The Downfall of Hollywood

Continuing with our theme of “the downfall,” today we’re talking about one of the biggest businesses of the past one hundred years —- Hollywood.

Since its beginnings, the entertainment industry has brought incredible fame and fortunes to many people, from actors to directors to producers.  It’s a real world that brings the fantasy to life in many different ways and scenarios.  And for many people, Hollywood is a place to be “discovered” and made into that celebrity that has the media fawning over them and fans screaming for photos and autographs.

Being on the outside, many people look at the Hollywood lifestyle and want to believe that their favorite actors and actresses are genuinely good people.  Sure, some of them may get into minor trouble here and there, especially when they are young and suddenly have fame and a fortune, but that’s all, right?

Sadly, that’s not true.  While many actors and actresses wear costumes and disguises for their roles on television shows and in movies, it turns out that they wear other “disguises” to keep their true behavior a secret from their loyal fans and the news media.

That brings us to our subject today — the downfall of Hollywood.

Like many people, I’ve joined the boycott against many of today’s movies and television shows.

One reason is because I’m tired of shows forcing SJW issues and unrealistic situations.  It’s annoying, it’s not realistic, and it’s not right for Hollywood to keep pushing the issues. Read more…


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 16, 2017 at 11:34 pm

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The Downfall of the NFL

Here we are on a Sunday in early November.

The air is crisp and chilly, the holidays are approaching, and normally my day would focus on watching non-stop coverage of professional football from 1 pm through the night.  Okay, it’s not really “focusing” on football, but the games would be playing on my TV as background noise while I’m working.  I’ve been a fan of the NFL for many years now, and a large part of my Sundays in the fall revolved around watching my favorite teams.

The NFL was especially important on Thanksgiving.  We’d spend time going through the sales advertisements, cooking an early turkey dinner, and also watching the Dallas Cowboys and then Detroit Lions.  The NFL was part of that holiday, especially for my dad and I.

Like many people, that love affair with the NFL ended when players began taking a knee and protesting during our national anthem.  This season the protests escalated like wildfire as many more players joined and made their stances known (as if we didn’t already know where many of them stood, thanks to social media).  It forced us loyal fans to make a decision:  keep watching and supporting our favorite teams and players, or don’t.

No more NFL!

The decision for me was easy — NO MORE NFL.

No longer will I pay casual attention to my television on Sundays in the fall, watching overpaid athletes use their fame to protest against values that I hold so dearly.  On top of that, many of those players are protesting against alleged “social injustice” that doesn’t even exist in this country anywhere near the extent that they believe it does.

These protests by NFL football players (and even college cheerleaders, such as the five Kennesaw State University cheerleaders who took a knee during the national anthem) are primarily based on lies and misinformation spread by the media as well as the cesspools known as Facebook and Twitter. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 12, 2017 at 2:38 pm

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Saving Hannah Baker – Surviving High School and Preventing Teenage Suicides

Today we’re taking a look at Hannah Baker, a teenage girl in the Netflix TV show 13 Reasons Why who commits suicide.  The show revolves around one of her friends learning the hard truth behind the reasons why Hannah decided to end her young life.

DISCLAIMER — I am not a psychologist.  The analysis and opinions formed here are from my personal experiences as well as general thoughts.  Seek professional help if you or somebody you know is being bullied and/or in danger of committing suicide.

That being said, in the previous article, I mentioned that I was a victim of bullying in the forms of endless teasing and (mostly) verbal harassment.  This began late in elementary school and continued through the end of middle school, a time span of roughly four years.

In those days I was very socially awkward.  I didn’t know how to dress, I wasn’t aware of modern slang and pop culture, and I had a particularly bad dandruff problem in my hair.  Combine all of that, throw in a neighborhood bully or two, add some bad rumors, and there you go.  I was an easy target for those people who wanted to laugh at me, insult me, and find new ways to put me down on a daily basis.

There was occasionally some pushing and shoving, and I remember some of my school supplies being stolen from time to time as well.  More than once I recall full backpacks being thrown at me on the school bus.  When we had those sex ed classes in middle school, the verbal sexual harassment increased tenfold. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 17, 2017 at 2:16 pm

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Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” – A Review of a Popular TV Show involving Teenager Suicide

Today we’re taking a look at 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix television show that takes a gripping look at how a group of high school teenagers deal with the suicide of one of their classmates.

