Monday, December 26, 2016
As has been usual for the last so many years, black Friday deals came with a lot of discounts and fanfare. It had started to get advertised for almost about a month and every kind of retailer jumped in, even the car dealers for many of the people is the second biggest purchase after their house. But when I started to think a little bit more, it became impossible to see any Black Friday deals on any of the houses for sale advertised, not a single one. I know the house is the biggest purchase and investment a person would be doing in their entire life and the sellers don’t want to throw away that investment at a fire sale but when a house have been on the market for a long time or when the seller desperately wants to sell their house for whatever reason, a black Friday deal once a year is not a bad option at all. As for you, you are right that I would not do the same if I were in the home seller’s shoes but when the house is not being sold for what you think is worth based on the sentimental value stuck in your head, it is better to reduce the amount and give it a gimmick sale like on Black Friday steal deal so that you can attract more buyers and maybe sell the house for a few thousand dollars less rather than waiting for the right kind of buyer and in the meantime incurring more maintenance and maybe another month of mortgage to your expenses
Excellent live action movie of the same animated movie in which a boy raised by wolves defends himself against a vengeful tiger. Highly recommended
An ex Federal agent must defend his family when they are wrongly targeted by criminals. Usual action with plenty of bodies piled up. Okay movie. Not Recommended
Saturday, December 24, 2016
After holding the symbolic town of Aleppo, Syria for almost four years, the Syrian rebels under relentless Syria and Russian backed forced under a deal decided to surrender the town and escape to other more favorable towns. It was a very public and humiliating defeat for the Syrian rebels which instead of blaming the west should blame them to not uniting as one force to face the onslaught. You can write tons of material of what was the reasons behind it from every point of view but the West were only half hearted interested in supporting the Syrian rebels and it was up to the Saudis and rich Arab kingdom to support the rebels with financial and material support but not the forces needed to hold on to the town. When the Arab spring started, there was much fanfare to dislodge the last regime standing in the way of the west and other Sunni Arab states but after the Islamic state and other terrorists organizations join in the rebellion of the Syrian government and with no clear leadership, the failure of the rebel movement was bound to come. On top of it, the failure of the toppling of the governments in Iraq and Libya where there is a big presence of Islamic jihadists gave pause to the west and make them think that only a strong man would be able to restore some kind of peace in Syria. And with no one leader strong enough to unite the rebels and with every country remotely interested in Syria having their own agenda to pursue, the rebels did not have a chance to hold on to Aleppo. Stay tuned for more coverage on Syria.
I have been living in the northeast U.S for almost 25 years and have gotten used to all kinds of traffic and dense population and other assortments of things that come with living near the biggest city of the Country. Although one of my friends who lives in the West coast keeps on saying why I am staying on the East coast when good jobs are available in the West coast, I have until now turned his offer to move to the west coast. I know that it is hard to just leave your job and sell your house to start afresh but there are other factors in place where I live. I love the four seasons of weather that I can enjoy which is not available on the west coast. I love to be able to drive six hours and reach the international border with Canada and go to the largest National land park in upstate New York. Europe is just six hours away by flight and also I can drive to the Nation’s Capital and the Caribbean faster than if I were living on the west coast. Although my favorite vacation destination Hawaii is eleven hours away from New York as compared to six or so hours from California but the advantages of living in New York outweighs the disadvantage of not living here. Although I am sure everybody has their reason of where there are staying but barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan to stay in the Northeast part of the U.S. for the foreseeable future.
A sheriff and his posse try to rescue hostages taken by cannibals in this sometimes gory western. Recommended with caution
Due to the uncertain economic and violent times, there has been a growing rise of nationalism around the world. I have no problem with nationalism. In fact it is a good thing to be patriotic to their own countries but when the Nationalism descends into White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or any other racist Nationalism and descends into violence just to prove your point then it is downright dangerous and evil. And this is what has been happening lately due to the fact that most of the Nationalism is being done by countries where the people are majority white and they are not use to people of different races amongst their midst and so their kind of Nationalism is being manifested in violence to try to make them feel superior to the downtrodden and desperate people. I believe that this kind of Nationalism was always there but it was suppressed because there was no cause to exhibit it against their fellow citizen. But with the relentless migration that is happening in Europe for economic or war reasons, this kind of nationalism is reared its ugly head and it can threatens the economies of these countries since the Tourism industry will also be affected by the wave of deliberate violence against migrants who may or not be citizens of countries come there for tourism. If only this kind of nationalism can be channeled to something positive that is good for their country and economy then Nationalism would not have such a bad reputation and fear. And I am talking about every Kind of Nationalism that instills fears in the heart of migrants legal or illegal.
As everybody knows hate crimes are on the rise and not only against Muslims but Jews and other religious minorities as well after the U.S. election. But in Europeans countries due to the uncontrollable immigration by Muslim refugees due to war and poverty, there has been a greater backlash against them. But every time there has been attack the most the attacker during or after the attack says “Go back to your country”. Now what does it mean by that? First some of the victims are born in the U.S. and other countries and the U.S. is as much as their country as anybody else. Second do the white people really belong to the U.S. as everybody in the U.S. is an immigrant in one way or the other? People should believe in the fact that U.S. is an immigrant country but some people want to believe that it is not and that is why they are lashing out at immigrants. I do recognize tghat it is hard time to be stressful as some of the bad apple in the immigrants has carried out some heinous acts of terrorism but the overwhelming of the majority of immigrants are hard working and peaceful people. Now what would you say to a white person who acts violently, would you say go back to your country? I am not saying all people are bad; it is sometimes the frustration of not being helpless in the face of uncertain violent and economic times that some of the people are lashing out at people who don’t look similar to them. I urge everybody to be tolerant of other people as we the people need to be united in the face of growing bigotry and religious and racial intolerance.
As everybody knows the traumatic effects of September 11, 2001 when the U.S. was attacked by the so called Islamic terrorists has put a deep impact in the psyche of the People present at that time at the site and other people around the world. I still remember that time when I was working at an office in midtown Manhattan when the first plane we saw on the television which we thought was an accident but when the second plane crashed then the rumors really started to fly and we left our office as it became clear that the U.S. was under a terrorist attack. Downtown Manhattan became a ghost town as people shunned that area and drove as far away as possible from the scene of that devastation. At that time, it was feared that the traumatic experience of that time will never fade away from people’s memories and it will be very hard for downtown Manhattan to ever have the same kind of population as it had before the attacks. But after long delays, downtown Manhattan is the place to go as the population of the area has exceeded beyond the one it had before. With the addition of the giant shopping mall in the transportation hub with top luxury brands and new high rises coming up, it can be said that the area has transformed itself to a place where it is must have place to visit for tourists and locals alike. The new world trade center tower with its many top shops and eateries is the place you have enjoy your weekend and every weekend all year round with activities being happened amid top level security. I encourage everybody who plans to visit New York not to miss this part of Manhattan as you will be surprised that how vibrant this part has become.
Friday, December 23, 2016
It seems like we were the only one there to view the summit and after staying there for a few minutes, we took the next tram ride down to the foot of the mountain. After getting out of the tram, I went to fetch the car and then we went back to the hotel to relax. The weather was great as it was not that cold that you could not stay outside for a while. At night we ordered a pizza and the next morning we again went to the restaurant to avail our breakfast vouchers. At the restaurant, there were hardly any people since it was Monday morning and most of the weekend people had already left. After eating our breakfast, we walked around and I took another cup of the hot chocolate. It was snowing off and on but it was not that cold. After checking out of the hotel, we started to drive back to our destination to New Jersey. On the way back, the scenery was breathtaking with very few cars in front or back of us and with frozen lakes on our sides, it was gorgeous to see the mountains and also feel the peace and tranquility of the area. But as somebody said, good times come to an end rather quickly and reality has to set in. But vacation is a vacation even if it is for a three day weekend. As we approached our destination, the traffic jolted us to reality and then we realized that how much you should cherish every moment of vacation that you get.
My wife really snagged a good black Friday deal for a suite as we had a whole room and a small room attached with it, suite that is. After a good night rest, we woke up to go the attached restaurant for which we had two days worth of vouchers with us from the hotel to enjoy our breakfast. When we went there, it was a mad house as it was Sunday and people were there with their families and the restaurant was full. Our breakfast took a long time to complete and then we ventured out in the street in the cold weather to do some shopping and sightseeing. We drank a most delicious hot chocolate from a local store and bought some local chocolates and then decided to head to the nearby whiteface mountain in the town of Wilmington, almost thirteen miles from our hotel. When we reached there the parking lot was full of cars and the weather was gorgeous (meaning cold), there was water flowing in the west branch of the Ausable River running below the bridge connecting the parking lot to the mountain area. When I saw the gondolas rising to reach the summit of the whiteface mountain, I said I was not going to go on it and I told my family so too. Most the people were there to enjoy skiing and we had to go to the top of the mountain. There were two peaks of the mountain one was at 3676 feet and the other to the top of the mountain at above 4000 feet. Reluctantly I decided to join my family in the ride up to the mountain but I dared not looked down to see how high I was and in about 10 minutes or less (any minute was too much for me anyway) we reached the summit and the view from the top was breathtaking and most of the people were there for skiing purposes of every age.
