Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A mechanic and his family finds an injured Optimus prime and fixes it and then had to fight alongside it and his Autobots when government and a bounty hunter from space tries to kill the Autobots in this big budget high octane action and overlong movie. Although I must say it was enjoyable to watch. Recommended
A rouge assassin is killing off military officers and a sniper is tasked with tracking him down and neutralizing him in this long run series. Recommended for only action fans and not even them. Not Recommended generally
Sunday, September 28, 2014
From a poor nation (still relatively poor), India has risen to the number one status in space exploration in Asia by beating such heavy weight nations as China and Japan to successfully reach the Mars orbit. And this is also a feat that it reportedly did with USD 74 million as compared to hundreds of millions for the U.S. Mars space program. And although as I said India is relatively poor as hundreds of millions of Indians live in poverty but despite all this it was able to achieve this feat without much outside help. It is a matter of great pride for the Indians to be able to the number one nation in Asia and have joined the elite club of highly advanced countries who were and are able to send space missions to Mars. This highly successful mission will make India strive to achieve more in space exploration as their ambitious program also includes landing an Indian on the Moon in the next decade or so. Right now I can only say that it is my heartiest congratulations to all the people involved in the Indian Space program and also to all the Indians living in India and abroad that this marvelous achievement has been accomplished. I hope to see more space achievement from India in the future as it is not only a pride for the Indians but also for mankind.
If you have been reading my posts, I may have casually mentioned that I don’t know how to swim but I surely have almost drowned twice to make a stubborn person. Even when my whole family knows how to swim, I am the last person to not know how to swim. I still go to the pool but stay on the three to four feet of water and just stay there while watching other people including my family and small kids enjoy swimming. Most of the vacation trips that we undertake annually involves some sort of water, even when we are in a hotel we make sure that we have to option to have a pool in it so that if by any chance we do take a trip to see things we at least have a pool to come back and relax for a little while. That is how much we enjoy swimming. With this thing always in the back of my mind, I just decided that if I want to enjoy the water parks and pools I need to at least learn to swim even at the beginning level so that I can at least float or even swim in more than five feet of water. I have now started taking beginning swimming lessons at my local YMCA (now just called Y®) and although it has been a rough start but I am getting used to the idea of floating and holding my breath longer than usual in the water. At the end of the program I guess I will need more lessons but I will let you know my progress by that time.
As you know the world is full of refugees mostly running for their lives from wars in their countries or persecution by the majority or economic refugees, but mostly they are just human beings running for a safe and peaceful lives in economically and politically stable countries of the world mostly rich western countries but nowadays any country where their lives are safe. Out of these millions of refugees mostly are Muslims running away mostly from Muslim countries where they don’t consider themselves safe or the circumstances are such that they are unable to earn an honest livelihood. This thing really intrigues me that these Muslims despite living in Muslim lands want to make a better life for themselves in areas where their lives are stable and they feel safe and usually they choose western countries where their culture and religion is entirely different. They risk their lives and their fortune to come to strange lands where they know that they will not be welcome but they still decide to escape their homes. It is intriguing that surveys after surveys in Muslims countries tend to support the imposition of the Islamic laws in their countries but they still want to go towards the west to an alien culture and live under non Islamic laws. There is then a wide disconnect between what the surveys says and what the public really wants. Maybe they want is to just like the west with human rights, freedom of religion and practice and free to earn their living and justice for all. This shows that I guess in the end, all human beings are the same and want the same for themselves and their families and whether they want to live in the west or their own countries. Nobody wants to leave their homes and friends and families and venture to foreign lands but the lure of better and peaceful lives is so overwhelming that the refugees risk it all to gain access to it.
