Monday, September 24, 2012

On the lighter side-Movies-Hugo (2011)

Visually stunning and atmospheric and ultimately disappointing movie by the great director Martin Scorsese about an orphan boy working the clocks in Paris and his quest to unlock the mystery of automaton ( a mechanical robot) left by his father (Jude Law). Good classical movie sequences but keeps on dragging on for a while. With Ben kingsley and Sasha baron Cohen. Recommended for a selected few adventurous souls. Not for all tastes (including mine)

On the lighter side-Movies-The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Weird Horror movie (in the start) about a group of people who go for a vacation to an isolated cabin in the woods (hence the name of the movie) and stumble upon a reality TV style show where the contestants are brutally killed one by one for a weird ritual. Picks up pace after a while with a super bloody ending. Recommended for sheer stupidity and gore.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On the lighter side-Movies-The Tall Man (2012) - Jessica Biel

The latest by Jessica Biel in a little known movie about the abductions of little kids in a small town in Washington State by allegedly by an entity called The Tall Man. More suspense/mystery than Horror, it is suspenseful but not to the point that you will go out of the way to watch it. Recommended with reservations.

The Parent Love

Ah the best thing that happens to a person is to be born in a loving family (I will dwell on a traditional Father and Mother, the other ones are for another topic). You cannot see any better place than love of a father and mother for their child, they strive for the betterment of them and do anything within their power to care, provide, protect, support and give them good lives. Only a father wants his son to excel than him and only a mother wants her daughter to be better than her in all aspects. This happens in majority of cases that only a parent takes care to support their children until they graduate from college. And in these economic times and otherwise they continue to support their offspring mostly financially. Not only have that but the offspring of their offspring taken cared of with love and affection since they are their blood. It is hard life to a parent since you have to juggle your love for the kid with the harshness and strictness in order to instill discipline in your kids. And it really becomes doubly harder when there is a single parent either by choice or by divorce, death or other circumstances. The question becomes how you both become a father and a mother at the same time. I cannot emphasize more than what the parents go through to provide for the offspring till they die since I lost my dear and beloved father three years ago and I still miss him dearly every day. The loss of a parent and their love and caring cannot be replaced by anyone and this loss cannot be healed by time or space. So before you start screaming or arguing with your parents, put them in their shoes and see their point, you will understand that everything they do is out of love for you and they don’t want you to make the same mistakes they did when they were your age.

Politicians’ slip ups-5

Although it seems that they are the candid views of the current Presidential candidate or he is just pandering to the far right group of his party. But I believe that the first is true and that he is smart enough to think about it when talking about such sensitive and divisive topics. I am still not sure that it will hurt or help the rest of this campaign but my advice (if it counts) is that to stay away from thorny issues and stop blaming some group and focus on the economy which is the core problem of the struggling Americans instead of talking about an issue which is going on for the last so many decades or divide the people into haves and have nots (remember the have nots or the so called dependents have one vote each too). But it is not the first time that the politicians have this kind of slip of the tongue, you may recall a Politician tweeted himself in a underwear only to see it go viral and had to resign. The politicians are public figures and not ordinary folks whose goof ups are restricted to a few people. The Politicians or anybody who wants to be one have to think twice and rational before utterly words no matter what the audience because you never know who may be hiding some camera (remember they have become very small now) and recording your speech which may spell doom for your nascent or even mature career.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Politicians’ slip ups-4

So even if President Obama wins and nothing is happening so up till 2016, the Mideast conflict will remain un resolved, and if the he gets defeated and the opponent is swept into power, the status quo will still remain until 2016 and if he wins again in 2016, then the issue will get unresolved till 2020. So why are we even pretending to be power brokers since the status quo will remain until 2020 (supposedly and even after that). We are still spending billions of dollars in that area which could and should be spent at home here. Am I being extreme or is the Presidential candidate is right in letting us know that he would let this issue slide by for the next President to spend his energies on with no result. If you take a poll right now, I believe that most of the people will say that lets get out of the Middle east but the voices of the people cannot be heard because of the so called national security interests of the United States, so even if the Presidential candidate seem to be not engaged in that area, we will continue to be engaged and losing or risking American lives with no result in sight. As I have often said before, this Middle East conflict will never get resolved since both the parties (and not only Palestinians as asserted by the U.S. Presidential Candidate) are not serious enough to face up to the extremists factions in their middle who are strictly against any reconciliation of this problem and want to maintain the status quo or go to war to get the results.

