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127 entries have been written about this.

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A story about "Firefox" — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

firefox rules! The only sites I can’t view with it correctly are the Microsoft ones that require IE tie-in or extra security. When will Microsoft figure out it can’t rule the world through tie-ins?

A review of "Munich (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)" — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

Everyone should see this movie. Especially with Sharon in the hospital and the focus once again on Israel/Arab politics. It is a work of historical fiction. Here is the history part.

  • The kidnap and death of Isralei’s by Palestinians during the Munich Olympics.
  • The targeted killing of Palestinians by Israel
  • The existence of secret assination squads on both sides
  • The complicancy (and outright protection) of the Soviet Union ANDCIA in certain Palestinian organizers.
  • Information brokers did and do sell the whereabouts of people who don’t want to be found.

To make history interesting you need to dramaticize it and put a story around it. The personal story of the head of the secred Isralei hit squad is what makes this story so compelling. The fiction parts are the dialogue, the exact way the hits were carried out, the French family that sold information, and a couple other dramatic parts.

What the drama does is make you care about the people and issues before you on the screen in a way most documentaries don’t. That is why everyone must see this movie. Get a dose of history along with a dose of thought. It gives some interesting perspective to today’s middle east conflicts.

I rate this a 5 of 5.

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A story about "BloodRayne" — 8 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

So my brother wanted to go see a movie Saturday night. Two guys wanting to see a guy movie. What could be more of a guy movie than female vampires in skimpy leather outfits with lots of sword play? BloodRayne also had actors that I had actually heard of like Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious, Girl Fight, Swat), Michael Madsen (Resivoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Ben Kingsley (you know) with a special appearance by Meat Loaf (Rocky Horror Picture Show). I didn’t remember Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3, and unfortunately she didn’t help her rep much in this film. But I am getting ahead of myself.

So a couple of guys want to see a guy movie right after the holidays when all the “family” pics are out and the pickings are slim. So BloodRayne it is. Fandango said “Playing Everywhere” but only three theatres in the Puget Sound were playing it and none in downtown seattle. That was clue #1. It was only playing in Bellevue, Renton and Lynnwood, all suburbia, home of the 18-26 year old male target audience. So I spend one of my handfull of hall passes to slep all the way across the lake to Bellevue and endure the humiliation that is Bellevue Square Mall. While walking to the restraunt to meet my brother I ran into a friend of mine with his wife and child looking for a dinner place. He was so surprised to see me on the East side of the lake that his first words were “Hey Martin, are you lost?”. Yes sir I was.

After watching the football game half an hour waiting for someone to take our order in the bar at P.F. Changs, my brother and I bail to the Tap Room where a Spaten hits the bar almost before my butt hits the barstool. Ah, Americana. After a quick beer and a salad we head up to the theatre. There are five people in the ticket booth behind bullet proof glass and only one selling tickets. Clue #2. Inside there are four more clustered around what should be the ticket taking place all talking and laughing and totally ignoring people standing balancing soda’s and popcorn trying to give their tickets. The gauntlet of ignorance doesn’t get any better as we enter the theatre. At the 7:15 show on Saturday night of opening weekend there are only a handfull of seats taken.

My brother and I sit through another gauntlet of horror film and video game adaptation trailers each worse that the last. Clue #3, bad previews of movies you don’t want to see is a bad sign for the movie you are about to see. Let me cut to the chase. BloodRayne is a horrible bad movie. Not even worth renting. You can see the pain on the actors faces as they deliver the worst written dialogue I have ever seen in a movie. So on the nose it is painful. The action scenes don’t make up for it either because they are clumsy in organization and shooting. The swords used are embarassingly fake. Even the casual watcher can see they have rounded edges and are chipped all over and are aluminum or plastic. There is no tension, no character development, no character arch, nothing to get you to give a crap about anybody on the screen. Add to that way too much “Lord of the Rings” medeivel symphony music as horsemen ride in the mountains and it is just unbearable.

On the way out my brother and I are appologizing to each other for the movie and for not walking out. I run into another guy I know who was in the movie and am totally embarassed to be caught there, but so is he, so it is not so painful. I predict this one is out of the theatres almost as fast as Gigli or Swept Away.

I rate this one as a Zero out of 5 stars. I can only hoe that Underworld: Evolution will save the genre.

Computer history is boring — 8 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

Is computer history as important as political history? Is it as important to understand the details of the business battles between CPM and DOS as it is to understand Robert McNamara? No. Not even in the same league. Even though I am a computer geek by admission and by nature. I picked up this book because the premise sounded intriguing, the influence of the 60 cultural revolution on the computer business. The author contends that the rise of free love, individual freedoms, and rebellion against “the man” is the rich soil which allowed the idea of a personal computing device (PC) to be born. It may have been coincidental, but even after reading the book I don’t believe there is a causal relationship. So some of the early computer pioneers took LSD to expand their minds. Does that mean we should all do LSD now to create the next generation of technology? Or that the PC would not be around but for psytropic drugs?

