C is for Calvin- #AtoZChallenge

For “C“, I’ll tell you a little about “Calvin”. Calvin is the name chosen for the latest creepy alien we get to ‘meet’.

I went to see the movie “LIFE” the other day.

I’ve always been into science fiction. Not like a huge geek or anything, but I love the way the stories make you think. About all the different possibilities. What would people do under these circumstances? Or those? The genre allows so much freedom to explore.

LIFE starts out on the International Space Station (ISS). They retrieve a returning Mars probe and find a single celled organism onboard. It grows. Rapidly. Proof of ‘life beyond Earth’. The world is fascinated. They name it “Calvin”.

Too bad, but all the wishful thinking in the world doesn’t make Calvin a nice guy.


Movie Review: Tarzan

I went to see the latest Tarzan movie, “The Legend of Tarzan“, the other day. I liked it. I pretty much always like Tarzan movies. I used to watch Tarzan every Saturday morning when I was growing up. I used to wish I could live like that- wild, in the jungle, friends with all the animals.

I’ve always loved animals. All kinds. Growing up we had cats, dogs, lizards, turtles, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds (parakeets, cockatiels, myna birds), fish and even a kinkajou for a while.

I got an animal encyclopedia one year for a present and read through each book, cover to cover. I was fascinated by all the beautiful creatures, all the glorious diversity. I wanted to be a scientist, studying how to save the animals. Or a vet.

My grandparents were pharmacists and wanted me to be a doctor, but I didn’t really like people that much. Especially not sick people! I think I would have made a great vet tho!

I still think we have too many people running around. I thought that way back then and of course since we have WAY more people (and all the problems that causes), I think it much more strongly now. Even with all the improvements we’ve made and increased standards of living for so many, we’re still destroying the planet and wiping out other species at increasing rates.

I think everything on this planet has just as much ‘right’ to be here as we do. I really object to the position so many people take that we have the right to do whatever the hell we want to with whatever we can. Still acting like cave men (which might have been alright back then with only a few hundred thousand people on the planet), it’s definitely not OK now with over 7 BILLION people here (projected to be over 11 BILLION by 2100)!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to just cover the planet with people. More and more and more people! Our cities, our towns, our farms, OURS, to use and abuse as we see fit. What about all the OTHER species we’re supposed to SHARE this planet with?

I love how Tarzan was able to co-exist with the animals. He was always a protector of the land. He lived in the jungle and knew how to use it’s resources without abusing them. He didn’t have a bunch of kids (who would each have a bunch more, etc).

I love how he was always able to keep ‘his’ forests safe from the greedy men who came to rape the wilderness. For diamonds, for oil, for hides, for tusks, for whatever they could take.

This latest movie sets the scene in the Congo during the time of King Leopold II of Belgium. He was really awful, you should check out the book “King Leopold’s Ghost“. I read it a while ago and it’s a pretty good story (tho pretty sad history).

Leopold has basically been raping the Congo. Gobbling up resources and enslaving the people. His henchman- slick, suited Mr Rom (Christoph Waltz) makes a deal to trade diamonds for Tarzan with a tribal leader with a major grudge.

Tarzan gets lured back to Africa by American George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), who convinces him to accept the Kings invitation- to verify rumors of slavery and destruction of his beloved home in the jungle.

I loved watching Tarzan swing through the trees (do gorillas really do that?). Such a great way to travel! He always finds such freedom, joy and wonder to share. Alexander Skarsgard plays the part well. He doesn’t say much, but he does a great job with the character (and he’s nice to watch with his shirt off). In this movie version Jane (Margot Robbie) plays a pretty big part. She does a good job as a ‘damsel in distress’, you really wind up rooting for Tarzan to come and save her.

The Legend of Tarzan was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. The movie had it all- adventure, gorgeous scenery, great looking actors, romance, action, wildlife, history. I was cheering for the animals in a few places and hoping the despicable Mr Rom got ripped apart in a few more. I really enjoyed it. I might even go see it again. Or hope for a sequel.

If you go for a matinee and skip the popcorn, it’s only $5.51!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Movie Review)

I don’t watch all that many movies. But when I’ve got a long plane ride, I might watch one or two. I usually have a hard time finding one I think will be worth the time. Since I can never sleep unless I’m lying down (or I’ve been up for over 24 hours and just too exhausted to stay awake any longer), I’m apt to try out  the in flight ‘entertainment system’ on the plane.

