Monday, December 26, 2016

On the lighter side-Movies-Hush (2016)

A hearing impaired woman living in isolation plays hide and seek with a killer intruder. Great horror movie. Recommended

Black Friday deals

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

On the lighter side-Movies-Spectral (2016)

Elite forces of soldiers are sent to a fictitious country in Eastern Europe to fight indestructible supernatural life form. Decent science fiction movie with ample action. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Jungle Book (2016)-Neel Sethi

Excellent live action movie of the same animated movie in which a boy raised by wolves defends himself against a vengeful tiger. Highly recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Sendero (2015-Chile)

Five friends on a celebratory vacation are kidnapped by a weird family and end up fighting for their lives. Gory movie with the main character pissing me off the most as she is the weakest of all of them. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Eliminators (2016)-Scott Adkins

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

The fall of Aleppo, Syria

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.

Advantages and disadvantages of living in the Northeast U.S.

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.

On the lighter side-Movies-Bone Tomahawk (2015)-Kurt Russell

A sheriff and his posse try to rescue hostages taken by cannibals in this sometimes gory western. Recommended with caution

The rise of Nationalism across the world

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.

Go back to your Country

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.

Downtown New York after 9/11/2001

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

On the lighter side-Travel-Lake Placid, New York-3

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.

On the lighter side-Travel-Lake Placid, New York-2

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.

On the lighter side-Travel-Lake Placid, New York

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.

On the lighter side-Movies-The Magnificent Seven (2016)-Denzel Washington

A widower hires seven gunslingers to defend her poor village against a murderous land baron. Exciting western with a great cast. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Sully (2016)-Tom Hanks

The story of a plane captain who becomes a hero when he lands his damaged plane in the middle of a river saving all the planes passengers. Highly Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Storks (2016)-Animated

Storks have moved on from delivering babies to other merchandise but when a baby order is accidentally fulfilled, the storks have deliver the baby come what may. Enjoyable family movie. Recommended

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the lighter side-Movies-Kill Ratio (2016)

Wooden actioner about a contractor who finds himself in the middle of a military coup in a fictitious East European country. You will guess what happens next. Not Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)-Eva Green

Interesting movie about a boy who discovers a house of children who have special powers and must fend themselves off against evil monsters. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Ben-Hur (2016)

A Jewish prince falsely accused by his Roman brother of treason is exiled and returns for vengeance. Although an okay movie, the original one remains a classic. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)-Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant

A New York heiress wants to become an opera star despite having a terrible voice. Funny and with great acting by all. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Suicide Squad (2016)-Will Smith

A group of dangerous criminals are recruited by a government agency to save the world. Funny and action. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)-Renee Zellweger

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

ISIS attacks on Shiite mosque in Afghanistan and Iraq

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

Attacks on Police

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.

Chicago soaring homicide rates

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

On the lighter side-Movies-Pete’s Dragon (2016)

An orphaned boy is found in the woods who claim to have a dragon as his best friend. Family friendly movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The BGF (2016)

A girl finds a big friendly Giant and her efforts to banish other giants who eat children. Non interesting to say the least. Kid friendly but not Recommended