If you have been reading my posts, a few years ago, I wrote about going to Lake Placid, New York and I really missed that place. After a hiatus of one year or more, we again decided to venture to Lake Placid but at a colder time (which is just fine with me). I would rather travel five hours or so to Lake Placid then to travel half an hour to my office with traffic nightmares. It is so tranquil a drive to Lake Placid that I would do it again if I can. Anyway traveling to Lake Placid was my idea as my wife hates the cold weather but I love it. It was definitely cold there as compared to New Jersey and that is why it was perfect for me. As we drove towards Lake Placid, we started to see remnants of snow on the mountains but this time instead of going straight to it, we lost one exit and had to take the inner roads to reach our destination. And inner roads in winter months in upstate New York Adirondack mountains area are really lonely, with few cars in front or the back of us. Anyway by the time, we reached lake Placid; we could feel the chill and coldness of the area. Once reaching our room in the same hotel that we stayed before, we went to our room and lit the fireplace and I saw how Lake Mirror across our room was frozen and the scenery was breathtaking. The temperature was also breathtaking as it starting diving until it reached 1 degree Fahrenheit, perfect for me but miserable for my family. I was in cold heaven and I went to the balcony to breathe the cold air but could stand only for a few minutes and then I ran inside in the comfort of the fireplace lit room.
A widower hires seven gunslingers to defend her poor village against a murderous land baron. Exciting western with a great cast. Recommended
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Interesting movie about a boy who discovers a house of children who have special powers and must fend themselves off against evil monsters. Recommended
A New York heiress wants to become an opera star despite having a terrible voice. Funny and with great acting by all. Recommended
A group of dangerous criminals are recruited by a government agency to save the world. Funny and action. Recommended
Bridget Jones is back after several years, this time becoming pregnant and unsure of whom the father of the baby is. Okay time killer, if you want to complete the series, you can watch. Recommended with caution
Sunday, December 4, 2016
The recent attacks on Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq by ISIS shows that the organization is far from being defeated and the hatred ideology that it pursues still attracts a lot of people who know nothing about Islam but uses its name to confuse people and damage the religion. And the most hatred that ISIS has in store is for Shiite people and not the so called non Muslims that the claim to hate. Shiites have been carrying the brunt of attacks but the so called Muslim Ummah (where the Muslims claim to be one nation) is really a sham since you cannot even go to one Islamic country from another without obtaining visas, have been really quiet about these attacks since they in their infinite wisdom think that Shiites are infidels and deserve to die. It is only the Shiite have been in mourning about these attacks and on one else. Although I may have my differences about the U.S. President Elect but I sure hope that he keeps his promise to bomb ISIS out of existence as he has said in his election campaign. The so called Muslim nations have been either quiet about ISIS or are supportive about them since the only thing the so called Muslims have been good at lately is terrorize people all across the globe in the name of religion which they don’t even know or claim to practice. I am really disgusted by all the bloodshed in the name of Islam that these so called Muslims are perpetuating and the complete silence of the majority of the Muslims and their so called foundations. I will write about this more in my later posts as this is not the end of the attacks on all freedom loving people.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Lately I have been reading a disturbing trend of targeting law enforcement officers who have been targeted just because they have been wearing a uniform while performing their duties. I know that there is a pent up anger at law enforcement due to some confrontation between minorities and Police resulting in the unfortunate death of civilians. Furthermore even after the investigations most of the Police officers have been absolved of any wrong doing. But instead of taking out the anger at the Police officers who have been involved in shootings, the people have taken law in their own hands and start targeting police officers who have nothing to do with the Police officers involved in police shootings with civilians. There is absolutely no justification in targeting Police officers who are just doing their duty when they receive a call to address some legal issues or enforcing laws which they are bound to uphold. What are the people targeting law enforcement trying to prove? Even after targeting the Police, these same people will call the Police in case of accidents, domestic disturbance, robbery, home invasion and other numerous issues in which laws are involved. And at a time when the relations between law enforcement and the civilians are at a very low level, these kinds of attacks are not helping in bridging the gap between them. In fact it will make the Police more paranoid about approaching anybody with suspicion and crime rate may in fact increase and not decrease. So everybody should make a collective effort to make sure that the attacks on Police should stop since Police are the same people living in our communities.
Although I have been following the news regarding the soaring homicide rate in Chicago but even for the city it was bad news that the murder rate has gone up considerably since the year 2015. While Chicago is the third biggest city in the U.S. their homicide rate is higher than both Los Angeles and New York per capita wise.In fact right now the homicide rate is more than 700 which is more than the combined murder rate of New York and Los Angeles whose total population is 4 times more than Chicago. I cannot even think that a city with less population than New York and Los Angeles cannot control its homicide rate. Even factoring in illegal arms (which are also available in New York and Los Angeles), Chicago should not be experiencing this kind of mayhem in its neighborhoods. Is it really relaxed nature of the law enforcement or some other factor contributing to the soaring homicides rates, it is hard to understand. Why can’t Chicago learn from New York, where the homicide rate has considerably gone down and with aggressive policing and other efforts the homicide rate more or less has been stable for a few years. I believe that Chicago can and must do whatever it can to reduce its murder rate and get help from New York City law enforcement and other federal agencies to stop this painful blemish on the lives of Chicago Citizens.
Friday, December 2, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
A young boy has to find a suit of armor in order to defeat his enemies. I enjoyed it. Recommended
The Mechanic is back in this action packed movie in which he has to rescue his love who has been kidnapped by his enemy. Recommended
Two brothers rob banks in Texas in order to save their ranch. Highly enjoyable. Recommended
Based on a true story about two guys who go head over heels when they are awarded a pentagon contract to arm allies in Afghanistan. Interesting and enjoyable movie. Recommended
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I hate traffic and I am sure lots of people do that but it becomes very frustrating that when you leave early from your house by car, you see that you are not the only one but there are thousands other driving at the same time. And no matter how early I try to leave for my office I am already stuck in traffic. The reasons can be slow drivers, some accident in a far off road which chokes the traffic way back, some construction going on that block some parts of the road or a car or a bus may have broken down. There can be some instances where certain heavy vehicles are not allowed to enter but they do enter and lo and behold the traffic comes to a standstill. I love to drive and I drive to the office every day but that is not the only form of transportation that I use. I have to be at a parking lot near the train station that takes me to New York and from there I walk to my office. As I said that I love to drive but I would rather drive for hours on a desolate road then to endure 15 minutes of horrendous traffic and even when I reach my destination station, I don’t know if the trains will be on time or there are some issues with the train schedule. It just seems to me that every day there are more and more cars on the same road that you have to share and it is just started to get on my nerves as traffic is getting worse and worse every day. I don’t see any hope for traffic to become smoother since it is the same time people have to reach their workplace that I have to reach and every mode of transportation has its own set of what if problems that may crop up on you. I just wish I would start working from home rather than drive myself crazy and waste a lot of my time stuck in traffic being very unproductive.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
With the rise of the Republican to the Presidency of the U.S. there will be growing demand on the European countries to increase their defense budget. I may disagree on many things that the new U.S. administration may be implementing but I believe on this one I agree with them that Europe should not completely rely on the United States to complete foot their defense bill also. European governments have enjoyed a relative prosperity by outsourcing their defense budgets to the U.S. by not spending enough but it is their responsibility also to see that their countries are adequately protected by sharing in the burden of defense. The European Union is big enough that they can spend enough money to spend on defense equipment and prepare their population to chip in with the money. I know the U.S. will continue to provide defense on the larger scale but the majority of their defense funds would have to come from within Europe. With the threat of major terrorists attacks rising in Europe than in the U.S., Europeans would be forced to spend more money on defense since the U.S. cannot be everywhere and Europe being always suspicious of U.S. spying on their citizens would have to get their own home grown defense in order to meet the rising challenges of attacks. Europe is more vulnerable since their society is more geared towards privacy of their citizens and suspicious of other countries has led them to not share intelligence on continent wide scale. The U.S. should send a clear message to Europe that if they want the U.S. to help them in their defense, Europeans would have to open their wallets wider.
But can the President-Elect do the impossible and bring hopes to millions of white Americans who have been left out by the waves of globalization and somewhat unfair competition from foreign companies who can get far more profit while not playing by the rules. By rules I mean giving fair wages (read: First world wages) and taking care of the environment while manufacturing goods. I don’t think he would be able to achieve much of what he was preaching because it is not a simple matter of black and white. Many things come into play including the fact that the wages for third world countries would not go up meaning goods will be produce cheaply overseas and in the course of manufacturing the poor countries would look the other way when it comes to environmental and human rights. And it is also the fault of the developed world manufacturers who are ever in search for the cheapest location in terms of raw materials and labor and almost nonexistent regulations that is also contributing to the job losses that we witness in the U.S. The silent majority who could not say things because it was deemed to be politically incorrect found a voice in a person who spoke what the common people dare not to speak in public for fear of offending the sensitivities of people around them. So the great expectations that the President-Elect has spawned will have to translate into actions but with so many competing interests involved in the promises that he has made, I don’t see how he will be able to please everybody who has voted for him. So folks prepare yourself for a bumpy ride for the next four years.
