||My wife, Marie, and I are long-time fans of the Big Band swing music of the 1930’s and 1940’s, so names like Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller are quite familiar to us. I even have an uncle, Greg Spevak, who leads such an orchestra. My Aunt Pam is their vocalist.
We have The Glenn Miller Story on DVD and have watched it several times. This is a partly fictitious story about how Glenn Miller developed his orchestra, rose to fame, joined the military in WWII, and how that ended. Whether you like that music or Jimmy Stewart, this movie is worth watching, you’ll get the best of both.
When we found that The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra (web site) was to be performing at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greenville (less than an hour’s travel from here) we had to go see them. Ticket prices were quite reasonable. The NPAC is a lovely facility. Parking was good too. We scored a spot just a short walk to the facility main entrance. Actually, we got lucky on that. Continue reading Getting A Good Dose of Glenn Miller
I recently bought a Stihl string trimmer from a local hardware store. While I was shopping for that, I was looking for a lithium ion hedge trimmer too.
I’ve been considering buying a lithium ion hedge trimmer because keeping up with all the trimming that needs to be done using the giant scissors style trimmer is getting to be a real burden. So I haven’t been doing it. So things are over-grown. And now I REALLY need a better way to trim. Power cords are a pain on a large property and gas power is heavy and noisy. Lithium Ion batteries are a big improvement over the older NiCad batteries. That seems a viable solution. Continue reading Black & Decker Lithium Ion Hedge Trimmer
I find it interesting how many of the conspiracy channels are running video “expose’s” insisting top government officials have leaked classified information to them that aliens will invade Earth in late 2016 or early 2017. I guess they’re hoping their followers didn’t see Anonymous and WikiLeaks pieces on the Beneson Strategy Group advice to the Clinton Foundation on the (potential) plan to use Project FireSign (a.k.a. Blue Beam) to institute martial law because of an apparent alien incursion.
Speaking of lies, deception, and twisting everything: I watched a movie the other day called Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion.
This is the story of a government agency (S.T.R.A.W.) that discovers spacecraft massing on the Moon and tries to warn the military about an impending invasion. Of course the military thinks they’re wacky – until a spy satellite sent to take their own photos is shot down, after they glimpse alien ships, then they prepare to nuke the alien base … and things start to get really weird. Continue reading Movie Review: Alien Fury, Countdown To Invasion
I love to read. And after I read a book I often post a book review of it at the major book buying sites and at GoodReads.com. If I like the book, I like to say so. If I didn’t like the book, I need to be able to say why I didn’t like it. In order to facilitate my reasoning in either case, I’ve developed a simple formula for reviewing a book on the 5-star scale. This is primarily for fiction, but non-fiction can be done the same way, you just have to substitute presentation and knowledge for dialogue and characterization.
Here is my formula for scoring a book review on a five star method: Continue reading A Simple Formula for Book Review
As part of our Simple Life Formula, Marie and I have a few standing traditions that help us appreciate one another and enjoy life. One such is Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday
Every Friday evening Marie fixes Chinese food and we curl up together on the sofa to eat the Chinese food and watch an old B grade (we prefer the term ‘Classic” ) science fiction movie. Movies from the 1950’s and 1960’s and in black and white are preferred. Among our all-time favorites are such classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Moon, and Rocketship XM but we have a large collection of movies on DVD and VHS, the majority of them Sci-Fi. Another “classic” joined the file last night.
(No spoilers here) Continue reading Movie Review: Alien Trespass
This week’s Schlocky Sci-Fi Friday Movie was one of our favorites; a timeless classic: The Thing From Another World.
Arctic researchers witness the crash of what they determine to be a UFO. When they investigate the crash they find and retrieve a large humanoid alien who had been embedded in the ice. Assuming the thing to be dead, they return to their base with it. But, of course, it is far from being dead. At their base it goes on a rampage and kills a couple of the scientists who, determined to communicate with it, buck the military authority. The Thing, then sets about accomplishing what was (apparently) its mission. Continue reading Movie Review: The Thing From Another World
The original The Day the Earth Stood Still, made in 1951 starring Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Lock Martin, and Frances Bavier, has become more than a classic, it has become an icon of classic Sci-fi. This is a bit odd because the movie does not contain any of the usual hallmarks of early Sci-Fi: no massive explosions, no creepy monsters, no flying saucers whizzing around destroying things. This film made its mark because of superior writing and some truly memorable performances by the cast.
To be clear, there is a flying saucer; but it lands on a park in Washington DC and stays there (in a very unthreatening manner) throughout the movie until its departure at the end. There is a fairly fearsome robot that could be considered the “monster” of the film except it does not go on a rampage; its role is purely defensive. And there is an alien, but he’s not some tentacled monster with eight eyes. In fact, once he gets out of his space suit he is able to walk around the city unnoticed because he looks so human. Continue reading The Day the Earth Stood Still
This American pulp adventure, dieselpunk film starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Givanni Ribisi, written and directed by Kerry Conran is his directorial debut. The action is fast, the dialogue terse and witty, and the characters are larger than life. The script is very well written and, of course with this cast, the acting is excellent.
Jude Law is the almost superhero, millionaire, mercenary aviator Joeseph “Sky Captain” Sullivan who is called upon to save New York City when it comes under attack by giant robots. Giovanni Ribishi is his brainy scientist/inventor side-kick, Dex. Gwyneth Paltrow is the old-flame, spunky newspaper reporter, Polly Perkins, who gets pulled back into Joe’s life when she is contacted by a German scientist who is fleeing a mad genius named Totenkoph (Lawrence Olivier) who is bent on destroying the world. He gives her information vital to Joe and Dex’s quest to find out where the robots came from and what they are after. This mission takes them all over the world and causes them to enlist the aid of Captain Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), who also has a history with Joe. When they finally ferret out the mad genius and his secret World of Tomorrow, what they find is more surprising, and sinister, than any of them had dared imagine! Continue reading Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
If you like Doctor Who and Young Sherlock, you’re sure to like this solid Sci-Fi romp through the novels of H.G. Wells. Even if you’ve never read his novels, this four hour, 3 part mini-series from the Hallmark Channel will delight and amaze you.
The tale opens with a reporter (played by Eve Best) coming to an aged and highly successful Wells’ home to interview him about the inspirations behind his most successful books. Reluctantly, Wells (played by Tom Ward) begins a tale of adventure, romance and mystery which begins when he was a struggling pulp writer haunting the local university laboratory for inspiration. And what inspiration he found! Continue reading Movie Review: Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells
“When production on Destination Moon began in 1949, everything about the project was state of the art. The great science fiction author Robert Heinlein co-wrote the script (based on his novel Rocketship Galileo) and served as technical adviser. The film’s astronomical visions were realized by Chesley Bonestell, whose artwork virtually defined the look of space travel at the dawn of the rocket era. Destination Moon is even noted in NASA’s official timeline of space-travel history, and almost inevitably won the Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It remains a milestone film, not so much as classic science fiction but–like 2001: A Space Odyssey 18 years later, as an attempt to visualize the reality of space exploration. (To educate the audience on this topic, Woody Woodpecker makes an animated guest appearance, hosting an instructional film on the basics of rocketeering.) Continue reading Movie Review: Destination Moon