io9 has a list of "The Most Realistic Military Science Fiction". Their list includes books, tv, movies and games. Here are the books with ones I've read in bold print:
Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein
Cobra Trilogy, Timothy Zahn Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Old Man's War, John Scalzi
Broken Angels, Richard K. Morgan
Armor, John Steakley
Wess'Har Wars, Karen Traviss
Vatta's War Cycle, Elizabeth Moon (I've read the 1st one)
Probability Moon, Nancy Kress
X-Wing Series, Michael A. Stackpole / Aaron Allston
Battlestar Galactica (I've seen the first season)
Stargate SG-1 (I've seen the first season) Babylon 5 (a favorite until that dreadful 5th season)
Aliens (I saw Alien but none of the others)
Children of Men
The Naked City is one of the groundbreaking films made in the late 1940s which redefined the American crime drama and laid the groundwork for the police procedurals that would come to dominate television and cinema in subsequent decades.
Film Noir historians reserve a special place in their hearts for Mark Hellinger and Jules Dassin's The Naked City, a highly influential crime thriller filmed almost entirely in the streets of New York City.
It's out of print, and I can't find it online. That is such a shame!
The New York Times gives it a mixed review. Variety says, "Tight scripting, nimble direction and excellent casting are about equally responsible for the satisfactory results." The Spinning Image says, "MGM’s adaptation of the Oscar Wilde fantasy is wonderful stuff."
Youtube has a remake online in 12 parts. Part 1 is here.
Today is the 1-year anniversary of the death of film director Jules Dassin. The only one of his movies I have ever seen is Never on Sunday, which I saw on late-night tv when I was a teenager. I keep meaning to see Rafifi, but it never makes it to the top of my list of DVDs to buy.
while he has made some very impressive films, his career as a whole is lacking in artistic cohesion. ... The villain in his career is the blacklist, which tragically clipped his wings just as he was starting to fly.
There is a 1972 interview with him on youtube. He talks about working with Joan Crawford and Conrad Veidt and what it was like to be a director in Hollywood when he first started out. He also touches on McCarthyism and the blacklist. The entire interview is not included in the videos. They are in French with English subtitles. part 1:
The back of the book has only quotes from reviews. Wikipedia describes the book this way:
Eva Luna takes us into the life of the eponymous protagonist, an orphan who grows up in an unidentified country in South America. While the country's political history, traced through several decades of the mid-20th century, bears many similarities to Chile (the author's original nationality), the geography and social context of the story depict a society more similar to Venezuela.
The novel takes us through Eva Luna's journey though life so far and her ability to tell stories, interweaving Eva's personal story with the broader geopolitical turmoil of Latin America during the 1950s - 1980s.
This is the Earth at a time when the dinosaurs roamed a lush and fertile planet. A piece of rock just 6 miles wide changed all that. It hit with the force of 10,000 nuclear weapons. A trillion tons of dirt and rock hurtled into the atmosphere creating a suffocating blanket of dust the sun was powerless to penetrate for a thousand years. It happened before. It will happen again. It's just a question of when.
Youtube has it online divided up into 14 parts. Part 1:
Moria says it "emerges as only a spectacular monument to its own self-promotion and self-importance over the provision of anything of substance". EW has a review. Roger Ebert pans it, saying "No matter what they're charging to get in, it's worth more to get out." The New York Times doesn't like it:
Movie isn't actually the best word to describe ''Armageddon.'' More accurately it's a product, a feat of salesmanship, a sight worth noticing only because, like the asteroid on a collision course with planet Earth, its size and inevitability aren't easy to miss.
And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.
Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. (John 12:20-36 KJV)
WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1928 Book of Common Prayer)
The picture at the top of the post is from the Pitts Theology Library and is of Philip bringing some Greeks to meet Jesus.
My favorite was Which was the Son of... I couldn't find a video of the University Singers doing it, so I'm embedding this one instead:
4/1/2009: Thanks to The Daughter who sent me a link to this short film showing Arvo Part offering his "guidance to the Voices of Europe youth choir in Iceland during the rehearsals of his composition "Which was the son..."." part 1:
The result was never in doubt after Hakuho secured a left-hand grip on the front of Asashoryu's belt. Asashoryu (11-4) bowed to the inevitable, and cut a subdued figure as he stepped out to his fourth loss in six days.
we have a suspicion that this picture was not made for the overly sensitive or discriminate. It was made, we suspect, for those who like grandeur and noise—and no punctuation. It will probably be a vast success.
I just love James Coburn, and I always did get a kick out of the Flint movies. Talk about a Renaissance Man. I saw the Flint movies first on TV, so I must have been in high school at the time. Our DVD claims to have special features, but what it does have is a few trailers from other movies. That's it. Boring.