The girl who committed suicide, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), left behind thirteen audio tapes in which she calls out the classmates who bullied her, and the reasons that led up to her suicide.  Most of the series is told through the point-of-view of Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette), Hannah’s close friend, as he discovers just how much he really knew of Hannah’s teasing and bullying.

13 Reasons Why – Netflix TV show

13 Reasons Why begins with the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide.  Clay receives the box of audio tapes, and he listens to them in sequence and follows Hannah’s journey as a new student during her sophomore year to, ultimately, her suicide in the fall of her junior year.  It’s a rough and emotional journey as he learns the truth through Hannah’s stories and the pieces of evidence that he discovers.  He also realizes just how close he really was to not only Hannah, but to the bullies and their actions.

Before she ends her life, Hannah gives the audio tapes to Tony (played by Christian Navarro), one of her high school classmates that she can trust.  He’s given the job of passing the tapes to each person in Hannah’s listing, making sure that they listen to all of the tapes.  Otherwise, he’s instructed to make the tapes public so that the whole world can hear the truth, a threat that can bring down the entire school system.  Tony has listened to the tapes and knows the truth, and he continually pushes Clay to keep going and to listen to everything, even during trying times.  After all, Clay is the subject of one of the tapes. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

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Movie Review – Shin Godzilla (2016)

Today we’re taking a look at Shin Godzilla, a 2016 Japanese film that happens to be the 31st film in the popular Godzilla monster movies.  Also known as Godzilla ResurgenceShin Godzilla is a reboot of the franchise and pits the famous lizard monster in modern-day Tokyo.

Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji HiguchiShin Godzilla features a Japanese cast full of people you’ve probably never heard of, unless Japanese films and TV shows are one of your passions.

Shin Godzilla (2016) – movie poster

Set in the present day, Shin Godzilla begins with the Japan Coast Guard discovering an abandoned yacht in Tokyo Bay.  Just as the sailors are preparing to have it towed to shore, suddenly the boat is destroyed in a huge spray of water.  The disturbance also breaks into a tunnel and begins to flood it, killing an untold number of people.  At first the disturbance is seen as just a random event, but when viral videos begin to show a massive creature moving underwater (and straight to the shore), the government officials rush to form a plan.

Ideas are exchanged and options include sitting back and doing nothing, trying to capture it alive so that it can be studied, or exterminating the creature and ending its unknown threat to the city.  Government officials downplay the threat of the creature as its believed that the creature’s legs will be unable to support the weight of its tremendous body on land.  That theory is quickly dismissed as the creature swims up a river, crawls onto land, and start squirming and smashing its way through streets and buildings.  While the creature tears a path of destruction, the government races to evacuate as many people as possible. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm

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Movie Review – Ex Machina (2015)

Recently I watched the movie Ex Machina, a science-fiction psychological thriller that was released in 2015.  Although this is was produced as an independent film and with a small budget compared to today’s big blockbusters, Ex Machina still packs a major punch.

Directed by Alex GarlandEx Machina stars Domhnall GleesonOscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander as the three main characters in the film.  You may not know their names, but I’m sure you’ll recognize at least two of their faces, especially if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter films as well as the new Star Wars trilogy.

Anyway, Ex Machina focuses on robotics and, more importantly, artificial intelligence.  The main story involves a computer programmer who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to test a robot’s intelligence and see if it really can think like a human being.

Ex Machina (2015) – movie poster

Ex Machina begins with computer programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) winning an office contest.  He works for the world’s biggest Internet search engine company, Blue Book, and as the contest winner, he gets to spend a week at the luxurious home of the company’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

A helicopter flies Caleb deep into the mountains and drops him off in a field of grass.  From there, Caleb hikes into a forest and reaches what looks like a small shack.  The structure is actually a facade for a secure entrance.  Once Caleb proves his identity to the security system (automated, of course), he’s given an access card and allowed to enter the mostly underground compound.  Caleb explores part of the house and finds Nathan finishing a workout.  Nathan is pleased to meet Caleb, and he makes mention that the morning workout helps him recover from his hangover from last night.

