments 29 April 2012

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Movies, Drama

The Maltese Falcon

image Four short year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, this detective flick was produced in San Francisco. Humphrey Bogart plays a private detective. He is retained by a beautiful women, who under false pretenses has Bogart’s partner shadow a man, who allegedly has let her sister to run away with him to San Francisco. Before we know it, two people are dead. The plot turns fast. While the themes of the film (greed, love, passion) are eternal, the film did not age as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.  I had more fun with African Queen, another old Humphrey Bogart film. But the writing is very good.

No Comments 28 April 2012

Four short year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, this detective flick was produced in San Francisco. Humphrey Bogart plays a private detective. He is retained by a beautiful women, who under false pretenses has Bogart’s partner shadow a man, who allegedly has let her sister to run away with him to San Francisco. Before we know it, two people are dead. The plot turns fast. While the themes of the film (greed, love, passion) are eternal, the film did not age as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.  I had more fun with African Queen, another old Humphrey Bogart film. But the writing is very good.

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Movies, Drama

Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown

image When I saw Women on a Verge of a Nervous Breakdown almost twenty year ago, I did not find it very funny. In fact, I was bored by it. Perhaps I was simply too tired. But the film (or I) aged well. Almadovar in 1988 build into his film a refernce to Islamic terrorist. After September 11, 2001 this reference has gained a lot of poignancy. If you have a woman in your life who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, this comic film will help.

No Comments 18 April 2012

When I saw Women on a Verge of a Nervous Breakdown almost twenty year ago, I did not find it very funny. In fact, I was bored by it. Perhaps I was simply too tired. But the film (or I) aged well. Almadovar in 1988 build into his film a refernce to Islamic terrorist. After September 11, 2001 this reference has gained a lot of poignancy. If you have a woman in your life who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, this comic film will help.

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Diary, Astute Observations

A Few Good Lines by Samuel Beckett

image  “Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

“My mistakes are my life.”

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.”

“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”

No Comments 16 April 2012

  “Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”“My mistakes are my life.”“We are all born mad. Some remain so.”“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”

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Humor, Situations

When the economy is bad, applying for jobs can be frustrating

image

No Comments 14 April 2012

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Movies, Phantasy

The Hunger Games

image The Hunger Games is a real surprise. Who would have thought that a film effortly makes connections between the Roman empire (bread and games), Thomas Hobbes’ life in a state of nature,   George Orwell’s 1984 nightmare of total government control, and our age’s infatuation with reality TV shows such as “Survivor.” After having seen this amazing film, I am not surprised that the author of the story sold millions of copies. I am not going to say more about the film. See The Hunger Games if you are hungry for a different movie experience.

No Comments 8 April 2012

The Hunger Games is a real surprise. Who would have thought that a film effortly makes connections between the Roman empire (bread and games), Thomas Hobbes’ life in a state of nature,   George Orwell’s 1984 nightmare of total government control, and our age’s infatuation with reality TV shows such as “Survivor.” After having seen this amazing film, I am not surprised that the author of the story sold millions of copies. I am not going to say more about the film. See The Hunger Games if you are hungry for a different movie experience.

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Diary

I always wondered if you can just fire the conductor and still get great music

No Comments 7 April 2012

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Diary

Supreme Court is back at the center of attention ruling on “Obamacare”

image Not since the Supreme Court stepped in and gave ruled in favor of George Bush and against Al Gore in the 2004 election is the third branch of government at the center of public attention. Will the strike down Obama’s signature legislation. Here is some useful background information that had me wonder: how would the conservative judges argue against the individual mandate to buy health insurance? June will bring the answer.

Obama’s insurance requirement not the only mandate
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | Associated Press
The insurance requirement that the Supreme Court is reviewing isn’t the first federal mandate involving health care.
There’s a Medicare payroll tax on workers and employers, for example, and a requirement that hospitals provide free emergency services to indigents. Health care is full of government dictates, some arguably more intrusive than President Barack Obama’s overhaul law.
It’s a wrinkle that has caught the attention of the justices.