Super raunchy animated movie about a sausage who tries to discover what is beyond the supermarket doors. Absolutely not for the kids. Recommended with caution
Sunday, November 13, 2016
As I keep on reading what went so radical that with all the pollster and other predictions, Republican won the elections, you have to see no look further than what has happened to the U.S. heartland where the jobs are slowly evaporating to globalization and decent and well paying middle class manufacturing jobs where people were so proud of working their lives and their offspring use to follow them have all but evaporated. The jobs that are coming by are usually the service sector which does not pay as much and the skills you have already acquired all these years does not count as much. This is the kind of folks that are suffering and although they do sympathize with the refugees and other people fleeing war and poverty, it is their own survival that they are concentrated upon and want the government to do the same. These are the white folks who in the rural and dying towns of the Midwest are the angry people who may have not voted in the past so many elections saw in Republican party their supposedly salvation that somehow the new President would stop this job bleeding and bring back jobs. These people don’t want job training at this time of their age but want to work in manufacturing plants where they be proud of their work and raise families. The bar for this new President has been set so high that anything else will be disastrous to the Republican Party. The voters are concerned about their jobs, illegal (and somewhat legal immigration) is the crux of how people have voted in this election.
As the protest continue against the President(elect) which I don’t get it as they are just registering their protect as it is now too late to invalidate the election, some of the people say that they will move to Canada rather than stay in a country whose new President they don’t like. Now this part I fail to comprehend. Why is that every time a new election happens, people who feel a certain way about a candidate say it out loud that they will move to Canada if the election is not to their liking. I don’t hear anybody saying that they will move to the U.S. if election in Canada is not to their liking. I can understand it is a great country with top notch cities but moving to Canada would harm the U.S. in any way or it will help invalidate the election. You choose to live in a democracy and only one candidate wins whether that candidate you like it or not. It is the majority rule democracy not individual rule democracy. If people feel so strongly about leaving the U.S. then it is their right to do so but don’t make it an excuse that if your candidate did not win, you are leaving. It is like every time you fight with your partner or spouse, you don’t right away quit and even in your job, if you don’t like certain days going your way, you don’t just leave without another job lined up or having some plan in place. So NO, moving to Canada is not an option and you should fight what you believe in by working in the system. Let’s see what happens during the next four years and if you don’t want to see then immigrate.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
A billionaire finds himself as a cat and gets adopted by his own family. Great actors, average movie. Not Recommended
Further adventures of the USS Enterprises who in their far off journey encounter an enemy that endangers their lives. Recommended
Three overworked moms decide to ditch their responsibilities to have some fun. Funny and raunchy movie. Recommended
The U.S. has now a new President (elect) and against popular opinion it was not the Democratic nominee who won but the Republican One. Congratulations on a fair and square although a very negative and nasty election. Now the healing starts if it ever would be since the nastiest election ever in my lifetime with racist and sexist remarks going back and forth. But the analysis should not be what was said but what has been achieved. All the polls were saying that the Democrats would win the election easily and even the Congress but in the end the pollsters fail to see that the so called disenfranchised white voters who may not have voted before came out in droves and they gave votes to the candidate whom they believe would be strong enough to lead the country and solve its problems and their problems too. I am still trying to figure out what happened but the news that is coming out is that the Democrats failed to connect to the disenfranchised middle class white folks and failed to capitalize on the Latino and African American votes. They failed to get out to the rural white people and let them know that the Democrats care about them. Even some white folks voted against the Democrats since they did not believe they are credible enough to get a handle of things. Another thing that the Democrats failed to realize is that the vote was as much against the Democrats as it was against the status quo that the Democrats seem to emphasize which is not at all what the voters wanted. The country, Democrats as well as the world is in shock as what happened in this election and there will be soul searching for the next four years. I will be constantly updating the aftermath of this election and what the new President would be doing in terms of running the U.S.
Monday, November 7, 2016
And then there is the talk about how the U.S. will either withdraw from trade deals and how it will withdraw troops from where they are stationed unless the host countries pay for their stay. It is like upending the status quo without any thought to what kind of peril the host countries will be in. Although I agree to some extent that some of the troops should be brought home but it will take time to implement this as it cannot be possibly done overnight not with the threat of war looming everywhere and especially when Russia is asserting itself on the world stage once again. The other threat is to either withdraw from trade deals or negotiate it imperiling hundreds of thousands of jobs. I don’t know if this will be even feasible to start with. If you are going to withdraw from the trade deals, then it should not automatically be expected that jobs will be created in America in higher numbers as the cost of labor is already very high here in the U.S. Another thing that has come up is that the election will be rigged without any substantial evidence to back it up. How it can be rigged when the majority of the polling booths are manned by White people (the so called core constituents of the Republican Party). Unless you start counting votes by yourself there is no chance that you can prove that the election would be rigged. And the majority of the voting has not even started it. So you are already assuming it is rigged so there is no use to vote because your vote would not count anyway, which is a very dangerous assumption. Well the election is tomorrow and I hope sanity prevails. . Appeal: Your donation of 95 cents will help me maintain this site and bring you latest news and movie reviews. Your contribution will be highly appreciated.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
As I drive through my town I keep seeing this sign called Make America Great Again. I don’t know what it actually means but it is mesmerizing enough that people are falling in love with it, but again nobody dares to question this sign for fear of being called a traitor or other bad words. But my question is what does it mean has anybody for a second thought about what makes America great and at what point in time it was not great and how come now is the time that we should make America Great again. Is it because the first African American President sits in the white house that some people think America is not great or the decline of the American manufacturing that is making people think that if we had a Caucasian President we will reverse all the so called “negative trends” during the past eight years (I am assuming). Do people actually think that they can go magically back to the time when the U.S. was the only Superpower after World War II and actually people were working in manufacturing jobs making decent amount of money, will this ever happen when we are mired in so many conflicts abroad and we are so much in debt (15 trillion and counting not including the obligations we owe due to social security and other mandatory obligations that we have promised our citizens. Is our diversification makes America in decline and will a monogamous population make American Great again. If you talk to people they will have their own version of how to make America great again and will not know at what point in time it was not great so there is no universal time table when America was not great and how will it become great again. Nobody knows this and they are just following it blindly without asking how and why of the specifics.
Now the big question over immigration. First it was that all Muslims should be banned until the U.S. officials figure out what is going on. Then when there was an outcry, it changed to extreme vetting to make sure that the immigrants (read: Muslims) are in sync with the values of the American people. But what is extreme vetting means? Will they develop some method or questionnaire to gauge that they will allow certain people to enter the U.S.? What if the person answers all the questions “right” will they be still subject to some kind of Polygraph test to make sure they are not lying to get into the U.S. How far the extreme vetting will go in terms of the parents being questioned, meaning if your grand parent or great grandparent was in some kind of legal trouble back home, would that make a factor in denying you a visa or immigration. How are you going to vet the refugees who are fleeing the war? How are you going to find out who is legitimate and who is not, since even people will families tend to become terrorists. And if you ban outright Muslims, how can we be sure that a white person cannot be bribed enough to sneak in to create harm to the U.S. And what about the immigrants who are already here and even people who are ready to take up arms against the government the so called “domestic terrorists” how are we going to deal with them. It is easier to blame immigrants than deal with your own citizens in this case. No specifics here either.
Let’s Start with Building a wall along the U.S. Mexican border. First it was that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, now we build it and they will reimburse us. There have been no specifics given too how the wall will be built. How tall will the wall be and how wide, who will build the wall, if it is going to be built with Mexican workers or American workers. How will it be patrolled and how many armed men and women would be needed to patrol it day and night. Is there going to be lights on it at night and who is going to foot the bill for all the electricity being used. Are there going to be electric wires on it so that if somebody wants to scale it, they may get a shock and fall to their death? The width of the wall has not been discussed either and if the wall going to get built will there be checkpoint where only legitimate people can cross over, who will manage these checkpoints, the U.S. or the states individually? If the wall is going to be built, there will be some areas which will be privately owned, will the owner be adequately compensated. Will there be a referendum in the states where the wall will be passing through so that they may have a say in it. And then there is the question of the courts getting involved because somebody will sue the government to stop the wall altogether. Since the Congress holds the purse to the finance the wall, will enough members vote on it to give the go ahead and if not, Will the President issue an executive order to build it anyway and then again courts can intervene. These are some of the questions I can think of that have not been asked in the excitement to just build the wall without asking.