Politicians’ slip ups -3

Now why would a candidate for the president write off the 47 percent to concentrate on 53 percent who are not all going to be voting for him is beyond me. A President has to be inclusive and lead the country in a unified manner. Anyway you dice it (and I am sure many will do it in a negative way), can President rely on only 53 percent of the country's voters to pass legislation or fulfill his agenda. Would such a president ignore a disaster in an area who are the so called "47 percent" since they did not vote for him and rush supplies to an area which is the 53 percent so called independent people. Would he be able to kill off all the welfare programs like the unemployment insurance, Medicaid, student loans, mortgage assistance and so many of the programs which we are all dependent on in one way or the other. The above are some of the questions which some hard hitting journalists and voters should ask him and if there is a presidential debate should be on top of any questions before asking other relevant questions. Now the other question that came up in the same fund raising dinner regards to the age old Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Here the same candidate was frank enough to say the truth (and which I have been writing also). To summarize it, he said that it is insoluble because the Palestinians have no desire to have peace with Israel. Before even being elected, he has thrown his towel so that he does not spend time on it.

Politicians’ slip ups-2

Now of all the politicians, now a day’s even if you are old enough to run or in retirement knows that things saying in private do not stay that way with all the gadgetry people have in their possession small enough to record things which are unflattering to say the least. Now back to the words, so the Presidential Candidate things that he has to target only the rest of 53 percent and ignore the 47 percent. Well it is really hard to win with 53 percent since all of them may not vote for him and there may be many democrats and independent that may be turned off by this rhetoric and continuing on this note, are the rest of 53 percent not like a little bit dependent on the government too? For example take the case for the stocks, the capital gain (the price gain between the price you pay and the price you sell) is taxed at a lower rate than actual income tax. What if it starts to suddenly get taxed at the ordinary rate, won't it affect the wealth of the 53 percent. Every body of us is somewhat dependent on the government for the well being and it is wrong to say that only the 47 percent are dependent. Maybe these are the people who make so little that they are already exempted from paying tax. Unless you eliminate this exemption (which will be next to impossible due to compassion or piety) these people will always pay no tax and hence will remain part of the 47 percent.

Politicians’ slip ups

All politicians have from time to time had slip of the tongue which they regret it later on or try to clarify their positions in order to seems sensitive to voters' feelings. It is not just the incumbent politicians but also who are running against them that stumble upon their way to office. Sometimes only apologize are enough that the voters give them a benefit of the doubt and move on. But some goof ups are so big that even clarifying their point of view is not enough and it sticks to the voters mind till the election time. The latest in the long line of goofs up (as I may say it mildly) is the U.S. Presidential candidate, who may have spoken from his heart but now seem insensitive to other people because somebody recorded things which he said it to potential wealth donors. Although I am not a political analyst, just a blogger expressing his opinion, but let us decipher what the candidate said. I did not see the whole secret video but I read about it and can comment on it objectively (if possible) and no I am not a republican or democrat or an independent for the matter. To summarize the first thing he said was that the current President has the support of the 47 percent of the people because those are the 47 percent who depend on the government for their survival and would not want a republican president to come and take away their " benefits" and so he has no chance to have their votes and he will supposedly ignore them in his targeted campaign

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Helpless in the face of nature