No Comments 1 April 2012

Not since the Supreme Court stepped in and gave ruled in favor of George Bush and against Al Gore in the 2004 election is the third branch of government at the center of public attention. Will the strike down Obama’s signature legislation. Here is some useful background information that had me wonder: how would the conservative judges argue against the individual mandate to buy health insurance? June will bring the answer.

Obama’s insurance requirement not the only mandate
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | Associated Press
The insurance requirement that the Supreme Court is reviewing isn’t the first federal mandate involving health care.
There’s a Medicare payroll tax on workers and employers, for example, and a requirement that hospitals provide free emergency services to indigents. Health care is full of government dictates, some arguably more intrusive than President Barack Obama’s overhaul law.
It’s a wrinkle that has caught the attention of the justices.

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Humor, People

Vive la France

Last night this was my wonderful bedtime reading.
image

By Paul Rudnick, New Yorker. I am Marie-Celine Dundelle, and I do not need a book contract to reveal that French women are superior in all matters. Our secret lies in an attitude toward life, a point of view that I can only call Frenchy. For example, let us discuss weight loss. The American woman obsesses over every calorie and sit-up, while in France we do not even have a word for fat. If a woman is obese, we simply call her American. Whenever my friend Jeanne-Helene has gained a few pounds, I will say to her, “Jeanne-Helene, you are hiding at least two Americans under your skirt, and your upper arms are looking, how you say, very Ohio.”

To maintain my figure, I eat only half portions of any food, always arranging it on my plate in the shape of a semicolon. For exercise, at least once a day I approach a total stranger and slap him. And late each afternoon I read a paragraph of any work of acclaimed American literary fiction, which makes me vomit.

 

No Comments 27 March 2012

Last night this was my wonderful bedtime reading.


By Paul Rudnick, New Yorker. I am Marie-Celine Dundelle, and I do not need a book contract to reveal that French women are superior in all matters. Our secret lies in an attitude toward life, a point of view that I can only call Frenchy. For example, let us discuss weight loss. The American woman obsesses over every calorie and sit-up, while in France we do not even have a word for fat. If a woman is obese, we simply call her American. Whenever my friend Jeanne-Helene has gained a few pounds, I will say to her, “Jeanne-Helene, you are hiding at least two Americans under your skirt, and your upper arms are looking, how you say, very Ohio.”

To maintain my figure, I eat only half portions of any food, always arranging it on my plate in the shape of a semicolon. For exercise, at least once a day I approach a total stranger and slap him. And late each afternoon I read a paragraph of any work of acclaimed American literary fiction, which makes me vomit.

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Diary

Obama’s Reelection Campaign goes Hollywood

No Comments 17 March 2012

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Movies, Drama

Key Largo

image The decor and the language of the film reminded me so much of other films of this era that I erroneously thought the film was written by Riginald Rose or directed by Sidney Lumet. A mafia boss who wants to get back into major deals descents with his entourage on a small hotel in Key Largo in the middle of the summer when no one in their right mind vacations on the Florida Keys. The owner of the hotel runs the hotel together with his daughter in law who lost her husband in World War II. Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) was with the son and husband just before he was hit in Italy.  To help them come to terms with this death, Mcloud pays them a visit to tell them the details how he died. But before he can do this, the mobsters hold him and everyone else hostage and now Frank’s courage is tested and his heart is opened up by the beauty of his comrade’s widow.  While it would not make my top 100 list, the film is worth seeing, especially if you are on a visit to the Florida Keys.

No Comments 14 March 2012

The decor and the language of the film reminded me so much of other films of this era that I erroneously thought the film was written by Riginald Rose or directed by Sidney Lumet. A mafia boss who wants to get back into major deals descents with his entourage on a small hotel in Key Largo in the middle of the summer when no one in their right mind vacations on the Florida Keys. The owner of the hotel runs the hotel together with his daughter in law who lost her husband in World War II. Frank McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) was with the son and husband just before he was hit in Italy.  To help them come to terms with this death, Mcloud pays them a visit to tell them the details how he died. But before he can do this, the mobsters hold him and everyone else hostage and now Frank’s courage is tested and his heart is opened up by the beauty of his comrade’s widow.  While it would not make my top 100 list, the film is worth seeing, especially if you are on a visit to the Florida Keys.