In addition, the writing style is simply boring. Very factual and documentarian style. You can almost see the author bowing at the feet of the early computer pioneers and begging from some LSD. It is not a pretty sight. If the path of events are to be believed, I did learn much that I didn’t know about the 50,60,70’s computer pioneers. But he spends most of his time paying homage to the “forgotten” and “unappreciated” “pioneers”. Does it really matter? I turn on the PC and there is a wonderful world out there. It is a tool like any other that if I am smart enough I can get advantage of. The interface still doesn’t fit with many people. It was invented for geeks, by geeks and you can tell.

Only today, decades after the initial ideas started the PC going are we starting to see real useful, unique, new applications that are truly additive to our abilities and our brains. Until recently most software programming effort has been spent trying to make the computer do things that we used to do with adding machines, type writers and hoards of people. Ok, so now a newspaper can be laid out in an hour rather than a day with 10 people manually setting type. But what is the real invention there? What do you do with the extra time you save? Only now with some of the applications people are calling “web 2.0” are we getting really new, additive applicaitons. Those are the interesting things about computing and technology.

Not the furious battles between devotees of vacume tubes and silicon switches. That is old news and purely foundational. I would argue that the future of computing is interesting and not the past. If you have a bizzare fantasy for geek details that may help you in the next game of Trivial Pursuit “Geek Edition”, then read this book. Otherwise, whip out your browser or your blog tool and become part of the future.

I give this 2 of 5 stars (only for its historical value).

My stepmothers book — 8 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

So I was down at my father’s house in Medford this week. Celina, his wife of 28 years had this book on the stand next to her chair and proudly told everyone who walke into the house how she was going to read about “Dirty Girls”. But she hadn’t read it yet. So one day while Finn was playing with her cousins I picked it up out of boredom. Ok, I will say it, it is a chick book. All about a group of Latina girlfriends and their struggles in life over time. Not exactly what a captain of the fuel industry should be reading eh? But it was engaging so I soldiered on. Just finished it after four days. During the end I was skipping pages to get to the end of the chapters since Valdes-Rodriguez is very predictable about where she puts the interesting stuff. I liked Rebecca the founder of the Latina women’s magazine married to a geeky trust funder perpetual philosophy student. If it weren’t vacation time I wouldn’t have finished it though and most of the women were not very interesting to me. Would not read it again, nor do I want to see the movie.

I give it 2 of 5 stars only because i finished it and kept reading ahead for tidbits of the one character I enjoyed or else it would get one star.

A story about "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

Robert S. McNamara was both Kennedy and Johnson’s Defense Secretary. Most liberals put him at fault for much of vietnam, the fire bombing of Japan, Hiroshima, and the cold war. What most people don’t know is that he was an incrediblly intelligent, pragmatic, very caring and thoughtful man. This documentary carries the title “Fog of War” to appeal mainly to those who want to understand how decisions are made under the real pressures of war. It is great at that. What is better at is revealing the man Robert s. McNamara. He is thinking through his accomplishments over the course of modern history. His insights into how and why certain major military decisions were made are completely riviting and important. “Astonishing, mesmerizing, and sometimes horrifying!” as one reviewer said doesn’t describe it enough. In these times where it looks like modern concerns and current events are the only things that matter, getting the perspective of McNamara is veryimportant. McNamara tells the story in his own words. In a world of sound bites and headlines, we hardly ever get the real story behind current events. This is the real story. Of course it is McNamara’s story. If you have been programmed to hate McNamara by the liberals you should see this movie to decide for yourself. If you believe in McNamara’s infallability preached by the right, you should see this movie. If you care at all about what goes on in the heads of our leaders during war, you should see this movie. Get it on PeerFlix, I did.

sucks to grow up — 8 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

i loved it when i was young. But I was young and stupid. The movie sucks. Except for Tilda Swinton who is HOTTTT!!!!!

Caleb Carr should not change genres — 8 years ago

NOT WORTH CONSUMING

http://www.martinandalex.com/blog/archives/2005/12/review_the_ital.html

Good hard boiled fiction — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

http://www.martinandalex.com/blog/archives/2005/12/review_the_last.html

A story about "Thomas Merton: Opening the Bible" — 8 years ago

WORTH CONSUMING!

Caution, if even the thought of any sort of religion or faith gives you the creeps, stop reading now.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a right wing religious ideologue. Haven’t ever read the bible from cover to cover. I do hear verses most sundays in Catholic church, but much of it passes over me. My brother gave me Thomas Merton, Opening the Bible. Why did I read it? To find out what the big whoop about the bible is.

Why bother to read the bible? Why is it still the best selling book every year around the world? How should one read it? Like a work of fiction? What are the main challenges with reading it? What are it’s questions? Why is it so hard to read? All this and more in this very thoughtful slim volume from Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton is one of the greatest thinkers of all time. Even if you have never bothered to read the bible or even slightly despised anyone who would bother, you should read Merton’s little book of thoughts. At least after reading it you can go back to TV, movies and your video games with the comfort that you actually made an active decision to NOT face any of the issues that the bible deals with (basically who are you and why are you here). You can go back to all the comfortable distractions that never put any stress on your brain or soul. Me? I like hard problems to solve. I like thinking about things that I don’t have the answers for. Even some things for which there may not be answers. It gets me out of bed in the morning.

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