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Found 20 results

  1. "Voyager 2 Bids Adieu to the Heliosphere, Entering Interstellar Space" by Colin Dwyer on npr.org
  2. Manu Ginobili has been one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA basketball over its long history, and coincidentally has a career which overlaps with Dwayne Wade's. Interesting ballplayer. While he has been a starter he's been a 6th man most of his career. He's played on one of the dominant franchises in NBA history; The San Antonio Spurs during the 2000's to this year, 2014, and similarly strong from 1990. That franchise has had 21 seasons of 50 wins or more since 1990, a truly astounding record of strength, competitiveness, dominance at times, and sustained long term excellence. Ginobili started his professional basketball career in South America and Europe, was drafted in the 2nd round by the spurs but stayed a few more years in European leagues before coming to the NBA. He ends up being one of the true international basketball stars, playing with dominance in several leagues. Ginobili has been a cog inside the San Antonio powerhouse basketball teams, being one of three stars with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker over their long run through the last dozen years. Ginobili primarily took a 2ndary role but has had astounding single game performances and many clutch games and moments. This long video shows his highlights in a number of areas, dribbling, passing, shooting driving, defense, etc. Another player with long term spectacular skills.
  3. I'm not going to write much about "Eraserhead," because quite frankly, I don't really know what to write. I originally saw this film in the early 1980s, during one of my first-ever trips to New York City - I saw it for the second time just now, and after about 35 years between viewings, it makes just as little sense to me now as it did then. Only a fool would acknowledge that this isn't some type of masterwork from the twisted mind of genius David Lynch; *what* it is, exactly, I have almost no idea: some type of dream, perhaps, rich with symbolism about creation, destruction, technology, sex, paranoia, dystopia, and who-knows what else. Rather than reading a bunch of critiques, and then writing this post, I'm deliberately writing this first, because I don't want to sound like a false intellect - I have nothing at all to say of any merit, other than that I sat, riveted, through the entire ninety-minute film. *Now* I'll go through and read all the critiques about "Erasehead," which are required reading, because if you don't piece together some coherent thoughts about this jumble-patchwork of allegorical imagery, you won't have any idea what you just saw. Does *anyone* have anything to say about this film? I suspect piecemeal contributions may result in some type of synergistic whole. As for my opinion? It's essentially worth nothing. Wow.
  4. There is the artist, and then there is the man. The Little Tramp and the Refugees Who Loved, Then Loathed Him, by Dove Barbanel, December 29, 2017, on nytimes.com.
  5. Peter Gabriel left Genesis mainly because he got tired of clashing so much with Tony Banks. He went on to do some pretty good things. "Humdrum" (1977) "Games Without Frontiers" (1980) "Wallflower" (1982) "San Jacino" (1982) This just scratches the surface....Still, I think the tension of Genesis made for something unusual. But I do love what Pete's done on his own.
  6. If you have followed local sports for a fairly long time the name Steve Francis rings a bell. He grew up in this area, played 2 years of excellent JR college basketball and then one marvelous season at the University of MD, 1998-99 Following that season he was the 2nd choice in the NBA draft. He had several excellent seasons and then slowly succumbed to injuries and personal issues. At one point though probably stretching from that season at MD through about 5 years in the pros he was simply one of the more exciting dynamic basketball players or more narrowly guards in the NBA and the world. His athleticism was extraordinary and his game was accomplished Problems in his life emerged. He somewhat disappeared from public view. Here is his recent revelatory story of his life from selling drugs in his youth in Takoma Park to college, the NBA, and his life afterwards. It is remarkable: "I Got a Story To Tell" by Steve Francis on playerstribune.com
  7. We caught the Avofest (or the 31st annual CA Avocado Festival) this weekend and it was absolutely delightful. The free-to-enter festival itself is small and really crowded as the day goes on, but avocado fans who enjoy outdoor festivals should consider a visit to Carpinteria (small beach town just south of Santa Barbara, about 90 mins north of LA without traffic) during fest weekend. The festival is mostly confined to one street, there isn't much of a kid zone (crafts but no bounce houses??!!), and the only ride is a small ferris wheel. The four sounds stages, however, provide reliably groovy, dance-worthy entertainment, there are craftsman and artist displays, and lots of avocado treats (deep-fried avocado! avocado ice cream! honey avocado ale!) to sample. Almost everyone is carrying the generous tray of guac and chips sold by the high school cheerleaders, who are basically selling at cost (or, given the price of avocados these days, possibly lower). All this is good fun, but the key is that the festival is held about two blocks from the Carpinteria state beach (pretty beach with tidepools!) and campgrounds. As such, fest-goers are constantly wandering down the street to the beach and back. (While at the beach, I pointed out the tents up the street to a pair of lost fest-seekers who were quite chagrined.) In addition, right at the edge of the festival is the Tomol Interpretive Play Area, a wonderful park for the littles to blow of some steam, as well as the entrance to a nature trail walking path. We didn't get a chance to try any of the restaurants but Linden Avenue has a bunch of eateries and touristy shops. We're planning to return for years to come!