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Diary

Gotye:  The original

No Comments 21 February 2012

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Diary

Gotye takes you behind the scenes of his creativity

Making Making Mirrors - a short documentary from Gotye on Vimeo.

No Comments 21 February 2012

Making Making Mirrors - a short documentary from Gotye on Vimeo.

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Diary, Must Know

Art can improve upon Nature

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

No Comments 21 February 2012

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

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Movies, Documentary

Debate Team

image This documentary provides in good insight into a subculture of American campuses that I knew nothing about. I thought debate would be a gentelmanly or womanly sport where students would speak in a way understandable for an audience. But there is not audience in the sub-culture other than other debaters for whom debate because a full-time obsession. The first 30 minutes of the documentary were intriguing. But the first-time filmmaker forgot that the human brain likes stories to unfold in chronological way. He jumps back and forth so much that my little brain felt a bit overtaxed by it.

No Comments 20 February 2012

This documentary provides in good insight into a subculture of American campuses that I knew nothing about. I thought debate would be a gentelmanly or womanly sport where students would speak in a way understandable for an audience. But there is not audience in the sub-culture other than other debaters for whom debate because a full-time obsession. The first 30 minutes of the documentary were intriguing. But the first-time filmmaker forgot that the human brain likes stories to unfold in chronological way. He jumps back and forth so much that my little brain felt a bit overtaxed by it.

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Diary, Must Know

War may be coming to Mid-East

image I must admit that I was totally surprised by the 11. September 2001 attacks. I had seen that terrorist in the preceding years had hit increasingly bigger assets of the USA. Unfortunately the standoff with IRAN may lead to war this year and then all bets are off what this will mean for our daily lives. Read what the British foreign secretary said in an recent interview.

Iran risks nuclear Cold War By Robert Winnett, and Benedict Brogan in Daily Telegraph
Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is threatening to trigger a “new Cold War” that poses an even greater threat of nuclear conflict than the stand-off between the USSR and the West, William Hague warns.

 

No Comments 18 February 2012

I must admit that I was totally surprised by the 11. September 2001 attacks. I had seen that terrorist in the preceding years had hit increasingly bigger assets of the USA. Unfortunately the standoff with IRAN may lead to war this year and then all bets are off what this will mean for our daily lives. Read what the British foreign secretary said in an recent interview.

Iran risks nuclear Cold War By Robert Winnett, and Benedict Brogan in Daily Telegraph
Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is threatening to trigger a “new Cold War” that poses an even greater threat of nuclear conflict than the stand-off between the USSR and the West, William Hague warns.

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Movies, Drama

L.A. Confidential

image
In a recent New Yorker article Adam Gopnik has provided a detailed portrait just how much more people are incarcerated in the United States compared to other countries. The murder rate in the US is higher than any other Western country. For this reason America is perfect background for a celebrity, crime, and corruption film in the heart of the film capital: LA. I had seen part of LA Confidential 7 years ago but for some reason I could not watch the end of the exceedingly well-crafted film-noir about the LAPD in the early 1950s. Treat yourself to this wonderful drama. 

 

No Comments 8 February 2012

In a recent New Yorker article Adam Gopnik has provided a detailed portrait just how much more people are incarcerated in the United States compared to other countries. The murder rate in the US is higher than any other Western country. For this reason America is perfect background for a celebrity, crime, and corruption film in the heart of the film capital: LA. I had seen part of LA Confidential 7 years ago but for some reason I could not watch the end of the exceedingly well-crafted film-noir about the LAPD in the early 1950s. Treat yourself to this wonderful drama. 

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Diary

“It’s Half-time America” by Clint Eastwood

Eastwood, the long-time Republican and libertarian, denies that he is trying to endorse Obama with this ad.

No Comments 7 February 2012

Eastwood, the long-time Republican and libertarian, denies that he is trying to endorse Obama with this ad.

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Movies, Drama

The Descendants

imageAlexander Payne is one of my favorite living directors.  I finally had a chance to see his new film, The Descendants. His early films all took place in his home state, Nebraska. In Sideways he ventured all the way to California. In the new film, Payne takes us to Hawaii, deploying the natural beauty of the island to a great effect. The Descendants is considerably darker and sadder than About Schmidt. But Payne uses the healing power of the beautiful Hawaiian landscape to tell another deep story about the human condition. This is art. Don’t miss it.

