• This time I saw it – Iron Man – Movie Reveiw

    OK, this time there was no storm that stopped me from seeing it…

    This is a real fun movie. Robert Downey Jr. is an excellent cast to it, and Jeff Bridges looks pretty damn cool with the bold head and beard (better than he ever did in my opinion) – a great legacy to the Yul Brynner look… Gwyneth Paltrow looks pretty damn amazing, both in her “office” outfit, and in a low low back revealing night dress…  Leslie Bibb, well, is Leslie Bibb, eye-candy, enough said.

    Great action, nice effects, comic-book humor, good balance of elements. At the climax, I felt that at one point it was a little too “Transformers” like, but forgivable…

    Some nice technology showoffs, as the MMI to his design computer let him wave his hands to move drawings between screens and a 3D representation, reminding of the scene with Tom Cruise in Minority Report, but taking the interaction with the 3D image a step further… Also making fun of technology quirks as voice recognition and interpretation that’s not always working in an, well, optimal way, I find well balanced between realistic issues and comic wit. 

    Fun movie, good casting, go and have fun. Make sure you use good surround sound and a big screen if you see it at home… under 42” – seat real close to the screen….

    L.


  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (5 books series) by Douglas Adams – Book Review

    For a long time I was pretty sure that everyone read these books. Didn’t you?

    Don’t Panic!  

    This is what’s written on the cover of the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Not the book you’ll read, but the “real guide”.

    HHGTTG (As the geeky fans call it…) is first of a five books series by the same name that consists of:

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

    Life, the Universe and Everything

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    Mostly Harmless

     

    Originally a radio cast, the five books were called the five books trilogy and that reflects on the books’ mindset. Funny and smart, the books are a hilarious look at how we live, taking ridicules situation into grand levels at times, and to very personal level at others, in what I could only describe as British humor.

     

    The movie in my opinion, although having some excellent scenes, was not that great and was not to the books’ level at all. If you saw the movie, don’t let it keep you from reading the books…

     

    If your sense of humor is a little flexible, and smart-silly writing (told you, British Humor is the only good way to describe it) make you think and laugh, check these out. You’ll have quoting material that fits many situations for the rest of your life. And when someone tells you that the answer is 42, you’ll understand what they mean.

     

    L.


  • Weather…

    I don’t have much to say about it, but I need just to ask, aren’t you frustrated with how inaccurate the weather forecast is?
    Just wondering If I’m the only one….
    L.


  • Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – Book Review

    There are a zillion alien invasion stories, so making one that is good became a challenge. It seems that Niven and Pournelle took that challenge seriously with this book,  and came out with a refreshing novel  that packs many in-depth look at how an alien race will think and act, and at the same time how humans will react and think.

    For most of it, the plot holds real good, and the characters are built nice, you get to know them and their behavior and quirks.

    There’s a bit of an old Russia element in the story, which didn’t bother me, and at first the book is a little slow, but it’s worth reading past it to get to the invasion and on.

    Personally, I would prefer some more descriptions of technology, and would prefer the book to be a little shorter, but this was a great read and kept me taking it with me everywhere I went…

    L.


  • The first Immortal by James L. Halperin – Book Review

    This book makes you think. The way it is written is interesting by itself, with news clips that sets you in the current time the chapter is written at. The book spans a long time period, and have many intriguing technology ideas, many based on existing technologies.

    Te books starts at 1925, and goes a couple of hundred years into the future. Though the thread that holds the book together is longevity, the human factor, family and love relationships and their connection to new situations that arise from the longevity quest, even financial issue relating to the situation, all play a role in an ever developing story line.

    The book is good reading, but more than anything else I find it fascinating in the ideas about technology as related to longevity and immortality the real bonus.

    Highly recommended.

    L.


  • An almost Iron Man Movie Review

    I wish I could write it. I went to the movie theater and a storm started. I got tickets, and then because of the storm there were black and brown outs, and all movies were stopped and they closed the movie theatre.

    On my way home, everything looked like a war zone. Trees down, branches and leaves all over,  some of the streets were closed because of trees and damage to power lines.

    So no review for now. When I’ll see it, I promise I’ll write something.

    L.


  • Ringworld by Larry Niven – Book Review

    A lot has been written about Ringworld – it is like a cult book, with people analyzing it from all aspects, looking for scientific contradictions, plot inconsistencies….
    I just like the book very much. It’s an adventure, with twists and turns, cool character and amazing ideas of technology, devices, tools, Aliens and their behavior and psychology…. Animals and plants, grand planning of stars and constellations – tons of stuff that will keep your brain working, imagining even further into Niven’s wonderful ideas.
    I’m avoiding from giving away anything about the plot, to not spoil any of it if you didn’t read it yet. I highly recommend it, and it is an intriguing piece of work.