Spring in a Small Town in many ways epitomizes what we have come to expect from Eastern storytelling. There is probably more here under the surface than there is out in the open. What the characters avoid saying is usually more important than what they actually do say.
Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958) The Blob (1958) The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) The Fly (1958) The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) The Thing From Another World (1951) Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)
They have lots of information explaining their choices.
/film has an article on Yahoo's new list of "100 Movies To See Before You Die". Here's the list with ones I've seen in bold print:
12 Angry Men (1957) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) The 400 Blows (1959) 8 ½ (1963) A Hard Day’s Night (1964) The African Queen (1952) Alien (1979) All About Eve (1950) Annie Hall (1977) Apocalypse Now (1979) The Battle of Algiers (1967) The Bicycle Thief (1948) Blade Runner (1982) Blazing Saddles (1974) Blow Up (1966) Blue Velvet (1986) Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Breathless (1960) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Bringing Up Baby (1938) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Casablanca (1942) Chinatown (1974) Citizen Kane (1941) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Die Hard (1988) Do the Right Thing (1989) Double Indemnity (1944) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Duck Soup (1933) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Enter the Dragon (1973) The Exorcist (1973) Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) The French Connection (1971) The Godfather (1972) The Godfather, Part II (1974) Goldfinger (1964) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968) Goodfellas (1990) The Graduate (1967) Grand Illusion (1938) Groundhog Day (1993) In the Mood For Love (2001) It Happened One Night (1934) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Jaws (1975) King Kong (1933) The Lady Eve (1941) Lawrence of Arabia (1962) The Lord of the Rings (2001,2002,2003) M (1931) M*A*S*H (1970) The Maltese Falcon (1941) The Matrix (1999) Modern Times (1936) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) Network (1976) Nosferatu (1922) On the Waterfront (1954) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Paths of Glory (1958) Princess Mononoke (1999) Psycho (1960) Pulp Fiction (1994) Raging Bull (1980) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Raise the Red Lantern (1992) Rashomon (1951) Rear Window (1954) Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Rocky (1976) Roman Holiday (1953) Saving Private Ryan (1998) Schindler’s List (1993) The Searchers (1956) Seven Samurai (1954) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Some Like It Hot (1959) The Sound of Music (1965) Star Wars (1977) Sunset Blvd. (1950) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) The Third Man (1949) This is Spinal Tap (1984) Titanic (1997) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Toy Story (1995) The Usual Suspects (1995) Vertigo (1958) When Harry Met Sally… (1989) Wild Strawberries (1957) Wings of Desire (1988) The Wizard of Oz (1939) Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) The World of Apu (1959)
Aside from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, only one movie on the list was released in the last 8 years.
Called by the Observer "the best and deepest of Freeling's books," this investigation of a seeminly senseless murder in Amsterdam not only sends Inspector Van der Valk to France, but involves him emotionally as well.
This story is character-driven without a lot of action. The writing is concise. The ending surprised me. There's a mention of Maigret early on, which I found amusing. There's a mention of the movie Marie Walewska and the book Gone with the Wind. There's one passing mention of a fencer: "He stayed still a second, clearing his mind, preparing it, like a fencer before the start of a fresh bout." An undiscovered painting by Breitner is an important element of the plot. There is a picture of a painting by this artist at the top of the post.
"Solaris" is a science-fiction film lacking action-adventure sequences. The absence of boyish friskiness, kineticism and pyrotechnics makes it a film that offers no vicarious physical release. Its insistence on remaining cerebral and somber to the end may be a sign of integrity, but it should cost it dearly at the box office.
Roger Ebert says, "It is a workshop for a discussion of human identity. It considers not only how we relate to others, but how we relate to our ideas of others" and in comparing the 2 versions says,
Soderbergh's version is more clean and spare, more easily readable, but it pays full attention to the ideas and doesn't compromise. Tarkovsky was a genius, but one who demanded great patience from his audience as he ponderously marched toward his goals. The Soderbergh version is like the same story freed from the weight of Tarkovsky's solemnity. And it evokes one of the rarest of movie emotions, ironic regret.
Exquisite prose and wondrous storytelling have helped make Rudolfo Anaya the father of Chicano literature in English. Indeed, Anaya's tales fairly shimmer with the haunting beauty and richness of his culture. The winner of the PEN Center West Award for Fiction for his unforgettable novel, Albuquerque, Anaya is perhaps best loved for his classic bestseller, Bless Me, Ultima...
Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past—a mythical legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world... and will nurture the birth of his soul.
it is doubtful whether even the more mature will easily thread through the maze of "The Chase." For this strange and often engrossing melodrama, which came to the Globe on Saturday, besides being almost strangled by its complex plot limps to an irritatingly obvious denouement.