Nathan takes Caleb to the room where he’ll be spending the night for the next week.  He talks Caleb into signing a strict non-disclosure agreement before revealing that he’s been working on artificial intelligence.  His latest robot has already passed the Turing test, and he wants Caleb, a programmer who is used to thinking outside the box and developing unique solutions to problems, to administer the final intelligence tests on the robot, determining if it is genuinely capable of rational thought and consciousness. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 11, 2017 at 7:31 am

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Movie Review – Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)

Recently I had the opportunity to see Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, an American war drama directed by Hollywood legend Ang Lee.  Based on the book of the same name, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk focuses on a squad of Army soldiers, and in particular Billy Lynn, who became famous for their actions in combat in Iraq, and they’re treated as war heroes during a Dallas Cowboys’ halftime show on Thanksgiving.

The film stars Joe Alwyn in the role as soldier Billy Lynn.  Also in the film are Kristen Stewart as Kathryn Lynn, Billy’s sister; Chris Tucker as Albert, a film producer; Vin Diesel as Shroom, one of the squad’s sergeants; and Steve Martin as Norm Oglesby, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016) – movie poster

Taking place around 2004-05, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk begins with hidden camera footage of Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) coming to the aid of Virgil “Shroom” Breem (Vin Diesel) while under fire from enemy forces.  Although Shroom dies from his injuries, Billy’s heroism catapults him and his squad into the national spotlight.  The squad (named “Bravo Squad” by the media) is back in the U.S. to tour the country and help draw support for the war.  Their main performance takes place today during the halftime show for the Dallas Cowboys’ football game on Thanksgiving.

From their hotel, Cowboys’ PR agent Josh (Ben Platt) and film producer Albert Brown (Chris Tucker) escort the soldiers to the football stadium.  While Josh tries to keep the soldiers updated as to their schedule at the game, Albert is trying to work out a film deal so that a Hollywood company will bring the story of Billy Lynn and Bravo Squad to the movie theaters. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 10, 2017 at 10:46 pm

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Book Review – Andy Weir’s “The Martian”

Last week I finished reading The Martian, a thrilling science-fiction story involving human survival on planet Mars.  Written by Andy WeirThe Martian is a hauntingly realistic look at just how a person can survive living on the Red Planet, should such an emergency occur.

Andy Weir — The Martian

Set in the year 2035The Martian begins with a tremendous sandstorm on Mars.  The crew of NASA’s Ares 3 mission had just landed on the planet a few days ago, but the strong storm forces them to abort their mission.  The fierce winds are dangerously close to tipping over the rocket that ferries them back to their orbiting spacecraft, Hermes.

As the astronauts are walking to their rocket, a gust of wind breaks loose an antenna, and astronaut Mark Watney is hit and knocked away, His vital signs go offline and the crew believes that he’s dead.  They make an attempt to find him, but the storm is simply too strong and they’re forced to blast off.  They do so unable to recover Watney’s body.  The crew reaches the Hermes, and they begin their long trek back home to Earth.

However, Mark Watney is still alive.

The broken antenna and his blood created a seal around the hole in his spacesuit, and Mark is able to make it back into the habitat and treat his injury.  There’s no communication with NASA as the antenna was destroyed in the storm.  Watney knows that his chances of rescue are incredibly bleak, but he’s forced to analyze his situation and figure out a way to survive as long as possible.  Watney finishes each day by logging his thoughts, ideas and plans for the next day in a journal.  He hopes that one day the journal will be recovered and people will learn what really happened to him. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 9, 2017 at 9:48 am

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Movie Review – The Founder (2016)

Recently I had the opportunity to see The Founder, a biographical drama focusing on Ray Kroc and the development of the McDonald’s fast food chain of restaurants.  Although the film premiered on December 7, 2016, it wasn’t released to the theaters until January 20, 2017.

Directed by John Lee HancockThe Founder stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, the salesman who used persistence and sly tactics to build McDonald’s into a major corporation.  Co-starring in the film are Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald.  Laura Dern plays the role of Ray’s wife, Ethel Kroc, and B. J. Novak is Harry J. Sonneborn, a financial consultant who shows Ray the true path to wealth and control of the restaurant chain.

The Founder (2016) – movie poster

The Founder begins in 1954 and Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a traveling salesman living in Illinois and selling milkshake makers.  It’s an expensive product and he has difficulty convincing diners to purchase them.  While he’s on the road, Ray frequently encounters problems at diners including incredibly slow service as well as orders being incorrect.