Since I drive to work and then take the train, I always pray that the commute is hassle free (I wish) but the only thing that makes me mad is that only a few drops of rain and it seems that everything on the roads and trains comes to a crawl. People drive like than they are pushing a car. I can understand the roads are wet but still, the commute comes to a crawl and same happens with the trains, every time there is a weather problems, the trains develop mechanical or equipment problem. Despite all the advancement that humans have achieved, they are helpless in the face of nature. Humans can become arrogant for a while, but their arrogance gets a jolt and a reality check when bad weather hits them. It is not even the traffic on the ground but also in the air, that the weather wrecks havoc. Flights are cancelled or delayed and airports are sometimes closed. The same thing happens with hurricanes, tornados, twisters, earth quakes, floods, thunder and lightning and many other instances of nature that remind humans that they should behave and show them who really is the boss. We will never be able to face the wraths of nature since it is outside our capacity to predict what the future holds and how to deal with natural calamities if they arrive unexpectedly. So the only thing we can hope for is to prepare for the unexpected as much as possible and pray that things don’t turn out to be worse than our preparation.

On the lighter side-Movies-Tangled (2010-Animated)

Superb animated movie taking on the case of Rapunzel and her long magic hair and her adventures to reunite with her family from the clutches of an evil witch. Sometimes funny but magical and highly recommended for everyone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the lighter side-Movies-Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012-Animated)-Voice of Danny Devito

Hilarious and exciting animated movie about a town where all the trees have died down and how one boy finds the last seed from a secluded person outside the town so that he can plant a real tree to impress his would be girl friend. Beautiful colors and animation. Great movie for both kids and Adults. Highly Recommended.

Monday, September 17, 2012

On the lighter side-Movies-Safe (2012)-Jason Statham

Fast paced action movie about a down and out former cop who is contemplating suicide when he decides to protect a little girl prodigy from the Chinese Triads, Russian Mafia and corrupt Cops from killing her. Good action sequences. Recommended for action fans

Friday, September 14, 2012

The What if? Scenarios

There are so many what if scenarios out there in every field that I am at a loss where to start writing. These scenarios are of courses the choices that people and corporations, countries make which if they had made, the outcome would have been completely different. Take for example, what is the U.S. had lost World War II or what if Pearl Harbor attacks never happened and we would have not entered the war. What if Financial crisis of 2008 never happened never happened, would we still acting paranoia about security and what if Iraq war never happened, would we be better off and spending that amount domestically and being stronger economically. All these choices have either been taken by individual in authority or by circumstances beyond their control. If I start dwelling on each of the what if scenarios, I will be only writing about for the next two there years because even if one thing would have been done a different way, that way would have spawned a new round of what if scenarios. I don’t know I may even starting writing about it someday. But for now as an individual, would I have made a choice now which I may have done differently in the past and the outcome would have been definitely different. Every person on the planet have regrets about doing something which they wish they have not done or done it in a different way But that is what we call life and it presents different choices and you have to choose one of the choices without knowing the outcome, otherwise the world would have become a happy place with everybody satisfied with their choices or maybe not.

On the lighter side-Movies-Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)-Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron

A different variation on the Snow White children's story, this one on the darker side as Snow White is captured by the evil queen (Played Brilliantly by Chalize Theron), escapes and is helped on her way to recapture her kingdom by a huntsman sent out to capture her and the seven dwarfs. Good movie and recommended.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Learn as you go as a parent

No matter how much training you have, you are never fully prepared for being a new parent. Every that the conventional books says gets thrown out and you realize that every day is a new learning experience that the book does not teach or may not apply in your case. Baby crying, diaper change, the waking up at nights to feed your baby, feeding, making sure the baby is comfortable, everything revolves around the baby whether you trying to date, going to parties, your eating, sleeping, going grocery shopping, watching TV and everyday activity revolves around the baby schedule. And then your learning process is like continuing every day and it is twenty four hours with no breaks (unless the baby sleeps). All the books that are out there in the market may generalize this experience but every parent has slightly different experience (apart from crying, diaper change, waking up at nights and feeding). But this learning process is also very rewarding.. Now you have a responsibility and that teaches you valuable lessons regarding your own character and what kind of values you want to teach this new kid. No matter how bad the person is, the parent will never want to pass on to their offspring bad things and always want them to be better than them. It is a lesson you only learn when you are parent and I don’t believe that there is any other way you can learn how to be a good person without being a parent.