Recently there were hundreds of photos of celebrity which were leaked online by hackers who don’t have anything else to do and apart from the celebrities, nobody it seems were upset by it. I mean I did not see that much anguish on part of the public that it was terrible. Although there were nude pictures of some celebrities that have not shown anything on the screen but it did not make quite the stir in public because by now the public it seems have seen so many of these celebrities in semi nude or nearly nude pictures that it is just becoming routine for them. Although I sympathize with these celebrities being the target of hackers and the violation of their privacy but to me it was bound to happen sooner or later as these celebrities take their nude pictures thinking they will remain private but by now everybody should know that nothing is private on the internet once you expose yourself so blatantly. I am not sure what goes into someone’s mind that they will take their nude pictures or pictures in a compromising position and then expect that it will stay within the confines of their lives. And it is not as if it should come as a surprise as the news of increased hacking of personal data is coming out with breaches of credit cards and other millions in the tens of millions. And if you are any ordinary person nobody will much care about your pictures but if you are celebrities your names and pictures will be splashed all over the internet for the whole world to see. So my advice for all people including celebrities to stop taking their compromising pictures as you never know how and when you will be exposed on the internet. Here I am not siding with the hackers but also blaming the celebrities to be very careful and don’t think that your pictures will not be hacked just because it was a private moment and you took it in the privacy of your home.
This article was long time coming but I got involved in other matters as was the rest of the world involved in the Ukraine crisis, so it was no surprise that the U.S. and other countries kept making Iraq go back to slide while the U.S. was worried about the draw down from Afghanistan and also about Ukraine. And then there was the brief Palestinian or specifically shall I say the Hamas-Israeli conflict that got the world distracted. But Middle East has come to haunt the U.S. again and the headlines are back again focused on Iraq from where it should not have been taken off. I know that I wrote before that the U.S. should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan and Iraq but as a human being I did not see it coming that Middle east is still the most dangerous place in the world and only the U.S. has the power to take care of the situation there somewhat. Now everybody from the opposition to the supporter is blaming someone for messing up the situation in Iraq. There are plenty of voices suggesting that the U.S. messed up by not remaining in Iraq for a few more years and it was their haste that has led to this situation. And what is this situation, it is the rise of the terrorist organization ISIS (or ISIL or IS or DAESH or any other of the names given to this organization). As the situation in Iraq, I will be writing many more articles about the situation in Iraq and also it’s relation to the situation in Syria.
A nurse’s aide pregnant wife is kidnapped and he is tasked with helping the kidnappers’ leader sprung out of hospital and deliver to them before his wife gives birth in this tight French thriller. Short and sweet with no crap thrown in to prolong the movie. Subtitled in English. Recommended
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Hong Kong police goes after a gang of robbers in this super charged cops and robbers movie Hong Kong style with enough explosions and firefights to satisfy every action fan. Recommended
All action war movie about a group of soldiers face all odds to rescue a General's daughter in the Philippines in this standard action movie. Lots of firework and nothing else. Recommended for action fans only.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Count Dracula builds a castle to protect his child from humans but did not count on a human crashing his daughter's birthday party in this hilarious animated movie. Recommended
Another gore fest about a group of friends (what else is new in these movies) who go to abandoned town and raise some killers out of a so called book of dead who go after them for the kill. Nothing new here. Not Recommended
In a wrestling match a professional wrestler kills his opponent and the opponents brother makes a deal with the devil to bring back the dead to kill the wrestler. If you are a fan of yesteryears wrestlers, you will enjoy this movie which has its fun moments. Different and bloody. Recommended with caution
Now this topic will be controversial and if people are reading it will not agree with me hundred percent or even one percent. Some may oppose it entirely but nobody will agree with this article. I was listening to a radio station and a girl was saying that I don’t love you anymore and that was the end of their marriage. Although I understand that you need love in order to stay in marriage but when you have kids or planning to have one, does not that love supersedes the love two people have for each other. I mean you fall in love and then you procreate in order to start a family and then something happens along the way like some falling out due to some mistake from either side, which may sow some seed of distrust and hatred but due to just separate because your needs are not being met while the kids that you have can go to hell for all you care. When you have kids, you have to think first about them and even if you have ups and downs in your marriage life and you feel like you are not in love with your partner, you should think about your kids whom you have moral, social responsibility to take care of and love. Even if you don’t have a child, marriage can survive without love as the marriage institution is not just about love but compromises and respect for each other. It is time that we should stop saying that I don’t love you and the marriage is over because you can discover love in many ways than just saying I love you.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Although it has long been a dormant debate regarding spanking a child, but lately a number of players have been accused of spanking their child and they have been vehemently defending this practice as being disciplinary to their child and they are saying that they are teaching them right thing from wrong. And most of these accused of spanking their child are defending it by also saying that they were disciplined like that with their own parents and they turned out all right. Public debate are now raging with spanking and anti spanking camps going back and forth with their defense or against this practice. There have been also studies that suggest that spanking a child can damage their personality and make them not do well in school and also later in their lives. I am not going to comment on these studies as it is a generalization and not based on individual experiences. My opinion is that a child should never be spanked, there are other ways to discipline a child like taking their favorite thing away but spanking would not do anything as it will create fear and resentment. And if you experiment, you can do a lot by way of love than fear. I have never spanked my child and was not spanked although disciplined in a cool and calm way that I should learn what is right from wrong but that you can do that later in life not like three or four or even nine or ten years of age. Spanking should be against the law but that does not mean that a child should not be disciplined but on the contrary other means of non violence attitude towards a child’s discipline should be used, you will be surprised that how much it will be easier on the child and your own conscience.
Although the referendum is now done and the pro independence movement has been defeated but I am afraid it is not the end of it and as everybody will be analyzing what really happened. It has also inspired other areas where the separatist movement are going on to press for a vote especially in Kashmir in Spain, Italy, Belgium and other places where the ethnic people are being discriminated and people want to have their own area based on their ethnicity. And you can see that even after three hundred years of marriage between Scotland and the U.K., the ethnic identity has been so strong that the idea of being independent takes over the idea of being joined in a union. Although I believe that if one ethnicity is feeling that it is being discriminated against in all aspects of life, it is better to secede than to stay in a forced union. Now it will be test of the United Kingdom to deliver on the promises that it has made to Scottish people in order not to secede with them. If the promises are not fulfilled or partially fulfilled, you never know that in the future another referendum will be done that will not be that favorable to the union. And the separatists who worked hard to get this far will have to worked even harder and tell their supporters and skeptics why they can be viable without remaining in a union and how are they going to run a country which can be utopia on paper but can be hard run without much planning.
On September 18, 2014 Scots went to the polls to decide whether they want to become an independent country or remain part of the United Kingdom (U.K). The result came the next day and it was decidedly No to independence, roughly along 55-45 percent line. It was a sigh of relief not only for the U. K. but also for the European Union and the U.S. The stakes were very high from the start as it would have been catastrophic not only for the U.K. but also for other European countries where there is demand for independence like in Spain, Italy and Belgium. Although saner heads prevailed and the go it alone attitude was defeated but at the cost of more devolution of powers to not only Scotland but also to Wales and Ireland. Although I was on the side of the Scots to become independent but deep down I believe in unity is strength and to be realistic it would be a grave mistake for Scotland to become an independent country. Now that the Scots have rejected to become independent, a collective sigh of relieve in the world financial markets and important world capital have taken place. But in Scotland the pro independent lobby feel at a loss of what have happened after so much campaigning. One thing is for sure that democracy has won even if it produces dangers in one of the most important country of the world. Based on the referendum, people in other countries where the independent movement was brewing may have been disappointed by the outcome of the vote.
Initially Israel wanted to destroy Hamas and its tunnel but later on decided that it is the tunnels they want to destroy. They have been warned that something worse than Hamas may take over Gaza Strip and Israel may have a different kind of violent insurrection at their hands. Anyway my point here is that the response by the Israeli military was disproportionately much higher than Hamas. Hamas only had some rockets and no regular army, while Israel used military jets to destroy whatever infrastructure Hamas had built in Gaza Strip. Hamas was and is no match for Israeli military and that is why they had a higher ratio of killings and injuries and as the war dragged on with civilian casualties mounting, Israel had a second thought and now have agreed to a ceasefire. And Donors have now started to pour in with aid and financial help to rebuild Gaza Strip. Despite all the fight, Hamas knows that it cannot military defeat Israel and Israel knows that Hamas cannot be marginalized. So after all the talk and support for Israel and Palestinians, the ceasefire came about with talks and not with guns. And I am sure some lessons will be learned and some will not and until the next flare up comes, lives will again have to be built and defenses will again be raised. But with the new terrorist threat of the IS (Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria, Israel have to worry much more than Hamas to survive. So it is better to deal with the devil you know than to deal with the devil you don’t know whether you like it or not. It is just a bitter pill to swallow for both sides.
