Monday, October 15, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-A Quiet Place (2018)-Emily Blunt

In the future, a family tries to stay silent in the face of alien creatures that attack at the sound of a voice. Great and unique movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Blockers (2018)-John Cena

Three girls decide that they want to lose their virginity on prom night and their parents scramble to stop this after learning of it. Funny and silly at the same time, but entertaining nonetheless. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Malevolent (2018)

A brother and a sister scam ghost hunting business gets a reality check when they encounter real ghosts. Entertaining horror movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Truth or Dare (2018)

An innocent games turns deadly when someone begins punishing people if they don’t play. Predictable horror movie. Not Recommended

Monday, October 8, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Rampage (2018)-Dwayne Johnson

Three different animals grow big in size and goes on a rampage pitting heroes to stop them from destroying a city. Fun action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Operation Red Sea (2018-China)

Chinese Marines tries to rescue hostages in Africa in this high octane, patriotic full action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Den of Thieves (2018)-Gerard Butler

Los Angeles cops vs. criminals bent on robbing the Federal Reserve Bank branch in Los Angeles in this action packed crime movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Executioners (2018)

Four females enjoying a get together in a lonely house fight back against vicious criminals. Initially entertaining but then goes downhill. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Detective K: Secret of the living dead (2018-Korean)

The detective is called back to investigate bodies with bite marks. Continuous entertainment in this ongoing series. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Death Wish (2018)-Bruce Willis

Remake of the highly entertaining Charles Bronson movie about a law abiding citizen going off the deep end when his family is attacked. Although a modern remake, it does not resonate with today’s time. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Gringo (2018)-Joel Edgerton

A mild mannered and law abiding citizen crosses into criminal world for his boss in this entertaining black comedy movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Ready Player One (2018)

A creator of a virtual reality game in a near future society dies but not before revealing that the winner of his game with big fortune. Loud and obnoxious movie with overwhelming special effects. Not Recommended

Sunday, October 7, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Red Sparrow (2018)-Jennifer Lawrence

A ballerina is recruited by a Russian intelligence agency using her body as a weapon. Entertaining movie involving with sex and violence. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

You have to watch the whole series in order to understand this finale. A group of teens tries to uncover the cure behind a deadly disease by infiltrating a mysterious city. I can’t explain much without going into detail but it is not a great movie to waste your time one. For people who want to complete the series, yes it is recommended but overlong. Others not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Black Panther (2018)-Chadwick Boseman

Although one of the biggest blockbusters with majority African American cast, this movie failed to impress me. Although praised by almost everyone but I was not that much into it. A leader from an advance tribe of people must fight off a challenger and take his tribe to the future. Too serious for a super hero movie. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Psychokinesis (2018-Korean)

A bank security guard gains super human strength and tries to save his estranged daughter from evil construction people. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Tomb Raider (2018)-Alicia Vikander

Remake of the much better Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. This one is not that great with poor acting and rehash story line about a daughter of a disappeared adventurer who goes looking for him. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Sherlock Gnomes (2018)-Animated

Gnomeo and Juliet recruit Sherlock Gnomes to find out the mystery of disappearing garden ornaments. Cute little animated movie. Recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies-Hunting Emma (2018-South Africa)

A supposedly meek girl witnesses a murder in the wilderness and the killers go after her but get more than what they bargained for. Nice effort by South Africa. Enjoyable movie. Recommended

Sunday, September 16, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Confidential Assignment (2017-Korea)

North Korean crime organization forces both the South and North Korean to pursue it in this enjoyable action/buddy movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Phantom Thread (2017)-Daniel Day-Lewis

A renowned dress maker becomes infatuated with his assistant in this slow moving but satisfying drama. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

In order to understand the movie, you will have to watch the other Insidious movies but in this it perfectly shows that you don’t need to. Cheap thrills but still can give you some scare. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)-Dwayne Johnson

Four teenagers are magically transformed in a video and they have to finish the game in order to get back home. Enjoyable. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Wolf Warrior II (2017-China)

Chinese Special Forces vs. terrorists in this all out patriotic action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Mumon: The land of Stealth (2017-Japan)

A ninja movie with ninjas earning a living by selling their services to the highest bidder. When the master ninja kills the young son of a warlord, all hell breaks loose. Interesting action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-War for the planet of the apes (2017)-Woody Harrelson

The defeated apes plot revenge against a renegade army colonel. Excellent action sequences coupled with good drama. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hostiles (2018)-Christian bale, Rosamund Pike

A slow moving western in which an army officer is tasked to escort his greatest enemy, a Native American chief to his home. Not much action and overly long. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Man Hunt (2017-HK)

A lawyer tries to clear his name for a crime he did not commit. Action movie from the director of stylish hardcore Hong Kong action movies hardboiled and killer. Okay time killer.  Recommended with caution

Sunday, September 9, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Paradox (2017-Hong Kong)-Louis Koo

A tough Hong Kong Cop travels to Thailand to find his disappeared daughter. Martial arts action and thrills throughout. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)-Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana

Sequel to the first movie in this continuing comedic adventure of super heroes as they try to help their leader find his true heritage. Action and comedy sprinkled throughout. Recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies-Primal Rage (2018)

A couple driving through the Pacific Northwest gets entangled with hostile locals and a deadly creature. Okay horror, action movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Game Night (2018)-Jason Bateman, Rachel Mcadams

A group of people who play game nights gets entangled with real life gangster. Enjoyable and interesting movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Tremors: A cold day in hell (2018)-Michael Gross

Some movies literally need to be put to rest like this one with horror and comedy mixed in but still it is really bad. Skip it if you can. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Never leave alive (2017)

Two survivors on an island deal with a madman hunting them. Great title, but literally bad movie with bad acting. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Super Troopers 2 (2018)

Unfunny sequel in which the super troopers are tasked with manning an area disputed between Canada and the United States. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)-Sylvester Stallone

The team reunites to infiltrate the impregnable prison to get one of their team imprisoned in this claustrophobic and light on action movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-It came from the Desert (2018)

Creature feature should not have been made in the first place with big spiders stalking party goers in a desert. Totally not recommended

Monday, September 3, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Pacific Rim 2: Uprising (2018)

Monster robots battle monsters in the future in this sequel to the first Japanese inspired movie. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-12 Strong (2018)-Chris Hemsworth

True story of a team of Special Forces who saw the first combat in Afghanistan after 9/11 attacks. Enjoyable movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Party Bus to hell (2018)-Tara Reid

A party bus breaks down in a desert with a cult of Satan worshippers begin stalking them. Overacting hurts. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hurricane Heist (2018)-Maggie Grace

Thieves to try to steal money from the U.S. mint while a monster hurricane hurls their way. Loud and improbable but okay time killer. Recommended with caution

Cultural Appropriation

Lately a great deal of hoopla is being raised in regard to Cultural appropriation. Meaning roughly the use of minority symbols and making it their own by the dominant culture (being the white one) or roughly like that. Now I am not from the dominant culture but I still don’t understand this concept. The people who are or may be doing it, they may have done it innocently and not to offend the minority people from whom they have borrowed temporarily the symbol. Some people who this later apologize but there are some who double down and say that they did not meant to do no harm. But in these times of cultural sensitivity or I should say political correction and also the social media that has all consumed us, there is less mercy shown to these apologies. I have read some of the comments regarding this new sympathy for the cultural appropriateness and they have not been kind.
Now I may not understand this but let me put it straight forward, maybe someone out there will have a different perspective then being overtly bias. If a white person tries to adopt a minority symbol, should people bend over themselves to denounce this or should be a cause of celebration that this symbol which was somehow unknown to the world outside of their cultural confinement has gained wider acceptability. Some people are also getting emotionally sensitive to Yoga now that the supposedly majority White population has embraced it wholeheartedly. And regarding disrespecting one’s culture, can someone please define what does even mean. In order to amend their past mistakes, if they have done so, some people have become champions of minorities and everything which is even in a slightest light mood gets shredded on social media. Anyway, I don’t see any cultural appropriation when the white majority is adopting minority stuff. To me, they are not making it their own but giving free publicity and making it known to the wider outside world.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies- American Assassin (2017)-Michael Keaton