When Ray learns that a restaurant in San Bernadino, California, ordered six of his milkshake machines, he thinks that it’s an error.  He calls the company to verify the order, and he’s blown away when the manager increases the order to eight milkshake machines.  This peaks Ray’s curiosity and he quickly drives across the country to see this fascinating restaurant.

Ray’s journey leads him to McDonald’s, a small diner where people actually have to get out of their cars (the horror!) and order their meal from a counter.  The menu is simple, and the orders are processed with lightning fast service.  On top of that, the food is served in disposable containers, eliminating the need for plates and utensils. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 8, 2017 at 10:41 pm

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Book Review — James Rollins’s “Amazonia”

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading Amazonia, a thrilling adventure novel written by James Rollins.  Amazonia takes readers into the heart of the Amazon jungle, and a wide assortment of threats including some of the deadliest creatures that you can imagine.

Amazonia begins with the sudden appearance of U.S. Army Ranger Agent Clark in a small village deep in Brazil.  The man is barely alive and unable to speak as his tongue is missing.  He’s also covered in strange markings that cause local people to run away in panic.  Clark dies during the night, and soon a deadly disease begins affecting children and the elderly in that same village.

The U.S. government is fascinated by the reappearance of Agent Clark because he was lost and presumed to be dead as he was part of an expedition that vanished in the Amazon some four years ago.  What makes the government even more interested is that before joining the expedition, Clark had lost one of his arms from a combat injury.  When he reappeared in the village, Clark had both of his arms.

James Rollins — Amazonia

The brunt of Amazonia follows a new expedition into the Amazon led by Nathan Rand.  Nathan is an expert when it comes to biology and the jungle, and it was his father who led the ill-fated expedition four years ago.  With the emergence of Agent Clark, there’s new hope that other members of the expedition might also still be alive, somewhere deep in the jungle.  Experts are brought together, and another team of special forces soldiers provides the security.  They quickly enter the jungle and try to follow Clark’s path before the monsoon rains wash away the trail. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 2, 2017 at 10:40 pm

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Book Review — Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”

Last week I finished reading The Da Vinci Code, the second story in the Robert Langdon series of novels by author Dan Brown.  I finished reading it right before Easter.

Taking place about a year after the events in Angels & DemonsThe Da Vinci Code begins with the sudden murder of a museum curator in Paris, France.  Specifically, the man murdered was Jacques Sauniere, the curator of the Louvre.  He was shot in the abdomen by Silas, an albino Catholic monk.  Before succumbing to death, Jacques positioned himself in a unique position designed to get the right kind of attention.  He also left behind a note that included the line, “P.S. find Robert Langdon.”

Dan Brown — The Da Vinci Code

Thankfully, art historian and religious expert Robert Langdon is in Paris on a speaking tour, and that very evening he was scheduled to meet with Jacques, although Langdon didn’t know the specific reason why Jacques wanted to meet with him.  He presumed it had to do with a new book that he was getting ready to publish.

Anyway, the French police quickly locate Langdon in a nearby hotel, and he’s taken to the Louvre to help examine the uniquely positioned body of the late museum curator.  The police show him that Jacques also left behind other notes as well as a sequence of numbers.  What it all means though is rather puzzling.

Police cryptographer Sophie Neveu arrives and she secretly tells Langdon that his life is in danger.  She helps him ditch the police and sends them on a wild goose chase, allowing Sophie and Langdon privacy to examine the crime scene.  It turns out that not only is Jacques Sophie’s estranged grandfather, but he was also the leader of a secret society.  On top of that, he was known for his puzzles and riddles, and he frequently used words and phrases with double meanings. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 21, 2017 at 11:20 am

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Think your job is stressful? Guess again.

You don’t know stress until you’re the general manager of a fast food restaurant that continually earns several million dollars each year on revenue, but is desperately understaffed and operates with an unreliable skeleton crew.

Late last summer my wife was finally promoted to the position of general manager after being a restaurant manager (a.k.a. assistant manager) for several years with her current company.  The promotion initially sent her to a store located fifty miles away from home (yes, that’s fifty miles in each direction).

While the drive to and from that store was literally a pain in the ass (the hour-long commute was making her back problem worse), and the store was not only ancient but also in a bad part of a poor town, and homeless people used it as a place to hang out each day, she made it work.  She cleaned the store, managed to find and hire decent workers, and the place improved.  The store always had enough inventory in stock, the speed of service times improved, and business increased.  Of course, that’s the pattern that she had already been setting whenever she was transferred to a new store.