    L.


  • Oil Prices

    The Arab countries still have us by the balls. One word from Iran about sanctions and prices jump up even more. I don’t want to get into a discussion about Iran because I’m trying to stay calm.
    There are many who’ll argue about the price of fuel (blown up for no real reason, high tax rates (US average tax, Federal plus State is over half a dollar per gallon….), but reducing the oil price is not the solution in my opinion. Oil is something that made the human race spoiled. It gave us relatively easy energy source, and we became so dependent on it that we are willing to pay prices that are getting higher daily now.
    Since the early 1900’s oil prices were overall going down steadily (adjusted for inflation) until the late 70’s, than prices had gone up (with a few anomalies on the way) to the current level which is 4-5 times higher.
    So oil prices are getting to a level that prevents us from being spoiled anymore, and humanity has to find new sources of energy that will bring energy prices down. I wrote before that I believe the answer is Nuclear Power Plants – of course wind powered generators, hydroelectric power (not just dams, but also ocean waves) and solar power can be used, but for the ever increasing amount of energy needed, I truly believe Nuclear energy is the solution. I also predict (carefully), that we’ll be able to harness the earth’s super-hot magma for power generation, and I use that prediction in other writings of mine.
    The process of change will not be fast. The huge amount of infrastructure that creates and use energy in our fuel based society will take many years to change. Market forces (for example the car industry) will work hard to keep it the way it is, the cost of changing is huge, both for making the products (cars) and the infrastructure (fueling). But the change is unavoidable, as economy of oil doesn’t make sense anymore.
    L.


  • Carmine’s – Restaurant Review

    You’re not going to stay hungry.  

    www.carminesnyc.com

    They have a few locations (NYC, Atlantic City, Paradise Island). I’ve been to the two NYCs:

    200 W. 44 st.

    New York, NY 10036

    Phone: (212)-221-3800

     

    And my preferred one:

    2450 Broadway  (Between 90th and 91st)

    New York, NY 10024

    Phone: (212)-362-2200

     

    Carmine’s serves dishes family style – big, enough for a few people. I would recommend going there at a least a party of 4 – although I ate there by myself a couple of time… lots of left overs..

    The food is good and consistent.  My standard order is Carmine’s salad, fried calamari (one of the best I know) and seafood pasta in red sauce (lobster, clams, muscles, shrimp, fish…), if more than 4 adults, usually also the Chicken Scarpariello (pieces on the bone with lemon, butte, olive oil, garlic,  a little rosemary). That can feed 3 couples.

    For desert – Tiramisu is excellent ( enough for 3 couples…) and if you’re with kids, or a big party that want to have fun, the Titanic is a huge portion of ice cream with all the goodies – brownie, whipped cream, fudge, banana, strawberry, nuts….

    Carmine’s is reasonably prices. The ceiling is very high, and the place’s acoustics makes it noisy but not too noisy, just enough to make you comfortable to talk and not whisper.  The service is usually very good. Reservations are made only to large groups (over 6).

    Opine Away rating of Carmine’s:

     

    Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother. “-“ – irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$$

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    9

    8

    9

    $$$

    Friends

    9

    7

    8

    $$$

    Out of towners

    9

    9

    10

    $$$

    Unmarried

    8

    7

    7

    $$$

    In and out

    $$$$$

                                                   

    L.


  • Lucien – Restaurant Review

    Don’t tell anyone about it, I don’t want it to get too crowded.

    www.luciennyc.com

    14 1st Avenue

    New York, NY 10009

    Phone: (212) 260-6481

     

    Lucien is one of those gems you want to tell only people you really like about. The place is very small, with a small bar and amazing food.

    French food without any fuss. The Foie Gras appetizer and the Fillet Mignon are my favorites.  

    The Foie Gras is served with onion jam and kind of apples (they taste something between an apple and a pear…) and I can’t stop myself of cleaning the plate with the baguette after the Foie Gras is gone.  

    The Fillet Mignon is served with light black pepper cream sauce and amazing French fries – the sauce is so good, I clean the plate (again) with the fries until there’s no more sauce.

    Desserts are great too…  Try the Crème Brulee or the Tart Tatin… I’m getting hungry now….

    Prices are reasonable for the quality of food you get.

    Opine Away rating of Lucien:

     

    Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother or irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$$

     

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    0

    0

    0

    $$$$$

    Friends

    10

    8

    9

    $$$

    Out of towners

    10

    9

    9

    $$$

    Unmarried

    8

    9

    10

    $$$

    In and out

    0

    0

    0

    $$$$$

                                                   

     

    L.