No Comments 2 February 2012

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Movies, Comedy

Friends with Benefit

image Romantic comedies used to have few explicit sex scenes. In 1989 the film When Harry met Sally pushed the boundaries of the genre when Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in a restaurant (see the funny scene). Friends with Benefits focuses the first half on the bedroom and how to create comedy around the lovemaking act. Except for the last scene, which is very well done, I felt like I had seen the story a million times.

 

No Comments 30 January 2012

Romantic comedies used to have few explicit sex scenes. In 1989 the film When Harry met Sally pushed the boundaries of the genre when Meg Ryan faked an orgasm in a restaurant (see the funny scene). Friends with Benefits focuses the first half on the bedroom and how to create comedy around the lovemaking act. Except for the last scene, which is very well done, I felt like I had seen the story a million times.

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Music, Pop

Beyonce sings Etta James Classic Song “At Last”

No Comments 21 January 2012

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Diary

Steven Colbert may be running for president as a Republican

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

No Comments 16 January 2012

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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Music, Pop

Five musicians playing one instrument

No Comments 13 January 2012

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Humor, People

A kind of marriage proposal that you have never seen before

No Comments 13 January 2012

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Movies, Drama

Whale Story

image Anyone who feels particularly strong affection for animals, Dolphin Tale will love this film. The movie starts out unpromising but then manages to tell a new chapter the human-animal relationships. Even those who feel that it is pathetic that many people seem to value pets more than other human will find Dolphin Tale at heart-warming story.

No Comments 5 January 2012

Anyone who feels particularly strong affection for animals, Dolphin Tale will love this film. The movie starts out unpromising but then manages to tell a new chapter the human-animal relationships. Even those who feel that it is pathetic that many people seem to value pets more than other human will find Dolphin Tale at heart-warming story.

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Diary

Compelling Message just before Death: Ben Breedlove - This is my story

 

No Comments 30 December 2011

 

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Diary

The Musical Debut of 2011: Ronan Parke

image Watch Britain Got Talent Audition

and Britain Got Talent 2011 Final

And here is an even more amazing candidate in the Korean version of the talent show.
Homeless boy singing

No Comments 29 December 2011

Watch Britain Got Talent Audition

and Britain Got Talent 2011 Final

And here is an even more amazing candidate in the Korean version of the talent show.
Homeless boy singing

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Books, Fiction

Middlesex

image The first couple of pages of this novel are spectacular. Full review coming when I have finished the novel…

No Comments 29 December 2011

The first couple of pages of this novel are spectacular. Full review coming when I have finished the novel…

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Diary

Mitt Romney through the eyes of his b-school friends

image I did not pay much attention to Romney in the last presidential cycle. I had watched his promo video about his family holidays somewhere in the Northeast and he came across is deeply inauthentic. This article, for which the NY Times interview many former HBS classmates and professor, gave me a much deeper understanding of Romney, who in all likelihood will be running against Barak Obama. It sure will be an interesting showdown next November.

Read the Full NY Time here

No Comments 25 December 2011

I did not pay much attention to Romney in the last presidential cycle. I had watched his promo video about his family holidays somewhere in the Northeast and he came across is deeply inauthentic. This article, for which the NY Times interview many former HBS classmates and professor, gave me a much deeper understanding of Romney, who in all likelihood will be running against Barak Obama. It sure will be an interesting showdown next November.

Read the Full NY Time here

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Movies, Phantasy

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

imageWhen I read that Brad Bird (who made the wonderful Pixar films The Incredibles and Ratatouille) was recruited to direct Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and that he gave it a special touch, I could not resist to watch this improbably action adventure. Bird did not write the script and hence was rather confined what he could do with film. The entire series could be called “Mission Improbable”. But if you are willing to suspend your critical faculties and just enjoy the fast paced, often surprising action sequences and amazing technological feats, this cloak and dagger secret service film will not disappoint you. If, however, you have not seen The Incredibles or Ratatouille, make sure that watch them first because they are even better.