The New York Times says it is "a fine tribute to the virtues that have made the book endure," and does us the favor of describing the opening section:
The opening scenes depicting the life of the Sanger clan, that pack of rebels living alone in the Tyrol, away from the conventions of society, are nicely handled. The humor, inherent in such a brood, comes across with impish gaiety.
My Favorite Brunette is not often hilarious, but prompts chuckles pretty consistently as a sharp send up of the private eye genre, with Hope's narration a bonus and the indignities heaped upon him adding to the fun.
The New York Times doesn't like it. Films de France says, "Secret Agent is an entertaining example of its genre, shot through with occasional moments of artistic brilliance," while noting "Peter Lorre’s comical over-acting". Salon.com calls it "freakish" and "fascinating" and "the weirdest movie Hitchcock made". The Spinning Image calls it "a real curiosity" and says,
But if Secret Agent doesn't entirely work as a thriller – and not at all as a love story – it does have that strange, macabre edge that Hitchcock would in subsequent decades give full reign to.
DVDTalk calls it "a pretty nifty little picture". TCM says, "Fortunately the film itself earned positive notices and became something of a cult favorite among noir devotees." Weird Wild Realm says it's "a hard-hitting working-class crime drama". The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops calls it a "Small but effective thriller".
Aside from its East End setting, the earlier version scores two great points over its remake. One, of course, is Peter Lorre's brilliant, wheedling turn as the oleaginous Mr Abbott. The other is its climax, recreating the Sidney Street siege of 1911 in a terse and well-orchestrated shoot-out which is vastly preferable to Ms Day and her interminable crooning.
Films de France compares the two in its review, calling Lorre "stunning" and saying,
This American remake is certainly more polished than the 1934 original but lacks the frisson of danger and dark, expressionist tones of that earlier film.
Moria calls it "appalling sentimental tripe". The New York Times says it "achieves the pop grandiloquence of a ''Star Trek'' installment," but they don't mean that in a good way. Frank Wu says, "Read the story instead" and
This year baseball's Dodgers and Orioles both proved that you could spend $75 million, collect a team of talented players with great track records, and still wind up as stinking losers. The Bicentennial Man proves the same about movies.
Roger Ebert says it seems "very long and very slow" and says,
"Bicentennial Man" could have been an intelligent, challenging science fiction movie, but it's too timid, too eager to please. It wants us to like Andrew, but it is difficult at a human deathbed to identify with the aluminum mourner. Strange, how definitely the film goes wrong.
Stultifyingly dull and a disgusting waste of valuable film dollars, this is the kind of studio cack that should be acknowledged for the shameful mess that it is and consigned to the rubbish bin. ... Do not, repeat, do not see this film.
SciFi.com likes it. Hmmm... There's one in every crowd, but they're in good company with AirLockAlpha.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:14-21 KJV)
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)
The picture of a sunrise at the top of the post is from Matthew Fang's Flickr page.
Truman Capote's short novel Breakfast at Tiffany's displays a romantic and charming, yet anguishing and heart wrenching drama. Capote paints characters that the reader can recall as if they are remembering a dream of someone they once knew.
Mr. Capote's characteristic resorting to almost vaudevillian devices weakens his originally serious conception of his character, thins it down and so, in mid-reading, forces the reader to a dimmer view of her.
Steven Wu says, "for the life of me I can't figure out why this book is so highly esteemed." Salon.com likes it. USA Today has an article on the 50th anniversary of the book and on its continuing presence in our culture.
Although we have just concluded the celebrations of the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let us ensure that this Day will also attest to the universal aspiration to a world reconciled around the values of freedom and diversity.
Little Willie Pair of Skates Hole in the Ice Golden Gates
which inspired my own high-school composition
Willie, who had naught to lose, Threw away his brand new shoes. Mother, who was not all sweet, Nailed his next ones to his feet.
This poem is one of my personal favorites:
Jim Who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion by Hilaire Belloc
There was a Boy whose name was Jim; His Friends were very good to him. They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam, And slices of delicious Ham, And Chocolate with pink inside And little Tricycles to ride, And read him Stories through and through, And even took him to the Zoo- But there it was the dreadful Fate Befell him, which I now relate.
You know--or at least you ought to know, For I have often told you so- That Children never are allowed To leave their Nurses in a Crowd; Now this was Jim's especial Foible, He ran away when he was able, And on this inauspicious day He slipped his hand and ran away!
He hadn't gone a yard when-Bang! With open Jaws, a lion sprang, And hungrily began to eat The Boy: beginning at his feet. Now, just imagine how it feels When first your toes and then your heels, And then by gradual degrees, Your shins and ankles, calves and knees, Are slowly eaten, bit by bit. No wonder Jim detested it! No wonder that he shouted "Hi!"
