Posted tagged ‘movies’

Moondance

July 13, 2014
courtesy wikipedia

courtesy wikipedia

Yesterday afternoon, I noticed on Facebook that Saturday night’s moon would be a so-called supermoon.   Properly called a perigee moon, these occurs when the phase of the moon is full while the moon is near it’s closest position to the earth, or perigee.  According to NASA Science, the perigee moon is 14% larger and 30% brighter than your average full moon but without a side-by-side comparison, it is hard to tell the difference.  Yes, that’s a scientific, clinical description and it doesn’t prevent people from saying things like, Oh my God, that is the biggest moon I’ve ever seen! particularly if they are observing the moonrise.  For reasons not completely understood, the moon looks particularly large as it’s rising from the horizon.  This ends the scientific portion of this post.  When I read about a supermoon, I am once again that excited kid with his Edmund Scientific reflector telescope rushing out to the hayfield.   When the moon rises full, I am the wolf baying, Owooo, owooo at the sky, the young romantic recalling favorite moon songs and favorite moon scenes from the movies. (more…)

Friday Favorites 7/4/2014

July 4, 2014
zamperini

courtesy wikipedia

Yesterday, I noticed a headline on Yahoo Sports – War Hero, Olympian Zamperini, Dies at 97.   I would guess that it’s a good chance that you don’t know of Zamperini … unless you are serious student of Olympic history or a fan of author, Laura Hillenbrand.  Louis Zamperini was a world class distance runner who outgrew a rebellious childhood through running, first at Torrance High then on the track team at the University of Southern California.  He ran the 5,000 meters for the U.S. in the 1936 Olympics where he earned some fame not for winning but for stealing Hitler’s personal Nazi flag.  In 1944, as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, his Liberator bomber went down at sea with only three survivors.  One died at sea, while Zamperini and another man, Russell Phillips, survived 47 days before coming ashore on the Marshall Islands, where they were captured by Japanese forces.  He was brutally tortured for two years until the end of the war and returned home struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and alcoholism.  After attending a rally by Billy Graham, he became a born-again Christian and inspirational speaker, often focusing on the importance of forgiveness. He was to be the grand marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade in keeping with this year’s theme, Inspiring Stories. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 6/30/2014

June 30, 2014

pantages-outSunday morning, Muri and I made the freeway trek from Orange County to Hollywood to see Ghost – the Musical at the Pantages Theater.  The Pantages is a vestige of a Hollywood gone by, a lovely art deco theater which opened in 1930 as a movie and vaudeville venue.  Between 1949 and 1959, the Pantages hosted the Academy Awards and in 1977 it closed as a movie theater and began hosting live theater.  These days, it is one of L.A.’s leading theater venues, presenting such hits at Wicked and The Lion King.   The Pantages is a half block from the corner of Hollywood and Vine with the Hollywood Walk of Fame passing right in front of the theater.   After living in greater L.A. for 45 years. Muri and I tend to take the tourist sites for granted, even though they were on our must see list when we first visited California years ago.   It’s always a surprise to see tour buses andpantages in crowds of tourists flocking to Hollywood and Vine, since it hasn’t been a center for the film industry for years.  In spite of recent renovations in the area, including a 2000 renovation of the Pantages, it still strikes us as a slightly seedy section of Hollywood.   It is, however, fun to see a Broadway-style musical in a 1920’s style art deco Hollywood theater.
(more…)

Friday Favorites – 6/27/2014

June 27, 2014

jerseyLast Saturday night, Muri and I went out to dinner with our friends, Annette and Ben, then to the local theater to see the film, Jersey Boys.   We had seen the touring company of the Broadway hit on stage and, the truth is, I didn’t expect to enjoy the film as much as the play.   It’s not just that music is almost always better live … it’s that filmmakers usually feel compelled to change the flow of musical theater by extending dramatic scenes or adding on-location backgrounds to musical numbers that need no elaboration.  Yes, and I’m a theater snob, I admit it.   Why can’t they just film an elaborately produced stage production as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh did when they filmed the remarkable 25th anniversary production of Phantom of the Opera at Albert Hall in 2011?   Jersey Boys was no exception … the play was primarily about the music, while during the film, I found myself impatient for the added scenes to end so the music would start again. (more…)

Feverish Over Particles

April 24, 2014

signalSome years ago, we were working on a project to find a very weak sound in a very noisy background using a device known as an adaptive line enhancer.  We were using a spectrograph to determine if we’d been successful.  The display placed a small bright dot at the location of the signal, which did not stand out before we processed the sounds.  If the signal was found, the bright dot would rise above the background.  One afternoon, we finally got the thing working and had quite a little celebration.  The following day, Kevin, a programmer, told us that when his wife had asked him what he did at work, he told her, We got a little white dot to move about half an inch.  Everyone got pretty excited.  Of such descriptions, humility is born.