First of all I want to emphasize this fact that I am neither a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent and I am not even registered to vote (too lazy to get myself registered) but this election has been the most disruptive I have ever seen in my life. Without naming names and you may now know who is the Republican nominee and who is the Democrat one. The mudslinging has been extra heavy this time with the Republican nominee upending everything that has been a status quo for a long time. The Democratic candidate is dodged by revelations that she has been using a private mail server to communicate confidential and non confidential information when she was in the government previously. Whether the charges are proven or not, it has yet to be decided what was so important in the email that it threatened national security. Since the election are few days away but early voting has already begun and people are so disgusted and just pray that this election is over fast enough so that they don’t have to listen to all the attacks and counter attacks going back and forth without ever going through the real issues facing the U.S. I hope I am not late to this party called U.S. election. The Democratic nominee it seems stands for mostly status quo without much change in the way the U.S. conducts its business domestically and internationally and so the people know more or less what is going to happen if she is elected. It is the Republican nominee who seems to go all out for a change that is being seen as disruptive by world leaders and also locally in the U.S.
The Republic nominee has said things that have energized the mostly white angry people who are not happy with their economic situation and have things brewing inside and now have some channel by the way of the Republic nominee. I know there are many minority supporters of the Republic Candidate but mostly it is a white crowd who are against the Democrats and who want change in the way government has been conducted for a long time, whether they will get their wish is something else we will see if he gets elected. But for now the Republican nominee has said things against women, Mexicans, illegal immigrants, Muslims and sometimes black. Okay if people want to hear that thing, let him say those things but specifically he has said some things that have not been scrutinized enough by the media or his supporters. First of all his is slogan of “Make America Great again” then he has said that he will build a wall along the U.S. Mexican border to keep those illegal aliens out of the country, then he has come up with a very stringent Muslim immigrant where there will be extreme vetting before they are allowed to immigrate to the U.S. The top three are the ones which are mostly said out loud. But he has also come up with trade practices which he will mostly negotiate, pulling troops out of several countries or countries where they are stationed pay for it, and to a lower extend admiring dictators for their strict control of the country so there is minimum disruption to the world order. Although people have already make up their minds how and whom they will vote for but the lack of details of the major points as mentioned above is very surprising. Accordingly I would like to discuss the first three namely the slogan Make America Great again, Building a wall and the Immigration issues.
Then there are the poor civilians who seem to be in no mood to take sides and they having been hard hit in this war are trying to escape to safer countries making their way to Turkey and other western countries and becoming bigger problem in those countries. Europe has been trying to cope with this refugee’s crisis and does not seem to know how to handle them except throw in some racism and tighter immigration quotas to deter future refugees. Curiously even with this conflict, most if not all the Syrian refugees want to cross to Europe rather than go to some Muslim or Arab countries because in their heart they know that Muslim countries have their own problems and the ones who are rich enough to take care of them don’t want them amidst them. It is a sad truth which the Muslim media don’t want to portray but the refugees don’t want to go to Muslims countries because there is less freedom than in the Western world. The West has another problem that they don’t know what would happen if Syrian Regime falls as they have seen Libya and Iraq literally fall apart. Also the dangerous combination of terrorists taking part in the Syrian conflict makes them pause a bit and think hard how to deal with the situation so that they don’t create a terror haven so close to Europe. It is a complete mess which nobody knows how to deal with as the choices in front of them are very limited and none as very pleasant. As the new U.S. election nears and a new U.S. administration is about to install, this conflict would still be raging on as the different interests collide in the great civil war of Syria
For lack of a better word, this is the title of my article as it is hard to define what is going on in Syria. It seems like what had started as an Arab Spring hit a brick wall in Syria, where the government decided to take a head on against the rebels. I know that Arab Spring also barely touched the rich gulf countries because their government seems to bride the people into submission or the people are not that courageous or care enough for a change as long as their basic necessities are being taken care of. Whatever the reason, Syrian Civil war has been raging now for the last five years and it would have been over if it was not for the Iranian and the Russians supporting the Assad regime. Even more than this the tide was turning against Syrian Regime when Russia decided that they have to save the only government who has been their natural allies for such a long time. Right Syria is a complete mess with the city of Aleppo in the midst of the rebel and government forces offensive. There are Iranian and Russian governments supporting the Syrian regime and the Saudis supporting the rebels but that the rebels are also being halfheartedly supported by the Western powers and then there are the Turks who have their own agenda in Syria. But then due to the whole conflict, the Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters are also fighting each other, the Syrian Regime and some western backed rebels.
Despite nearly 70 years of independence Pakistan and India have been at each other’s throat lately due to continuing violence in the disputed Valley of Kashmir which is divided into India ruled and Pakistani ruled area. The so called freedom fighters ( as described by Pakistan) and the terrorists (as described by India) are fighting to get Independence from India. Add to this mix that Pakistan is so called morally and religiously supporting the cause of the Kashmiri people by indirectly or directly supporting militant organizations on its soil to be used against India is making South East Asia a dangerous area. Recently the attack on an Indian Military base killing 17 Indian Soldiers have India blaming Pakistani supported militants of staging that attack and again creating tensions in both India and Pakistan. Since I was born, I have been hearing this Kashmir Conflict and I don’t see it getting resolved any time soon or even ever as both the governments know that even letting go of Kashmir of either side will be their downfall and open revolt in both countries. Unless both the countries restrain their selves in the course of tension, nothing is going to get resolved. This thing I can say with certainty that despite being independent for almost seventy years, their animosity has not gone down and they are still fighting a battle with no clear victory in sight especially for Pakistan whose own economy is bleeding profusely while India is flourishing economically despite growing poverty in both countries.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
A retiring copy and his team try to bring in a crime boss in this martial arts police action drama. Dramatic martial arts fight scenes. Recommended
A film crew fights off killer hillbillies in this first horror movie I have seen from Slovenia. Bloody and gory. Recommended for curiosity sake
A recent widowed man moves into a new house with his daughter and wife and encounters intruder staying in the house in this variation of the haunted house theme movies. Okay time killer, nothing special even with the twists. Not Recommended
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Turkey has been in the midst of its bloody fight with Kurdish rebels and ISIS but before the failed Military coup, some reports suggested that it has turned a blind eye to ISIS fighters going in and out of its borders. It was also involved in the Syrian conflict and it was also housing hundreds of thousands of refugees and giving assistance to rebel fighter in Syria. It became a victim of some bombings which was blamed on Kurdish fighters and some on ISIS. But after the failed coup, which is another topic some later point in time, things have changed a bit as the focus is now on fighting ISIS and also greater emphasis on fighting Kurdish rebels. Crackdown has already begun against the coup plotters and its sympathizers with thousands of people being either arrested or dismissed from their jobs. The crux of the purge is the Military where the actual coup started and several soldiers have been detained. The last time I went to turkey was in April of 2011 where I stayed overnight and there was hustle and bustle going on. I hope to see the same situation again when I visit them as it is a beautiful country with great future and hardworking people and they have kept Turkey going in a harsh neighborhood. Hopefully the purge will not affect the moral of the Armed Forces (one of the best in the Muslim world and also the second biggest standing army in NATO after the U.S.) or the Turkish people.
Since the Mubarak regime fell due to the so called Arab Spring, Egypt has been in a turmoil all of the time. First it was the so called promised Muslim Brotherhood who rode it like a shining armor to fix the Egyptian economy but when they failed to deliver that promise and become absolved in its own power, the Military came in which is still in power. Initially people love the Military and they thought that it would be their salvation (and they still do) but now it seems that the Military is also incapable to handle the daily problems of the Egyptian people as I read that poverty still grips more than 90 million of Egyptians. Initially Saudi Arabia came to the rescue to pump in billions of dollars to keep the economy afloat, but with their own economies in bad shape due to the low oil prices, Egypt is looking for somewhere else to feed its people. Now after the downing of the Russian Jet which killed hundreds of people and tanked the Egyptian tourism economy, the government has turned to IMF to replenish its reserve and in return has agreed to devalue its currency and cut its subsidies on essential items. And if this is not enough, Egypt has been battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. The IMF deal is a temporary fix to buy the government some time to fix the economy but unless there is major investment in the country and political stability, Egypt will continue to see upheaval in the future.
