For the record: I am not a fan of Steven Spielberg‘s movies. I do not like them on DVD; I do not like them in theater three. I do not like them on VHS; I do not like them — I said that, yes! And let me be clear: sometimes when I say I don’t like something, it means I’m neutral; I neither like nor dislike. But in this case, I do mean I actively dislike his movies.
I will readily agree that this, almost universally beloved, director-writer-producer is brilliant at his craft. He’s clearly one of the most successful directors in modern movie history. But I stand with a (very!) small number of critics who find his movies morally shallow and blatantly emotional. Even worse, they are peppered with what I call “Spielbergisms.”
It all started with the damned mashed potatoes.
Now showing at the Heaven’s Gate Theatre:
Bacall’s famous line from To Have and Have Not is the all-time sexiest line in movie history! “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together — and blow.” My reaction matches Bogie’s every time! Hoooo-eeee!!
And at the Heavenly Comedy Club:
But tickets to these shows… are a little tricky to come by. On the other hand, you have plenty of time to get there and see them. They run every night (with matinees on weekends)… forever!
In my family, we were rather casual about birthdays and other event days. It wasn’t unusual to celebrate a birthday, not on the exact day, but on a nearby day. We were fairly poor, so birthdays mostly consisted of a cake and a token present of some sort. (Put it this way: I can’t recall a single birthday present I ever got. We just weren’t that into birthdays.)
But I don’t recall ever not celebrating Christmas or Easter on the day. That may be as much due to my father being a pastor and having to do his thing at church on those days. The religious upbringing — and the strong streak of anti-materialism that went with it — likely accounts for downplaying birthdays and other gift-giving occasions.
Which is all to say that I missed posting on John Venn‘s birthday!
If you’re a fan of television you may know that David Letterman is retiring in 2015 and that his replacement is Stephen Colbert! If you’re not at all a fan of television, it’s possible you don’t know Stephen Colbert, who is the two in the one-two punch of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert‘s The Colbert Report.
One thing that makes Colbert stand out is how he plays a character who shares his name. Sort of. Stephen Colbert is a parody person played by Stephen Colbert. The fake is highly conservative, utterly ego-maniacal and massively ignorant. Part of the schtick is that Colbert usually appears in public — even testifying before Congress — as Colbert.
So I’m looking forward to seeing the Colbert behind the Colbert mask!
Last week Vinton “Vint” Cerf was the guest on The Colbert Report. The elegant Mr. Cerf is one of the two acknowledged fathers of the internet (the other is Bob Kahn). Among other things, those two invented the TCP/IP protocol that allows all internet communication.
Briefly, the need to connect different computers together goes back to the 1960s. Researchers in the 1970s sought to create a network for government (especially military) and academic computing (the ARPANET). The 1980s saw the birth of the internet — the first “dot-com” name was registered in 1985. And only six years later, in 1991, the “interweb” began!
It got me thinking back to those early text-based days before “the web”…
Computer programmers are exceptional thinkers. By which I don’t necessary mean they are “exceptional” in the sense of “outstanding” (although no doubt some are). I mean they are trained to think about exceptions (to the rule), about what might happen.
Computer programmers, in general, think about all the possible paths a system could take. When creating email software, they have to think about all the possible ways a user might use the software. There are the obvious actions the user is supposed to perform to read or write email. But there are also “What happens if I click this?” moments to consider.
It’s not about just of the “correct” ways but also about the “incorrect” ways!
Even as a kid monster movies didn’t really frighten me. I just was never that impressed by Dracula or Frankenstein (let alone a Werewolf — a mere dog). The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Blob, the Thing, giant insects, Harryhausen animations, even zombies… All such obvious effects.
Slasher movies weren’t that big when I was a kid. Jason, Freddie, Chucky, they all came along later. The first Saw wasn’t until 2004. And again, on some level, just special effects. That’s actually part of what’s cool about the gory movies.
But ghost stories? Ghost stories definitely get under my skin!