Various degrees of successes and failures

Many people have varying degrees of successes and failures during their lifetime. Some go to higher levels of education but still get less pay and there are some who are not that educated but still become wealthy by sheer hard working and some bit of luck. You can also say that about entrepreneurs. There are those who are the pioneers and they become successful and there are those who despite a promising start fail to innovate and stay ahead of the competition and become irrelevant in the process. And although education is a must for everybody, there is no guaranty that you would become rich or successful. Then there are those who copy the original business model and find success better than the original and then there are those who fail to imitate the success of the original and are closed or weeded out by the natural forces of competition. The point I am making here is that not everybody have the same amount of successes and failures and same goes with the corporation’s (which are obviously run by people). Some corporations are highly successful and their competitors also have become either successful or have vanished. It is the way people run their businesses and lives that matter most in the way how their succeed or fail and a little bit of luck as many people still say without acknowledging that fact that it maybe how much harder he or she worked or may it is a matter of luck being at the right place at the right time. Any way you don’t have to ponder about it that much, just try to do your best and feel satisfied about your achievements.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Hunger Games (2012)-Jennifer Lawerence, Josh Hutcherson

Exciting adventure movie about a futuristic American society where 24 contestants are selected to fight to the death until one remains in front of a huge television audience. Although done previously in a Japanese movie, this one will not let you get bored. Recommended

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Different names, same meanings

I was driving one day along the road and saw a garage sale and started wondering the different names people give to one thing which all end up with one meaning. For example, you can call it a garage sale, yard sale, estate sale, flea market, moving sale etc and all have the same meaning to sell mostly used stuff to people. It does not matter if they have a slight variation to the terms since you will find essentially the same stuff in all these places. The same names you have seen people applying in case of snow, which can heavy, flurries, light and also in case of rain which can range from anything from drizzle to light and heavy rain, thunderstorms etc. Although slightly different meanings apply to all these words but it all meanings the same thing with varying degrees of intensity. There are countless other words that are used for the same thing, like movies, films, moving picture, flicks etc and also on opinions, views, analysis, reviews etc. My point here is that no matter how much or how many times you slice or dice or give variation to a word, it all comes out to the same meaning and that is the beauty of the human being and its ability to give different names to the same thing which ends up having almost the same meaning.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Change up (2011)-Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman

Hilarious movie about what happens when the wishes of two completely opposite men- one a high flying married lawyer and the other one a single partying guy to switches places to see what each are missing goes out of control and ultimately leads to valuable lessons for both of them. With Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann. Recommended but with nudity and profanity, not for kids.

On the lighter side-Movies-Death Wish (1974) - Charles Bronson

I liked this movie a lot when I saw it long time ago, an architect's wife is murdered and his daughter brutally assaulted and he goes vigilante and starts killing all the criminals he can find on the streets of New York. The best scenes are the ones about his reaction to the first murder he commits and when he is at the Chicago airport (after voluntarily leaving New York) and helps a lady's gather stuff after it was knocked off by some hoodlum ( I will not spoil the fun here). Highly recommended and good fun for me at least.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the lighter side-Movies-Toy Story 3 (2010-Animated)

Woody (the voice of Tom Hanks) and the gang are back in this fantastic sequel in which they are accidently shipped to a day care center instead of the attic and try their best to come back home. Beautiful story and great animation. A must see and highly recommended for all. Don’t miss

On the lighter side-Movies-chato's land (1972)-Charles Bronson

Charles Bronson stars in this old western as an half apache who accidently kills a sheriff in self defense. The lawmen create a posse to go after him and on their way assaults his Native American wife. Then they go after Charles Bronson in a desert which he knows considerably and takes the posse down one by one. Very good movie and Recommended