Venezuela has been in and out of the news lately. A country which has supposedly the world’s largest oil reserves is in such a dire strait that people have no hope left in and whoever can is trying to migrate. According to news reports they have the highest inflation rate in the world with food supplies shrinking and crime is at the highest level in the world. It is just in a sorry state of affairs that a news report has said that they have the highest infant mortality rate in the world even higher than Syria which is in the midst of a brutal civil war. Medicines are in short supply and so does every other essential thing there is. Since it imports everything from outside, the currency reserves have dwindled to such an extent that they can’t import anything. Even the state oil company does not have the funds to fix its infrastructure and ramp up its production. Right now there seems to be no solution in sight as people are just protesting against the government but it seems like everybody for himself situation. The opposition is in disarray and does not have the strength to mount a challenge to the government. Corruption is rampant and it seems that nobody from outside the country has the courage or the interest to intervene in its affairs and it seems that people of Venezuela would have to sort this mess out by themselves either through negotiations or through violent means.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Despite being the largest producer of low cost oil, the government finances are not going well and being the perception that they are one of the wealthiest nations on earth does not help that they have pockets of poverty all over the place despite providing generous subsidies and perks to their citizens. When the oil prices were high all was fine and it seems like the party would not end so soon. But times change fast but it took a while for the Saudis to realize that they are burning cash. On top of this the Yemen war and the Syrian War has made their expenses much higher. As they are now running an almost 100 billion dollar budget deficit, you will see more changes coming to the Saudi society as construction slows down and companies goes bankrupt suddenly and workers not getting paid. For this there is some silver lining that the most of workers on the construction site are poor third world workers who have been left stranded with not getting paid for months as the construction companies relied heavily on the Saudi Government for their contracts. I know that reforms would come slowly but it will be very painful for the Saudi People to get a grasp of this as they are not used to this kind of belt tightening for a long time. But only time will tell how much they will succeed without generating resentment and protests from their people. From the looks of it right now they are trying to control the oil market by cutting production so the signs are that they are still relying on the higher oil prices to bail them out. I am not sure this will work in the long term but the painful reforms that are needed will not come in the near future. They still can raise money by taxing the foreigners and introduce other kinds of taxes but they will have to tax everybody in order to raise revenues and stop spending money on arms and conflicts that does not improve the lives of their people.
The painful reforms that the Saudi government is trying to achieve will not go that smoothly although they are trying to wean their people to leaner times. They have slashed salaries of government employees who are almost 70 percent of the labor force with good salaries, less work and generous perks. They are trying to implement a plan called Vision 2030 in which they hope to achieve to transform their oil based economy into a less dependent one on oil and also more people in the private sector than they are now. Economic crisis can change so much even in an ultra conservative society like Saudi Arabia. They have for the first time gone to the International Bond Market to tap into a more than 17 billion dollar loan. Although I don’t get this move since they have foreign reserves of more than 500 billion (supposedly) but I guess that their economic situation is much worse than they are projecting to the outside world. They are also talking about a sovereign fund amount to more than 1 trillion dollars based on the selling of shares of their giant oil company Aramco. They are recently initiated a dramatic and unprecedented change in how their government employees will get paid. You see they were the only nation who was following the Islamic Calendar which is based on the moon and depending on it the month can be either 29 or 30 days so the Islamic Calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian one. Not the government employees have to work 11 more days for the same or less salary. And a recent acknowledgment came from a government survey that some Saudi Employees were working 1 hour each day and getting handsome salaries.
A young guy from New York moves to California and falls in love with the secretary of his uncle only to move back to New York and gets caught up with New York night life. Talkative Woody Allen movie. Recommended
This time the gang from Ice Age tries to avert a collision with a meteor that could possibly destroy their world. Okay movie not one of the best. Recommended with caution
Unnecessary sequel to the first block buster about aliens attacking earth (again). Not Recommended
In this big epic movie, Tarzan is summoned back to Africa to investigate a mining company. Enjoyed the movie. Recommended
Monday, October 17, 2016
Since the oil prices have come down from nearly 140 dollars a barrel to a rock bottom below 30 during the course of two years (now it is hovering around 50), many oil rich nations are having a hard time adjusting to reality. The countries mostly dependent on oil prices are Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq and other oil based economies but nowhere the adjustment has been harsh in countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, I will come back to the sorry state of affairs in Venezuela, but let me first tackle what the oil prices has done to the reality adjustment for the Saudi Government and its people. Almost more than 80 percent of the revenues are derived from Oil to finance the budget of the Saudi Government who used to provide generous subsidies to their people and insulate them from the high prices. I have been keenly following developments in Saudi Arabia and the state of financial affairs are not very healthy although to acknowledge that they have started to realize that they have to adjust to the new oil prices. First the Saudis tried to ramp up the production of oil so that the oil glut caused by the Oil Shale boom in the United States and also the arrival of sanctions free Iran will vanish or reduce and they will be able to dictate the oil prices again like they did in the 1970s but they really underestimated the innovative Oil shale producers who changed quickly whenever the prices of oil rose drilling more oil and driving the oil prices down. Also Iran to a lesser extent dependent on Oil were in no mood to reduce their production after so many years and so we have an oil glut despite the fact that the Iraqi and Libyan and also Venezuelan oil is not coming that much on the market.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
It has been more than a year that the Yemen Civil War started with the rebels supposedly backed by Iran and the Saudi Coalition backing the so called legitimate government bombing the rebels going at each other. But there is no end in sight now since the latest bombing on a funeral home that killed more than 130 people among them prominent tribal leaders and some who were in favor of peace talks. The U.S. has now also joined in the fighting which will not help matters in the region. The Saudi government in fear (or hatred) of the supposedly Iranian backed Shiite rebels has (forcibly) assembled some countries in a coalition of the unwilling to keep on bombing the rebels till they are defeated and a Saudi friendly government is installed in Yemen. For this they are spending heavily in this war which is draining their foreign exchanges amidst a downturn in oil prices. Despite all the efforts of the Saudi Led coalition, I don’t see any end to this conflict as this war is not going to be ending with both sides using firepower in their quest to enforce their own version of government. It would have been better if both sides would have sit down face to face to resolve their differences and come to some reasonable accommodation for both sides. But the increasing death toll in this conflict is making sure that the rebels have dug in their trenches and this war may turn into another middle east conflict where there is no end to the hatred and revenge being carried for years into the future.
Hong Kong Police go after a criminal mastermind who has stolen a portable nuclear device from South Korea. Great action sequences. Recommended
Updated female remake of the famed Ghostbusters movie with zero suspense. Stay away from it. Not Recommended
An ex-convict tries to save his daughter from her drug dealer former boyfriend. Good action and good to see Mel Gibson back. Recommended with caution
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
We started to head back home 91 miles away with dark and lonely stretch of road and by time we reached near the hotel, we saw McDonalds ® at around 9.30 we were very happy but when we approached it, it was closed. We went back to our hotel and ordered Dominoes® pizza instead because that was the only available option remaining. Some of the people may venture to the Mount Mauna Kea with hiking boats and blow torch but we were in no mood to do that. We were just happy that we saw the volcanic craters and drove all the way to the end of the road near the ocean. The rest of the two days we stayed put in the hotel enjoying the weather and the pool. When it was time to leave, we had to check out our checkout time since we did not want to stay at the airport for four hours doing nothing. Since we had booked our flight from Maui to New York, we had to endure another 25 minutes of flight time back to Maui airport. The airline was Ohana ® by Hawaiian Airlines® but I did not like one bit and this short flight was also bumpy. Reaching Maui Airport, we had to stay again for almost 3 hours on our way back home at night. By the time we reached New York, the weather was not cooperating so the plane was in a standstill movement for around 45 minutes which was definitely annoying since our flight was on time. And again when we finally landed, due to the delay in arrivals, there was no gate available so we had to sit another 10 minutes so that one of the gates was free so that the plane can park (another annoyance). Finally we got out of our plane and headed back home exhausted. An Appeal: Donation to this blog can keep it fresh and updated. Your donation of 95 cents per month will give you continued free and fresh access to updated events and also longer movie reviews.
Driving through the sometimes winding roads and seeing signs of how high we were above sea level were very cool. Along the way we saw signs of for sale sign and after driving miles we found a bakery which claimed to be the southernmost bakery of the United States. Getting some refreshments and taking a rest room break we went to a nearby beach and then drove all the way to the Hawaiian National Volcano Park. We entered the main visitor center and after that we drove to the nearby active volcano where you can see the smoke coming out of the volcano. Taking some pictures we headed back to start our journey of the volcanoes but before that it were lunch time and we ate at a nearby restaurant with views of volcano crater. After that we got some souvenir at a nearby shop and then started our journey to see all the dormant volcanic craters. One of the first stops was the lava tube created by a 500 year volcanic eruption. We had to walk down some steep steps to venture into the rain forest type lava tube with water dripping. After that we started driving through the vast volcanic areas stopping in places where you can see the eruption occurred and lava flowed and now it was rock solid. Driving all the way through end of the road where the road meets the ocean, we stayed there to watch the ocean crash against the wall and then started our drive back home. But before we could go back to our hotel, we had to go back the same volcano where we saw the smoke to see it in the dark. Now we could see the smoke in orange color glow and there were many people to witness this in the dark of the night.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Our flight from Maui Airport to Kona International Airport was literally 25 minutes. Landing at Kona International Airport we had literally had to walk a few minutes before entering the open air terminal. It was really hot and then we boarded a bus that took us to the car rental company where we were able to get Nissan Altima ®. From there our hotel was not far as we stopped by a coffee shop to get Kona Coffee which was awesome. Reaching our hotel Sheraton ® we completed the paper work for our room and then walked to our room. The room had two queen sized bed and was big enough for us but I was clearly shocked to see the bathroom was not up to the standard of the hotel. That is the only thing that bothered me was the bathroom which was not that great as compared to the Hyatt Regency ® one or any other hotel that we had visited in the past. They had a giant pool in between the hotel where guests can swim all day long. ON our first day we went to a nearby beach where we relaxed a little bit and then went to get some stuff for the room from the nearby market. Our main goal was to see the Volcano Mountains and the next day we decided to embark on that tour. We had known that it was going to take us several hours so we had to take a head start early in the morning so that we can come back near dark. From our hotel we had to take Route 11 to the Hawaii Volcano national park which the sign said was 91 miles from our hotel.