The Honest Keeper heard his cry, Though very fat he almost ran To help the little gentleman. "Ponto!" he ordered as he came (For Ponto was the Lion's name), "Ponto!" he cried, with angry Frown, "Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!" The Lion made a sudden stop, He let the Dainty Morsel drop, And slunk reluctant to his Cage, Snarling with Disappointed Rage. But when he bent him over Jim, The Honest Keeper's Eyes were dim. The Lion having reached his Head, The Miserable Boy was dead!
When Nurse informed his Parents, they Were more Concerned than I can say:- His Mother, as She dried her eyes, Said, "Well-it gives me no surprise, He would not do as he was told!" His Father, who was self-controlled, Bade all the children round attend To James's miserable end, And always keep a-hold of Nurse For fear of finding something worse.
Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Bahá'í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration -- often combined with a dinner since the sunset on which Naw-Ruz begins ends the last day of the Bahá'í fast. As with all Bahá'í holy days, there are few fixed rules for observing Naw-Ruz...
There is an official web site for Bahai's in the United States. That site lists these as Core Beliefs:
The principle of the oneness of humankind is the pivot around which all the teachings of Baha'u'llah revolve.
Baha'u'llah taught that humanity, after a long and turbulent adolescence, is at last reaching a stage of maturity in which unity in a global and just society finally can be established.
To this end, the Baha'i Faith prescribes laws of personal morality and behavior, as well as social laws and principles, to establish the oneness of humanity.
* the purpose of life is to know and worship God, to acquire virtues, to promote the oneness of humankind and to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization * all humanity was created by one God and is part of one human race * work performed in the spirit of service is a form of worship * the soul, created at the moment of conception, is destined by God to reach the afterlife, where it will continue to progress until it attains the presence of God
* daily prayer and communion with God * high moral principles, including trustworthiness, chastity and honesty * independent investigation of truth * a life dedicated to the service of humanity * fellowship with the followers of all religions * avoidance of excessive materialism, partisan politics, backbiting, alcohol, drugs and gambling
The Baha'i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in Iran in 1844, it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Baha'is come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Baha'i Faith the second-most-widespread religion in the world.
Baha'is view the world's major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.
The central theme of Baha'u'llah's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity’s unification into one global society. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions, Baha'u'llah also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. “A new life,” Baha'u'llah declared, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth.”
Today is St. Patrick's Day, the feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. Wear green in honor of St. Patrick. The Husband always makes green muffins for us, and those are waiting downstairs now. When the kids were little we decorated with shamrocks, played rhythm instruments in our own little St. Paddy's Day parade, read books about the holiday, listened to Irish folk tales and music and wore green jewelry.
Prayer for the Faithful by Saint Patrick
May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us. May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us. May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us. May the Angels of God guard us. - Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
From Suvudu (via SFSignal) comes this list of their "Top 10 Apocalyptic Tales":
The Gate to Women’s Country, Sheri S. Tepper Earth Abides, George Stewart On the Beach, Nevil Shute Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. Without Warning, John Birmingham The Sheep Look Up, John Brunner The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
And two examples from TV and film:
Threads Miracle Mile
They annotate their list, explaining why each was chosen. Ones I've read or seen are in bold print. I may have read the Brunner book but just don't remember.
The Elder Son gave me this DVD for an occasion some time ago. My viewing of it was interrupted for some reason and never resumed, but now I've gotten back to it. Westworld is a 1973 science fiction film starring Yul Brynner as a rogue robot gunslinger in an amusement park gone haywire.
How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law by Dorothy Cannell is the 6th novel in the Ellie Haskell mystery series. I've read and enjoyed The Thin Woman, the 1st one. This is a fun and funny read -a "cozy", I guess you'd say- and suits me right now. And there's a Methodist murderer in the book. Or a suspected murderer anyway.
from the back of the book:
Nothing like a live-in mother-in-law to reduce a woman to the role of junior housemaid. That's what Ellie discovers when her husband's parents have a row in the midst of their anniversary dinner, and mother Magdalene seeks refuge in Ellie's guest bedroom. Suddenly Ellie is being driven round the bend by the woman's constant demands.
Thank goodness for the other wives who also suffer from the age-old mother-in-law curse. A chance meeting down at the Dark Horse pub finds them trading horror stories, and soon they're mixing gin and tonics with homicidal fantasies - a soupcon of poison here, a broken brake line there. All very therapeutic and no harm intended. At least, that's what Ellie thinks... until one mum-in-law meets a premature end and another has a very close call. Now Ellie must find the mother-in-law of all killers - before her own sweet Magdalene ends up on ice, and the blame is laid at Ellie's door...
Because this blog does not consist of a single focus topic I chose the name Divers and Sundry where "Divers" means being of many and various kinds, and "Sundry" means consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds.