One Thing For 2013 (Politics)

If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing in 2013, what would you like that to be?

I’m going to try and do both, a national and a local level. And that’s because the roles of the two are different and what we want from them is different.

For 2013 if the local government does nothing else but fix our roads that would be great. In fact that is exactly the need of the hour. Instead of short term fixes that just causes more problems we need long term solutions. We don’t need the roads to be fixed temporarily so that it gets fucked up within a few months and the people getting the contracts again and again and making a lot of our tax money for¬† no reason. This is a political game and people are just milking the state and it’s people. So if they fix the roads by proper means and get it done as fast as possible.

For a national level, just fix your political parties and weed out the old, corrupt, uncouth, uneducated, evil, impotent, superstitious, greedy, fear mongering assholes and only allow qualified people to be in charge. That would be a huge deal.

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V The Series (1984) ‚Äď Part 2

As Nathan Bates’ lies in a secret location within his office converted to provide medical care, Charles has 3 visitors posing as members of the resistance to attack the center and harass the scientist. Although the word spreads out that the resistance doesn’t care who they hurt, one of the scientists notices that they have green blood. Leading these imposters is Lt. James (Judson Scott), one of Charles’ men who would later align himself with Diana. Charles & Diana then approach Mr. Chang to entice him over to their side and Chang’s men begin concentrating on rounding up resistance supporters, including a press where Robin happens to be at the time. Chang has the people at the press held hostage and announces that each day one of the hostages will be killed unless resistance leaders give themselves up. While Elias & Wilie scout the area, the former is killed with a new laser weapon. Having no option the resistance leaders decide to go to the press knowing that the lizards would be there. A new employee at the press, chooses to be the fist hostage to be killed in a heroic effort to save time for the married members, saying that he has no one to go back to. This man, John, also grows close to Robin. The next morning just before John is is be executed, Donovan comes and gives himself up to Charles. However, on a vocal cue, Kyle & Willie arrive and throw bombs, snatching John in the process and escape. Inside the press Ham, Julie & Elizabeth use the latter’s powers to help rescue the other hostages. Charles & Donovan have a fist fight but when Diana interferes with a shot, it allows Donovan to escape through an open door.

However John turns out to be a lizard spy sent by Diana and he romances Robin in an an effort to impregnate her again. When Willie gets seriously wounded, Ham & Mike kidnap a visitor Howard, who they think is a doctor but turns out to be a medical student, to help save him. With his help, Julie does a surgery on Willie but he ends up dying. A distraught Elizabeth uses her powers to bring Willie back to life. Howard, a 5th columnist sympathizer, lead the resistance to a factory where a dangerous liquid weapon is being manufactured and the resistance infiltrates it an destroys the controls and the plant but – John reveals himself to Robin and almost captures them and it is a suspicious Howard who saves them. After this latest event, Robin decides to leave LA and go to Chicago with Ham joining her. This was done t write the characters out of the series (or atleast the first season) to cut costs. After another successful but unauthorized attack by Diana on the humans Lydia goes to complain to Charles. Charles decides that he will use his special privileges to force Diana to marry him, knowing that alien law requires her to return home to bear his offspring. Dian tries to escape but is caught and prepared for the wedding. A jealous Lydia who wants Charles to herself poisons the ceremonial cup (some lizard soup) but an unknowing Diana gives it Charles after the ceremony (which is to be seen) and Charles dies. Diana has Lydia arrested as the cups of liquid were gifts from her and after a mock of a trial Lydia is sentenced to death. However the Inspector sent by the Leader arrives just in time to stop the execution – and both ladies are surprised to see him. Philip is Martin’s brother (and for some bizarre reason, wears the same human face mask as Martin) and does an investigation.

His investigations initially do not come up with a clear culprit – Lydia poisoned the cup intending to kill Diana but did Diana give the cup to Charles as she suspected poison, causing his death- and so Diana and Lydia put on body armor and pick up laser weapons in preparation for a ritual battle to the death. New evidence is brought to Philip and he stops the fight – a 3rd print is found and it is the pharmacist Marta who supplied the poison to Lydia. Diana then forges a video to make it seem like a jealous Marta, who was Charles one time lover, poisoned him! She is sentenced to lie the rest of her life in a jettisoned casket with Charle’s corpse! Ugh, brutal! As this is happening, Mike & Kyle help out a small town having problems with visitors and they set a new resistance group there. At another area Kyle & Willie seek help from a street gang of teenagers called the Wildcats in helping them steal medicine from a visitor stronghold for curing victims of a disease spreading through a huge area. However the Wildcats has a traitor among them, who is helping the visitors as they have captured his younger brother. Mike and Kyle come to the rescue of two Fifth Column fugitives, Robert, and his pregnant wife, Glenda, who have survived Diana’s purge of the Fifth Column’s agents, and escaped from the mothership after Robert sabotaged the proposed mission to kill several Resistance operatives with a hidden explosive device and stole the borellium crystals that powered the LA Mothership’s laser cannons. Diana sends out a cadet, Angela, to capture Mike and kill the renegade couple, while Philip follows her. Meanwhile, when the fugitive couple take shelter at a warehouse, Glenda gives birth to an egg hatched into her new baby son, whom Mike and Kyle manage to safely deliver for her. Donovan and Bates succeed in repelling Visitor attackers and Philip, who is revealed to be a leader within the Fifth Column. Angela attempts to kill him but is finally shot down by Glenda.