A guy seeks revenge by joining a counter terrorism group when his girlfriend is killed in a terrorist attack. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Bodyguard (2016)-Hong Kong

A Chinese martial artist seeks revenge in this hardcore over the top martial arts extravaganza. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Foreigner (2017)-Jackie Chan

A businessman seeks revenge for the accidental killing of his daughter in a bombing. Different and serious Jackie Chan. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- The Outlaws (2017-Korean)

A police detective tries to keep peace between warring factions in Seoul. Action galore. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Villainess (2017)-Korea

A female assassin seeks revenge in this inventive Korean action thriller. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Annihilation (2017)-Natalie Portman

A scientist joins an expedition into a mysterious zone. Head scratching science fiction. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Paddington 2 (2017) Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins

The further adventures of the talking bear who pursues his perfect gift for his aunt which gets stolen. Enjoyable movie. Recommended

Sunday, August 5, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)

A billionaire experimenting on sharks gets attacked by them and his team of scientist in this unnecessary sequel to the much better first one. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Commuter (2018)-Liam Neeson

An unsuspecting ex-cop is asked to locate a passenger before his last stop or face deadly consequences in this suspenseful thriller. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Justice League (2017)-Ben Affleck

Batman, Superman, wonder woman and other super heroes team up to fight even greater evil in this special effects action/ science fiction blockbuster movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)-Frances Mcdormand

A woman challenges local authorities to catch the culprit of her murdered daughter. Superb acting by all. Overall a great movie winning two Oscars.. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Steel Rain (2017-Korean)

A coup in North Korea forces a soldier to escape to South Korea with the President. He has to work with the skeptical South Koreans to prevent a nuclear war. Interesting Korean action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Strangled (2016-Hungarian)

A brutal killer is on the loose in a small town in Hungary, while an innocent man awaits his fate of being accused the real killer. Interesting Hungarian thriller. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies- The thousand faces of Dunjia (2017-HK)

Action fantasy movie about a group of warriors trying the save the world from unearthly monsters. Recommended.

On the lighter side-Movies- Blade of the immortal (2017-Japan)

A skilled samurai who has been cursed with immortality agrees to help a girl avenge her parents. Highly stylized movie with almost nonstop action and gore.

On the lighter side-Movies- Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield (2017-China)

A secret police member tries to seek a girl who can help him unveil the conspiracy behind his framing by corrupt official of the government. Again hard to detail the story and you will have to go back to the first one to find out the details. Just enjoy the action and forget about the story. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- Wu Kong (2017)-Chinese

An ordinary man refuses to bow down to his destiny and rebel against gods. It is hard to tell the story without going into the much detail and also you have to see the related Money King movies in order to find out what is happening. But fantasy and action galore. Recommended with caution

Slavery by Choice

Recently a famous rapper said on an interview that slavery was a choice. The shocking part was that the rapper is an African American but with outrageous and outspoken views. But this created a backlash but not if it were a white person and the issue has been quietly put down due to his supposedly erratic behavior. Although I had to scramble back to my history books and look to see if this was true, but could not find anything. His point was that the slaves were far numerous and they had weapons in the shape of their agricultural tools so they could have fought back. And as such they were not only physically slaved but also mentally. Now this is somewhat the alt-right or white supremacists people have been saying in one way or the other. But here I am not talking about what they are saying but what this African American rapper said that caused a few surprising ripples and then it died down.
He has all the right to say what he wants and people have the right to be outraged too but the most unsettling and hypocritical part is that the African American community shrugged it like it did not matter but if a white person would have said that out aloud, he would have been censured severely by white liberals and minorities. I can see a definite hypocritical manner in how this situation is handled and there is definitely a bias in how some people will protect their own even when he tries to insult them.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Golden Slumber (2018-Korean)

A delivery man tries to evade the law after he is framed for the murder of a presidential candidate. Thrilling action movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Re:Born (2016-Japan)

An ex soldier fights his way to protect the one he cares. Action scenes throughout. Bloody and gory movie. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Bloody Chainsaw Girl (2016-Japan)

A high school girl with a huge chainsaw battles mutants in her high school in this outrageous, gory and ultimately silly Japanese movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Black Water (2018)-Jean-Claude Van Damme

Aging heroes fight well built people in this lame duck movie. An operative is kidnapped and awakes at a black site on a submarine. It is sad to see your favorite action heroes slowing down in such lame movies. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Daddy’s Home Two (2017)-Mark Wahlberg

They are back and this time the rival dads have to deal with their own dads. Predictable but enjoyable movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Jigsaw (2017)

A supposedly resurrected killer is linked to a killing spree in the city. A reboot of the gruesome franchise. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Lucky Logan (2017)-Channing Tatum

Brothers try to pull off a robbery during NASCAR® event. Interesting execution. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies- Slumber (2017)-Maggie Q

A sleep doctor tries to help a family from the evil entities that invade their dreams. Interesting premise but as usual farfetched fantasy. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- Geostorm (2017)-Gerard Butler

A sci-fi movie about a network of satellites going haywire and attacking earth atmosphere. As usual, time for one person or group of persons to save the earth. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- Murder on the Orient Express (2017) - Kenneth Branaugh

When a murder happens on a train, a famous detective is asked to investigate. Not as great as the first one (1974) but enjoyable nonetheless. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Death Race 4: Beyond Anarchy (2018)

Some movies refuse to die and this is one of them, an ex military man joins a futuristic prison to race against a champion of a illegal race. Action galore. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Post (2017)-Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep

A cover-up about the Vietnam War unfolded by a prestigious newspaper in this highly enjoyable movie. If you don’t know about American History, then you would have a hard time following it but watch it for how a newspaper resist government pressure to publish information which is deemed essential for press freedom. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 13, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Molly’s Game (2017)-Jessica Chastain

True story of an Olympian who starts a high stakes poker game and becomes a target of government. Highly enjoyable with great performance by Jessica Chastain. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Thor: Ragnarok (2017)-Chris Hemsworth

The continuous adventures of the man with the special hammer. In this one, he is imprisoned and tries to escape to prevent the destruction of this world. Enjoyable with wit and special effects. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Shape of Water (2017)-Michael Shannon

A mute and lonely janitor starts a friendship with an alien in a top secret facility in the 1960s. Weird movie to say the least but enjoyable. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies (2017)

A group of people fight to survive amidst a zombie outbreak. Chaotic, messy and bloody. Not particularly interesting. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Only the Brave (2017)-Josh Brolin

Based on a true story, a team of firefighters battle to save a town from a massive fire. Good action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Victor Crowley (2017)

A sequel to Hatchet III, a killer is accidentally resurrected again and proceeds to do more killing. Not worth your time. Not Recommended

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Braven (2018)-Jason Momoa

Average action movie about a logger trying to protect his family from drug dealers. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Accident Man (2018)-Scott Adkins

A killer goes after people when his loved one gets killed by them. Average actioner. Recommended for action fans only.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Debt Collector (2018)-Scott Adkins

A martial artist goes to work for a debt collector in this average actioner. Recommended for action fans only.