Now after wide scale destruction and thousands of Palestinian dead or injured, where does it all leave Hamas. I mean did Hamas achieve anything. Depending on who you are asking, the answer goes either way. But from my perspective lost a great deal but also may have realized that they are on their own when it comes to the struggle of the Palestinian people and any outside Muslim support is wishful thinking. They are theoretically independent but practically they are still under the Israeli occupation and they may have realized that the countries they thought could depend upon is worried about their own survival and does not want to waste their soldiers on a fight they could not win. Now Hamas will have to devise a new strategy of how to rebuild and start anew and build new alliances because the old ones have been worn out and discarded. Now it would be unfair only to blame one party to the conflict and not the other one Although allegedly it started with the kidnapping of the three teenagers as mentioned earlier but the response of Israel was at best too overwhelming. While it is true that Hamas kept on sending rockets into Israel, it is also a fact that Hamas was no match for the far superior fire power of the Israeli military and they suffered disproportionately also. Given the fact that Israel suffered casualties in the low two figures digits as compared to Hamas four digits, it really did seems that Israel was out to finish Hamas once and for all.
Am I being too harsh on Palestinians (Hamas). You bet I am, I am using Hamas instead of Palestinian because the other side of political divided government the west bank has another government who are opposed to Hamas and the conflict was not with them. But here again, Hamas knows that it cannot fight militarily with Israel (unless it has some miraculous help which is lacking) but they still choose to fight to end the blockade of their territories by Israel, but in the process Hamas was not expecting this kind of massive Israeli response because they thought erroneously that Israel will not defy the world opinion and kill so many Palestinians. But they were wrong and despite massive demonstrations in support of Palestinians overwhelmingly in western countries, Israel did not stop the bombardment until massive amount of loss and the futility of the fight dawned on both the parties. Hamas thought that by taking on Israel, they will be able to count on the support of the Muslims around the world and especially the Arabs, but they were wrong. They had already lost the support of the Egyptian government whose previous leader was sympathetic to their cause but with the change in government and other world realities no Arab nation despite massive wealth came to their rescue and even some wealthy Arab nations secretly or not so secretly cheered the destruction of Hamas from afar. There were few condemnations but that was about it. No material support was provided and even some people condemned Hamas for their refusal to accept several peace offers put on the table.
Now that the conflict between Hamas and the Israel has taken a breather, meaning an indefinite (?) ceasefire, we need to take stock of what has happened. This was going to blow up at one time but it started with the abduction of three Jewish teenagers who were supposedly hiking in some area of Israel and were subsequently found to be killed. Israel started to blame Hamas for the abduction and the killing of the teenagers which they denied initially (now they have admitted that they were indeed behind the abductions). But this admission came about after Israel had already bombarded Gaza strip where Hamas has been ruling for long time. I know that after a while it becomes frustrating to be rather confined to a small area of land which one side feels is like under occupation but why would you want to fight a nation when you know that they will come after you no matter what the cost. Why would Hamas destroy a perfect area where they have been ruling and where they have supposedly (I have not seen it that is why I am writing supposedly here) tunnels where they smuggle goods to their areas and earn handsome amount of revenue to feed their people. Whatever or whoever prompted them to take this risk has taken the lives of thousands of Palestinians and destroy whatever little infrastructure they have built during their so called “peacetime” activity. I rarely saw any Palestinian support from the west bank side of the Palestinian government and it seems that they were going about their daily lives.