A teenaged computer whiz hacks into and disrupts the Visitors’ sophisticated new Battlesphere system, but he insists that the Resistance first rescue his father from alien captivity. A computerized list of Fifth Columnists has been taken by James, prompting one of them to steal the disk and escape. He is shot and stumbles his way into a hall where the Visitors are preparing for their celebration of Ramalon. This prompts Donovan and Julie to pose as collaborators, go aboard the Mothership, and retrieve it. Just as James and his shock troops corner the Resistance, Phillip orders the Visitors to cease to all hostilities and return to the Mothership. The Resistance discovers that the Visitors have made a worldwide ceasefire and that a majority are retreating from Earth. Via Elizabeth, it is discovered the Leader is coming to Earth to negotiate peace, and he has asked Elizabeth and the Resistance to come to the Mothership. Diana and James decide to extend the war by arming the energy swords of Phillip and Donovan during a supposedly non-lethal duel. When this attempt fails, Diana blackmails James into attempting to assassinate the Leader by having his troops blowing up the Leader’s shuttle. When the destroyed shuttle is revealed as a decoy, Diana stages a coup and attempts to self-destruct the fusion reactors of the Mothership in order to kill everyone aboard and destroying Earth. It is only the Leader, working through Elizabeth telepathically, who is able to stop the self-destruct. The Leader arrives, Diana and James are captured, and Elizabeth boards the Leader’s shuttle to return to the Visitor home world to guarantee peace. The episode and the series ends on a cliffhanger with Kyle stowing away on the shuttle Elizabeth is traveling in, which also has a ‘going-away present’ from Diana aboard.

Thus ends the 19 episode sole season of the 1984 V series. It ends on a cliffhanger and we don’t get to find out what happens? Do Kyle, Elizabeth and the Leader perish in the shuttle due to the bomb Diana places or do they escape it? What happens to the humans & resistance once that happens? Who knows but the series suffers from the excessive bad plots, contrived methods of using escapes (Elizabeth’s never ending powers), heavy re-usage of shots to cut costs and terrible special effects. Still the characters are very memorable and the series holds a special place in my heart. Join me at the Facebook page I made in honour of the series.

Writing Prompt: Something You Never Forget

I was going through blogging prompts (I use two on a regular basis; MindBump & Plinky) and found this blog that posts blog prompts on a daily basis called The One Minute Writer. I was clicking through the various prompts and selected this one. There are many things that I have never forgot and several that I have forgotten, I’m sure, over the 37th years that I lived on planet earth but I am going to write the one that clicked in my mind immediately on reading the prompt.

When I was 19 I joined a poly-technique in Bangalore (I refuse to call it Bengaluru) to enroll in a Computer Science course. I ended up dropping out after the first year as my scores were very bad and I gave up on Math & Physics. However the story I want to share happened in our hostel. The poly-technique had an official hostel each for the boys & a separate one for the girls and ofcourse there wer several options if you wanted more freedom & privacy. Indians tend to have a lot of ragging / hazing in the hostels and this one was no different. While some of the things were of an embarrassing and stupid nature, I shall share another one. A senior student, a sardar, had initially befriended me but was heading the ragging that evening. A bunch of us were at the receiving end but most of it was just harmless funny stuff (although we freshers were forbidden to laugh out loud during the ragging). 30 minutes into the ragging session the sardar senior started a quiz contest. Most of the answers which we already knew.

Then he asked me the question “Who is the prime minister of India?” I answered PV Narasimha Rao (this was 1995) which was the answer. Next he asked what does PV stand for. I didn’t know. None of the other freshers knew. The senior said it was a shame that none of us knew the initials of the PM of India. So he made each of us write the expansion of Mr. Rao’s initials on our respective left arms with a ball pen – and made us each rub it off with our own spit. As we did it we were to repeat the expansion of the initials PV continously.

And that’s why 18 years later I still remember it and haven’t forgotten it – Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao!

How I Use Twitter

Here’s why I spend time on Twitter:

  • I look for the really funny comments on things, events, celebs, news and replies to a tweet
  • I look for some really amazing, cute or funny photos
  • Some people tweet random lines that are just awesome or hilarious or hilariously awesome
  • A lot of people or tweeple share links to must read articles online

What I do on Twitter:

Basically the same thing. I share my favourite photos and links to articles. I have linked my blog to Twitter and hence each post I publish gets automatically shared on Twitter (as well as Facebook). I look out for excellent quotes and view points and I even chat with some of my favourite tweeple. I even ask & receive helpful tips, suggestions and answers for things that I am looking for.

Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad is a 2013 crime & action drama directed by Ruben Fleischer, from a screenplay written by Will Beall. The movie stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin & Ryan Gosling. Supporting roles includes a well rounded cast of Emma Stone, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribissi, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Michael Pena & Anthony Mackie. This movie is set in post World war 3 Los Angeles.

Set in 1949¬† the movie, narrated by Brolin’s character Sgt. John O’Mara, sees gangster and former boxer Mickey Cohen (Penn) making his intentions to own the entire West Coast know to his competitors by ripping apart a member of the Chicago mob as a warning. ¬†He eliminates witnesses and bribes legal officials and pretty much nothing is being done to stop him. Until chief Bill Parker (Nolte) gets wind of Sgt.O’Mara who goes into a Cohen stronghold to rescue a young women about to be gangraped by Cohen’s goons. The thugs set free by the police as they are afraid of Cohen but are burned alive by Cohen as punishment. Chief Parker calls O’Mara in and due to his record and his past as a special ops soldier in the war, tells him that they are going to wage war against Cohen. O’Mara can pick his own squad and he sets out to recruit them with the help of his pregnant wife Connie, who is still scared that he could lose his life in the process. However the squad is picked – Sgt Jerry Wooters (Gosling), O’Mara’s close friend, refuses until a shoeshine boy is gunned down when Cohen’s gang attacks the current old boss¬†Jack Dragna and his wife. Joining them are officer Coleman Harris, old sharpshooter Max Kennard and his partner “Christmas” Navidad Ramirez and wire-tapper/former Army intelligence officer Conway Keeler. They dub themselves the Gangster Squad and get set in preparing themselves.

Wooters keeps in touch with his old pal Jack, who now works as a bodyguard for Cohen. At a club Wooters meets Cohen’s mistress Grace Faraday. Sparks fly between the two and Wooters begins an affair with her, despite Jack’s warnings. The Squad hits a Burbank casino that is owned by Cohen but when the policemen guarding it shoot at them, reluctant to shoot back they try and escape but ¬†O’Mara and Coleman are capture and put behind bars. Wooters and the others rescue them. With better planning the Squad now hits at several operations of Cohen causing him money and denting his plans of growth. They also tap his house and Keller listens in to find out locations & timings of exchanges & jobs being done and finally the team is able to hit Cohen’s main hub of operations and sets fire to it, destroying the heart of his business. An enraged Cohen suspects that his house is bugged and has his men search the house. On Seeing this Grace escape and runs to Wooters. On finding the bug, Cohen sets a trap for the Gangster Squad in which both Harris & Ramirez are injured and O’Mara barely escapes an explosion due to Wooters who suspected an ambush. Cohen’s right-hand man, kills Keeler in the unit’s operation. Wooters asks Whalen to get Grace out of town, but Cohen reaches him first, looking for Grace, and kills him. O’Mara’s house is later hit by a drive-by, and Connie gives birth to their son under the stress.

Later Chief Parker tells O’Mara that they have failed and that their careers with the LAPD are over. However O’Mara gets his wife & baby outta town and Grace tells Wooters she is willing to testify against Cohen for Whalen’s murder, prompting O’Mara, along with the remaining members of his unit, to go to the¬†Park Plaza Hotel¬†to arrest Cohen. They ambush a judge to get the warrant and a shootout at the hotel sees a lot of Cohen’s men dying. Wooters gets wounded in the process after killing Wrevock and Kennard is also shot more fatally. O’Mara runs after an escaping Cohen & Lennox and shoots Lennox causing the car to crash and a dying Kennard last Cohen & O’Mara have a fist fight with the latter getting the upper hand. Cohen is arrested by the cops and the press gets a wind of the shoot out. ¬†The Gangster Squad was never mentioned in taking down Cohen, their surviving members remaining a secret. Cohen is sentenced to¬†25 to life¬†at¬†Alcatraz, and is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters continue their relationship, while Navidad and Harris become partners on the force. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life with his wife and son. ”

Very compelling yet simple film. I know that the critics were harsh on this film and it didn’t set the box office on fire maing $105 million against a $60 mil budget. I still feel that it’s a well done film and it took my interest for the entire duration. 8 outta 10!

Fountain Of Youth

If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?

Ofcourse. I once read that it is theoretically possible to live forever but ofcourse currently medical science and the natural world is unable to produce these effects of putting a permanent stop to the aging process and at best the effects of some can just stall the process a bit. But nothing to the scale that most of us would want. So as it is theoretically possible but currently impossible, yes if you can show me that a real fountain of youth does exist, then I will drink it. And I will say “cheers” as I gulp it down.

Not only that I think it should be mandated for everyone to drink it. Let’s face it; life when you are healthy and have all or atleast most of the people on this earth drink it. Shouldn’t we all have the chance to stay young forever and live forever? If the water from the fountain could also reduce our current age by 10-15 years that would be great as well. Give new energy & restore some of the youth of the elderly and reduce the effects of the aging as well. Refresh & replenish the bones, limbs, organs and muscles of each of us.

That’s something that I always dream about. No need to say goodbye to your loved ones. We all live forever!

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Sons Of Anarchy – Season 3

Jax is left devastated after the abduction of his son and the Sons try and find out where Jimmy could have taken him. Gemma is hiding in motel protected by Tig and a couple of other bikers when she gets a call from her past – and takes him with her to go see her father who is suffering from dementia. Gemma’s dad can’t seem to get adjusted to the fact that his wife, Gemma’s estranged mother, has passed away and at times thinks she is still alive. The Sons have a funeral for Half Sack and at the end of the wake, masked men commit adrive-by shooting¬†and fatally run down Deputy Hale. Having fled to¬†Belfast¬†with Abel, Cameron confesses his sins to his cousin¬†Father Ashby, an intermediary between Jimmy O and the True IRA Council. Ashby subsequently has Cameron killed, and suggests he will give Abel up for adoption. SAMCRO has an upcoming bail hearing for the weapons charges, but they agree to jump bail. SAMCRO receives an email showing Cameron dead in Belfast. Gemma, having survived a threat by her father’s nurse who comes to know that there is a reward out on her, calls Tara to help her but the two are attacked by the nurse while Tig is away and Gemma kills her. Tig calls a friend (played by Stephen King) to clean up the mess and remove the body.

Gemma struggles when she takes Nate to his new¬†assisted living¬†home, and returns to Charming to reunite with her grandson, still unaware he has been kidnapped. Father Ashby’s sister¬†Maureen¬†contacts Gemma, at Ashby’s request, to tell her Abel is safe in Belfast. Upon learning of her grandson’s abduction, Gemma suffers an¬†arrhythmia¬†and collapses in the Teller-Morrow lot. Tara confides in Gemma that she is six weeks pregnant with Jax’s child. Jax makes a deal with Stahl behind SAMCRO’s back. In exchange for his mother’s freedom and the downgrade of the pending weapons charges against the club, Jax will deliver Jimmy O and his IRA contacts. Oswald agrees to smuggle the Sons to Belfast. Jax breaks up with Tara and the next morning, Tara walks in on Jax in bed with pornstar¬†Ima. After discovering John Teller had an affair in Belfast that produced a daughter, Gemma escapes from police custody with the help of Tara and Tara’s boss,¬†Margaret. Tara and¬†Lyla¬†both make appointments at an¬†abortion clinic. Gemma leaves with SAMCRO on their trip to Belfast to find Abel, where Jimmy O already anticipates their arrival. On SAMCRO’s arrival in Northern Ireland, Ashby tells Jax that the IRA are tired of Jimmy’s profiteering ways, and suggests Jax kill him in exchange for Abel. Stahl helps Jax uncover information on Ashby and SAMBEL, and warns Jax not to kill Jimmy O. SAMCRO plans to surprise Jimmy O on a protection run, but he is forewarned and attacks the Sons with a planted bomb that kills several SAMBEL members. SAMCRO tortures Liam until he reveals that he was privy to Jimmy O’s plans, as was McGee. Jax kills Liam, and shortly afterward Clay pushes McGee from a rooftop; both are revealed to SAMBEL as traitors.

Ashby tells Jax Abel’s location, but suggests Jax allow him to be adopted so he will not be forced into the club life. Jax chooses to leave the child with the family, until Jimmy O kills the adoptive parents and abducts Abel, intending to exchange him for safe passage to America. Abel is returned to Jax after Ashby trades himself for the baby. Salazar & his girlfriend abducts Tara and Margaret on their way to the abortion clinic. He informs¬†Piney¬†that he will return them in exchange for the murder of Alvarez and $250,000. Under the influence of Jacob Hale, Jr., the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department will soon take control of the Charming Police Department. Tara attacks Salazar’s girlfriend and negotiates Margaret’s freedom. Later, Salazar’s girlfriend dies. SAMCRO returns to Charming with Abel, in time for the weapons hearing which is looming on the horizon. Gemma threatens to reveal Stahl’s murder of Edmond unless Stahl ends her dealings with Jax. Salazar takes Jacob Hale, Jr. hostage along with Tara. Unser indicates the need for Salazar to be captured alive to implicate Hale and save the Charming Police Department, but during a stand-off, Jax kills Salazar. Amidst the chaos, Stahl intentionally shoots her partner¬†Tyler¬†to protect her lie. Opie proposes to Lyla. Now in the USA, Jimmy O seeks the help of the¬†Russian Mafiato aid his escape to South America. Stahl falsely tells¬†Internal Affairs¬†that Agent Tyler shot Edmond and framed Gemma, admitting that Gemma was wrongfully charged. Jax and the Sons meet the Russians and pay $2 million for the exchange of Jimmy O, although most of the money is counterfeit. Jax tells Stahl the location of the exchange so she can intervene and arrest Jimmy, but Jimmy is moved to a different location before she can. Jax assures her that he will give her Jimmy if she reduces their prison sentence, to which she agrees.