On the lighter side-Movies-Children of the Corn: Runaway (2017)

A pregnant who has escaped the murderous children cult tries to protect her son from them. They should stop making so many sequels or I should stop seeing them. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Terrifier (2018)

Low budget gorefest about a clown who terrorizes some people on Halloween night. Gory and bloody.  Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Timetrap (2018)

A group of people explore a cave where time runs more slowly than outside world. Low budget intriguing movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Wonder Wheel (2017)-Justine Timberlake

A slow moving drama about a stranger on Coney Island, New York who befriends an unhappy housewife of a carousel operator. Excellent cast but a bit downer and sad drama. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Darkest Hour (2017)-Gary Oldman

Winston Churchill, an accidental Prime Minister of Great Britain in World War II, tries to decide whether to negotiate with Germany’s Hitler or fight him. Excellent acting by Gary Oldman. Recommended

Saturday, June 9, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-The Disaster Artist (2017)-James Franco

An aspiring actor befriends a rich eccentric guy and together they head to Hollywood to make a movie. Funny and hilarious movie. Stay with this movie, you will not regret it. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Lady Bird (2017)-Saoirse Ronan

A great coming of age movie of a teenager in California. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Brink (2017-HK)

A cop tries to thwart a gold smuggling scheme on high seas. Good action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Shock Wave (2017-HK)-Andy Lau

Terrorists in Hong Kong hold a tunnel full of cars and people hostage. Tense and suspenseful action thriller. Recommended

Hell No!

Although it has since been denied by the Pope but it was reported that in a private conversation, the Pope has said that there is no hell and after much protests, the Pope’s representative had to come out and said that he did not said such a thing. I was a little surprised by this statement but when the Pope’s rep came out with a rebuttal, I was somewhat relieved. But even if he had said this privately, why a person, no less a pope, who is a spiritual leader to hundreds of millions of Catholic Christians worldwide, would ever say that there is no hell.
I read a long time ago an article in a magazine that how the churches are increasingly deemphasizing the concept of hell and concentrate on the nice world of heaven. I don’t know why is that? Maybe because in the minds of people, a just and loving GOD will not create a place where a person would suffer ever for their sins committed in this world or maybe it is because nobody wants to hear their loved ones, not even the ones who have been super evil, suffer eternal damnation in hell. And mind you, I am not a religious scholar but to be just there has to a heaven and the counterpart hell. Because how would people believe that there is going to be justice done when some person is wrongly killed and there is no retribution in the hereafter. So anybody has the choice to say there is no hell but then they should better believe that there is no heaven either because you cannot be selective about one thing and not the other. So you can believe whatever you want but I for one believe that there is heaven and hell and what you sow in this world will reap in the hereafter unless you repent for your sins you do and make amends for what you did wrong to other people. No preaching here but that is my belief.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The rise of the Social Media Protests

Since the inception and popularity of the social media, nothing seems to be hidden from the public eye any longer. Anything out of the ordinary you do or something that hurts another person physically is recorded instantly and put on the social media in real time and if it looks outrageous, it goes viral instantly forcing the person or persons doing the act run for cover or in some cases resign from their position. And that person if he or she is in a public authority, the corporation of public entity instantly comes under pressure to make amends to the person affected by their employees’ actions. If you have seen news lately, there has been constantly flurry of social media outrageous occurring almost daily and the sad (or fun) part is that despite all this outrage going on, some people still manage to the do the stupidest thing that they can think of even if in their normal daily life it would do fine and find themselves the scorn of the hundreds and thousands of social media public.
Prime examples of social media protests are numerous and it happens almost every day in the U.S. and around the world. It includes a guy being dragged out of his paid seat on an airline, two African American male being arrested in a star bucks for no fault and countless others which are happening as I write and will continue to be on going since everybody nowadays is keen to record anything and everything but if something is recorded which is controversial then the explosion of social media protests takes over like anything and the accusers are face to feel the wrath of the public as well as the law. Everybody knows that it has been happening for a long time but nowadays the difference is that all your negative actions are recorded for the world to see and you become a target of protests not only locally but also internationally. This is the power of social media and one should be careful what they should say or do because you never know who is recording and what is being recorded.

On the lighter side-Movies- Happy Death Day (2017)

A college student relives the same day again and again of her murder and this thing will continue until she finds the identity of her killer. Although a good movie overall, but the annoyingly repetitive nature of the movie, now being employed in several films, is becoming tiresome. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies- The Adventurers (2017-Hong Kong)-Andy Lau

A French detective is on the trail of a group of top thieves who have pulled of a heist. Action galore. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Atomic Blonde (2017)-Charlize Theron

An undercover British agent is sent to Germany during the cold war to investigate the murder of an agent. Action packed movie. Recommended

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-The Dark Tower (2017)-Idris Elba

A gunslinger tries to protect a tower which holds the universe together from evil. An eight book series shrunk into an half an hour movie. If you see it as an original movie, it is good but seen as an adaptation of the eight book series not good. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Wonder Woman (2017)-Gal Gadot, Chris Pine

An Amazonian woman fights for justice in this special effects laden action fantasy movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Battle of Memories (2017)-China

In the future, you can erase your bad memories, an author tries to erase the memories of his bad marriage only to have side effect of acquiring an unsolved murder. Good story and movie, although you will have to pay attention carefully. Recommended with caution.

Healthy food is bad, unhealthy food is good

I eat food to live not live to eat food and as such I am much of a carnivorous than a vegetarian. But apart from regular food, I try to eat as much healthy food as possible but sometimes it is really hard as most of you have come to find out. I didn’t mean to say healthy food is bad as my title suggests but if one is not accustomed to it, it will taste weird. I will give you my example, I have started eating Wheat bread instead of the regular bread on doctor’s orders a few years ago and I am still continuing it, although it makes me yucky. Same thing goes with chips as I see original ones and then the ones with less fat content and obviously original ones are so good and the modified ones are not that great.  Chicken and lamb and fish are definitely better but red meat is the icing on the cake and even when I mostly eat Chicken and fish and lamb, I still crave steak and burgers once in a while.
I have seen people who have high blood pressure and cholesterol and are diabetics still sometimes cheat on their diet and eat unhealthy food although their version of unhealthy food is with no calories or fattening content but nevertheless not healthy. I sometimes don’t have the patience to go for the healthy food even it means good for my health as doctor ordered or nutritionist recommended food is not my cup of tea and I bet that overwhelming people will agree with me. If not you can just see the long lines outside burger joints and steak houses serving mostly fat filled food, although they have also added food which are considered healthy but their main revenue comes from the unhealthy part. And despite the phenomenon of organic food and dieting craze, there is an epidemic of obesity not only in the U.S. but all over the world and even when there is shortage of food; people tend to eat unhealthy meals whenever they can. I, for one, keep on trying to balance my intake of food but still junk food wins in the end.

The trade war between China and the United States

So finally it had to happen, when push comes to shove, the United States already promising to slap tariffs on Chinese goods imported to the U.S. finally followed through with it and slapped tariffs. And China not ready to lose face to its own citizens retaliated in kind although with much less products. But since China exports more to the U.S. than the other way around, China will lose more but this trade war is not going to be good for either side as the U.S. is highly dependent on Chinese goods and their buying of the U.S. bonds and China needs to be careful not to antagonize the U.S. too much as it is their largest export market. Already the trade war is not even started in essence and the stock market is acting like we are in a full blown war. It has been on a losing streak a little bit here and a lot more there.
It is just an unnecessary thing and it would do that much to correct the trade balance between China and the U.S. Unless the U.S. consumes less of Chinese goods and China exports less, there will always going to be trade imbalance. But here is the classic economic dilemma that it all relates to supply and demand, there is a demand for Chinese products and thus China exports its surplus items to the U.S. where there is a demand. I believe that this back and forth trade war will continue for some time and things will settle down once the new normal starts to kick in.