My flight home from Luanda to Frankfurt was 8 1/2 hours long. Then I had another 10 1/2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Houston. I didn’t really see ANYTHING worth watching at first glance. I flipped through the choices again and again, searching for something to keep my mind occupied (the book I was reading just wasn’t holding my interest).

I finally decided to try this film. It’s not something I usually would have watched. I usually prefer science fiction/fantasy, horror, or really silly comedy. (I also watched the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ this trip home.)

I’m glad I did decide to watch the ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. It really was pretty funny. Not in an ‘in-your-face’ kind of way, but in a more subtle kind of way.

The idea behind it- of a fantastic retirement home in a faraway, exotic, cheap and affordable location- was very interesting to me. I’ve been looking for that myself in real life. I watched the movie to see how the characters dealt with the different things they’d come across in daily life in a foreign country.

I loved the movie. The actors, (Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and Dev Patel), all did a great job. I especially loved the way Muriel (Maggie Smith) grew into her new life. The director (John Madden) found the perfect settings and put it all together in a wonderful way. I really enjoyed myself. I laughed a lot, I even cried a couple of times. I’ve always wanted to visit India and this film has given me even more reasons to go. 🙂

I have a couple of friends I really hope I can get to watch this movie. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes an adventure, travel, learning new things, new cultures, about life, about yourself. I thought it was very inspiring and worth sharing.

Let me know if you’ve seen it already and what you thought.

Taking A Break

So, as per my earlier post, today I took a much needed break.

I slept til past noon. Got up and had a leisurely breakfast. Took care of the mail. Even went out to dinner and a movie.

I hit my favorite Chinese buffet and then saw the latest Dracula movie (Dracula Untold). After all, it is coming up on Halloween, (my favorite holiday other than St Patricks Day).

This version seemed more an action movie than a horror movie. I was definitely rooting for Dracula and his bats! Luke Evans stars as Dracula. He was nice to watch. 🙂

It was a good movie tho. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, a little bit of magic and mystery. Lots of action, swordplay and that kind of thing. I was a little disappointed with the ending. (No, I’m not going to spoil it for you.)

Check it out…

Maritime Monday: Movies About Submarines, Part 5; Immersione Rapida!

gCaptain Maritime & Offshore News | Maritime Monday for December 16th, 2013: Movies About Submarines, Part 5; Immersione Rapida!.

Check the date on the link above. Yeah, I’m really late! I am having a really hard time keeping up with my emails lately and this is one I finally got around to. I thought some of you might still find it interesting, so I’ll go ahead and post it now.

Gcaptain continues its series of maritime movies, this weeks round-up is all about submarines. I have to admit, I don’t remember the last one. Were there were already 4 others about submarines? Or just 4 maritime movie posts. I find it hard to believe there are THAT many movies just about submarines.

But I do remember posting at least one with submarines. I remember spending a while trying to find a recording of that classic song about the submarine races. I did find a couple of versions, but not the one I was thinking about. The one I was looking for was something I heard while listening to the Dr Demento Radio Show a LONG time ago.

It cracked me up! That show was great entertainment. I used to like to stay up all night and sleep late. Listening to music and reading til all hours of the night. That was when I was a lot younger and didn’t really have anything important I had to do. Things have changed. I can’t even stay awake that late anymore. 😉

This batch of movies looks like it would make a good all nighter. Too bad I can’t hang with that kind of thing anymore. Cook up a bunch of popcorn and turn on the DVD. 😉

Of course, they’re pretty much all war movies. But at least a few of them concentrate on the drama of the personal choices of the people involved. For instance, “Submarine Attack” (Torpedo Zone) is about a sub commander who sinks a ship and then picks up the survivors. Now he has to decide what to do with them.

Kind of like what happens now when a merchant captain picks up a bunch of refugees. It used to be simple, take them with you to your next port and drop them off, no worries. NOT any more!

The shoreside officials have made that simple thing SO difficult. It’s a very hard decision for a ship master to make now a days if he sees a raft full of refugees. Pick them up and deal with the mess? Or just sail on and take the easy way out?

It has ALWAYS been the tradition to help another vessel in distress, but the shoreside people are making it very hard on mariners to continue that automatic response. There have even been reports of ship masters forcing stowaways overboard. Pretty much leave them to die. All because of the trouble the ship will be in when they get to port!