Stahl arrives at the clubhouse to arrest Jimmy. When Clay asks how she knew he was there, Stahl indicates that Jax is a rat, which outrages the club, whose members call Jax a “dead man”. SAMCRO is arrested and loaded into an ATF van, with Jax isolated from the other club members. Unser stops Stahl on the roadside as she transports Jimmy and warns her of an IRA threat further down the road. Her fellow agents leave to investigate, leaving her alone with Unser and Jimmy. Soon afterward, Piney, Chibs, Opie and¬†Kozik¬†arrive. Chibs gives Jimmy a¬†Glasgow smile, and then kills him. Opie kills Stahl in a similar fashion, after reminding her that she was responsible for Donna’s death. Proof of Jax’s dealings with Stahl is destroyed, leaving the club with the documents provided by Stahl to reduce their sentence. The scene is set to look like the IRA is responsible. In the ATF van, Jax learns of Stahl and Jimmy’s demise as the prospects following the ATF van ride past and beep a¬†Morse code¬†signal. He smiles, as do the rest of SAMCRO, revealing the club knew of Jax’s plan from the beginning. Tara, meanwhile, finds and reads the letters Maureen had put in Jax’s bag. In them, John Teller writes to Mo of his awareness of Gemma and Clay’s closeness and his fear that they will soon murder him. The season ends with Jax rejecting his father’s original vision for SAMCRO and embracing Clay’s rule. But – Tara finds a stack of letters that Maureen meant for Jax to read; letters that John Teller wrote to Maureen about his fears for the club and about Gemma & Clay!

Marley & Me

In 2008 a comedy-drama movie, Marley & Me was released based on the the¬†memoir Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog¬† by¬† John Grogan. Grogan, a journalist & newspaper column writer wrote the book about the thirteen years he and his family spent with their yellow¬†Labrador Retriever, Marley. The film is directed by David Frankel and stars Jennifer Anniston, Owen Wilson with Eric Dane, Alan Arkin and a cameo by Kathleen Turner.

Grogan and new bride Jenny escape the bitter winters of their native Michigan and relocate to a cottage in South Florida, where they are hired as reporters for competing newspapers. John is a little bit upset that while Jenny immediately gets to prominent front-page assignments, he himself is writing obituaries and two paragraph articles. When Jenny hints about motherhood, John’s close friend, and co-worker, Sebastian Tunney suggest that they adopt a dog first to see if they are ready to start a family. John surprises Jenny and she selects a male from a litter of newborn yellow Labradors puppies. He is named Marley by John, as the first song he plays in the car is that of reggae legend Bob Marley. From the get go it is apparent that Marley has a problem with discipline as he tends to cause havoc. An attempt at training him sees him tossed out of behaviour camp by the trainer.

John’s editor Arnie Klein offers John a twice-weekly column in which he can discuss the fun and foibles of everyday living. Initially stumped for material, John starts writing about the misadventures of Marley and soon the John settles into his new position. Marley continues to wreak havoc on the household, providing John with a wealth of material for his column, which becomes a hit with readers and helps increase the newspaper’s circulation. Jenny becomes pregnant but loses the baby early on. The difference in Marley is noticeable as he quietly cuddle up to her.¬† John & Jenny escape to Ireland for a vacation leaving Marley with a house sitter who is who finds him impossible to control, especially during the frequent thunderstorms that plague the area. Upon returning Jenny discovers she is pregnant again and this time she delivers a healthy boy, Patrick. When she has a second son, Connor, she opts to give up her job and become a stay-at-home mom, prompting John to take on a daily column for a pay increase. Due to the crime rate, the couple decides to move to a larger house in the safer neighborhood of¬†Boca Raton, where Marley delights in swimming in the backyard pool.They also have a 3rd child, a girl called Colleen.

Jenny goes through a period of postpartum depression lashing out at Marley and as a result John asks Sebastian to take the dog for a few days when Jenny suggests that they give the dog away. However she calms down and says that Marley is family and she loves him. After John’s 40th birthday celebration he gets a job in Philadelphia and they move to a large house in the countryside. John soon realizes that he is a better columnist than reporter and pitches the column idea to his editor. Life is idyllic until the aging Marley begins to show signs of arthritis and deafness. An attack of¬†gastric dilatation volvulus¬†almost kills him, but he recovers. When a second attack occurs, it becomes clear surgery will not help him, and Marley is euthanized with John at his side. The family pay their last respects to their beloved pet as they bury him beneath a tree in their front yard and the children give letters of love to Marley. Jenny drops a necklace, that John had gifted her but Marley had once swallowed, with the grave.

Very funny and touching in many places. It’s a very nice movie to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’d give it an 8.5 out of 10!

The Average Of The Five People

A writer once said, ‚ÄúYou are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.‚ÄĚ If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

The way I look at it, the 5 should be a singer, an actor/actress, a comedian, a sportsman/sportswoman & a writer. It’s kinda hard to choose but let’s see if my list would be a magical one. And I take it that these would have be people who are alive and so let’s see. I’, gonna do two lists, one for men & one for women. Why? Its my blog!

So the men:

  • Singer –¬† Eddie Vedder
  • Actor – William Shatner
  • Comedian – Russell Peters
  • Sportsman – Sidney Crosby
  • Writer –¬† Richard Dawkins

And now the ladies :

  • Singer – Sarah McLachlan
  • Actress –¬† Susan Sarandon
  • Comedian –¬† Nina Conti
  • Sportswoman – Maria Sharapova
  • Writer – Anne Rice

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What are your 5?