  8. Such sad news: Maryam Mirzakhani has passed away. "Maryam Mirzakhani, Mathematician, Dies at 40" by Daniela Breitman on earthsky.org
  9. I watched "Roots" when I was fifteen years old, having absolutely *no* real-life experience to lend the series context - I lived in a sheltered, upper-middle class suburb, and had absolutely no exposure to any of this, except what I was taught in school. Having recently watched movies such as "Django Unchained," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" "Do the Right Thing," and "12 Years a Slave," I thought it was high time for *me* to do the right thing, and get back to the roots of all these movies - the original 1977 miniseries, which caused an incredible stir when it was released. It was hard to watch then, and I suspect it will be even harder to watch now that I have life's experiences behind me. I remember very well, about twenty years ago, a Jewish friend of mine watched all of "Shoah" - no small task - because he promised himself that he would, as a Jew, in order to educate himself and remember what happened to his people. For a similar - but opposite - reason, I'm watching Roots: Not because of what happened *to* my people, but because of what my people did *to* another race of innocents. Do I feel *personally* responsible for what occurred? I wasn't born yet, so how could I? Do I feel a responsibility for what occurred? Of course I do - primarily because it's still going on. A successful television broadcast is now considered to be about 10 million viewers - even though Roots got off to a relatively slow start, episode #1 was the only episode of the 8 - which ran every day for a week - that pulled in less than 30 million. It was remarkably successful, and well-received by both critics and the general public alike. Roots won 9 Emmy Awards with 28 nominations, and 1 Golden Globe Award with 2 nominations. Maybe I'm being a touch dramatic, but I hope this post inspires others to rewatch this important series. Amazon has the first episode for free, hoping to reel in viewers who will purchase the entire series for $34.99. I refuse to pay this, and am wondering if anyone knows where it can be viewed for less money. Alex Haley wrote the book (see below for additional information), and is implicitly credited as a Writer in all six episodes. There are simply too many stars in this series to do anything but add simple links for them - refer to their Wikipedia links for all the other work they've done - this would be a fool's errand for me to attempt. Jan 23 - Jan 29, 1977 - Episode List and Timetable Episode 1 - Directed by David Greene (Director of "Sebastian"), Written by William Blinn (Screenwriter of "Brian's Song") and Ernest Kinoy (Writer of "I Wouldn't Start from Here" on "Route 66") Featuring Edward Asner, O.J. Simpson, Ralph Waite, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Maya Angelou, Moses Gunn, Thalmus Rasulala, Hari Rhodes, William Watson, Renn Woods, Levar Burton, Cicely Tyson, Ernest Thomas, Rebecca Bess, Henry Butts, Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 - Episode 6 - When the first episode ended, the first thing I thought of was the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda: A few *morons* with letter openers brought down the World Trade Center, killing thousands in the process. It takes so little to do so much damage, and although slavery was a large institution, the protagonists in Episode 1 were just a few dozen idiots. Ironically, the victims of this crime against humanity were Muslim. I'm not sure how historically accurate that is (Alex Haley was caught plagiarizing parts of his book), but in Ghana, i,e., Northwest Africa, it's not impossible. "Miniseries: Roots Special" on pbs.org May 27, 2016 - "Roots: Behind the 1977 Series that Started a National Conversation" by Alynda Wheat on people.com
  10. Season One (Produced by Allan Burns (Co-Creator of "The Munsters" and "Rhoda") and James L. Brooks (Producer, Director, and Writer of "Terms of Endearment," Creator of "Room 222") "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" won twenty-nine Emmy Awards - more than any other comedy in television history. 1.1 - "Love Is All Around" - Directed by Jay Sandrich (Directed 100 episodes of "The Cosby Show"), Written by Allan Burns and James L. Brooks, Co-Produced By David Davis (Co-Creator of "The Bob Newhart Show") Introducing Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, and Cloris Leachman Featuring Angus Duncan (Ticket Clerk in "Twenty-Two" on "The Twilight Zone")
  11. I remember Shannon Faulkner very well - it was only 21 years ago when she had half the country wanting her to die. I also remember having very strong feelings that The Citadel (and the military) should remain all-male, and I was very anti-Shannon Faulkner while at the same time feeling very sorry for her, and the abuse that she took. Now that I'm older, and now that The Citadel has hundreds of male and female graduates, I look back and realize my "anti-Shannonism" was based very much on prejudice and preconceived notions - I justified it by saying something that I still think: Institutions (in this case, The Citadel) should have the right to be all-male and all-female. Yeah, I guess I still think that's true - I don't think boys should be allowed in the girl scouts, and I could probably name numerous other examples, although, granted, The Citadel was a government-supported institution. I also felt, fairly strongly, that the military shouldn't be used as a proving ground for civil rights (I'm not saying I was right or wrong; I'm just saying how I felt at the time). But Shannon Faulkner was different - she was made a scapegoat because quite frankly, she was never *physically* cut out to get through The Citadel's rigorous hazing and boot camp-like treatment of freshmen. When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, it was all *extremely* carefully planned out - Robinson was hand-picked by Branch Rickey because Rickey knew what type of abuse was coming to be coming Robinson's way, and knew that Robinson could take it, both mentally and physically. Rickey also knew that whoever was first needed to be as-good-or-better than just about every other player; there could be no .213 batting average for Jackie Robinson. Faulkner, on the other hand, was a lone wolf, having almost no support, and she was the wrong person to be "the first." But I think people need to take another look at her, and cut her some slack. This needed to have been an organized, coordinated effort, and the person selected needed to have been a physical bad-ass; Faulkner wasn't that person. But in terms of civil rights? I think she needs to be looked back upon as something of a hero, quite frankly, and I think it should be done now rather than later. And I think a lot of people owe her an apology - not for wanting to exclude her, but for the abuse they gave her - and even though I didn't dole out any abuse, I'll start by being the first.