No Comments 18 December 2011

When I read that Brad Bird (who made the wonderful Pixar films The Incredibles and Ratatouille) was recruited to direct Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and that he gave it a special touch, I could not resist to watch this improbably action adventure. Bird did not write the script and hence was rather confined what he could do with film. The entire series could be called “Mission Improbable”. But if you are willing to suspend your critical faculties and just enjoy the fast paced, often surprising action sequences and amazing technological feats, this cloak and dagger secret service film will not disappoint you. If, however, you have not seen The Incredibles or Ratatouille, make sure that watch them first because they are even better.

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Diary

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

No Comments 17 December 2011

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Diary

How to fight being tired in the afternoon: nap and coffee

image I have never tried having a cup of coffee before taking a power nap. But I will test this in the weeks to come. Here is the background in the NY Times.

THE FACTS

Late November is the start of the busiest travel season of the year, when millions of drivers hit the road for long-distance treks. Many will be sleep-deprived and looking to pull over for a nap or a dose of caffeine.

But the best idea may be to combine the two, and not in the order one might think.

No Comments 8 December 2011

I have never tried having a cup of coffee before taking a power nap. But I will test this in the weeks to come. Here is the background in the NY Times.

THE FACTS

Late November is the start of the busiest travel season of the year, when millions of drivers hit the road for long-distance treks. Many will be sleep-deprived and looking to pull over for a nap or a dose of caffeine.

But the best idea may be to combine the two, and not in the order one might think.

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Movies, Comedy

Crazy, Stupid, Love

image The first three quarters of the film are stupid. No, boring is a better word. Everything feels staged. You feel that you are watching a comedy without soul and intelligence. But then suddenly it all changes, you are in for a big surprise and the film comes to life.  I wonder if it would be been possible to create this dramatic turn of events without boring me out of my mind for most of the film.

No Comments 4 December 2011

The first three quarters of the film are stupid. No, boring is a better word. Everything feels staged. You feel that you are watching a comedy without soul and intelligence. But then suddenly it all changes, you are in for a big surprise and the film comes to life.  I wonder if it would be been possible to create this dramatic turn of events without boring me out of my mind for most of the film.

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Movies, Comedy

Mrs. Doubtfire

image Robin Williams is one of the most talented comedians alive. The range of voice impersonation he can do is amazing. Some of his talent is on display in Mrs. Doubtfire. The film was made in 1993 and feels a bit outdated. There are funny moments but the most enjoyable part of the film is to watch Robin Williams impersonate an old English house sitter.

No Comments 3 December 2011

Robin Williams is one of the most talented comedians alive. The range of voice impersonation he can do is amazing. Some of his talent is on display in Mrs. Doubtfire. The film was made in 1993 and feels a bit outdated. There are funny moments but the most enjoyable part of the film is to watch Robin Williams impersonate an old English house sitter.

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Movies, Drama

Our Idiot Brother

image If you think you have an idiot brother, watch this film and you will realize that you brother is actually pretty smart. Ned (Paul Rudd) is the brother of three intelligent, good looking and charming sisters and a pretty dumb mother.  Paul is not intelligent my any definition of the world, apparently inheriting most genes from his mother. There is something painful to watch someone who is stupid but not overtly handicapped as Forrest Gump. The pain becomes less throughout the film as Ned’s take on life—to trust everyone and to love unconditionally—proves to be winning strategy for happiness. If you are into romantic comedy but want to see something different and have 90 minutes to kill, this film will amuse you mildly. Most importantly you will think that your brother not stupid.

No Comments 1 December 2011

If you think you have an idiot brother, watch this film and you will realize that you brother is actually pretty smart. Ned (Paul Rudd) is the brother of three intelligent, good looking and charming sisters and a pretty dumb mother.  Paul is not intelligent my any definition of the world, apparently inheriting most genes from his mother. There is something painful to watch someone who is stupid but not overtly handicapped as Forrest Gump. The pain becomes less throughout the film as Ned’s take on life—to trust everyone and to love unconditionally—proves to be winning strategy for happiness. If you are into romantic comedy but want to see something different and have 90 minutes to kill, this film will amuse you mildly. Most importantly you will think that your brother not stupid.