Arsenal Lose Opener To Aston Villa

Ok, everyone knows that I wanted Arsene Wenger to bloody well get lost from London and stop coaching the club last year. This year, I hope they fire him. Losing players, not being able to bring in new quality players, this guy has lost it.

On top of it, all the calls kept going the way of Villa. Great job ref! I hope you get syphilis. Christian Benteke scored twice and Antonio Luna added a third as Aston Villa came from behind to stun Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on the opening day. Benteke controversially put Villa ahead from the spot after a foul by Laurent Koscielny, who was later shown a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring, but Benteke headed an equaliser after Wojciech Szczesny saved his penalty. New signing Luna raced clear to seal Arsenal’s woe with a low strike.

The full-time whistle was greeted with resounding boos from the home crowd, although the arena was near-empty by that point. Arsenal’s only summer signing to date is the free transfer of 20-year-old French striker Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre, and supporters were repeatedly chanting for their club to spend some money. Arsene Wenger has 16 days to bolster the squad, but his immediate priority will be Wednesday’s Champions League play-off first leg at Fenerbahce.
It was Arsenal’s first home defeat on the season’s opening day in 20 years and only Villa’s third victory in 28 trips to the Gunners.

RIP August Schellenberg

Veteran film & tv actor August Schellenberg has passed away at the age of 77 after a long battle with lung cancer. Schellenberg was born on July 25, 1936 in Montreal as a member of the Metis, one of the recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada – of Swiss-German and Mohawk descent. Having grown up in Montreal, he moved to Toronto in 1967 to establish himself in film & tv.

His first film was¬†Rip-Off¬†in 1971. In 1981, he did voices for the¬†animated film¬†Heavy Metal. During the late ’90s he had major roles in¬†Black Robe¬†(as Chomina),¬†Free Willy¬†and its sequels (as Randolph Johnson),¬†Iron Will¬†(Ned Dodd), and TV film¬†Crazy Horse¬†(Sitting Bull). He went on to star as¬†Chief Powhatan¬†in¬†Terrence Malick’s 2005 film¬†The New World, alongside¬†Colin Farrell,¬†Q’orianka Kilcher, and¬†Christian Bale. He also had roles in Disney’s Eight Below¬†and the doco within a film¬†The Green Chain¬†(2007). In 2011, he appeared in two episodes of the television series¬†Stargate Universe¬†as Yaozu.

Schellenberg has been nominated for three¬†Genie Awards¬†and has won one (for¬†Black Robe). Also nominated for two¬†Gemini Awards, Schellenberg won one (for the¬†television¬†movie¬†The Prodigal). In 2012, he performed the title role in an all-aboriginal production of¬†William Shakespeare’s¬†King Lear¬†at the¬†National Arts Centre¬†in¬†Ottawa. He also taught acting during seminars in Toronto. He conducted motivational workshops in schools and for cultural and community organizations across North America.

He died in Dallas, Texas, where he had made his home since the mid 90s with his wife, actress Joan Karasevich. He was father of three daughters, two with Karasevich.

August Schellenberg¬†(July 25, 1936¬†‚Äď August 15, 2013)

Sherlock : The Reichenbach Fall

The 3rd episode of Sherlock season 2 is a bit of a cracker. Some of us feel that it is the best so far. ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ is inspired by “The Final Problem” by¬†Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the episode follows Moriarty’s plot to discredit and kill Sherlock Holmes.

At the start of the episode John Watson is sitting in a session with his therapist, his first in 18 months. As he struggles to explain his visit he chokes out the word that his best friend, Sherlock Holmes, is dead. The episode flashes back to three months earlier, with Sherlock receiving plaudits and gifts from various people for whom he has solved cases, along with much unwanted media attention, especially for his recovery of a¬†Turner¬†painting of Reichenbach Falls. At each case, rather humorously he also receives a gift, a useless one for him as he cribs to John, but is scolded by his friend to accept them graciously. Moriarty then sets his plan into motion, breaking in to the area where the crown jewels are kept and at the same time using computer codes sent from his smartphone to open the vault at the Bank of England & unlocking the gates at Pentonville prison. He allows himself to be caught while wearing the crown, robe & jewels. Sherlock is asked to testify at his trial, where he rebukes the prosecutor for asking the wrong questions. Moriarty doesn’t have any rebuttals and his lawyer simply says that they have no witnesses or questions and rest their case. Unknown to everyone else, Moriarty has has threatened the families of the jurors and they come back with a unanimous “not guilty vote”.