So how does the company reward my wife’s performance after turning around the worst store in the district?

Why, they sent her to another store, of course! Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - at 9:47 am

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Are Companies Shorting You In Bags of Potato Chips?

Last week there was a news story about people filing a lawsuit against Wise Foods, claiming that the company is basically being deceitful and tricking customers into purchasing what they think is a large amount of potato chips.

Perhaps the real question here is, How much empty space is acceptable in a bag of potato chips?

We all know that bags of potato chips are never filled to the top of the bag.  First, the air in the bag acts as a cushion and helps prevent the chips from being crushed.  And second, chips settle and sink to the bottom of the bag, whether it happens at the food production plant, or during any phase of transportation all the way to your home.  The more that you move and shake the bag, the further that the chips will settle towards the bottom.

Still, despite knowing that, it’s disappointing opening a large bag of chips only to see that more than half of the bag appears to be empty.  This is a common problem with almost all manufacturers of chips, though some companies are worse with this problem than others.

Wise Foods

We, the consumers, want to have an amount of chips in the bag that clearly reflects the bag’s size.  So why is this such a problem today? Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm

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Book Review – Dan Brown’s “Angels & Demons”

Last week I finished reading Angels & Demons, the first book in the Robert Langdon series of books written by Dan Brown.

Over ten years ago I got caught up in the craze and read The Da Vinci Code right before Hollywood made it into a movie.  While I don’t remember the details of the book, I do remember that it was an interesting story and that I enjoyed it.  After waiting for too long, I finally decided to go back and read this series of books, starting with the first one, Angels & Demons.

Dan Brown — Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons begins with the murder of one of the top scientists at the CERN research facility in Europe.  Physicist Leonardo Vetra was brutally murdered and his chest was branded by a symbol once used by the Illuminati, a secret organization that waged war against the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago.  To help him investigate the murder, CERN director Maximilian Kohler flies in Robert Langdon, an expert on artwork as well as religion and secret societies such as the Illuminati.

Langdon quickly discovers that the symbol is authentic, and that it appears that the Illuminati are back.  Leonardo’s daughter Vittoria was called back to CERN after the discovery of her father’s murder.  She arrives just as Langdon and Kohler are analyzing the Illuminati symbol.  When the three of them examine Leonardo’s office, nothing seems out of place.  Vittoria informs them that her father had a second laboratory at CERN, a place where she was helping him research antimatter.  They access the second lab and discover that a canister containing antimatter is missing. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 6, 2017 at 9:51 pm

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Book Review – John Douglas & Mark Olshaker’s “Journey Into Darkness”

Back in late February I finished reading Journey Into Darkness, another set of brutal and horrific true crime stories from famed FBI Special Agent John Douglas.  This book goes along with his previous book, Mindhunter.

Just like MindhunterJourney Into Darkness takes a look at a few bloody and brutal cases that John Douglas either worked on personally, or that he had heard about during his time with the FBI.

John Douglas & Mark Olshaker — Journey Into Darkness

This time around, authors John Douglas and Mark Olshaker seem to be generally focused with sex crimes and the murders that accompanied them.  The book begins with a short story of a man abducting and killing a young lady in the Marine Corps, told from his point-of-view.  We later learn that the story is what Douglas believes happened as he helped investigate the crime and placed himself in the killer’s shoes, searching for his motive and methods in an effort to later capture him.

Like in MindhunterJourney Into Darkness has several true crime cases.  Most of these tend to showcase the murders of women and young children, and most of them were sexually assaulted as well.  Some of it is quite graphic as we read about what monsters can do when they strike and release their rage. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

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Running a High-Volume, Low-Profit eBay Store

Right now almost all of my time has been dedicated to my eBay store.

I’d rather not post a link to it just yet, but I’ve been successfully doing business on there for over a year and a half.  My techniques have continually been adjusted as I’ve been learning from mistakes and learning how to do business better.

My store is a cliche with used clothing and basically “thrift store flipping” that so many people jump to when it comes to online selling.  Selling clothing is fiercely competitive.  It’s also critical to get the items as clean as possible as well as having great photos and accurate measurements.

On top of that, you also need to have low enough prices to encourage people to purchase from you.  I’m pretty sure that some of my prices were actually so low that people bought from me and then re-listed the items in their own eBay store for higher prices.

