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The Last Movie Star (2017) staring Burt Reynolds

How many actors are you fans of that when you hear they are in an upcoming movie do you stop and make note of that title? Are you able to name them using one hand, maybe two hands at the most? I know I struggle to think of my own personal list, but one who comes to mind is Burt Reynolds.

I bring up Mr. Reynolds for the reason that I have seen his name appearing in several movies as of late. I had not realized that he was still keeping busy and doing a lot of acting as he enters the later years of his life. It was then recently while walking the aisles of my local Family Video store that I saw the title, The Last Movie Star.

I didn’t think twice I grabbed the movie and proceeded to rent and of course view this movie. It costars another older actor, Chevy Chase, and the Modern Family star Ariel Winter. The movie will take the viewer into an old actor who seems to have lost much of his past fame. He will get invited to a Movie Festival in Nashville and that will cause some changes in his life.

The movie does open on a sad note as you find Vic Edwards (Reynolds) at a veterinarian hospital with is ailing dog. The vet is giving Vic bad news about his aging dog and it comes down to Vic having to put his old friend down. He is left with the dog’s collar when he leaves the hospital and takes his drive home.

The movie will later show Vic out shopping at a grocery store taking time to admire an attractive young woman walking buy. He will decide on a frozen dinner for his evening meal and we watch as the aging actor goes through his normal routine. It is when he finally see him having a lunch with a fellow older actor, played by Chevy Chase, which he finally talks about the invitation to a movie Festival. Chase’s character tells him he should go and later on we see Vic packing his bags for the Festival.

The movie will follow Vic as he gets to the Festival and finds out his “assistant” for the weekend is Lily McDougal, Ariel Winter. The young woman is not what one would call typical or even assistant material. She picks Vic up in her “beater” of a car, drives while using her cell phone, and has shorts that are short. She is just the start of what Vic will find awaits him at this Festival he had determined was a top of a line affair. Instead he’s put in a lower level Hotel, taken to a bar for the Festival, and worse finds out he is in coach when it came to his plane travel.

I wanted to include that last part about how Vic sees himself as a top talent and still should see A-lister perks. I mentioned that as I wanted to show that the movie shows how hard it is for Vic to truly understand he has gotten old. It takes Vic to realize who he really is, and where he came from when he talks Lily into a side trip to his home town. It is here that the viewer will begin to relate more with Vic, and better yet what it’s like to get old.

The Last Movie Star could have been written around Burt Reynolds himself as much of it resembles his own life. In truth there have been articles written from interviews with the writer of the movie that it was written with Reynolds in mind. As the movie progresses we are introduced to this old man, grumpy, and headstrong man that still has his site on his glory days. There are even parts of the movie where old Vic is interlaced with young Vic in movie scenes. Old Vic is doing his best to pass on wisdom to his younger self about the dangers of getting old.

What the Last Movie Star does is quite brilliant in the way it was written and performed by its cast. It takes the viewer into this old man’s life and we see how he starts to realize he has gotten older. We get a sense of how he wants to reconnect with his past, and at same time teaching this young woman about life.

The thing the movie shows the viewer the most is a different way to accept what will happen to us all. We are all getting older every day and the movie will show the viewer the good and bad of growing old. It may help the viewer rethink their own ideals on getting old. However, most of all it is a heartwarming tale of a man who will reconnect with his life, and accept where it has brought him thru his life choices.

I should add that The Last Movie Star was written and directed by Adam Rifkin.

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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Who: A Novel of the Near Future by author Karen A. Wyle.

If one was to take some time and do an internet search for uploading your mind to a computer you’ll be surprised by the multitude of results. There are tech industry stories going back several years that talk about just that fact. There was even an article in which now departed Stephen Hawking stated it would be something that could happen. He did have the “brains” to know at this time we do not have the technology.

You have to wonder had we had the technology would Hawking have taken the chance to have his brain transferred to a computer to continue living. The possibilities of what could happen to a consciousness moved into a digital realm is somewhat endless, but someone has taken that potential and put it into a great read. The book is titled, “Who: A Novel of the Near Future“, by author Karen A. Wyle.