Moriarty goes to visit Sherlock, who apparently knew that he would be set free and the two have tea at the latter’s flat and our villain tells his rival “I owe you!” before leaving. Meanwhile Mycroft warns John that 4 professional assassins have rents rooms next to theirs on Baker Street. Sherlock & John are then called to investigate the kidnapping of the children of UK ambassador to the US from their boarding house and although Sherlock leads them to where they are kept, the suspicions fall on Sherlock and the police begin to see him as having invented the character of Moriarty. This theory is later enhanced when the young girl reacts with fright on seeing Sherlock in her hospital room. A reluctant Lestrade is forced to arrest Sherlock, but Sherlock escapes with John handcuffed to him as his ‘hostage’. The two realize that Moriaty left a message ‘Get Sherlock’ to various agencies who want the computer code to break into places like bank vaults and prisons, a code that can bypass all security systems and hence the assassins who have surrounded their residence. The duo break into the house of a journalist who had wanted to write an expose on Sherlock and find that her boyfriend is Moriarty; posing with documents showing him to be a actor named Richard Brook (Reichen Bach in English) and he claims that Sherlock hired him to create the facade of a powerful, intelligent villain named Moriarty. The brilliant Moriarty has destroyed all evidence of himself and instead has proof that he is this actor! Moriarty, escapes from the building before Sherlock can catch him. Now a wanted man, Homes leaves Watson contacts Molly at the hospital, where he confesses that contrary to what she herself believes, she does matter to him, and that he’s always trusted her. There he reveals his vulnerability to Molly, confirming her earlier “deduction” that he was “not okay”, that he’s going to die and asks her if she’s willing to help, telling her that he “needs her”.

John meanwhile meets with Mycroft and is appalled to learn that Mycroft divulged Sherlock’s personal information during interrogations of Moriarty. Meanwhile, Sherlock deduces that the anti-security program was encoded in the tapping of Moriarty’s finger during his earlier visit. Sherlock texts Moriarty to meet on the rooftop of the hospital and upon him arriving, tells Moriarty that he has the code and can now electronically delete all references to Brook and bring Moriarty back. It is then that Moriarty reveals that there infact was no code; he instead bribes the security guards at all 3 places. He then says that Sherlock must commit suicide or else the assassins will kill Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson & Watson. Sherlock realises that Moriarty has a fail-safe and can call the killings off. Sherlock then convinces Moriarty that he is willing to do anything to make him activate the fail-safe; after acknowledging that he and Sherlock are alike, Moriarty tells Sherlock “As long as I am alive your friends are safe,” then commits suicide by shooting himself in the mouth, thereby denying Sherlock knowledge of the abort codes and the ability to prove that Moriarty does exist. With no way to stop the assassin, Sherlock calls Watson on the phone and claims that he is a ‘fake’ and that he created the character of Moriarty to get acclaim. Sherlock then jumps from the roof of the hospital and falls to the street as John rushes to the spot. After being knocked to the ground by a cyclist, John stumbles over to watch, in a daze, as Sherlock’s bloody body is carried away by hospital staff.

Sherlock’s name in put to shame in the papers, labeling him as the fake genius who committed suicide. Later, John visits Sherlock’s grave with Mrs Hudson. There, he reaffirms his faith in Sherlock and begs him not to be dead. However, as he walks away, Sherlock looks on from the shadows before also walking away.

RIP Lisa Robin Kelly

Actress Lisa Robin Kelly, who starred in the hit tv series That ’70s Show, died¬† two days ago while in rehab. I missed this news and only came to know about¬† it through my cousin. The Connecticut native Kelly made her debut in a 1992 episode of¬†Married… with Children and also had appearances in shows like Silk Stalkings, Renegade, Sisters, Murphy Brown & The X-Files. She also had small roles as well in¬†direct-to-video¬†and TV movies, such as¬†Amityville Dollhouse,¬†Late Last Night¬†and¬†Jawbreaker.

However she became well known for playing Laurie, the promiscuous older sister of Eric Forman in That 70s Show, a sitcom that was hugely popular for many years. She left the show after five years as her character left to attend beauty school and briefly returned for 4 episodes but was replaced in the show by Christina Moore. Kelly admits that her drinking problem cause her to leave the show. She’s been arrested & charged with drunk driving and last year was arrested on a felony charge of corporal injury upon a spouse (an ex-boyfriend), released after paying a $50,000 bail. In November 2012, police arrested the 42-year-old Kelly and her 61-year-old husband Robert Joseph Gilliam after responding to a disturbance at their home. Both were charged with assault and released on bond. On June 23, 2013, Kelly was arrested for a suspected DUI when law enforcement responded to a call about a parked car blocking a lane of traffic on the 5 freeway and she failed a field sobriety test

Kelly died on the evening of August 14, 2013, at the Pax House substance abuse facility in Altadena, California, a place her manager says she had voluntarily checked herself into. The cause of her death was not immediately known, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said it was waiting for test results. There were conflicting reports whether she overdosed or died in her sleep from cardiac arrest. Her lifestory is a textbook example for people who flirt with alcoholism. The picture below shows her during the height of her popularity & last year! What a change!

Lisa Robin Kelly¬†(March 1970 ‚Äď August 14, 2013)

Hollow Man 1 & 2

Inspired by H G Well’s The Invisible Man, director Paul Verhooven’s hit science fiction-horror-thriller movie Hollow Man came out in 2000. Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin along with Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, Mary Randle & William Devane. Rhona Mitra plays the rape victim in small non-speaking role, one of her first in Hollywood.