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Diary, Curious News

An insider’s confession of tabloid journalism in the UK

image This must be one of the most intriguing session in the history of the British parliament

British Inquiry Is Told Hacking Is Worthy Tool
By SARAH LYALL (NY Times)
LONDON—He admitted that he and his colleagues hacked into people’s phones and paid police officers for tips. He confessed to lurking in unmarked vans outside people’s houses, stealing confidential documents, rifling through celebrity garbage cans and pretending that he was not a journalist pursuing a story but “Brad the teenage rent boy,” propositioning a priest.

After Paul McMullan, a former deputy features editor at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, had finished his jaw-droppingly brazen remarks at a judicial inquiry on Tuesday, it was hard to think of any dubious news-gathering technique he had not confessed to, short of pistol-whipping sources for information.

No Comments 29 November 2011

This must be one of the most intriguing session in the history of the British parliament

British Inquiry Is Told Hacking Is Worthy Tool
By SARAH LYALL (NY Times)
LONDON—He admitted that he and his colleagues hacked into people’s phones and paid police officers for tips. He confessed to lurking in unmarked vans outside people’s houses, stealing confidential documents, rifling through celebrity garbage cans and pretending that he was not a journalist pursuing a story but “Brad the teenage rent boy,” propositioning a priest.

After Paul McMullan, a former deputy features editor at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid, had finished his jaw-droppingly brazen remarks at a judicial inquiry on Tuesday, it was hard to think of any dubious news-gathering technique he had not confessed to, short of pistol-whipping sources for information.

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Diary

Picture of the Day: Chinese Oil Paper Umbrellas

image

No Comments 21 November 2011

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Movies, Phantasy

Midnight in Paris

image The criticism that I and others have leveled against Woody Allen’s recent work seems to have stung. When Allen moved his camera to London a few years ago, got the same stories transplanted from New York to London. The difference in language seems to have freed Allen. Midnight in Paris only feels a bit repetitive of his previous work. Mostly it is a very clever and cute adaptation of the idea of time travelling. Allen’s alter ego, a writer (Luke Wilson) who feels more comfortable in the past than present suddenly finds himself in the 1920s meeting the great artists of the time. Luke Wilson gives spectacular performance. Taken this 2-hour trip to Paris is worth the price of the movie ticket.

Apparently there is a good new documentary on Woody Allen’s work showing this weekend on PBS.

No Comments 20 November 2011

The criticism that I and others have leveled against Woody Allen’s recent work seems to have stung. When Allen moved his camera to London a few years ago, got the same stories transplanted from New York to London. The difference in language seems to have freed Allen. Midnight in Paris only feels a bit repetitive of his previous work. Mostly it is a very clever and cute adaptation of the idea of time travelling. Allen’s alter ego, a writer (Luke Wilson) who feels more comfortable in the past than present suddenly finds himself in the 1920s meeting the great artists of the time. Luke Wilson gives spectacular performance. Taken this 2-hour trip to Paris is worth the price of the movie ticket.

Apparently there is a good new documentary on Woody Allen’s work showing this weekend on PBS.

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Diary

Something Different: The Harmonic Kiss

No Comments 14 November 2011

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Movies, Drama

Easy Rider

image Some have billed Easy Rider the mother of all road movies.  Until the end, it is very difficult to figure out where this journey is leading to and what the whole point of the film it. It starts out in the American West. Two bikers (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) set out to travel east after doing a drug deal in L A, which gives the cash to pay for it. The film covers beautiful landscape of the American Southwest and the hippy culture that started in the 1960s. (If you have never been to America, it would be a nice introduction to landscape.) On the journey the meet people from all walks of life.  But there seems no purpose to the journey. Only at the end it becomes clear that the film wants is a philosophical meditation on what freedom really is. I will not give away the surprising final scene.

No Comments 12 November 2011

Some have billed Easy Rider the mother of all road movies.  Until the end, it is very difficult to figure out where this journey is leading to and what the whole point of the film it. It starts out in the American West. Two bikers (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) set out to travel east after doing a drug deal in L A, which gives the cash to pay for it. The film covers beautiful landscape of the American Southwest and the hippy culture that started in the 1960s. (If you have never been to America, it would be a nice introduction to landscape.) On the journey the meet people from all walks of life.  But there seems no purpose to the journey. Only at the end it becomes clear that the film wants is a philosophical meditation on what freedom really is. I will not give away the surprising final scene.