It’s really pretty sad. The officials have made it SO hard to do the right thing.

Back to the movie review…

Submarine Attack sounds like it would probably be my favorite. I haven’t actually seen any of these movies yet, but I do love old movies and anything maritime. 😉

One other I would like to see is the one based on the true story of the USS Tang. “Submarine Command” looks like an interesting story. The story of the commander and his crew during WWII who wound up sinking a total of 33 ships. A record for American submarines.

The movie concentrates on the guilt the commander feels for the death of his gunner who died when the commander ordered the sub to dive during an enemy attack. Yes, he saved his ship and his crew, but he still felt guilty.

The last one I’ll mention here is another one based on a true story. “Trapped in a Submarine” (aka “Men Like These“), is the story of the HMS Poseidon (P99), a British sub that was hit and sunk by a cargo ship. Some of the crew managed to escape the sinking submarine and reach the surface. It sounds like a good story and something I would like.

Check the link to the original movie review from Monkey Fist. If you’re not watching the Superbowl, give some of these a try. 🙂




Movie Review: The Great Dictator


I came across the Great Dictator today (again) and I can’t even remember where. I think it might have been in an email from the Sovereign Man (an ‘investment’ newsletter I subscribe to). Yes, yet another of my hobbies. 😉

I had a little time this morning so I took a look and tho I’ve seen the movie before I was just stunned this time. I guess I’ve just been primed by all that’s been happening in the world lately.

soldiers dont fight

I’ve seen a few Charlie Chaplin movies and I’ve enjoyed them all. For his time and place, I would agree with the people who consider him a genius. He could make you laugh, but he could make you THINK.

He had a way of putting himself out there and making people feel his emotions. He made people feel what he wanted them to feel. To understand his characters and their emotions.

He did so much in his films, and considering that a lot of them were silent movies, he was so far out and ahead of everyone else in the business, he really had no equal.

This movie was his first ‘talkie’. He played the leading roles of the dictator and the barber. He also directed it. He did a fantastic job in every way, and the public appreciated that. This was his most commercially successful film (even tho it was banned in most of Europe- for obvious reasons).

The Great Dictator came out in 1940 (while we were still formally at peace with Nazi Germany). It was written, produced, scored and directed by Charlie Chaplin. And he played the starring role(s)! WOW!

I watched the ending speech on youtube again and I can hardly believe how powerful and moving it STILL is after all this time. It is SO powerful. It is SO prescient. It is SO MUCH still true today!

I wish more people around the world could see this movie. It is a warning to us all. His speech is so moving. Even almost 75 years after he spoke those words, they can still affect me that way. I hope others can understand that feeling. I hope others can understand what he was trying to do with this film.


I hope people today will take his message to heart and unite to solve the problems we have. I hope people today will work together to find solutions to hunger, hatred, violence, sickness, oppression, poverty and war.

I hope people will come to understand that we (common people) need to unite to overcome the forces against us. It is the same now as it was then. There are people in this world who lust for power and will do anything to get it and to keep it. ANYTHING!

Nothing else matters to people like that. Not you, not me, not their friends, not their families, not their pets, not their neighborhood, not their community, not their country, not their PLANET! NOTHING!!

From the reviews of the movie and it’s commercial success, I think Chaplin succeeded in showing large numbers of people how idiotic it is to allow anyone to rule over you.

To give a dictator (or ANY form of government) the power to rule is just plain stupid. WE must maintain control over our lives. Chaplin does a fine job of showing that in his film.

Not enough people understood his message in time. We still had to fight the Second World War, (and then the Korean ‘War’ and then the Vietnam ‘War’ and then the assaults on all the little countries that no one even remembers-except the people who were directly hurt by them- and then the ‘War on Terror’ carried out in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Yemen and Mali and, and, and…and America). 😦

When is it going to end? Are people ever going to wake up? Will we ever find the gumption to tell all those power hungry bastards that insist they need to rule us “for your own good” to GO TO HELL!!



I actually started this post a couple of weeks ago and ran out of time to finish it up. It’s been on my mind for a while. So, it’s a good fit for todays Zero to Hero task: Revisit a Task and a Post. I did at least figure out how to get the video to play correctly since the last time I worked on it! 😉

If you’d like to know more about the movie, Wikipedia has a pretty good overview. Please let me know what you think! 🙂