Archive for December 2015

Star Wars – The Force Awakens

December 27, 2015

Okay, I paid my $6 (plus $1.35 convenience fee) and went to see the latest Star Wars movie. The theaters are packing them in. Our theater was full for the 4:30pm showing. Last night was date nite for Paula and me. Dinner at Taxco Mexican Restaurant after. 

 Okay, Paula liked it, but I wasn’t impressed. Decidedly Meh. For all of the big name talent, I expected more. I kind of expect more from George Lucas and JJ Abrams. I expected a sequel and all I got was a remake of episode I.[my error, Lucas didn’t work on SW-VII]

I had a couple of problems with it. First, it felt like a reimagining of the original Star Wars. Yet another “Death Star”, another evil “Darth Vader”, another “Rebel Alliance”. I mean it was different actors and different photography, but it felt the same.

Sure they brought the original characters out of retirement for a cameo. We’ve got Princess Leia now General Leia. We’ve got Han Solo and Chewbacca back in the same old Milennium Falcon. I was amazed they didn’t have to call AAA to get a jump start. The only cast member missing was Yoda. Sure we have a new heroine named Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), and a new hero named Finn (played by John Boyega)

So it’s been almost forty years since the original Star Wars hit the silver screen. You’d think that they’d be flying new space ships, by now. But no, same millennium falcon, same rebel fighters, same trooper uniforms. What Air Force is still flying the same aircraft 40 years on?

Even the new Death Star has a vulnerability just like the Death Star of episode I. It’s the capacitor. Wasn’t it Scotty in Star Trek complaining about the “flux capacitors”?

Spoiler Alert.

The last scene where they finally find Luke Skywalker was filmed on the Skellig Michael Island, off of the southwestern coast of Ireland. The idea was that Luke had fled to the far off reaches of the Galaxy to escape the reach of the empire. It would be hard to find a more remote looking place on this earth than the Skellig Islands. Paula and I got to see them from a distance during our tour of Ireland in 2012. It’s hard to believe there was a settlement of monks living here.

 The Skellig’s can only be accessed by boat and I believe you need special permission from the Irish government. The monastery on Skellig Michael Island was established by monks some time in the 8th century and operated until the 12th century. I would assume that George Lucas paid the Irish government a ton of money to use the site.

I give it 6 stars out of 10.

A Christmas Question

December 25, 2015

A merry Christmas to all. I have a question for my readers. Why is it that only the Roman Catholic Church has services on Christmas Day? All of the Protestant churches that I have attended only have services on Christmas Eve. Or are there some Protestand churches that do have a service on Christmas Day?

Is it because the priest isn’t married and has nothing better to do? Or do the Protestant ministers have a better Union and insist on getting the day off like the rest of the working stiffs?

So inquiring minds want to know.

Christmas Wishes

December 24, 2015

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We will be heading off to Ocean View Baptist Church for Christmas Eve Services. I would like to wish all of my friends and readers of my blog a Merry Christmas.

Chicken Recipe from 1959

December 24, 2015

So the other day, we were looking for a new way to cook some chicken thighs. So Paula was browsing through various cookbooks and we found a newspaper clipping tucked inside one of Mary’s cookbooks. The recipe was one where you dip the chicken pieces in evaporated milk and coat with crushed corn flakes. Okay, we haven’t done that in a long time. Let’s try it.

But that’s not much of a story. What is more interesting is the ad on the back side of the recipe. It’s an ad for diet pills. It doesn’t say it but my guess is that it’s some sort of speed/dexedrine. So, I scanned and included here.

EPSON MFP image

 

Oh by the way, here’s the recipe. Tasted pretty good.

EPSON MFP image

 

Hoaxes

December 23, 2015

snopeslogoJust in time for Christmas, yet another hoax pops up on Facebook. This one is that Mark Zuckerberg is going to give away tons of money to common folk like you and me. Here’s the text that I saw. Remember, this is a HOAX.

 

Can’t wait to see who the lucky recipients are…According to Good Morning America, Not a hoax! Mark Zuckerburg has announced that he is giving away $45 billion of Facebook stock. What you may not have heard is that he plans to give 10% of it away to people like YOU and ME! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY. At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day’s post and award 1000 people with $4.5 million. Each as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection.

So do you for even a minute believe that Mark Zuckerberg is going to give you $4.5 million? The first clue is that paragraph says it “Not a hoax!”. What makes people get the urge to forward this baloney along? Actually, Zuckerberg did talk about giving away $45 Billion of his fortune, but he doesn’t say how or to who the money will be going. Here’s the link to what Mark Zuckerberg actually wrote. Click here.

So I have written about hoaxes before, but it doesn’t seem to be sticking. So, I guess I need to do it again. Here goes.

You have just read a story that seems to be too good to be true. Perhaps, someone is going to give you a ton of money. Or, something wonderful will happen if you post this note.

There has been a saying for a long time in the computing world, Garbage In, Garbage Out, or as I like to think of it is, Garbage In, GOSPEL out.

So before you go and post that message, I would encourage you to check it out before you blindly pass it on. So how do I do that, you say? There is a great resource called “SNOPES.COM

Snopes.com was created in 1995 as a Usenet newsgroup by David Mikkleson. The name Snopes originated from the family name of unpleasant people in the works of William Faulkner. For more information about snopes.com, go to the Wiki pages. (Click here)

I would recommend browsing the current top 25 internet hoaxes and rumors. It is amusing reading. Click here

San Bernardino

December 4, 2015

I have two stories to tell about San Bernardino. The first one is a lesson about geography. I got a couple of emails asking me if I was anywhere near to the terror in SB. Short answer is no, not even close.

Long answer: Los Angeles is a huge piece of real estate. Go ahead bring up mapquest or google maps. I live in San Pedro. That’s about a two hour drive on a day when there is no traffic, which is hardly ever.

  
San Bernardino is a working class community in an area out here called the Inland Empire. SB has been called the “South Central” of the Inland Empire. Even the above picture doesn’t really do justice on how large LA is. You see it when you are arriving on an airliner to LAX when you descend into the LA Basin. Lights as far as the eye can see.

Okay second part that frosts my private parts is the tweets from the Republican presidential candidates and other Republican Senators.  Here is an example of tweets from the candidates.

   
Are you kidding me? Prayers are indeed a good thing, but I want you to do your job and do something about gun violence in America. Every time the idea of sensible gun legislation like limiting access to assault weapons or high capacity magazines or universal background checks you do nothing. I want you to do your job. Solve this heinous problem. That’s why we pay you the big bucks. Even the New York Daily News called you on it. 

  

Trumbo

December 1, 2015

TrumboPaula and I went to the movies tonight to see the movie “Trumbo” starring Brian Cranston. This is the true story of screen writer Dalton Trumbo. Dalton Trumbo was one of many Hollywood screenwriters in the 40’s and 50’s who were jailed for refusing to¬†testify to the House Un-american Activities Committee.

Trumbo won two Academy awards for screenplays written under a pseudonym while on the Hollywood blacklist. The movies were “Roman Holiday” and “Spartacus”.

The movie also stars John Goodman as a low-budget film producer named Frank King. Helen Mirren does a bang up job of playing Hedda Hopper (legendary Hollywood reporter).

I don’t think this is going to be a huge box office hit. There were only about a dozen people in the theater. It was early Monday film, but still.

I am continually amazed at the range of Brian Cranston. I would have loved to see him do LBJ on Broadway. I am slowly working my through “Breaking Bad” (I just started watching season 3).

Great film. Go see it.

On the way home we stopped and picked up a bucket of chicken at KFC. Tasted great.