Curiosity is good

A curious mind is good for everyone and mostly it was done to discover something before the current state of affairs in the world, when everybody seems to be a suspect and the governments encourage people to be vigilant about their surroundings. And in the essence, the governments of the world are encouraging people to be aware or what you see and hear and observe and if it sounds suspicious then report it without hesitation. So curious and inquisitive minds do not put you in trouble and it can and has led to many scientific discoveries and have saved many lives just because the individual or individuals were vigilant of what was going on. But throughout history, curios people have discovered many things but sometimes being curious got you killed. Today you really need to be curious enough to make sure that you are safe not only for yourself but others around you.
Babies are very curious and they look cute but society sometimes don’t like too curious mind as some adults want to be left alone and don’t want people to poke their noses in their businesses. But I have seen many examples that some curiosity have led to the capture of prevention of some violent act. So don’t be afraid to be a little curious because you never know you have save some lives or discover something useful which can help humans in the future.

Don’t blame whole for sum of its parts

If some person did some wrong, people tend the blame the whole race or ethnicity associated with it without realizing that they are also part of some race which may have done wrong in the past or maybe in the future. For example if some Muslims tend to terrorize the world with their extremists ideas, people generally tend to blame the religion and its book without reading the contents of it. Same thing happens with colored people or someone in the minority, people generally believe that the whole race is at fault, without realizing that you cannot blame the whole race, religion or ethnicity for the acts of an individual. People don’t blame the acts of a white man on the white race just as the acts of an individual should not be blamed on the whole race. If your car has some problem, you isolate that problem and if it has multiple parts broken, you replace it and don’t throw away the car just because the cars lights or any other small thing is not working or is broken.
Same goes with individuals of a particular race, you should isolate that trouble maker individual and should not blame the entire race for the acts of that individual as they overwhelming majority of people are peace loving and hard working good people, it is only the bad apples that make the entire race suspect in the eyes of the whole society. So we should not blame the whole for the sum of its parts as the parts can be replaced in order to fix the whole.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Long haul flights for passengers

Recently new long haul flights were revealed and I as an individual passenger was disgusted. Not in the sense that it is wrong but who would want to be in the air for 15 or 16 hours with nowhere to go, killing their time with nothing to do even after watching movies or other stuff on the screen if they are available. The most I can remember is that the longest flight I have taken was the direct flight to Hawaii which was 10 hours in the air (I may have taken longer flights but that I don’t remember) and at that time it was torture since the airline did not provide free movies or television and you have to buy them but the flight was smooth enough that I manage to swallow it. But these long haul flights which are like 15 or 16 hours nonstop flights are really for some people that can endure this.
I mean if you are at your house, you still move around for the above mentioned duration, so how is it possible that with cramped seats in the economy class you would be able to sleep or sit still and if you have some cranky passenger beside you or behind or in front of you or a small child who is constantly crying (even adults can cry in this situation), it becomes unbearable. Even if you have the means to fly first class with enough space for you to lie down, this more than half a day of continuous flight is not for the faint of heart. I don’t want to say never but for now, I am not looking forward to having this kinds of nonstop flights anytime soon or later.

The highs and lows of insurance

I received my car insurance recently and I started to wonder how complex it is for the insurance companies to make judgment about their clients based on age and record of driving. And it is not just the car insurance but any kind of insurance can be involved in this calculation. Car insurance is based on your driving record and the age, for example if you have a perfect driving record and you are in the mid fifties, your insurance will go down but here is the dilemma, since at this age, most of the people who have kids add their teenage kids to their insurance since the kids start driving around that time when their parents are in the fifties and even if your own insurance goes down ,due to the addition of your kids, the insurance shoots through the roof, since teenagers are new to driving and they can easily be involved in more accidents then the more matured ones.
In the case of health insurance, initially your premium does not increase much since you are young and healthy so you may not use health visits but once you get old, you develop some diseases and constantly need health care which drastically increase your insurance premium, completely opposite to the car insurance premium. Something happens with life insurance as your initial premium is less and it goes up as you get older. Home insurance depends upon how much your home is worth and the location where you live, if it is high crime area, your insurance will be high and vice versa. So just like life has its up and down times so does the insurance premium you pay.

The fans

Every category imaginable has fans in the midst. Some maybe very small groups and some maybe very large, some may be very quiet and some maybe very vocal but there fans everywhere for almost everything. Sport fans are the most vocal and obsessive about their teams, but there are fans of movie stars and singers who are equally obsessive about their favorite actors and singers and dream of just meeting them one day. I, for one is also a fan of movie stars but I do not dream of meeting them one day like some others do, if it happens, it happens otherwise I not going to keep on lamenting about not meeting one.
I have seen some fans crying when they see their favorite celebrity and some even faint which is absurd but everybody has different emotions and sometimes it is hard to control emotions when you thought what was impossible becomes possible.Although obsessive fans are okay as long as they stay within their limits but there are some who may cross the path of privacy and decency of their stars and may even endanger them. And it has really happened in the past as some deranged fans have literally attacked the people when they have come very close to them. I know most of the fans are literally in love with their favorite stars and would never do any harm to them; it is the one who are borderline psychotic obsessive ones that the stars need to be careful with. And since you don’t know who this psychotic one is among millions of innocent looking fans, it is for this reason; the stars keep on having bodyguards and maintain delicate balance between engaging with their fans while keeping a safe distance from them.

On the lighter side-Movies-Strangled (2016-Hungarian)

An innocent man is found guilty of murdering and raping several women while the actual killer is out loose. Enter a detective who tries to find the real culprit. Good effort by Hungary, although some scenes are disturbing. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Jailbreak (2017)-Cambodian

Cops transporting a key witness to a prison become trapped in the prison and must use all their skills to escape. Enjoyable martial arts action movie from Cambodia. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Children of the Corn: Runaway (2017)

A pregnant woman escapes from the children of the corn, only to be followed by them in another town years later to induct her offspring. Silly continuation of the series should be stopped. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-I remember you (2017-Iceland)

A couple moves into an abandoned house only to find it haunted with its past. Okay thriller. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Forgotten (2017-Korea)

A man sees his brother being kidnapped. He returns but the brother suspects that he may not be the same person. Intriguing mystery movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Another Wolfcop (2017)

Werewolf cop springs into action when a businessman tries to convert the inhabitants of a small town through his brewery into weird animals. Gory and bloody, if you like the first one, enjoy this one too. Recommended with caution

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Living in the Past

It is nice to live in the past as someone has said, it is cheap. But constantly being nostalgic about the past does not help the present and definitely will not help the future if you keep on dreaming of recapturing the glory of the past without much leg work. Many individuals are guilty of it and many countries are also in the habit of dreaming about the past glory of their country that once was. Sometimes I do reminiscent about the past years and I believe many people do but I also not keep on glorifying my achievement of yesteryears and not do anything to surpass that glory. And here is what some people and countries do to sleep on their past glories while lamenting the current state of affairs. For example some old people lament the current state of affairs and long for the time when life was simple and manageable.
In the United States, the current trend I suspect is that to dial back to the time when America was mostly white (I may be wrong but the policies of the government sure makes it so). In the Islamic world, there is still nostalgia about the past glory of the Islamic empire and on it rest the dreams or the fantasies of the Muslims who dream of regaining that glory and to achieve this some of the Muslims have gone to the extreme right and started violent and deadly confrontations with fellow Muslims and Non Muslims to achieve their goal in a violent way. Other Muslims just lament their present states and keep on harping about how great they were before without trying to achieve greatness again with hard work and persistence. But I believe this is not only related to Islamic world as I am sure other countries and culture lament the time past and not happy with the changes that are happening to fast for them to appreciate.