The Fanaticism of Sports fans-2

When you look at the sports fans and all the business they generate it seems that there is no recession. Super Bowl, the biggest sports event in the U.S. generates billions of dollars for the host city besides all the telecasting on broadcast TV. Fans gather around one of the friend’s houses and organize parties around it. Snacks, drinks and food are served and it seems that all of America is on a party break. Hardcore fans travel to different cities to watch their favorite football team play and also stimulate the local economy. Even the person who does not understand the game gets caught up in this frenzy. Bets are put on the game and it maybe in the hundreds of millions. The same thing happens with baseball and when the World Series is being played everybody is glued to their TV sets and all the talk is during the playoff and World Series days is how the fans favorite team is doing. And it is not just the U.S. but I believe overseas like in the U.K. and Spain and other countries, soccer (or called football in other countries), fanatic fans go crazy and sometimes resort to violence if their teams either lose or even win. There is no limit to what the hardcore fan will go to celebrate their teams’ victories or follow them wherever they go and this fanaticism does not seem to recede no matter how the economy is doing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Fanaticism of Sports fans

Although the sports seasons last the whole year, there are some which drives the sport fans nuts. Take for example the football fans, they are bunch of fanatics and they love their football teams so much that the biggest event of the year Super bowl, the right to air ads on it reaches millions for a mere 30 second spot. The corporations spends millions just be in front of millions of captive fans and thus they role out their newest ads to attract them. The same goes with the baseball fans, they go crazy when their teams win or lose. Millions and billions of dollars are spent each year on sporting events and it is not just football or baseball, there are the basketball teams who are also in the forefront of sporting events especially their college teams in the March Madness Month. Although betting is not allowed but betting is still done sometimes openly, sometimes quietly among friends, family and colleagues. Then there is Ice Hockey with its Stanley cup finals (although to a lesser extent since you need an arena to play it). And apart from the popular belief that only men follow these games, sometimes there are women who are equally passionate about their teams’ chances of winning. Although not as passionate about sports than their male counterparts but still all the excitement gets to them too and they bet with their families, friends and spouses to win or lose small amounts of money.

On the lighter side-Movies-Friends with Benefits (2011)-Justine Timberlake, Mila kunis

Funny and interesting movie about an executive who befriends a Head hunter and starts a sexual relationship with her with no commitment and ultimately both falls for each other. Good acting by both the actors but very vulgar and obscene. Definitely not for kids. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hereafter (2010)-Matt Damon

Not for all tastes, this movie directed by Clint Eastwood stars three people experiencing death in different ways. The first hour is slow but the last hours picks up pace and it becomes interesting. A different kind of movie by Eastwood. Recommended but definitely for a selected audience.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Mountain of debt

We have reached a milestone, so to speak of having the highest amount of debt in the world (or maybe in the history of the world) and still we keep on ignoring this issue. Here both the political parties are at fault, one trying to reduce taxes and the other trying to raise in order to fund their spending. The say the least $16 Trillion dollars and counting is no small amount even for a country with almost equal amount of GDP. And this is the debt which is visible to us and is talked about most. But what is not talked about it (only in certain quarters) is the huge unfunded liability that we are approaching fast. That is the pensions, social security, Medicare and Medicaid. Who is going to pay for this is anybody's guess. As I have written numerous times in my blog, nobody is ready to speak the truth or take harsh measure to correct this huge problem. But every special interest group is trying to defend their turf and refusing to acknowledge that this mountain of debt is insurmountable unless drastic changes be done to the unfunded portion of the debt. Every politician who is trying to get votes always tend to defend this unfunded liabilities and show the optimistic side of the future for voters who are most likely to vote-the seniors, but what about the young people who are sharing this burden for now and for the future, there is no answer. So we have to see how fast we approach the next trillion dollars in debt.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Adjustment Bureau (2011)-Matt Damon, Emily Blunt

Interesting premise about a political candidate who accidently falls in love with a woman and battles elements of fate to be with her. Good story line and interesting throughout. Recommended