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Diary

The Moment Perry’s Campaign Imploded

No Comments 10 November 2011

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Humor, Situations

With kids like this, no wonder America is going down

No Comments 7 November 2011

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Diary

M. Jackson doctor convicted in star’s 2009 drug death

image I would have been surprised if the doctor had not been convicted.

By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson’s doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter after a trial that painted him as a reckless caregiver who administered a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic that killed the pop star.
The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture’s most shocking tragedies—the death of the King of Pop on the eve of the singer’s heavily promoted comeback concerts.

No Comments 7 November 2011

I would have been surprised if the doctor had not been convicted.

By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson’s doctor was convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter after a trial that painted him as a reckless caregiver who administered a lethal dose of a powerful anesthetic that killed the pop star.
The verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray marked the latest chapter in one of pop culture’s most shocking tragedies—the death of the King of Pop on the eve of the singer’s heavily promoted comeback concerts.

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Music, Pop

Creative Background for a Very Average Song

No Comments 4 November 2011

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Diary

Inside the iPhone 4S

No Comments 3 November 2011

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Movies, Drama

Crazy Beautiful

image There is a fine line between being a genius and being crazy,  so a popular saying goes. It is difficult to know whether Vincent Van Gogh, one of whose paintings is a key feature of my homepage design, became insane only later in life after contracting syphilis or whether the roots of his mental illness lie much earlier in his life and paved the way for his creative genius. Cleary, Van Gogh is an example of the proverb that opened this review.  At age 37 craziness fully took hold of him and he shot himself dead. When you take a look at his paintings you realize that, even if they depict something a bit crazy, they are beautiful. For the average mortal, however, craziness is generally not related to beauty but to ugliness and destruction. When we see someone act really crazy, we fear that the person will self-destruct sooner or later. This assumption is what the film Crazy Beautiful plays with.

No Comments 30 October 2011

There is a fine line between being a genius and being crazy,   so a popular saying goes. It is difficult to know whether Vincent Van Gogh, one of whose paintings is a key feature of my homepage design, became insane only later in life after contracting syphilis or whether the roots of his mental illness lie much earlier in his life and paved the way for his creative genius. Cleary, Van Gogh is an example of the proverb that opened this review.  At age 37 craziness fully took hold of him and he shot himself dead. When you take a look at his paintings you realize that, even if they depict something a bit crazy, they are beautiful. For the average mortal, however, craziness is generally not related to beauty but to ugliness and destruction. When we see someone act really crazy, we fear that the person will self-destruct sooner or later. This assumption is what the film Crazy Beautiful plays with.

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Humor, Situations

Elvis Costello at Sesame Street

No Comments 26 October 2011

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Movies, Drama

Contagion—Nothing spreads like fear

image Nothing spreads like fear is a great subtitle. Unfortunately, the film is a disappointment. After living through September 11, SARS, and most recently the Fukushima nuclear disaster, we all have a pretty good sense that our world could suddenly be turned upside down. Many of us might die because of a natural or manmade disaster. Steven Soderbergh is not up to the task of telling us something more about how ours fears than we already know. The movie feels fabricated and is a waste of time. Watching the footage from the March 2011 Fukushima disaster would give you much deeper insight into how fear spreads. The German public became so concerned about nuclear energy that the chancellor Angela Merkel made a full u-turn in her nuclear policy.

 

No Comments 23 October 2011

Nothing spreads like fear is a great subtitle. Unfortunately, the film is a disappointment. After living through September 11, SARS, and most recently the Fukushima nuclear disaster, we all have a pretty good sense that our world could suddenly be turned upside down. Many of us might die because of a natural or manmade disaster. Steven Soderbergh is not up to the task of telling us something more about how ours fears than we already know. The movie feels fabricated and is a waste of time. Watching the footage from the March 2011 Fukushima disaster would give you much deeper insight into how fear spreads. The German public became so concerned about nuclear energy that the chancellor Angela Merkel made a full u-turn in her nuclear policy.

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