Being identifying with one race while born in another

This may not be a recent case but there was this lady who said that she is African American and she identifies with them with having grown up with their culture and also gotten a job at a national Black civil rights organization only to be exposed by her parents that she was born white. Now she still insists on being a black (albeit a light skin one) and she has kept on going this charade. And by charade I mean, I can you say that you are black just because you are exposed to black culture and raised among them. I have lived in Hong Kong for some part of my life and I love Hong Kong Movies and fascinated by Hong Kong, but I have never said that I am Chinese by virtue of being raised and liking their culture. And there is a name for it too; it is called Transracial which is being identified with a race or culture different than from which one was born in.
For me it does not bother me a bit where you consider yourself one race or the other. It is a free world and if you want to identify yourself with another race or culture which is different from your original one, be my guest. But the fact is do the people of that culture accept you as their own even when you literally worship them. Even when you become immersed in their culture totally, I have strong doubts that the people from that culture will accept you as their own and that is the dilemma they will face when and if they decide that they want to move to the country to which they are currently identifying themselves. Even if they stay in the United States, they can call themselves whatever they want but they will still be treated on the basis of their birth not on the basis of what they think they are currently.

Is it ok to use slurs in talking with your own race?

Controversial post: Reader's discretion is advised

I don’t know how to phrase this but I will try to explain as much as possible and since my blog is in English, so I will only concentrate on this language. If you have heard people talk to each other, usually there are greetings and then you talk but there is this curious thing about using slurs when talking with your own race and again this is in English so I stick with this as mostly African American people when talking to each other use the N-word as much as possible and this has seeped into the entertainment culture and it has become like a street language. I have never heard white people say hi “white Trash” or hi “Redneck”, it is just a normal greeting but you hear the hip hop and rap music, there is a plethora of the N Word and despite the half hearted efforts of some people, the use of it has not been stopped or curtailed.
The only thing that has changed is that when some non black person says it, they have to apologize for using  a racial slur or it becomes a big deal like you have offended the whole African-American community, but have literally heard this word spoken on the streets of New York without immunity and even some non white people use it while talking with their compatriots without realizing it being a racial slur. And I would be blunt that most of the activists rallying against this word don’t want non white people to use it while not doing enough to discourage among their midst. I may be wrong but I suspect that the African American community don’t want to retire or abolish this word as it shows their uniqueness and they want to be the sole owner of this word while raging against anyone outside their race using the word as if it is blasphemy but it is okay to use among themselves however they want. If the use of this word is to be banned, it should start with the African-American community taking the charging and trying to make this word offensive to everyone not just to non black folks.

What’s up with Sanctuary places?

So California has been declared a sanctuary state and some other places where the illegal immigrants (what else do you want me to call them, undocumented people, aliens etc) can rest at peace and may not be reported to the Federal immigration authorities. So some places are defying the federal law against illegal immigrants and helping them protect from law enforcement personnel which is not cool in my books. It seems mind boggling that some places would defy the federal government and the law to protect some people who are here illegally. I mean would you ever protect some stranger who will want to dwell in your house. All over the world, the illegal immigrants are tracked down and sent home even if they have not committed any crimes and are just trying to survive. One would I suppose would not allow someone to enter their house illegally, so how can one country allow somebody to come illegally without any documents.
The argument behind sanctuary places is that the illegal aliens have done nothing wrong except they are here illegally and they are not criminals but the same can be said about some guests in your house who have exemplary in their behavior and help you in every way but still they are treated as guests and not as permanent members of your family. Also I understand the path that people are escaping from poverty and war but so are other people from other parts of the world, if you want to be fair then people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and some war ravaged countries of Africa are equally deserving of coming here illegally. Every country in the world have border controls and only allow people after thorough vetting and with proper documentation like a license so they same should apply to the United States. It is just my belief because if you not welcome in a country, you should not push yourself to gain acceptance through illegal means.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Coco (2017)-Animated

A boy not understanding his family’s ban on playing music enters the world of the dead in order to find the answer to the mystery. Cute and Enjoyable. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Day of the dead: Bloodline (2017)

A group of people try to find a cure in an underground facility in a world overrun by zombies. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies- Blade Runner 2049 (2017)-Ryan Gosling

A young blade tracks down a former blade runner missing for 30 years in order to protect what is left of humanity in this stylish and visually stunning movie. Recommended for those who have seen the original otherwise watch it as an action movie.

On the lighter side-Movies-Mother! (2017)-Jennifer Lawrence

A couple enjoying a tranquil time together gets their peace disrupted by uninvited guests in this super confused and thoroughly convoluted movie. Not Recommended

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Mourning in Muharram; lesson from the sufis

If one has to pick out one month in the Islamic calendar which is highly charged and eventful it would be Muharram. This month marks the sacrifice of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain and his family which is accorded the respect it deserves. However the methods employed to confer the respect to prophet’s grandson are highly contested and vastly debated. The rituals to mark this month vary depending on one’s religious school of thought. However the matters between these antagonistic school of thoughts are premised on the question, whether it is justified to mourn the martyrdom or not in the Majalis(congregation where the events leading to the martyrdom are recalled) and individually. Those who are antithetical to the idea of mourning primarily point out that the martyrdom itself is the will of God and martyr should be celebrated not mourned. Some more orthodox elements in this camp don’t mark the events even after the demise of a loved one such as Qul, Chehlum, and Barsi (denoting the first, fortieth and anniversary after the demise). Although being aggrieved is natural in such instances however they aren’t expressive about it and rightly so as they are entitled to live as they will. My purpose here is to highlight another sort of response to death of a loved one which many of the readers might not have heard of and relate it back to the discussion above. When a Sufi passes away his demise is celebrated by his disciples as his death marks his union with the beloved that is God. The word ‘Urs’ that is the death anniversary of a Sufi literally means marriage. Hence it is celebrated year after year. This sort of response is simply not of the kind that one would expect when one passes away. However I would like to point out that some of the disciples who were closely associated to the Sufi mourned and pined over the demise of their master. Two examples will clear what I’m trying to convey here. After the Shams of Tabraiz, Rumi’s master disappeared or passed away(it’s not known with certitude if he died or disappeared), the people noted that Rumi used to weep so loud that his shrieks could be heard in every corner of the religious seminary that he taught in. Likewise, when Nizam ud din Aulia passed away, his disciple Amir khusro was so aggrieved that he didn’t leave his master’s grave for six months and became increasingly frail. Therefore he himself passed away after six months. This clearly depicts that pining over the demise of your loved is a natural element of human nature that can be cathartic, even the ones who were pre ordained by their master to celebrate their demise couldn’t curtail their emotions. Hence we should not trivialize the matter whether mourning is justified or not specifically in the month of Muharram as this month is a lot more than just mourning it teaches selflessness, empathy and patience which everyone forgets practice.
Submitted by B.H.

Malala’s return

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest noble laureate has finally returned home. Although her bravery is unprecedented for which she was justly acknowledged by the international community, but still she isn’t accepted as a representative by the majority of People in her native land. The conspiracy theories which Pakistani’s are in love with pervade every aspect of her tale of bravery. Rather than being hailed for her achievements and bravery she is subjected to unqualified accusations as being a foreign agent who is defaming the nation at the international level. Without introspection the community at large carry forward their barrage of accusation, sometime they equate Malala with the victims of the tragic Peshawar attack in which multiple pupils in a school lost their lives and many wounded are still convalescing mentally or physically from the trauma they witnessed. But we need to bear in mind that just because they were not acknowledged by the world as Malala was doesn’t discredit Malala of the contribution and sacrifice she made. She could be the face of all the victims who are afflicted by the haters of education, who leave no stone unturned to impede and discourage their educational endeavors. Therefore rather than ostracizing any of the victims we should focus our energies on voicing the cause for which the innocent school goers sacrificed. Recently in the U.S after the Florida school shooting, the student mobilized the community and 300,000 people turned out on the streets to raise awareness regarding gun violence and ask for the needful to be done so that such incidents don’t occur again. Tragically in Pakistan rather than fighting the mindset from which Malala and students in Peshawar suffered we are busy labeling who is the real hero and who isn’t. I have a dream of seeing a mass mobilization by the people here on the same lines as in the U.S. under the leadership of those who have suffered the most I.e. Malala and APS students of Peshawar. Whereas the love of conspiracy theories only obfuscates the real cause for which both Malala and other victims suffered.
Submitted by B.H.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Air Turbulence