I felt a bit like our friend Kevin last night when I went to see the film, Particle Fever, at the Artsy-Farsty Theater.  No, it is not about a disco for physicists … it is the story of the initial tests of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva Switzerland told through the eyes of six brilliant … and quite interesting … physicists.  The Collider is the largest and most expensive experiment ever conducted by mankind with a purpose so esoteric that one wonders how the project ever happened.   The fact that it was built by a multi-nationalhlc consortium, including physicists from countries that are mortal enemies makes its completion even more astonishing.  By any standard, the scale of the project is mind-boggling – the cost, number of people involved, the twenty-plus years needed to build it and its size.  The Collider is built in an underground ring 17 miles in circumference with equipment over five stories high, mostly underground.  These are electronics circuits on a grand scale, much of it hand built and soldered.  According to Wikipedia, data collected from proton collisions were also anticipated to be produced at an unprecedented rate of tens of petabytes per year, to be analysed by a grid-based computer network infrastructure connecting 140 computing centers in 35 countries(by 2012 the LHC Computing Grid was the world’s largest computing grid, comprising over 170 computing facilities in a worldwide network across 36 countries. The initial goal of the LHC was to verify the existence of the Higgs boson particle, a cornerstone of what is known as The Standard Model. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 4/21/2014

April 21, 2014

fridaysTGIM.  Yes, I know.  I’m miss using the acronym.  Isn’t there a restaurant that’s already commercialized … if not copyrighted … the old version?   No, it was not an awful weekend.  It was probably the weekend I needed after a very long week.  Our Movie and Dinner Date Night was very enjoyable … and easy older folks film, On My Way, at the Artsy-Fartsy theater (yes, in French with subtitles), then dinner at a Black Angus.   The movie was slow and atmospheric and mildly funny, in short, perfect for a rest and recovery weekend.   It does sadden me that when we go to see a thought-provoking film, the audience is mostly gray-hairs.  When I was a boy (didn’t I hate it when my Dad said that?) intelligent young people sought out intellectually challenging movies.  Didn’t we?   Not much thought-provoking going on in the mainstream theaters these days. OK, Inner Curmudgeon … calm down.  This is Monday Smiles.  After dinner, I fell asleep in my chair and didn’t come up to bed until almost 2:00. (more…)

Dinner and a Movie (?)

April 19, 2014

dinner and a movieI haven’t talked about Date Night here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog in a long time.  In case you’re a long time reader and wonder if we’ve given it up, we haven’t.  In case you’re a new reader and wonder what the heck I’m talking about, my wife Muri and I have, for 46 years of marriage, always made Saturday night Date night.  Oh, yeah, we may skip one if there’s something going on (like last week’s Men’s Retreat) but we usually schedule a Make-Up Date.  And sometimes, we’ll do our Saturday Date on Friday or Sunday if there’s a play we want to see and that’s when tickets are available.  Our dates aren’t always grand … a casual dinner at a local restaurant and a movie is our  … Dinner and a Movie …Default Date. That didn’t always work … I used to be a pain in the neck about movies, which annoyed Muri, but now I try to leave that to my Inner Curmudgeon and keep his opinions to myself. (more…)

Friday Favorites 4/18/2014

April 18, 2014

bradley stThis will be a do it yourself Friday Favorites.  No, you won’t have to bring your own Favorites, you’ll just have to choose from the Favorite things hiding in this nostalgic ramble.    My family moved to East Haven, Connecticut the summer before I started fourth grade, which would make it 1952, I believe.  My Dad worked two jobs to purchase a modest ranch style house on Bradley Street.  Behind the house was an unused hayfield and beyond that, The Woods, as in, Mom, we’re going to go play in The Woods.  In my memories it seems like there were miles of woods but I know from personal experience how the scale of things changes when you go back as an adult.  In my running days, I was visiting my Dad and Mom (yes, in that same house) and decided to take a run to downtown East Haven.   It had seemed like a long way on my bike at ten but I hadn’t even broken a sweat when I ran there in my forties.  The point being, when I went to Google Earth to see how far The Woods extended … it was under a mile. (more…)

Hollywood …

March 27, 2014

 … she said she wouldn’t but she really would (to the tune of Hooray for Hollywood by Richard A. Whiting)- Anonymous comedic lyric satirist.

costume

courtesy telegraph.co.uk

For as long as I can remember, when the subject of Hollywood came up, I’ve been singing this little ditty.  I have no idea where it came from.  I Googled it and came up with nothing.  I’d take credit for it (in which case I’d remove the anonymous and add brilliant to the attribution, above) but it goes back a long way, so it might have been my Dad’s.  It certainly fits within the framework of his sense of humor, most of which he passed on to me.  Whoever wrote it, it matches my attitudes about Hollywood.  I like movies, even love certain ones of them enough to watch over and over again as I blog … and I certainly admire the work of certain actors. Directors.  Cinematographers.  Etc.   But if you’ve been coming around here, you know I’d rather stick a pencil in my ear than listen to a celebrity talk about the craft.  Or watch a (self) love fest like the Academy Awards.  So when Muri and I set out yesterday to see the Hollywood Costume exhibit at the Phoenix Museum of Art, my expectations were modest.

(more…)

Friday Favorites 3/14/2014

March 14, 2014

220px-AmericanGraffitiOSTIt was 1962.  My friend, Charlie, and I were leaving for college the next day.  Charlie was anxious to go, but his girlfriend, Anna, was trying to talk him out of it.  We were all headed down to Savin Rock to cruise the parking lots at Jimmie’s and Phyllis’, Charlie and Anna in his Chevy and me in my Dad’s turquoise and white Buick Special with Wolfman Jack on the radio.   I knew we’d run into Russ in his white Ford, looking for someone to race and that at some point I’d have to tell Charlie I was having second thoughts about going away to college.   Uhhhh, wait.  That would be the plot of the 1973 film, Amercan Graffitti.  It happens every time I watch it … I begin to transport the story to my hometown and populate it with my high school friends because, after all, I did graduate in 1962, the year portrayed in the film.  Fred Roos, who did the casting for the film, brilliantly chose people who looked like average high school kids instead of movie stars, and in their period outfits and hairstyles, I can see someone from my high school yearbook in every scene.   And the soundtrack, which featured 41 hits of the early sixties could just as well have been a soundtrack for my senior year.
(more…)