I was reading through a news piece regarding some guy who had a hard time finding job even while sending out the resumes but one day he decided to take one word out of his first name and just become an Americanized name and he started to get lots of job offers. Even in this day and age, employers’ still judge people by their names really disgusted me. I can understand the mentally behind “birds of a feather flock together” but we are all Americans here and we don’t need to be labeled by our race or nationality to be assimilated into the work force. Every individual is unique and may have their work ethics. There is no correlation between a race and how they will work in the future. There can be equally lazy white people and lazy colored people and you cannot judge someone especially immigrants that they will not be productive in the work force just by their name. Nowadays when people are sending resume through the internet I guess it is more easily to reject somebody outright based on their names and even where they have had experience. But to outright dismiss someone who does not have an Anglo-Saxon sounding name just because they may not have the same work ethics or cultural straits is outright ignorance and stupidity. I had been reading this a long time but I thought that it does not happen that much as employers are smarter than that but with more research coming out regarding this, I am starting to suspect that it may be the case for me too. But it is really a shame that just because somebody is an immigrant, he/she may not have the opportunity to show their work ethics and skills just because some employer thinks that they are less productive and reliable than a so called American sounding name person would be.
If you have been following international news, you may have comes across the news about the devastating floods that are hitting Pakistan and India lately. Millions of acres of fertile land and countless people have become homeless due to these monsoon floods that have become a regular feature for the last few years. And yet despite the frequency of these floods, very little effort is being taken to take at least precautionary measures. If you have seen floods in Europe, the U.S. and other advance countries you may have noticed that in the face of relentless downpours, even advanced countries infrastructure cannot cope with it what to talk about the ones in poor countries like Pakistan and India. But at least the rich countries can cope with these disasters by the sheer amount of money and by the existing infrastructure which is in time able to handle these disasters. As I said before even floods will have a devastating effect on advanced countries but particularly the poor countries are very vulnerable to these floods. As global warming (or whatever you want to call it) increase, these weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable but the poor countries already short of funds are bent on having a reactionary attitudes towards it and are slow to respond. They are more inclined to be in a survival mode than be preventive and as these floods become more frequent in the future, more devastation will be done to poor countries infrastructure and people and more misery will fall upon these countries unless these countries take preventive flooding measures seriously and educate their citizens and improve their responses to this yearly occurrences.
Friday, September 19, 2014
There is a new phenomenon going around and it is called selfie. Literally meaning taking pictures or images of yourselves. This is risen due to the cell phone revolution where every cell phone comes with a camera and people who want to capture every moment of themselves, try to take pictures by one hand even if nobody is there to take their perfect picture. Selfies does not have been professionally taken (although some are stunning enough that you start to doubt if they are really selfies). I don’t know why but I may have taken only one or two selfies. I am loathing taking one but maybe it can change in the future. For now I am on a self imposed ban on selfies. For now I enjoy (?) indulging in watching other people's selfies and some are really way out there. If you are on social media, you will come across tons of selfies, some very good and some not very flattering to take. Some of the selfies are so gross and vulgar that I wonder if people are sober when they take it and put it on social media as it come back to haunt them in relation to job, marriage and other judgment matters. But it is fun to watch these selfies and learn lessons from them of what to take and when to take one selfie. But not all selfies are bad as you can take your selfie on the backdrop of some scenery which can be a memory later on in life to share with your kids and grandkids. Overall I am not against selfies if done tastefully and if used for memories usually the good ones but even if you have done a bad self, please don’t upload it on social media as it will remain there forever and it can go either way in your favor.
Two recovering cancer people meet a cancer survivor group and fall in love in this heartwarming and highly satisfying movie with excellent acting by all involved. Highly recommended and a must see.
Another horror movie with blood and gore flowing like water. A mentally unbalanced war veteran is living in an abandoned hospital, when a group of friends decides to have their simulated war games in it. Naturally the villain does not like it and soon he is at work using work tools and clothes to kill people in bloody ways. You may have seen it all before in several movies based on similar theme. Not recommended
Horror movie from Norway about a group of friends who take a hike in a forest and are hunted down by three people. Although it has been done before but check this one out from Europe as it has more blood and gore. Subtitled but recommended with caution.