After waking up in the afternoon, I went to fetch my car and it was not starting, I tried my best to start it but I figured that battery must have died down. As I said it was a Minivan I believe it was Chrysler Town and Country ®. After contacting our car rental and yelling at them that why the car was not starting, they send us a replacement minivan. The guy who the van had a jumper which started the car immediately but I did not wanted anything to do with it as I had already wasted two hours dealing with vehicle issue. After all this was said and done, we decided to stay put in the hotel and enjoy the beach and pool area. We ordered the food from the restaurant in the hotel lobby and went back to our room to start packing for our next trip to the Big Island. The next day, we got our stuff and left for our next trip. When we dropped our car, my wife said she wanted to give the car rental a piece of her mind and negotiate to get the initial charges reduced. After some haggling, she did succeeded and told me that there was another lady with the similar problem as her car died twice and had to be replaced. I said never again I would want to rent an American car as this was not the first time I had the problem. My first car Ford Focus ® gave me a lot of problems ( I have heard that now it is fine car) but I had many issues at the time and I decided not to go with the low end of the Americans cars as I still believe that the high end ones are much better. Anyway after successfully clearing the airport security, we waited for our next trip.
The first thing I did after getting off the bus was to the restroom. I was amazed to see that they had working flush at that level. Then we went to the spot where we can see the sun rise. It was literally freezing up there standing with wind blowing. We stood near the visitor center hoping to shield ourselves from the blowing wind. The dormant volcano was just below us with the clouds literally in front of us and it was really cool to see from above how the world looks. After about an hour or so the visitor center opened and some of the folks huddled in there to escape the freezing weather despite wearing sweaters and blankets. The visitor center had some souvenirs to sell plus they had a working internet for the shop owner. Our guide pointed us towards the Big Island (our next trip) where we stood. The sun rose slowly showing us the orange color and the new date was announced This was pretty surreal. After the sunrise, we boarded our bus again to go to the top of the summit which was 10,023 feet. Our guide told us that Mount Haleakala was in fact taller than Mount Everest since the mountains are measured from the base of the ocean from where they rise. Again the oxygen was 37 percent less than what it should be when you are at the sea level but I again did not felt much difference. After that we again boarded our bus and headed downhill since it was now morning I could see the ocean and Maui (although I chose not to) but on our way back we stopped at a breakfast place and then were dropped at our hotel. Since we had woken up way earlier and were so sleepy we went to sleep so that we can go out dinner in the evening.
Once we had the reservation in place, we had to go to sleep early since our bus was supposed to come around 2.30 am. We got up as we had paid more than 360 dollars to get the seats which included coffee and some snacks on the bus and on the way back a breakfast at a restaurant. Not bad for the trip, but not cheap either. Our bus came on time and we boarded it. We were extremely lucky which we found out later during our trip that the bus driver was a Native Hawaii and he was also a professor of history at the University of Hawaii and he was really passionately about the history of his homeland and also very funny (and informatively talkative which was good to kill the time on our way). He told that we had to go as early as possible since after around 400 people the National Park Service does not allow more people and they close their gates for the next day. Our bus started to travel to the top of the mountain in the darkness of light, as we saw some cars also moving ahead and behind us. We were told that since the Park Service wanted to keep the area as natural as possible, there were no barriers on the side of the road which seems unusually scary for me at least as I dared not look down from my bus as you can see lights in the far away down below. But in no time we reach the place where there was a parking spot for all the cars at 9,740 feet above sea level. We were told initially that at the level, we are breathing 25 percent less oxygen but I did not felt any lessening of oxygen. Maybe it was because it was too cold for me to worry about oxygen as we were forewarned to bring sweaters and any blankets to bundle ourselves at that height as the temperature may fall below freezing level.
Although if you don’t stop anywhere the trip to Hana is still 2 and a half hours because of all the winding roads and turns but when you factor in the time you spend at various places enjoying the nature and taking snaps and walking in the lush rain forest parks, it can easily take you seven to eight hours to complete the whole trip and come back minimum and more if you decide to stay much longer in some places. I have eliminated some of the stops along the way that we decided to disembark from the car because you need to come back before dark, but if you really want to enjoy the trip, you should better start by the crack of dawn and leave before the darkness start to engulf the area. Maui is for newlyweds and also the ones who want to have their second honeymoon but that does not mean you cannot enjoy Maui with your family as the beach can be good distraction for kids to enjoy. After reaching our hotel, we decided to call some tour guides to go Mount Haleakala to see the sunrise. Initially I wanted to drive all the way up but I got cold feet and I said that I wanted to have a tour bus take me there. It was just a last moment decision and my wife started frantically called some tour guides. But as many of you know anything last minute means you may not find some reservation. As it became clear in a few minutes that all the tour buses were booked. We decided to contact some travel websites and it came to our rescue that we were lucky enough to secure seats on a tour bus which was not even available but was actually cheaper than the one listed on their own websites. So hastily we booked our seats as we were going to leave Maui in two days and it desperately wanted to have the experience of watching sun rise high above the clouds.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Based on a true story about the investigation when a dismembered body of a young prostitute is discovered. Gritty and dark mystery movie. Recommended
A senator who is contesting a Presidential run and who has vowed to finish the purge is targeted for assassination. Great Movie with good scares and action. Recommended
A man stranded on a deserted island finds a body and together they try to reach home. Very weird and intriguing movie. Recommended for curiosity sake
Instead of going on minute details like what to eat and where to eat, I will go the two most attractive places that you should not want to wish. The first one is the zig zag winding roads leading up to the town of Hana and the other is the tall volcano mountain called Mount Haleakala which is now dormant. First up was the road to Hana, we have heard that there are many winding roads and many one lane roads which can only be passable if you see far ahead and cross it fast or if you stop and let the opposite car come back and then you go. We filled up at the last station before the road to Hana started since we were told in the guides and on the internet that along the way there is no gas station. Although the road is only 52 miles and takes maybe more than two hours if you don’t make a stop in between but actually it took us double the time going in and coming back. Along the way we stopped at a botanical garden with waterfalls and also during our drive, we stopped for lunch at an area called Island Café where we ate sea food before venturing towards the town. Some of the roads were very windy and some had two lanes but you can’t speed and the maximum speed is only around 30 if not more. At the end of the road we did not go further but ventured into a park on the right hand side where you reach a beach called black sand beach because of how the volcanic lava has created black stones instead of the usual color. There we stayed for maybe half an hour since we wanted to come back before nightfall as I did not want to drive all the way back to the winding and one way roads. If I had a chance I would do this drive again maybe a few years down the road.
Since we wanted to safe on our data plans, we, in addition to renting the minivan decided to get a GPS for the purpose of reaching our various destinations. Every time where there was some historical perspective on some location, the GPS sound would come on and a story behind the history of that location was narrated. It was sometimes fun and sometimes annoying to hear since we wanted to move to our destination faster without having distractions. Anyway our reached our hotel in the Kaanapali section of Maui where we were booked into the Hyatt Regency® Hotel. After registering, we were give flower garland as was the tradition of the area and we went towards our room which was right on across the beach not on the second floor but across the beach. After settling down, I was tired from all the flight and driving so I decided to crash in the bed while family went to the pool area to have a dip and enjoy the gorgeous weather. After waking up, it was time to search for food but we decided to have a room service. The next day we took tour on the north side of our hotel and while driving through we found a somewhat secluded beach called D.T. Fleming beach. Although it was small beach with not too many people but it was with clear blue water and it was wonderful to sit there for a while. Then we decided to head further north and came upon an area where we can see down a blowhole, we did not go near the blowhole but could see the blow hole from atop of the road where we took some pictures.