A few years ago, air turbulence did not bother me that much but during the last two years, I have fallen into the trap of not liking it at all and I am sure many people would not like to have a bumpy flight to their destination. A little bit of turbulence is expected (although I don’t even like it a little bit) but my tolerance level for air turbulence has gone down considerably and I am not happy about it. Even a little bit of turbulence makes me nervous and jumpy and I need to overcome that. And the fact that the pilot announces that the plane may hit some minor turbulence adds to my nervous. And the fact that I love to travel and visit new places especially Hawaii makes me madder that I have to endure turbulence in order to reach my favorite destinations. But as with acrophobia (which is fear of heights), this fear of air turbulence does not stop from traveling as with fear of heights has not stopped me from going on whiteface mountain in New York state which is at above 4000 feet elevation and also did not stop me from going to the Mount Haleakala in Maui (elevation above 10,000 feet).
And we were also planning to go to the Swiss Alps where the mountain reaches more than 10,000 feet so why am in complaining about Air turbulence, that is the question I keep on asking myself. If you are in a car and you drive, you also get shaken when an 18 wheeler passes by you, it is the same with Air turbulence and if there is not that much then I need to start taking nervous medicine to keep me calm even on flights with less than two hours of duration. People become nervous when it is their first flight and I have done many hours on flight since I was very young so why now I am getting the jitters and next time I take a flight I need to take a stock of this situation.

Arab League

Now I come to another of this so called unity among Muslims and introduce you to an organization that is as useless as the one described before that is OIC. Established in 1945, it has now 22 members all of them related by the Arab Ethnicity with little else in common in terms of their relationships among themselves and with the outside world. Here again I will give you examples which will show how this organization has been unable to help Arab in resolving their conflict among themselves or even project any kind of real power to the outside world. Let’s start with Palestinian issue which has been festering since the late forties; no Arab league success has been witnessed in this area. Along with the Israel-Arab War, this organization has simply ignored the Palestinian issue since their members tend not to agree on anything. Same thing goes with the First Gulf war, when Iraq invaded Kuwait; it was only the United States that was able to unite quarrelsome countries into a ragtag team of members to oust Iraq from Kuwait.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the voice of Arab league was again muted or silent and when the Arab spring came, there was no effort to resolve this issue among them. Now again with the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem, the Arab League is just reduced to denunciation and nothing much. Although headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, it is predominantely influenced by the Saudis as they have the money to muscle with the kind of voice that the Arab league finds when it does. During the Saudi Boycott of Qatar (which is still ongoing), Arab League does not count as they are just sitting pretty on the sidelines. And the Yemen war which is also part of the Arab League and also the OIC, nothing has changed much. No discussion to end this war. Both the OIC and the Arab League are on the whole useless organization which cannot resolve any of the issues facing the Muslim world and it is complete waste of resources as the Islamic (and Arab) countries pursue their own path based on their own self interest.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Dark Tower (2017)-Idris Elba

The last gunslinger tries to prevent the destruction of the dark tower which holds the universe together from an evil entity. Although a massive novel, the movie makers manage to condense it to 90 minutes. I have not read the novel and I wonder what was left behind. On its own, an okay fantasy movie. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Wonder Woman (2017)-Gal Gadot, Chris Pine

An Amazonian warrior leaves her home to fight a world war waged by the enemy of her people. Special effects and action galore. Recommended

Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC)

I am not sure how many of you heard about Organization of Islamic Organization (OIC). Established in 1969 with now the strength being 57 countries, this is according to me one of the most useless organization that was ever created which does not do anything or the countries in it don’t give it much importance in matters of disputes among themselves. Headquartered in the Red sea city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, it was supposed to be United Nations of Islamic Countries meant to resort disputes among member countries but to date its working or the lack of it has been abysmal or even below that if this is possible. I will give you some examples so that you can see that how ineffective it has been in resolving the problems facing the Muslim World or even raising their collective voice on international forums. Since the issue Kashmir and Palestine predates this organization, I will exclude it but give a little bit of hint of both of them. Starting from 1969, this organization has virtually not done anything but to employ a bunch of people who are just there to sit pretty. I know I am being harsh but let’s start.
The 1971 war between India and Pakistan which saw the birth of the Republic of Bangladesh, a former part of Pakistan, no intervention and ultimately with the intervention of United Nations and some bilateral talks, nobody in OIC bothered to do something, same thing with Afghanistan war in 1979, the attack on the Holy Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the attack on Bosnian Muslims until the United States intervened militarily, the 9/11 attacks and subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, the Iraq War and then the Arab Spring and then the intra Gulf fight between Qatar and some Arab countries, the Rohingya Crisis In Myanmar, the OIC has been overwhelmingly useless in doing anything to help the Muslims unless it is backed by the Western powers and still the emotional Muslims look to it like it has some magical powers, I think that it should be dismantled as the amount saved can be used somewhere else. The OIC should be called Organization of (I) neffective, ndifferent, ipotent  or any of the words that start with I signifying anything which is useless.

On the lighter side-Movies-Tyler Perry’s Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween (2017)-Tyler Perry

Madea runs for her life when she ventures into a haunted campground and all kinds of monsters are unleashed. Literally I have no idea why I even care to watch this as it is very unfunny (save for some brief moments). Not Recommended

Technology is good, Technology is disruptive

I was reading an article about a strike going on near the Pakistan-Afghan border for the last four days because new technology has been introduced to easily facilitate the customs procedures by involving computers. This would seem very efficient from one’s standpoint but the old system had involved various steps and with each step somebody livelihood was involved and now they felt threatened and were striking to abolish this introduction of computers which they felt had eliminated their need for so many steps and now all those steps were replaced by one of two people. If I was one of them, I would also feel threatened since I would not know what I would do when my skill set which would have become obsolete by the new technology introduced to reduce costs and time, which makes me, come to this post. I also wrote in my blog a few weeks ago regarding how the online hailing websites has supposedly forced one of the taxi drivers to commit suicide blaming it on the new technology being embraced by the city of New York.
Technology is good as long as it enhances the standard of living and it has done wonders for the many people around the globe but the darker part which people did not realize (I don’t understand how would they not) that it has disrupted the lives of people who were trained to do things a certain kind of way. For example see how one of the biggest online retailers is experimenting with grocery stores with no checkout counters and no employees where people will only use their app to scan their products and also add to their account and just stroll out of the stores without interaction with any employee and instead of employing maybe several people to man their cash counters, they would have only a few employees to restock their stores. I have seen and used these electronic counters in stores where you scan your items barcodes and they will show the price and then you scan your loyalty card and your credit card and you are done without getting any face to face interaction with stores cashiers. Another one is how driverless cars are being experimented with so that there will be no drivers behind the wheel (scarier than in other cases as lives are at stake). Robots are increasingly taking over some of the work that humans used to do in advance countries as the ageing population is being gradually replaced by robots wherever the companies can. Although technology has definitely made life easier for people but it has and will cause substantial unemployment among less educated people and the resultant resentment will not be good for the economies which are increasingly relying on technology to increase their productivity and gain competitive advantage against their rivals.