One of my problems is that I have a limited area where I can store my clothing once it’s been cleaned, photographed and measured.  Because of that, I’m listing and selling items for extremely low prices to keep my inventory moving.  This creates a high-volume but low-profit environment.  But it’s still income, and my business model works as I’ve got a source where I can purchase my inventory for ridiculously low prices.  I can still make profits selling items as low as $1.99, and that’s including deducting the item cost, the PayPal fee, and eBay’s fee at the end of the month. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - at 2:50 pm

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Book Review – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s “Cemetery Dance”

Last week I finished reading Cemetery Dance, the ninth story in the Special Agent Pendergast series of books by authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  The events in this story take place in New York City.

Loosely following the events in The Wheel of DarknessCemetery Dance begins with one-year anniversary of the marriage between newspaper reporter William Smithback, Jr. and anthropologist Dr. Nora Kelly.  When Nora steps out of their apartment for a moment to get an “anniversary surprise,” a neighbor, Colin Fearing, enters their apartment and uses a knife to brutally murder Bill.

It’s a horrific and bloody scene.  When Nora returns a few minutes later, Colin attacks her as well.  Her life is spared when her cries of help are heard by her neighbors.  Colin flees the scene and escapes into the city.

The oddity is that Colin Fearing committed suicide two weeks ago.  He’s supposed to be dead and buried in a graveyard.

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child — Cemetery Dance

The NYPD immediately begins to investigate the murder.  NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta is examining the apartment when he discovers that FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is also examining the scene of the crime.  He’s collecting blood samples and has noticed that the “dead” murderer made it a point to clean himself and his knife before departing the apartment.  It’s also quickly discovered that at no point did Colin Fearing attempt to hide his face from his neighbors or the building’s security cameras. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - March 1, 2017 at 9:03 am

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Illinois Tornadoes (and videos) – February 28, 2017

On the afternoon and evening of February 28, 2017, northern and southern Illinois saw numerous tornadoes touch down in the state.

storm reports – February 28, 2017

As a comparison, here’s the severe weather outlook that was issued by the Storm Prediction Center earlier that day.

severe weather outlook – February 28, 2017

Although western and southern Missouri didn’t see any tornadoes in this batch of severe weather, that region had plenty of wind and hail damage from those severe thunderstorms.  The brunt of the tornado reports occurred in streaks across northern and southern Illinois.


Washburn, Illinois:

Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - at 6:55 am

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Book Review – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s “The Wheel of Darkness”

A few weeks ago I finished reading The Wheel of Darkness, the eighth book in the Special Agent Pendergast series of books written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Following the events in The Book of the DeadFBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast and his ward, Constance Greene, have made their way to western Tibet.  Their destination is the remote Gsalrig Chongg monastery, a place so distant in the mountains that very few people know of its very existence.  This is the same monastery where Pendergast received his training many years ago.

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child — The Wheel of Darkness

The two of them arrive at the monastery.  At first the monks are reluctant to allow Constance inside to seek guidance and train in meditation because she’s a woman, but that changes when the leader of the monks sees Constance’s resemblance to Green Tara, allegedly the mother of all Buddhas.  They accept her into the monastery and she begins her training.

While he’s in the monastery, Pendergast makes his way into a secretive inner monastery and learns of the Agozyen, an item so powerful that it can allegedly destroy the entire world.  It’s been in the monks’ possession for hundreds of years.  The problem is that it was recently stolen by a visitor.  The monks ask Pendergast to track down the Agozyen and return it to the monastery. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 28, 2017 at 2:35 pm

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Movie Review – Citizen Kane (1941)

Throughout most of the history of cinema, one film has consistently held the title for being simply one of the best films ever made —- Citizen Kane.

Released in 1941, Citizen Kane not only stars Hollywood legend Orson Welles, but he directed, produced, and co-wrote the film as well.

Citizen Kane (1941) — movie poster

Citizen Kane begins in the present year.

Citizen Kane (1941) – (c) RKO Radio Pictures

Inside of Xanadu, a vast and incredibly luxurious mansion in Florida, an elderly Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) is nearing his death.  He holds a snow globe, says the word “rosebud,” and then dies.  The snow globe falls to the floor and breaks, signaling the end to the legendary man. Read more…

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