The emergence of the first mutant unites X-Men to destroy his evil human extinction plan. Great special effects. Recommended
A monk gets ejected from a monastery and tries to survive in a big city. Sometimes bizarre but with good martial arts fights. Recommended for curiosity sake
Friday, October 7, 2016
Our first stop was Phoenix, Arizona with an approximately two hour layover. I must admit that coming out of the plane was at once a relief and also not a relief since one has to go through another boarding and a new plane. To be fair as I said from the start that I am not endorsing anything nor I have been paid to say something positive about it. I believe that the plane was not as good as should be and flight was a little bumpy but not as much as you would be really scared. Once landing in Maui, we were so much relieved. And to our surprise, their toilets were no less than any hotel with cleanliness the first priority. I guess it was because many tourists land there for vacation from around the world and that is the first impression the Hawaiian government wants them to experience. We had to rent a car in order to go to our hotel which was about 25 miles away from the Airport. After looking at our options in the car rental area, we were given a minivan which I believe was Chrysler Town and Country ® since we told the car rental agent that we would want to go to Mount Haleakala which was 10,000 feet above sea level. Anyway I have never driven a minivan before so it was an experience by itself. I had no difficulty in getting grips on the car as it was no more different than an SUV. After putting the address of our hotel, we drove through some of the most scenic beauty of Maui which was on one side Mountains and the other sea crashing against the rocks.
Just before I start to write my journey to Hawaii this year, let me makes this clear that whatever product I have used during my vacation is not being endorsed by me and neither have been paid a penny for it. I will just post what I found good or bad in whatever product or service I used. So we were not supposed to go this year to Hawaii but since I have heard about how beautiful Maui was and how I wanted to go there, my wife found a deal which we were very reluctant to let go despite going the second year in a row to Hawaii. The plan tickets were damn cheap but with a stopover in between which was not bad since a trip to Hawaii from New York takes about eleven hours. The airline was American Airlines and we were supposed to fly first to Phoenix, Arizona I believe it was their Hub and from there straight to Maui. As the vacation goes, the most hated part of it was to do the packing. Well since we had to go as you imagine, we did pack on time and since we wanted not to lose one day, we took the earliest most flight around 7 o’clock in the morning. Since Hawaii is six hours behind New York, it was perfect that we could still get some sunlight when we reach Maui. As you know we did not get enough sleep the night before and were feeling sleepy on the way to the airport as it was pitch dark when we woke up. Anyway the security went smoothly and we boarded the flight without much hassle.
The further adventures of Monkey king with special effects galore. Recommended with caution
A girl falls in love with a paralyzed person whom she is taking care. Lovely and intelligent movie with excellent performances. Recommended
Three generations of women meet leading up to mother’s day in this heartwarming story of heart breaks and love. Recommended
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
A mild mannered guy gets involved in spy adventure with this high school buddy in this hilarious comedy action movie. Recommended
Three outcast birds try to find out why the pigs have come to their island in this hit or miss animation based on the hugely successful video game. Recommended with caution.
Monday, October 3, 2016
A Surfer is attacked by a great white shark near a deserted shore and has to use all her skills to escape the shark’s clutches. Tense and thrilling. Recommended
A North Korean spy now settled in South Korea becomes a prime suspect in the killing of a Company CEO and is forced to find the real killers in this exciting action thriller. Recommended
Blood drenched horror from Netherlands in which a group of tourists are taken out one by one by a masked guy. Recommended for curiosity sake.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Now that somewhat calm has settled down, let me give my two cents to the issue of Britain leaving the European Union. Initially I was all for Britain leaving as it would not have much impact but after reading much in detail and how the vote was done I am not sure the people who voted to opt out knew what they were getting into. There was also a signing petition to revote on the referendum which garnered more than four million signatures but it was just a case of crying over spilt milk. Once the referendum was done it was done. It was not like it came overnight, it was talked about it for so many months and many politicians campaigned for the stay movement. Most of the exit vote was supposedly done by people in the rural and small towns who were afraid of how the world around them was changing and especially the rhetoric about immigration was changing their cultures. I mean it was the old white folks who mostly voted to get out of Britain (mostly helped by exit favored politicians). I don’t know how it will be played out as many surveys and polls showing Britain to be the ultimate loser. But things are going to slowly change. I don’t believe that Britain should shut them out by restricting immigration as not all smart people live in Britain and they need people who can make Britain remain competitive. Let’s see how things are going to be played out but for now it does not look like the end of Europe as dire predictions about Brexit has not come to fruition (at least yet)
The ninjas are back in this action packed and some jokes movie to fight shredder their nemesis that has joined forces with a mad scientists to rule the world. Not Recommended
When a raunchy sorority is housed right next door to the first movie’s Fraternity brothers, the brothers team up with the enemy to bring it down. Sometimes funny but not at all satisfying movie. Not Recommended
Interference by the government of how the avengers work creates a mega rift between the teams of Captain America and Iron Man. Good action sequences. Recommended
A mogul who was caught doing insider trading and sent to prison, gets released and tries to make amend with the people who got burned by her not easy to forgive or forget her. Foul language and not funny. Recommended with caution
The continued battle of the survivors to eradicate humanoids who are hell bent to destroy humanity. Recommended with caution
Human battles towering humanoids that eat humans for fun in this special effects laden movie. Fun to watch. Recommended
A teenager in a small Midwestern town investigates a serial killer. A slow moving and sometimes bloody mystery movie. Recommended with caution
The four horsemen emerge to be forcibly recruited by a stranger to pull off a heist. Entertaining but not as good as the first one. Recommended with caution
A financial TV host is held hostage by an annoyed investor in this entertaining thriller. Recommended
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Since early last year when I switched jobs, it has been a hell of a ride as I became busier and also the transition was not as smooth as I seemed to hope as bosses were changed but not for the better and the work load was enormous. It did not help either that the IT system sucked and the outsourcing is not up to par. Any now that I have somewhat settled down (never) I will start to write my blog in more numbers as previously done. I have been looking at all the events that are happening around the world but were unable to write about it as the reasons mentioned above. I have been keenly following the French Burkini ban by some towns to stop the spread of Islamic Extremism (supposedly) and also to assert the French government official position of it being staunchly secular and does not want to promote any religious identity (read: Islamic). But despite being secular, there is a French Christmas holiday and I am sure they are not as Godless as they portray to be. But my question is will a Burkini ban will be able to assimilate the marginalized Muslim Population or will it send furthermore those Muslims on the fringes of extremism to become more isolated and resentful of the ban. I believe the later would be the case and also why so much emphasis on what women are wearing. Does the state of France stops women from wearing headgear when they are performing religious duty in the church or when they wall outside ( I am talking specifically about the nuns). Why wearing a headscarf or burkini makes me an extremist and why France considers it a threat to its society even though France is a nuclear armed nation and most of its citizens (including Muslims) are peaceful.I believe that this Burkini ban is bigotry against anyone who is wearing it and it is not what the so called values of the French state should stand for.
Sequel of sorts to the original Hard Target starring Jean Claude Van Damme as a guy is hunted by human for killing and turns the table on him. Okay Actioner and time killer. Recommended with caution
The continuing adventures of Kung Fu Panda, this time fighting another evil threat and discovering his family. Recommended
Continuing saga from the divergent movie series this time the divergent teams escapes the wall of Chicago to see what is beyond it. If you want to see the first of the conclusion of the series watch it, otherwise skip this one. Not Recommended
A girl falls ills to a incurable disease and through an accident is cured of it in this Christian feel good saga. Recommended with caution
Although an unnecessary and unfunny remake of the original, this time the neighborhood around the shop has changed prompting new methods to preserve the neighborhood. Not Recommended
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Okay horror movie about a drifter helping a group of people defend themselves from a zombie infested world. Okay time killer. Recommended with caution
A sometimes funny account of journalist coverage of wartorn Afghanistan. Recommended with caution
A recent British widower visits her in-laws in the hopes for finding her and her daughter a suitable husband. British lords and British attitudes not my cup of tea. Recommended with caution
Foster parents adopt a boy whose dreams are sometimes sweet and sometimes deadly and they are soon fighting for their lives when the dreams become increasingly nasty. Okay movie but not recommended
Singles in New York as a recent graduate dumps her boyfriend to experience a singles life in New York with mixed results. Recommended with caution
Sunday, September 11, 2016
An Ex Military guy is subject to an experiment which gives him super powers in this highly entertaining and action packed adult oriented movie. Highly Recommended. Not for kids
Ip Man the martial arts grand master fights against gangsters trying to take over a school in this action packed modern martial arts movie. Recommended
Three grave robbers are drawn back from retirement in the U.S. to explore the mystery of a girl dead long time ago. Forget the plot and enjoy the action. Recommended with caution.
Saturday, September 10, 2016
A bar owner helps a drunken woman evade her former boyfriends and his thugs. Action movie and entertaining. Recommended
In Mediaeval China, a baby monster born of a human father and monster mother is hunted by monsters and humans alike for different reasons. It was cute but nothing more than that. Recommended with caution
The story of one of the first sex change surgery done in the world. Interesting and entertaining. Recommended
A famous detective supposedly kills a guy and tries to cover up his crime with unexpected results. Interesting crime mystery. Recommended
High Wire Artist Philippe Petit Dreams of walking across the twin towers of New York and with the help of a few select people, he dares to complete the unthinkable. Great movie. Recommended
Monday, September 5, 2016
Government and religious fanatics pursue a boy who has special powers. Slow moving but gripping movie. Recommended
Sequel to the Finding Nemo in which Dory tries to find her long lost family with the help of her friends. Highly entertaining, but I still believe Finding Nemo was much better. Recommended
Three people find themselves trapped in a telephone exchange during a zombie outbreak. Some special effects and gore. Nothing to recommended.
