Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bad Prez Day, Movie Reviews, Book Review

Well my frustration levels concerning the amount of holidays we have in the USA reached an all time high this past week.  Please remember that Uncle Sam has 39 registered national holidays while Germany is in far second with 18.  Australia has its’ act together with 9( I always wondered why I like the down under attitude)!  To really rub it in my face the past week we had Valentines on Friday and Presidents day the following Monday.  So I got a double whammy and when I tried to do something concerning my own business I was waylaid by these show stopping, earth shattering holidays.  Waiting lines at the restaurants started two nights out from the actual red heart day, then on Presidents day the bank was closed when I needed it to be open.  Working for the financial institutions must be boring since they have more holidays than any profession I know.  Of course I am always involved in professions that don’t stop work because of holidays, i.e. agriculture, sporting events, gas and oil industry to name a few.  So, what I am suggesting now is that Uncle Sam come up with another holiday concerning the five worst presidents of the USA.  My resource on that subject comes from a fairly smart group up in New York that sits around in a presidential study think tank and comes up with the top presidents and the bottom, with all the rest in the middle.  The source reveals that the following are now considered the bottom five:  Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Pierce and George W. Bush.  We could proclaim it “Bad Prez Day” and everything would actually be open with 50% discounts for any purchase.  Oh well, sometimes my ideas are not always good but this one does have a ring to it!!  Stay tuned and enjoy St. Pat’s day very soon!

Movie and Book Reviews:

“Gravity”, *****, This was a very good movie starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney(he was in it a very short time so don’t fall in love with his character), Even though the movie was considered short it was filled with great scenes and extreme tension and stress.  It concerns a typical work day in space by the astronauts doing  maintenance on the space stations.  Of course to create the tension something has to go wrong and put the two workers in danger and it does.  The thing is you can be working on an automobile in your front yard and something goes wrong it is no big deal but in space the ultimate reward is you float away into the universe never to return.  So, to watch Ms. Bullock dramatize this is very good and you will tighten your buttocks up a few times until the ending.  Rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.  

“Labor Day”, ****, A love story that has a surprising start and ending, this movie turns out to be well worth watching.  Henry Wheeler plays the 13 year old son and Kate Winslet plays his eccentric mother.  While on a shopping spree for school supplies they run into Frank Chambers played by Josh Brolin and the drama starts immediately.  Frank turns out to be an escaped convict looking for a hideout and he choses this mother/son family to hide out for a few days.  Along the 3 days the body chemistry rings a bell with Adele and Frank so the story gets good.  Of course all good things come to an end so Frank is discovered and it taken away by the authorities.  This is a two phase ending, first one sad then some years later it turns happy.  Go see to find out!!  Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.

“The Monuments Men”, ***,  This film probably had the potential for greatness but did stumble around for the first 45 minutes at least.  This is a true story based on the recovery of stolen art and artifacts during World War II by the Germans.  Since this time frame was during the latter part of the war and Hitler was being defeated possibly more drama could have been displayed in this movie.  But the scenes with George Clooney’s character addressing President Roosevelt and then concluding with President Harry S. Truman were interesting.  Too me the movie left a lot on the table considering all that it had to work with on the subject.  While there were only 5 people on this team there were actually 350 people dedicated to recovering millions of pieces of art.  Possibly the one real drama scene was when the US Team beat the Russians to some stolen art hidden in a mine. If possible go see this on matinee prices or wait for free TV availability.  Rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking.   

Editors note:  During my trip to St. Petersburg, Russia in 1994 I visited the famous Armatouge art museum and much of the art on display was recovered from the Germans at the end of WW II. So, the Russians stole from the Germans who had stolen it from someone else!! Nice guys!!

“Philomena”, *****,  This is a true story about a young woman(played in adult life by Judi Dench) who is taken to a Catholic facility that cares for pregnant young women and then adopts their child out.  Dench is now a 70 year old wanting to re-unite or at least learn the life history of her son.  She teams up with a magazine journalist who is writing the story to find her son.  Together they embark on the journey to uncover all of the truth about the son she hasn’t seen since he was four years old.  The acting of Dench is beyond reproach and the sparing with co-star Steve Coogan during the search was both thought provoking and entertaining.  The ending was excellent with more than one twist of the fruit.  Rated  PG-13, for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references.  

Book Review:  

“40 Seasons”, *****, Howard Buffet.  This is a book written by the oldest son of billionaire Warren Buffet and does not involve anything about how to make money or save money but deals with saving the starving people of the world.  The main message in this book concerns the conservation of farming soil though out the world and teaching those who farm how to save the soil and produce food for the world.  Even though I have lived in agriculture areas for years I learned a lot about proper farming practices and exactly what the difference between “soil” and “dirt” is!!

EA, SH..........:)!



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