On the lighter side-Movies-A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)-Mila Kunis

Bad moms are overwhelmed and raunchy as ever as they try to celebrate Christmas with their own moms. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Kill Order (2018)

A high school teenager discovers his super power abilities in this no acting, no story movie. Just to showcase some poor action sequences. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Keep Watching (2017)-Bella Thorne

Intruders enter a home where the inhabitants unknowingly become contestants in a deadly online streaming game. Recommended with caution

Some People don’t know how to shut up

I don’t know if the topic of this post will offend some of you but it is the reality that there are some people who would like to be included in the exclusive club of people who just won’t shut up even if they know that what they are saying will get into trouble. Even as I write I am sure, some people will mouth off and then when the backlash happens, will come out with tears or say that there words have been taken out of context (whatever that means) or they did not mean to say that or they have reflected on what they have said and they feel sorry if their hurts have offended some to the people or some sentences like that meant to soften the blow to their reputation or reduce the backlash they are encountering online or to protect their current jobs. Even with all the things going on, there will be some people who will curse or should ethnic or racial slurs and then come back the next day saying things that I wrote in this post.
I acknowledge that some people have had bad days ( I do too)  which means that they are encountering some of the frustrations of life which are not under their control or they feel they want to vent out loud so that people can hear them and some do under the influence of  alcohol or drugs (where it is still not okay but for this they have an excuse) but in such cases, why can’t they just shut up and don’t open their mouth and let their steam out in some silent mode or just step back and don’t react. I mean that words can hurt very much and once spoken can’t be taken back even when you apologize or try to clarify your remarks or whatever excuse you want to give for your sudden burst of ignorance (that is what I can call right now). Because your words can cause not only hurt and damage to other people feelings but also hurt your reputation and your loved ones. So my advice is to think before your speak since it does not take much time before you do and if you can’t please don’t show your ignorance and just shut up because people don’t want to hear about your problems and your rants as there will be consequences.

Banks are spooked by Compliance

Really I should know because I use to work in a bank and have gone out to some interviews in banks which have their headquarters in third world countries with questionable compliance issues. It is an issue with all banks but the ones which are under intense scrutiny are the tiny banks on third world countries where the issue of compliance has not been taken seriously previously and are now scrambling to be acceptable to world financial institutions. Every bank that I know of has ramped up their compliance departments and the growth of jobs is increasing there. But the banks of the developing bank have become overly cautious about their hiring process and they ask an absurd amount of knowledge about compliance before even considering hiring you. As you well know there are always officers involved in checking two to three times whether something is in compliance before issuing something and still the lower staff gets blamed for things that should have been stopped by the departmental supervisors.
Although I understand that banks in the past have been lax with their compliance issues but now it seems that the pendulum has sprung to the other side as every decision made has the key feature of compliance in it and if it cannot pass the compliance test than the decision is abandoned. But I want to emphasize here that the past occurrence of loose compliance issues were not done by the rank and file and it was usually done or overlooked by the management as everybody was making money but with the current environment of money laundering and terror financing the main headlines dominating everything, the compliance monster has taken over or I should say consumed the entire banking industry (and other financial institutions as well).

Is Israel helping Egypt in combating Islamic militants?

An American Influential newspaper reported a few weeks ago that Israel has been helping the Egyptian military in its fight against Islamic militancy in the Sinai region. The report said that that Israelis go to extreme lengths to erase any symbol of Jewish state on its plane and drones that bomb the Islamic militants and the Egyptian Government takes pain to hide this help from its people. It was also reported that Israelis are happy to oblige as they feel the Egyptian Military is becoming dependent on them for this fight. And I have not seen any denial of this news report as if it does not exist or it is not worth issuing a denial about. But anyway based on the report if it is untrue then I just read a conspiracy theory which would not have prompted me to write this post. But if it is the truth which nobody wants to know about then it is really troublesome and sad.
I will explain, it is said that Egypt being the most populous Arab country has the supposedly most powerful military but with the above mentioned news, it seems that this is just a bit of propaganda that had been circulating around for if the Egyptian military cannot handle a bunch of militants in their own backyard, how and for what use is the military when it will come to the main task of fighting overseas if ever or supposedly fight their enemy(which is non-officially Israel and also officially Iran-an easy Muslim target). It is a sad state of affairs for the Muslims that they are only good in fighting among themselves and depend on others even for their security while maintaining huge militaries.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies- American Made (2017)-Tom Cruise

True story about an American pilot who becomes a drug runner for the CIA in the 1980s. Okay but predictable. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Big Sick (2017)-Kumail Nanjiani

A romantic comedy about a Pakistani guy and an American girl who fall in love with each other and the ensuing culture clash it creates. Entertaining and fun. Recommended.

Do people censor themselves?

What kind of stupid question am I asking, if you say that they don’t do then you need to think deeper for times that you wanted to say something but held back your thoughts spilling out of your mouth in order not to offend your boss, your spouse, relatives, colleagues, friends, authorities and even when you writing you have to make sure not to offend your core audience or not to write something which is deemed offensive by authorities in various countries around the world. Even when you feel safe in saying something, you don’t want to say it in case it offends someone later on. This becomes a reality when you are investigating some criminal act where the perpetrators don’t want you to go in deep enough to find the real criminals, be it the state sponsored agencies or criminal enterprises. Especially it is really dangerous in the developing countries where the level of corruption is high and the governments want to hide their wrong deeds.
Even I residing in the United States and writing on my blog try to censor myself and don’t write things which may cause me trouble when I travel overseas to certain countries or harm some people inadvertently. Although I hate to do this but self censorship is a reality for me and for millions of other bloggers who have to tread a fine line between what is reportable and what should not be mentioned in the greater good of their fellow human beings. This is the sad reality of which we are all part of.

On the lighter side-Movies- Bad Genius (2017)-Thailand

A poor genius student who makes money by helping her classmates cheat try to cheat in a international exam. Supposedly based on a true story. Exciting and suspenseful movie.  Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)-Taron Egerton

Kingsman discover that they have an affiliate in the U.S. and team up with them to defeat an enemy. Not better than the first but fun nonetheless. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies Amityville: The Awakening (2017)-Jennifer Jason Leigh

A single mother with three children moves into a house which is haunted. I don’t know what happened to all the original ideas but this was an unnecessary remake. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Wind River (2017)-Jeremy Renner

A person with the fish and wildfire service helps in investigating the murder of a Native American woman. Enjoyable and Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Journey to the west: The Demons Strike Back (2016-Hong Kong)

The second time around is not the charm as the monk and his three disciples continue their cartoonish battle with the demons. If you want to continue on with the series, it is okay entry, otherwise not recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The age of Shadows (2016)-Korean

Japanese spies vs. Korean resistance fighters in 1930s South Korea. Exciting action movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Mountain between us (2017)-Idris Elba, Kate Winslet

When a small plane crashes in a snow covered mountain, two people must cooperate with each other in order to survive and find their way back to civilization. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies- Beyond Skyline (2017)-Frank Grillo

A detective tries to stop an alien warship which has taken his son along with other people. Okay sci-fi. Recommended with caution

Open office floor concept

When I use to work in a former place, the management has the fancy idea (well it was fancy at that time) that open floor office is the way to go as there will be more collaboration and the staff would be feel more easy access to the higher management. On paper it all seems good and I had the opportunity to work in such an environment. At last it was weird to work with your colleagues with no barrier and it again became weirder when you see that you departmental head is sitting in front of you and there are no barriers in between. He/she watches your every movement and it makes you feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, you have to set your own boundaries regarding your stuff as with no known boundaries, your stuff can spill over to the other person doing some other job. The biggest complain about this open floor concept is that it is too haphazard and chaotic.
I don’t see any kind of collaboration that was mentioned as being advantageous to this concept as too much noise and constant invasion of your private space distract you from doing your task at hand. Even further if you are checking some documents or are preparing to write a report, there is no privacy or space where you can gather your thoughts to prepare an effective report. I don’t know if the saving of costs that is so much advertised in this concept regarding less office space is worth the resentment that brews underneath all the employees. Maybe it looks good to the senior management since it may or may not show up in their bottom line or hearing from their line managers that it is working fantastically but for the rank and file (and to I at least) it is just another dreamt up concept to generate a few extra dollars and some savings without caring about the input of their employees.