A reboot of the movies previously popularized by Japan and other American producers. This time, due to human mistakes giant creatures emerge from earth to wreck havoc in the U.S. with Godzilla coming to the rescue after a slow start. Much talk and less action but passable. Recommended with caution
Saturday, September 13, 2014
On the lighter side-Movies-Captain America: The winter soldier (2014)-Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
Captain America tries to adjust his life in the modern world while trying to battle a nemesis from his previous life in this exciting sequel. Lots of action and drama. Highly recommended.
A washed up U.S. soldier goes after drug dealers in Brazil when his sister nearly ends up dead in this standard action material. Not recommended
A general manager of an American Football team has a chance of a lifetime to pick the number one pick of the players in this interesting sports movie. Although it is about American Football and you may not be that much interested or don’t know what is going on, but despite this, it is a very enjoyable movie. Recommended
Almost scene by scene remake of the French movie District 13, which is much better where an undercover cop infiltrates a district in order to take down a crime lord plot to destroy the city. Better watch the French version. Not recommended
Two survivors of a bus crash wake up to find they are alone in a town and race to find out what has happened to the inhabitants and their town in this science fiction/thriller/mystery movie which will really need your attention to see what is going on. Recommended with caution.
In the futurist Japan, the government is trying to control the DNA of it citizens. The inventor of the DNA system is murdered and the suspicion falls on one of the members of this team in this complex but exiting Science fiction thriller. Recommended
Hong Kong version of Towering inferno and Backdraft as one of the hottest days in Hong Kong sparks fire in a high rise building bringing in the heroic efforts of Hong Kong fighters. Recommended for curiosity sake.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Obviously it seems a lot since people invest a lot of time in choosing one's name whether it is their child or a business. But to be fair there are some parents who in the spur of the moment decide to name a kid without thinking about the consequences it can have on a child's life later on when he/she goes to school or college or interact on a daily basis with other human beings. I was also surprised to read that there are some countries even the advanced ones that have a list of names from which the prospective parents are not allowed to name their kids from. Same thing happens when you name your kids such a difficult or hard to spell or pronounce a name that the original meaning or pronunciation gets distorted or make fun of and that name calling by other members of public becomes the original. The same goes for when you have to name a business or a brand because you want people to attach themselves to that brand name. A wrong brand name or the one which does not reflect appropriately the attachment to what that product or the business is indulging in can have a very negative effect on the revenues of the business or even let the brand or business fail as the time and money spent on promoting that brand or business can go to waste. So it is really important that whatever you are trying to achieve initially in life think very hard and carefully before naming something or someone as it will have a positive or negative effect for generations to come.
Are you the easily influenced or are you the one who influences people? This question you can ask anybody and they will say that they are mostly the influencers but they may not realize that they are also influenced in many ways throughout their lives. From the day you are born you are influenced not only by your parents (well mostly) but by your aunts, uncles, grandparents and when you reach school, you are influenced by your teachers and your friends. You develop some habits which you have acquired from your friends or you copy what your parents do every day in their lives since they are the people with whom you spend most of the time. When you grow up you are at the same time being influenced but also you have an impact on other people who may be younger than you to influence their behavior, like you can be uncle or aunt to your nieces or nephews or a big sister or a big brother and you try influence your younger lot to behave or follow their steps good or bad. When you get a job, you are the ones who are influenced by your bosses and maybe one of the colleagues is assigned to you to mentor or teach you the ways of the business. In this case the first job you have a major influence on the rest of your work life as you learn how to interact among your co workers and clients of the business. No matter who you are and what you have become in life, at one point in life you have been either been influenced by others or influenced others with your behavior.
After a disastrous blind date, two people inadvertently get together with their kids in South African resort and their love blossom in this good Adam Sandler comedy movie which is a refreshing start from all the disastrous movies that he has started lately. Recommended
This is one of those rare Vietnamese movies that I have come across as four martial arts women run an isolated restaurant where they lure travelers and kill them for their money. Although the girls are pretty but the martial arts is routine. A good effort by Vietnam in the martial arts entry genre. Recommended for curiosity sake.
A group of inept robbers fleeing the police after robbing a store in broad daylight run into a village full of witches in this crazy horror comedy movie from Spain. Recommended for sheer craziness.