Brilliant & arrogant scientist Sebastian Caine is heading a small team in a state of the art, military funded secret underground government lab that has developed a serum that can make a subject invisible. His team of scientists, which includes ex-girlfriend Dr. Linda McKay and Dr. Matt Kensington, eventually enable the serum to work on a few animals – rats, rabbits, monkeys, dogs and finally a gorilla. After much effort and trials Caine is able to restore the gorilla back to visibility. Sebastian becomes obsessed with Linda while unbeknownst to him, she has become involved with Matt. The rest of the team, while admiring his brilliance, can barely stand his ego and arrogant mannerisms. After the initial celebrations, Sebastian states that he wants to test it on himself before they go to the military. Although apprehensive, the team agrees and it works and Sebastian is the first invisible man! However, 3 days later the reversion process fails, after causing him much pain. The team makes him a latex mask and gloves so they can see him.

Frustrated and stuck in the lab, Sebastian goes out when only the youngest member, the tech guy, is in the lab despite the protests. After having tried to take off biologist Sarah’s top while she was sleeping, he is itching for some action. He sneaks into a neighbour’s apartment and rapes her. Later he spies on the others talking about his erratic behaviour so he fakes the cc camera’s feed and sneaks out. He finds Linda & Matt making out and is enraged. The team soon discover that they have been watching a recording and that Sebastian has been escaping without their knowledge. Linda and Matt go to Dr. Kramer’s house and confess their experiments. After they leave, Kramer attempts to warn the military, but Sebastian, who followed Linda and Matt to the house, drowns him in his own swimming pool. The next day, Sebastian waits until all of the team is in the lab and then disables the phones and all of the elevator codes except for his own. He removes his clothing and latex mask and, invisible, begins to hunt them all down. He kills off everyone until only Linda & an injured Matt remain. An enrage Caine is able to fend off a torching and electrocution on him and nearly pulls Linda into a lab explosion but she pulls apart a cable dropping Sebastian to a raging fire and his death. Linda & Matt escape via the elevator duct and out to safety.

6 years later a lower budget and direct to dvd release named Hollow Man 2 was put out without any of the cast or crew from the first movie. Christian Slater, Peter Facinelli & Laura Regan star in this dismal follow up that begs the question – why bother? A year after the events of the first movie, the Reisner Institute restarted the experiments as a covertly¬†Department of Defense¬†funded operation to create an undetectable soldier, codenamed “Silent Knight”. The resulting¬†serum¬†does turn human tissue invisible, but with¬†adverse effects: it allows light to pass directly through a person, and the¬†radiation¬†damages the cells and causes physical and mental degradation, killing the person slowly. Scientist Maggie Dalton developed a compound called the “Buffer” to protect test subjects from that radiation. A soldier named Michael Griffin volunteered, and the serum succeeded, but the Buffer failed and Griffin seemingly died, which in turn got Maggie fired. She believes Griffin faked his death so he could use his powers without restraint, but now needs the¬†antidote¬†to the radiation before he dies. However, it turns out that he was not given the buffer, unknown to Maggie, but the military personnel.

Griffin is now after Maggie, after getting to know her whereabouts from another scientist who he kills after getting the address. The cops place two detectives to protect her but neglect to inform the cops that the suspect is invisible. After killing off one of the cops, Griffin confronts Maggie, who is saved by the other cop, Frank Turner. Turner asks for more details from Maggie and sneaks her out from the police station. They go to meet a man named Ludlow, a soldier enlisted into the program before Griffin. He fled, but is now slowly dying from radiation. Ludlow has also been tracking Griffin, and reveals the true story to his supposed “death” and the program itself: Operation Silent Knight was never about national security, and Griffin was never given the Buffer, as they used him to assassinate their political enemies. Meanwhile Griffin kills his former mentor Col. Bishop for his betrayal and tries to get Ludlow’s contacts. He arrives at the hideout and attacks Turner but Ludlow gives up his life to save the detective. To lure Maggie to him, Griffin kidnaps her sister Heather and they meet at the train station where he tries to inject Maggie with the same serum. Griffins escapes with Maggie but she however she knocks the syringe off his hand. When the military guards arrive Turner uses the syringe on himself and goes to find Maggie & Griffin.

At the old lab Maggie is being forced to recreate the buffer and after injecting himself, Griffin slowly becomes visible. He then tries to kill Maggie but is attacked by Turner Maggie reveals that he has been poisoned, as the Buffer is based on¬†rat poison; she deliberately left the doses she made from the poison just toxic enough to kill them both, and loses consciousness. Enraged, Griffin takes a shovel and attempts to kill her, but Turner stops him and kills him with the shovel. He then carries Maggie away for medical attention, leaving Griffin’s body outside in the rain. A few days later, Maggie is recovering in hospital and is poised to be released. Heather tells her that Turner has not been found. Maggie insists that he will come back to her, as she knows he needs her. Outside, they are being watched by an invisible man in a hood who then walks away.

While the first is a really good thriller that you can rewatch many times, the sequel is a lame attempt to get some cash outta the publicity & name of the first one. 8 outta 10 for the first one and a 5 for the sequel.