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Waiting for everything

It is not only me but nearly all the people hate to wait their turn but do so grudgingly. Everywhere you go, you have to wait for your turn and it wastes such a lot of time. Take for example going to a doctor, you reach the doctor at the appointed time and most of the time your appointment time has passed before your time comes. Then there is the famous corridor that the cable, utility companies and the like give you that you have to be there at home during those hours. Now you can do your work at home or just wait for the person to show up, but still you cannot do outside chores since you may miss that person and then you are back to square one with making another appointment which may or may not be even the same week or same time corridor or window that is given to you. Then there is the line everybody is familiar with, standing to pay for you stuff at the stuff and it is the most hated line that I can imagine. You have a long line of people and sometimes there are only two cashiers taken your payment and you are just standing there like an idiot waiting for you turn. Then you have to wait in some restaurants to be seated and then for your food. And the most famous of all, you have to wait in traffic to get to a particular place. This is the most frustrating because if you are stuck in traffic, you have nowhere to go but to wait it out unlike other places where you have to option to not wait. All in all we lost a lot of time waiting for everything in our lives.

Restlessness and us

We as human beings are a restless lot. We are always trying to go for perfection, but always fall short of it because we don’t know what perfection means or what the level of perfection is. We are not satisfied with our lives and try different approaches to achieve rest, including using drugs, alternative calming exercises, moving to a different location, try to live a stress free life but no matter what we do, we always feel restless in what we have achieved. We keep on envying other peoples' lives but don’t know if that person is fully at peace with him/herself. As such we are an emotional wreck with increasing number of people going to the doctors to find a cure to be peaceful inside but still it fail to achieve the utmost. Even when we use all kinds of drugs to calm ourselves, those drugs are not enough to calm us. I am as restless as the next person but my symptoms maybe different as the next person and as with that person; I may or may achieve a restful life in this world. The only time you are at rest is when you die, but who knows that it may be part of the next phase of your journey where you may or may not be more restless than on this earth minus all the aid that you have in this world to be at peace.

On the lighter side-Movies-Contraband (2012)-Mark Walhberg, Kate Benkinsale

In this movie, a former smuggler helps his brother in law smuggle some counterfeit money from Panama abroad a vessel. Good story (based on an Icelandic movie) and acting. Interesting throughout. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Drive (2011)- Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman

Ryan Gosling plays a nameless stunt driver who works part time at a car mechanic shop and at time drives a runaway car for robbers. He befriends a quiet woman with a kid (whose husband is serving time in jail) and the trouble starts. At times bloody but very good to watch. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Project X (2012)

Three unpopular high school students throw a birthday party in one of their houses and things quickly get way out of control. A different kind of money with party all night theme. This movie was instrumental in some commotions in some communities due to loud parties. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-Puss in Boots (2012-Animated)

Great animation and story line makes this animated spinoff from Shrek a winner. With voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, this movie sets the cat on an adventure to get the magic beans from a giant duck. Excellent fun for kids and adult. Highly Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-A Thousand Words (2012)-Eddie Murphy

Interesting premise about a literary agent, who is cursed with a tree with a thousand leaves, so that every time he speaks or writes a word, the tree loses one leaf and he will lose his life when all the leaves fall. Typical Eddie Murphy comedy with a unique twist. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Alvin and the Chipmunks: chip wrecked (2011)

Those crazy, singing chipmunks are back, this time getting stranded in an isolated island and trying to come back to sing in a award show. The usual hi jinks, but smartly done with good special effects. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Cars 2 (2011-Animated)

Further adventures of the cute little race car who accepts a challenge to compete in the International Grand Prix with his tow truck friend and gets involved in international intrigue and mystery. Fantastic animation and a delight for all ages. Highly recommended with voices of Michael Caine and Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012-Animated)

Stop motion animation fun movie about a pirate who participates in the Pirate of the year award in London and gets in all sorts of shenanigans with the British royalty and his rivals. Good animation and highly recommended for both children and adults. Voices of Hugh Grant and Salma Hayek.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Muppets (2011)

Those cute little Muppets are back in this musical update starring Jason Segel as the Muppets try to raise 10 million dollars in order to save their studio from being demolished. Good for kids but I had mixed feelings about it since it was not that funny. Recommended with reservations.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Switch (2010)-Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston

Above average movie regarding what happens when a man switches another man's sperm with his for his desperate single female friend. Cute movie with good acting especially by the little kid. Recommended