Author Wyle has already written some very thought provoking books in her Twin-Bred novels. She certainly continues that trend in this book. She goes deep into a subject that is currently starting to gain headlines and has implications of all types. The thing is, this book will give the reader a sense of what some of those potential problems could be.

The book will introduce the reader to a couple who are young and naturally in love. They are both musicians that have done some work for the company LiveAfter. LiveAfter is a firm that will take a person’s mind and digitize it so a person can continue to interact with those they care for. As both Thea and Max have done some contract work for the company they are offered a deal to make use of the digitization if something should ever happen.

As the reader continues the story they will find out the worse does happen and Thea dies. Max makes the choice to have Thea’s mind digitized and this is where the story really starts to take off. Max will find that he has his Thea back as she can still play her music and seems to be her normal self. However, as legislation is passed allowing those who have been digitized to do more, like voting Thea seems to change.  Her mindset changes and her personality seems different and Max has to wonder is this really his Thea?

The book will take the reader into the realm of what could happen when someone’s mind is digitized. Is there a chance the company doing that work could change or manipulate the mind, or some may say soul. I do realize it is a stretch to go with the soul, but if someone’s mind is change I say it’s part of their soul. The mind is the thing that drives reason and feelings, we can say it’s our heart but really it’s the mind that makes that final call.

The book will not just focus on the interactions of Max and Thea but you get to read how others are impacted. The extended family, their friends and others involved in their lives. We get questions come to mind on what this technology could potentially do if this technology eventually came to reality. The book really will get readers using their minds as they consider all the options put forward within the pages of the book.

Author Karen A Wyle is an author who will cause the reader to really think. She does a great job in character development as well as explaining many of the potential challenges this type of technology may bring. I will warn readers that at times this book may seem to get mired in topics around law and great explanations on possibilities, and technology. I realize some of us in fast speed world may find some of this boring, but the book is well worth a read. You can surely scan some of the pages but you’ll miss out on a very well developed story.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Please Not Now! Then When? (Opinion)

I will say that this is an opinion piece and really if any of my posts get really shared, I’d hope this would be the one. I say that as I do not take anything away from the many Reviews, short stories, or personal MS posts I have written. I say that about this post as I hope it creates some dialogue with in a family.

I’m going to start but stating that we as a society must stop and look around. Things such as information pass between people at lightning fast speeds. Individuals are always in a hurry to get from place to place faster than they need. Parents do all they can for their children even if they themselves have busy work days. It’s like people feel they got to do so much in a single day and at the same speed that information passes between people electronically.

To me this is causing a major issue with society. We are to easily forgetting what it’s like to really just sit down and talk to each other. This actually seems to making the world a somewhat colder place regardless if it’s intentional or not. If we stop and think on it, it may explain the rise of some mental disease and depression. Now why do I come to that conclusion you ask?

I first stop and think on how boys, and even men, have been for so long they need to hide their emotions. They must keep their sorrows to themselves and really NEVER cry. They, heck we, are made to feel that it is a weakness if we do share those thoughts that trouble us. We then look for other ways to release that emotion.  It can be through creative means, writing, art, music or other items. It could be through playing sports, or games to release some of the pain that may be felt. Some are fortunate and realize they need help and go to a doctor and often are prescribed medication as a way to make them feel better. There is of course the dark-side factors such as using illegal drugs to number the senses, acting out and hurting others.

Now, the title of this comes into this post at this time. I can recall, and have observed, people trying to talk to a parent, friend or family member about their emotions. It’s sad, but often a response received is, “Not Now”. You got to wonder how many times it will take to hear those two simple words that a young man just keeps it all in. Is the parent, loved one, family member just afraid of hearing those emotions put into words? Are they afraid that what may be said points some of the potential blame for what they are holding in back at that person? I mean these feelings can be compounded into adult hood, and even begin to drive a wedge into families. At the same time a family may find they really do not know each other after all, because they just couldn’t find the time in a busy day to stop, and listen.