Safety and Security at Schools

Since the Florida shooting there has been increasing emphasis on school safety with the major proposals being arming teachers and to a lesser extent put metal detectors. And with the heighted attention comes increasing threats from so called students on the social media to attack the schools. Thankfully every time a threat of such kind was posted on the social media, somebody alerted the authorities and the threat defused and the people who made the threats arrested or searched to make sure that the threat was not credible. It is good that everybody is now alert to these kind of threats in order to make everybody secure. The President has suggested that even if some teachers were armed, the kid would not have killed so many of his former fellow students and he is all in for arming some percentage of teachers in schools. I don’t know how effective will that be and how it supposed to work. Will the firearms be locked safely away from the eyes of students which in the case of another attack (GOD forbid) will be then useless?
I am not so thrilled about teachers packing heat in class in full view of the students or even hidden somewhere under his/her clothes. Teachers are there to teach not to fight crazy would be killers. But I have read that some states do arm their teachers. Anyway arming the teachers would not help that much as compared to installing metal detectors and hiring off duty or retired cops to police the schools. They should be armed in case of any eventuality. Besides this raising the age to 21 are proposed is not going to do that much good (but it is a start) since people are still getting guns without much background checks. I will come to the top of Guns in the posts in the future.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)-Animated

A ninja tries to defeat an evil enemy who also happens to be his father. Not better than the Lego Batman movie but still fun. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)-Alain Moussi

A martial arts wrongly imprisoned in Thailand has to fight a giant fighter in order to gain his freedom. Typical action movie and a continuation of the series. Recommended for action fans only.

On the lighter side-Movies- Girls Trip (2017)-Regina Hall

Four friends reunite to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to have a fun time. Raunchy and loud movie. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies- Home Again (2017)-Reese Witherspoon

Three guys unexpectedly move into a single mother’s house upending her life. Okay movie, not much else. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hangman (2017)-Al Pacino

A homicide detective teams up with a profiler to hunt down a serial killer. Al Pacino must need that paycheck that is why he had to take any work. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Asura: The city of Madness (2017-Korean)

A corrupt cop juggles between his department’s internal affairs and the city corrupt mayor in this exceedingly violent Korean crime drama. Recommended. With English subtitles.

On the lighter side-Movies-Cars 3 (2017)-Animated

Not the best of the three as lightning Mcqueen decides to take on a new generation of racers to prove his mettle. Not recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Dead Shack (2017)

A group of kids try to stop their neighbor from eating their parents in this horror comedy. Bloody and sometimes gory. Recommended with caution.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

On the lighter side-Movies-Veronica (2017-Spain)

After playing the board game Ouija to try to connect with her dad, a teenager tries to protect herself and her siblings when she summons evil spirit in her apartment. A good horror movie. Recommended. In Spanish with English Subtitles

On the lighter side-Movies-Les Affames (Ravenous) (2017-Canada)

A group of people try to survive a zombie epidemic in rural Canada. A slow burner horror/gore movie. Recommended with caution. In French with English Subtitles

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Staying relevant on the internet

People who are obsessed with the internet try to post as much as possible in order to stay relevant, each and every day. There is no end to it as the mobile revolution has made the constant attention factor a curse or a blessing whichever you want to choose from. If one who does not post at least some relevant material each day, they fear losing their audience and the attention they are craving for. Even in some cases people post several updates each day on their social media sites. And since there are so many social media sites, some people have accounts on all of them and they are obsessively updating it with their pictures, stories but mostly it revolves around them. This is what I called staying relevant on the internet. The whole life revolves around constant updates even until the time they go to sleep.
In this obsession, some of the people have turned to stunts which are clearly dangerous and some have resorted to reckless comments which they have been forced to retract due to intense online participants. Clearly it seems that all is fair in this kind of obsession unless the whole society especially the ones who urges and craves these kinds of behavior put a stop to it. I know that the internet has created this monster with people constantly following the celebrities and in turn the celebrities scrambling to update their status constantly to keep themselves relevant in front of the core fans but this obsession like many other obsessions which people have is very unlikely to be overcome.

Pakistani forces in Saudi Arabia

Despite Pakistan’s parliament decision to not to send troops to Saudi Arabia which Pakistan feared will be sucked into the Yemen Conflict, the government (meaning the powerful Military) decided to send more than 1000 troops under the guise of the 1982 military pact. And when the Senate and the Parliament wanted to get some answers from the government why it bypassed the parliament and under what conditions the troops are there, the government refused to divulge the details of the deployment. So it seems that essentially the military called the shots in this case (as usual) with no regard to the parliament declaration showing that the democracy which Pakistan crying out loud is just a farce and the actual power lies with the military as seen by countless times the foreign dignitaries always paying a visit to the Military headquarters with no permission sought (I believe) from the civilians as they already knows where the ultimate power lies.
But back to the deployment, why is this necessary, as everybody knows well that the Saudis have the best weaponry the money can buy and one of the best equipment armed forces in the world. So the question is why do they need Pakistani forces and in what capacity they are there in the first place. But these questions will never get answered in Pakistan as the Military will never answer why it bypassed the parliament or why did it not get approval from the government (as the report says it was approved by the Prime Minister which was just a camouflaged to show it was approved by the civilians). But even if Pakistani Forces get engaged in the Yemen conflict, would the people of Pakistan know and would they even raise a voice against it? 

The Florida high School Massacre

Recently a deranged and out of mind ex student went on a killing rampage and instead of shooting himself after killing 17 kids, decided to join the escaping exodus and then went to some store before being caught mercifully an hour later. As the news of the suspect trickles in, some major issues have been raised, like how was he able to get a high powered rifle, why was he not flagged even when alerted to authorities, the latest one is why an armed security guard stood outside the building for four minutes out of six minutes why the shooting was happening. How was he able to get into school without getting noticed and also why was he in the school grounds when he was expelled and was not a student there? When we get all the answers, it still would not answer the main question, what triggered him to kill 17 kids without any emotions and regret?
Although this tragic loss of life will never ever be erased, some of the issues which has come forefront is the safety and security of schools and the supremely divisive issue of gun control. Every day there have been demonstrations about the above two mentioned issues which I will deal with later in our other posts. Suffice to say now is that hopefully there will be less instances of school massacres in the future (please note that I am mentioning less instances which means I believe there can be more until there are no guns available anywhere in the U.S. but that is a fantasy for now) but my sincere condolences to all the parents and loved ones who saw the dead bodies of their irreplaceable sons and daughters who were there joy in life tragically taken away at so young an age by a reckless and remorseless individual.

Culture, tradition and religion

People often confuse culture and tradition in country with the religion of that country. Tradition and culture often predates religion and it is hard to get rid of the tradition and culture which is highly entrenched and often comes into clash with the religion and wins sometimes as the tradition and culture somehow envelopes the religion and makes it seems like part of the religion which it is not most of the time. I will give you some examples regarding how it is easy for the outside people to confuse tradition and culture being part of the religion. In Saudi Arabia, it has been a long standing taboo that women cannot drive a car but this was not part of the religion but part of their culture and tradition. They may have tried to convince people that it is part of religion but nowhere in any Islamic country, are women not allowed to drive. Driving a car by a woman driver is not taboo but part of the culture and tradition that is only being enforced in Saudi Arabia and not even in any Arab country.
Another tradition/culture I have read is in Yemen where people are eat Khat which is banned in some countries but legal in some African countries as well as in Yemen, where it huge. Again since it is a stimulant it has nothing to do with any Islamic values as tradition/culture dictates its consumption and since it a stimulant it may be banned in Islam. So does Child marriages, female genital mutilation (FGM), extravagant spending on marriages and so many others that people try to associate with a  certain religion but actually is not as some people try to distort certain verses in the Holy Book to their advantage. It is essential that people read the background of a certain culture and tradition and try to deduce if it is actually related to a certain religion. I know it is lot of work but coming to a conclusion based on little or nonexistent information is worse.