After a massive power outage, two sisters try to survive in their isolated wooded cabin. Slowly moving but enjoyable movie. Recommended
A girl deletes an unwanted friend and faces evil who wants to make her as lonely as she was. Intriguing premise for the social media age. Recommended
A complete memory and skills of a dead CIA agent is implanted into a death row criminal in order for him to complete a deadly mission. Aging actors with echoes of past similar movies. Not Recommended
Two New York City detectives head to Paris to track a stolen handbag. Hilarious movie with ethnic jokes. Recommended
A security team tries to protect a U.S. Embassy in Libya from insurgents attacks. Good action sequences. Based on a true story. Recommended
A spy has to team up with this football fanatic brother in order to complete an assignment. Completely gross out movie. Not Recommended
Corrupt cops and criminals try to initiate the murder of a cop in order to pull a heist. Good action sequences. Recommended
Two warriors in love serve in the army of a woman who despises love and try to survive her and her sister’s rule. Recommended for special effects.
A man and a woman are kidnapped and held captive by a man in a bunker who tells them they have been saved from an alien attack. Recommended
A con artist and a CIA agent fight terrorist in France on Bastille Day. Passable action movie. Recommended with caution
In order to save Egyptian Empire, a mortal teams up with a god to defeat the god of darkness. Apart from some special effects, nothing much to offer. Recommended with caution
Sunday, September 4, 2016
At the British Prime Minister’s Funeral, terrorists attack London and it is upto the Secret service agent, British agent to thwart the assault. Exciting action sequences. Recommmended
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Movie about a woman who rose to lead a business dynasty. Recommended
A skeptical roman tries to find the body of a person believed to have risen from his death. A movie with religious undertones. Okay time killer. Recommended with caution
A loser in life discovers that this father is a secret agent and tries to help him a bad guy. Not bad Spanish spy movie. Recommended
James bond is back in another of his exciting adventures uncovering a mysterious but deadly organization. Recommended
Sunday, August 21, 2016
A Hollywood fixer tries to keep together things under control for the studio in this non hilarious movie despite the presence of star power. Not Recommended
The coast guard tries a rescue of two ships destroyed in a storm in 1952 Massachusetts. Great action sequences and a true story. Recommended
A cop takes along his soon to be brother in law to take down a drug dealer. Funny moments and action. Recommended with caution
A Chinese fantasy action movie with lots of special effects and action. A human is tasked with stealing a crystal with powers only to fight and try to save his love. Don’t pay too much attention to the story and enjoy the action. Recommended with caution
Superb animated movie about a sheep who decides to take a day off from work and bring his buddies with him to the big city with deep regrets. He tries to go back to his farm with hilarious results. Highly recommended for all family.
A woman consumed with guilt over losing her son follows a ritual in India to contact her son but soon finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for. Recommended with caution
Two sisters whose childhood house is being sold decide to throw one last party which spins out of control in this hilarious movie. Recommended with caution
Greek wedding is fun as shown in this funny and hilarious movie about a woman who has to juggle rebellious teenage daughter and aging parents. Recommended
A rabbit cop teams up with a fox to solve a mystery in this excellent animated movie. Recommended
Former models come out of seclusion to investigate who is killing pop stars in this unnecessary remake of the original. Do not waste your time on this one. Not Recommended
Monday, July 4, 2016
Parody of Fifty shades of Grey movie in this a woman encounters a rich man with weird sexual tastes. Some tasteless jokes. Not Recommended
Five sisters fight of hordes of Zombies in this variation of Jane Austen’s novel. Entertaining and fun to watch. Recommended
Zombies galore as the survivors of the last movie, Dead Rising: Watchtower try to contain the zombie epidemic from spreading and unearthing a rouge military commander plan to unleash more virus. Okay movie for horror Fans. Recommended with caution.
One of the biggest blockbusters of all time is here in this stunning movie about the resistance and a group of people fighting of First world quest for galaxy domination. Best viewed in a theater. A great treat for Star Wars fans. Highly Recommended
The conclusion to the Hunger Games series as rebel descend upon President Snow’s district. If you want to complete the trilogy and know what happens, feel free to watch it but it was just an okay movie as compared to other in the series. Recommended with caution
A girl tries to save her brother from deadly alien attacks that has decimated the earth. Okay time killer. Recommended with caution
True story about how Boston Globe uncovered massive child molestation and the cover up by their local church. Excellent and interesting story. Highly Recommended
They are back in their newest adventure in which they misunderstood that Dave is going to marry and dump them. Unnecessary sequel and just the same as before. Not Recommended
A chef tries to redeem himself in this quest to get the top rating for his restaurant. Love the movie. Recommended
A man fights for his survival when he is left for dead in early 1800s in this superb movie. Great acting by Di caprio (who also won the best actor award). Highly Recommended
The financial crisis of 2000s as four financial people take on big financial corporations for their greed and disregard. Excellent story. Recommended
Violent western about a group of suspicious people gathered in a cabin in the dead of Wyoming winter. Excellent acting but very long. Recommended
An immigrant doctor tries to convince the world of the brain damage inflicted upon the players in football in this excellent drama. Great acting by Will Smith. Recommended
A man tries to warn his townsfolk that a dam is about to burst in this disaster drama from Norway. Nothing special except for the beauty of Norway. Not Recommended
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Resistance fighters try to assassinate Japanese commanded in the Japanese occupied 1933 Korea in this twists and turn Korean movie. Enjoyable to watch. Recommended
A cop goes undercover in a kindergarten to recover stolen data in this sort of sequel to the movie. Okay time killer. Recommended with caution
A remake of the original Argentinean movie about a group of detectives who meet after many years to reopen a case involving the killing of one of the detective daughters. Slow moving but the ending is good. Recommended with caution.
A step father’s plan to make his kids love him is complicated by the arrival of their biological father in this hit or miss movie. Not Recommended
The name says it all in this boring action movie that even Vin Diesel cannot save it. Not Recommended
A woman ask her ex-lover to save her outlaw husband from getting killed by his outlaw gang in this hit or his western movie. Watch at your own risk. Not Recommended
Frankenstein’s story told from his assistant Igor’s point of view in this good and different adaptation of the monster story. Recommended
Alice travels back to the wonderland and travels back in time to save Mad Hatter in this lame and super expensive sequel to the blockbuster movie. If you want to watch the sequel, you can add it to your collection since it has great special effects but nothing else going for it. Not Recommended
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
At last the samurai assassin takes the fight to his nemesis in this roaring ending to a great trilogy with as usual lots of swordplay. Recommended
The samurai assassin is back and living peacefully when he is summoned to help the Japanese government stop an overthrow. Lots of swordplay and gory. Recommended
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The last one in the trilogy sees the four fighting to save the emperor and the kingdom. Recommended only if you have first two, otherwise you would not understand the story.
The divine constabulary is back in this sequel to the first one with more martial arts action and fantasy. Recommended
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Detective K is back in this adventurous movie in which he tries to find out who is circulating counterfeit silver bullion. A Patient movie to say the least but entertaining. Recommended with caution
A cop teams up with another person to protect Hong Kong from terrorists. Action galore. Recommended with caution
Martial arts movie about a group of loyal guardsman trying to protect the emperor from his enemies. Recommended for martial arts fans
An ex special agent takes on the bad guys when his young friend is kidnapped. Great Action sequences. Recommended
Snoopy and Charlie Brown are back as they pursue their own adventures in this cute new peanuts movie. Recommended
A teenager teams up with the daughter of a horror novelist when his characters come to life and attack his small time. Entertaining. Recommended
The rise of the hip hop music with NWA emerging as their founders. Their struggles and ultimate triumph. Recommended
An aged holmes deal with his last mystery in this slow moving and ultimately unsatisfying movie. Not Recommended
A reality TV show in Eastern Europe gets caught up in supernatural escapades. Weird movie uptil the end with horror coming very much in the end. Not Recommended
Saturday, April 16, 2016
The story of identical twin gangsters of Britain in the early 1960s. Violent movie. Recommended with caution
The story of the sinking of a ship by a giant whale that inspired the novel Moby dick. This is a not so inspiring movie. Not Recommended
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
A psychologist who is having terrifying visions tries to get to the bottom of it in this slow moving and unconvincing movie. Not Recommended
A lawyer is recruited to defend a soviet spy and exchange a U.S. spy caught behind the iron curtain during the height of the cold war. Excellent movie. Recommended
A retired senior citizen joins a fashion startup and upends many people lives including himself in this entertaining movie. Recommended
Monday, April 11, 2016
A guy takes his family on a vacation to reconnect with this family in this sometime hilarious and fun movie. Recommended with caution