  12. I did it. I rented "Saturday Night Fever." I hadn't seen the entire film since I was in high school, in the movie theater, and wanted to see it again - I remember I liked it more than I thought I would, but that was thirty-nine years ago. At the minimum, the film is an icon of the disco era - really, it's *the* icon of the disco era, and that - in-and-of-itself - is historically important enough to give it a second viewing. It goes hand-in-hand with an important, albeit banal, period of our country's history. I never knew (or didn't remember) that the sequel to "Saturday Night Fever" - "Staying Alive" - was written and directed by Sylvester Stallone. Boy, I'll tell you what: Maybe some people can see through this dated, weary film as a "coming-of-age" drama wrapped in disco, but I see it as just plain weary. Yes, it's an icon of an era, but what era? - between "Welcome Back, Kotter," "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease," and "Urban Cowboy," John Travolta was arguably the hottest thing in the late 1970's, but this five-year period - which is when I graduated from high school - is probably *the worst* five-year-period I can think of when it comes to popular film and music. I've always thought that pop culture during my teen years was about as bad as it gets, and re-seeing "Saturday Night Fever" only confirms that. No, it wasn't worse than any other run-of-the-mill rom-com, but run-of-the-mill rom-coms are pretty awful. If *this* film is the cinematic and musical emblem of my high-school years, then that doesn't say much for my high-school years. And to think it took Quentin Tarantino to revive the man.
  13. You may be asking yourselves: 'What in God's name are you doing watching, much less writing about, 'Airport '77,' Don?' And you'd be wise to ask both questions - watching this God-forsaken movie was an accident: I thought it was a sequel to "Airplane!," the uproariously funny parody of "Airport" (1970), but Airplane! came out in 1980, and was a parody of the entire, four-film Airport franchise, "Airport '77" being the third of four. Before watching it, we took a quick peak at Wikipedia, and noticed in one section Roger Ebert's comment that "The movie’s a big, slick entertainment, relentlessly ridiculous and therefore never boring for long," and took that to mean that although there may be moments of downtime, the yucks won't let up for long - hoo, boy, what a mistaken interpretation that was! About 45 minutes into the film, my friend and I commented about how this film was taking an awfully long time to build up to some laughs, and I made an off-the-cuff comment about it being the wrong movie before we realized, about five-minutes later, that I was (despite my random, clueless comment) correct: We weren't watching a comedy; we were watching a disaster movie in the same vein as "The Poseidon Adventure," only worse - much worse ... there *is* no sequel to "Airplane!" So not only were we watching a crummy disaster film, which was so bad we thought we were watching a comedy for nearly 45 minutes, we were watching the third of four in a franchise, not even having the dignity of context (I believe I saw the original, long, long ago, but never saw any sequels). It only made sense, looking at the absurdly rich cast of characters, that they all got together and agreed to make a slapstick for one last, goofy hurrah together on the screen: Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, George Kennedy, Lee Grant, Christopher Lee, Brenda Vaccaro ... that is one seriously famous group of older actors, but instead of going down in a barrel of laughs, they crash-landed in a giant ball of flame and shame: Airport '77 is one of the worst movies I've seen in my adult life. How could this troupe have agreed to sully their reputations by appearing together in this dreadful affair? Even if they were all on the verge of bankruptcy, is there nothing sacred anymore? This movie has nothing worth discussing, with the one exception of the rescue scene at the end, which is interesting because it uses actual Navy rescue techniques. Unless you're OCD, and have a mental requirement to watch films in their entirety (as I do), you're better off skipping to the last scene, to the rescue effort (which, admittedly, is interesting), and eschewing the rest of this awful, awful excuse for cinema.
  14. I love the effortless way these two sing this song, and how beautifully their voices blend. The message is timely, too. Peace on earth.
  15. Man, the Seattle Mariners have had a rough couple of days. After Hisashi Iwakuma threw a no-hitter three days ago, in the past two days (yesterday and today), the Mariners have given up - this is not a typo - 37 runs and 47 hits. Is this some sort of record?
  16. Oh, come on...Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn't twangy, wasn't hillbilly and wasn't crap! And who doesn;t love those Molly Hatchet album covers? You want twangy hillbilly crap, you got to listen to the Rolling Stones
  17. In honor or Richard Kiel, I'm watching "The Spy Who Loved Me" right now which I haven't seen since it came out in the theaters. Lotus Esprit S1 (1976)
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