• Get Smart – Movie Review

    This one was funny. Steve Carell is a perfect Max, and the movie is very true to the original in a modern way… maybe too true at times, with a few too silly parts…

    The cast is good…. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is fun as usual, Alan Arkin is playing great, Anne Hathaway was cool…. Dalip Singh was big enough for the role, but I feel a little awkward when I see him, looks like he can hardly walk… a little pathetic, a little felt sorry for him… and one scene Steve’s puking was a little too much… I find James Caan somewhat lame… but was great to see Masi Oka from Heroes.

    Overall a real fun movie, made me laugh a lot, Steve Carell was true to the original character but still held it perfectly in his own way, not at all made you feel he’s trying to step into someone else’s shoes…

    I highly recommend, you’ll have fun, you’ll laugh a lot, just don’t expect a deep message movie…

    L.


  • Oil Prices – grrrrr.

    I’m no expert on global economy neither about oil prices, but the way I see it, oil prices control can be classified as terrorism.

    Generally speaking (and there should be a disclaimer here) it doesn’t get more expensive to produces oil, definitely not at the same increase factors that oil prices are taking, so prices going up are all speculative of future supply and demand.  Most of the world’s oil reserves are in OPEC countries, and the vast majority of that is in Arab countries.

    Why oil prices are going up? OPEC decides how much oil to produce. They keep the production level at where they want the prices to be. If they produce more, there’s most supply, and prices will go down. If they cut production, or not increase it to satisfy demand, prices are going up. This is of course a simplification of the situation, but that’s how it works.

    The bulk of the money flows directly into the Arab countries in OPEN – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, UAE (and the other OPEC members –  Venezuela and the rest that are tiny in comparison – Indonesia, Angola, Libya, Qatar, etc…).

    How much of this money is going to financing terror? I’m sure that a lot. Iran is financing terror in undisclosed huge sums that flow through Syria and Lebanon to terrorist groups in Lebanon and the occupied territories in Israel (west bank, Gaza strip), terror training facilities in other Arab countries, weapons that are supplied to terrorist organizations, money to worldwide terror organizations and terror cells that are developed….

    The irony of course, is that we all pay premium gas prices to finance fanatical extremes that want to destroy us. And they do, don’t deceive yourself otherwise. I’m not doing any generalization about Muslims or Arabs, there are great people among them, but there are also many extremist, who brainwash and are being brainwashed to hate the western world in sake of imposing Islam, in envy of western success, and in irrational hate toward Jews, Americans and everything that is associated with them. Terrorism by itself is a whole separate discussion, for a separate post….

    I approach every situation trying to resolve it with common sense and in a peaceful way. With the oil problem, it’s all about energy, which I posted about in the past. Switching the main energy sources to atomic energy will take time (better start ASAP though…), and oil prices will keep being pushed up by the Arab countries (why not, they make more and more money). Short term solution, which is combined with the world’s safety, will be reorganizing Iran. If your approach to life is militant or not, Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and in the hands of an unreliable/crazy/fanatic/western hating/irrational/bold/power hungry leader who is trying to even rewrite history (Jewish Holocaust never happened he claims…), Iran is a threat to the whole world, and is among the largest suppliers of oil in the world (forth after Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the US).  It is a safety and economical threat. The economical threat should be handled by economic sanctions (although Iran’s leaders don’t really care if their people will be starving so that diffuses that…).

    The safety factor gives all the reason in the world to take down the current leadership before it is too late. Iraq attacked Israel with dozens of missiles during the gulf war, luckily they had only old missiles with conventional weapon heads. Iran on the other hand, even with “dirty” nuclear weapons and better missiles, and definitely with nuclear weapons, has the option of doing damage that cannot be left to chance, and if anyone will say that maybe we can reason with Ahmadinejad is either making a joke or has no clue.

    And again – long term solution to the oil prices/economical situation is in replacing the main source of energy from oil to an alternative, where the only alternative with current technology is nuclear power, which should be translated to as many applications possible.  Not only it will solve the cost of energy, it will also diffuse the power of the hostile Arab countries, and cut the resources of global Islamic terror.

    L.


  • The Greek Village – Restaurant Review

    For a full disclosure – I’ve been there only once, so I’ll add to this if anything changes in my future visits – and I will go there again….

    211 Livingston St

    Northvale, NJ 07647

    (201) 750-8570

     

    This is a tiny family-run restaurant with no fancy bit in it – but the food is good, the portions are generous and the service is efficient (this word was selected carefully, as they are very nice, polite and fast but don’t expect any ceremonial fancy over-smiling “may I wipe your mouth for you sir”…). The family is genuine Greek, the food is genuine Greek, and the service is genuine Greek…

     

    Don’t expect anything from the décor, that’s not the reason you’re going there… enjoy the food, the non-pretentious atmosphere, and again, the food….

    Opine Away rating of The Greek Village:

     

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

     

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    9

    6

    8

    $$

    Friends

    7

    4

    4

    $$

    Out of towners

    7

    4

    4

    $$

    Unmarried

    8

    4

    4

    $$

    In and out

    9

    $$

                                                   

    L.


  • You don’t mess with the Zohan– Movie Review

     I saw it last night. I kinda like Adam Sandler and think he’s a pretty funny guy (disclaimer…). But he can take humor to a very low level…

    The movie, although very funny at times, is vulgar to an un-tasteful level, and gives you a “how stupid can it get” feeling. In a way It’s like a Borat sequel.

    Adam Sandler’s Israeli accent is missing the point, and so is Rob Schneider’s Arab accent. John Turturro looks the same as always, more Italian than Arab for sure… I found it real funny (in a good way) that Robert Smigel was playing an Israeli, and Dave Matthews, although doing only an OK job, as a trigger happy racist gang leader.

    As I wrote, some parts are really funny, I’ll give it that. A couple of Rob’s scenes are hilarious, as well as other scenes (a zillion Arabs getting out of one taxi, etc.), the plot has a good potential to it, Emmanuelle Chriqui is beautiful… but the repeating jokes (Humus being eaten/used every two minutes, sex scenes over and over again, Fizzy Bubblech soft drink again and again…) are getting old real fast, and the goose bumps you get from feeling ashamed for the stupidity the cast is playing really spoils it.

    Definitely don’t take your kids to it. You’ll be so embarrassed that you’ll cover your head and will want to bury yourself somewhere.

    So, unless you’re in a real silly mood and have a couple of hours to burn, don’t mess with the Zohan, you’ll feel like you wasted your time…

    L.


  • Power outages

    We have PSE&G here, I also have experience with ConEdison (NYC).  Same. The system is lousy. The service is lousy. Prices are high.

    In our area, all power lines are up on the poles, nothing is in the ground. Every time there’s a storm or strong wind trees and branches are falling. Every time they cut power lines, and there are power outages, blackouts or brownouts. Then it takes them sometimes days to get it fixed, stop traffic for hours or days, fire trucks, police, the whole shebang…

    Burry those wires in the ground! To make it easier, every time a section is damaged, burry instead of fixing it as is. Or do the whole thing as one big project, but do something…

    Unlike in newer cities, where planning of the utilities was done before the houses were there, this old infrastructure of hanging all the wires in the air (so ugly) has been added in many cases after many of the houses were built, and has been there for decades.

    Time to change!

    L.


  • 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.