Instead we find that many are walking around like drones. Their face staring at a small cell phone screen, reading a message from maybe the person next to them.  At home how many family members use a phone to text someone just in the other room?  How often is an emoji utilized over an actual face to face conversation to show emotions? I cannot say if this happens but seeing the state and how often a family is in a restaurant with members staring at a phone over having a conversation is scary.

So my question becomes, then when will people realize it’s time to stop and listen? The age doesn’t matter when the listening begins, as the key it will break a cycle. It will allow those emotions to come out instead of being held back. I’m sure there could be pain, and resentment that comes through but the key is, it’s coming out. The pain that may have been bottle up, deflected by drugs (illegal or not) can be hurtful for potentially all involved, but it needs to be said. I mean who remembers when psychiatrists actually listened to a patient over just prescribing the newest “wonder drug”. The rock group Theory of a Deadman even has a song about the issue which is titled RX(Medicate). The song can be seen by some as a way to say everyone is doing drugs but the lead singer (Tyler Connolly) gave a reason for the song. His reasoning is that it has to do with how a therapist told him he was depressed and wanted to put him on anti-depressants.  The therapist couldn’t take time to talk to him about the issues he was dealing with, but instead was quick to go to the easy answer, drugs.

So, this is why I ask “then when” will people stop and listen to those around them. All we got to do is take a look around the United States and see the massive opioid problem. After all many of the opioids being abused are painkillers and I wonder how many are being used less for physical but mental pains.

I say we have the fix to these problems and every human being has that fix within them. There are those who may have an impairment but they are still able to communicate in ways that show they care. Those tools that people can use are on our heads and can be used for more than holding a hat on our head. They can be used for more than putting music into our brains to enjoy the sound of. They are our ears and they are connected to our brains. The brain allows us to take in what is being said and process it like a computer, and can lead to a great result. The result is simple, it could be a hug, a sense of understand, and even just a smile that shows you care.

I realize I’m in no way a trained psychiatrist but I am an analyst by trade. My job entails looking at trends, observing data and making the appropriate guidance to make a situation better. When it comes to much of the mental issues, even the drug abuse in the United States, I truly believe there is that simple fix. Stop saying Not Now, but instead take time and just listen to a person and put the phone down for a period of time. I will say that I do have some firsthand experience on how important it is to listen as I dealt with Depression in my early years of college. I took time and got help, and talked with a therapist. Yes I was given drugs, but with the discussions I had with a therapist I was able to kick the drugs, and found other ways to deal with any depression that may come. I learned by being able to talk to someone things could, and would get better. It’s why I say stop and take time to LISTEN.

 

 

*Side note, I’m not affiliated with Theory of a Deadman other than a fan of their music and found the song to be perfect to mention in this post.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in Personal

 

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Strangeways by Robert J Brunner

I have to admit that when I received the request to do an honest review of the book Strangeways by Robert J Brunner, I looked the book up. I found out first that Brunner was a police 911 dispatcher. This was intriguing as it could add some realism to the book. As I further checked into the book I found it dealt with a prison, an FBI agent, death and an ancient god. Alright I would say I was hooked at this point, but that would not be truthful as I after I started reading the book I did get hooked.

Strangeways opens with a prologue that in itself is a bit of an enigma. The book introduces to a period in the early 1900s in which we find a man, Charles Hobart, in a small town staying in a boarding house. The Hobart is first seen as another potential traveling salesman of the period, a Bible salesman. It isn’t till an evening dinner with the residents of the boarding house things finally come out. The reason is in the town, well he wants to buy himself some property.  The property will be used not for a home, but for a prison.

The reader now “time jumps” to more of a current period in time. We find a prison guard out for rounds of a darken prison just at lights out. The guard will stop to talk to an inmate and take another one out of his cell and down to the showers, the inmate stinks. The guard will soon become first in some mysterious deaths that will begin to plague the prison. As the klaxon rang members of a response team come rushing into the shower area where the guard is screaming. Officer Peter Coyle’s incident report will be found not long after the death has transpired and will help setup what is to come.

It’s not long after that we find special agent Tom Griffin of the FBI on his way to the prison as he will be sticking his nose into what is happening at Strangeways Prison.  He was called by an old colleague who is now the prison’s warden. Griffin will not even make it inside the prison before a strange event will meet him.  He gets out of his car to see a large wolf eyeing him down like could be dinner. Things move on from this point and Griffin will keep his open mind. He may be expecting many different possibilities that may have been the cause of the prison guard’s death. The problem is, Griffin will not want to believe what is actually going on. He is a logical man, what is happening around him, regardless of the signs is something he is not prepared for.

Strangeways will take the reader in to the world of the prison, named the same as the book. As you read you will find that the prison is on Native American land. The area has been known for strange phenomenon and in truth may be the reasoning for the name of the prison. However, what transpires within the walls of the prison is far more than any would expect. The big change in this book is that it is not related to Native Americans but instead a Norse God.  This God has become popular within the pages of comic books, and super hero movies. His name is Odin, The All Father, and many will be shocked by the portrayal of the character. I for one was at first, but I then did some research on Odin and will just point out he is the God of not just of wisdom and poetry, but that of WAR and DEATH.

Author Robert J. Brunner puts together a book that will leave many readers struggling to put it down after they start reading the book. His characters are well developed from those of the prisoners within the prison to those on the side of Law and Order. There are characters you will find yourself miss reading and others that will be evident by their actions. The scenes within the book are well painted through his word play and are properly descriptive without going to intense during the violence. I found the book to be well worth my time to read and provide this review.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Obsidian Tears by Doug Lamoreux & Daniel D. Lamoreux

Yellowstone National Park is United States staple that attracts thousands, if not more, visitors each and every year. People enjoy not just the beauty of the Old Faithful Geyser but also the natural beauty that abounds the park itself. The one thing that many visitors, and maybe even some staff, do not know is the large history behind the land the park is located on.  The history includes that of the Native American’s and obsidian made artifacts have been found in the park. Why do I bring this up? I mention the obsidian as it is part of the title of the book, Obsidian Tears. The book is written by brothers Daniel and Doug Lamoreux and that deep black, glassy rock will play its part in this book.

Obsidian Tears will introduce the reader to Chief Forest Ranger Glenn Merrill who many readers may have met in the first book in this series, Apparition Lake. As in that book the reader will find Ranger Merril dealing with some alarming events around Yellowstone. The problem is these events are not just the threat from environmentalists, or campers’ causing mayhem, but something is brewing under the ground. There are earth tremors that bring signs that maybe the long dormant volcano under their feet is becoming active. There of course are the unexplained deaths that claim not just animals, but that of tourists and a ranger.

I wish to add that the book opening is quite interesting as well as it sets up some great foreshadowing of what may come. The Lamoreux brothers do a great job taking the reader back to a different time as we find the young Arapaho medicine man, Nakos, on a vision quest. The events that take place during this question and what will follow a few hundred years later will become clearer as you follow the story.

The thing is all the mystery around the park will eventually become tied to a mysterious box that is found within the park. I will not go into much detail on how, or where it is found, but just say they did have to look under something to find it. The item in that box will get things moving very fast within the pages of the book. These events will lead Ranger Merrill to search out his Shoshone friend, Johnny Two Ravens.  Along with Johnny, Merrill will also end up realizing he will need the help of a young professor of Seismology, one Dr. Betty Chmielewski or Lew for short.

The book is well written as the brothers certainly know how to work together and develop their characters. Along with the characters it does appear they have done a lot of research on Yellowstone and the history around the National Park. The book does have some violent acts, but for the most part we read more about the aftermath then get to read about the full details. I for one love this type of storytelling when it comes to violence as it engages the brain even more. The best thing about the additional engagement of the brain is it brings you more and more into the story you are reading.

Obsidian Tears is a very well written book and truly fits as book 2 in the Apparition Lake series. The reader gets to catch up on what has happened in the life of those characters they may have enjoyed from the first book. You also get a sense of what is going on within a park of Yellowstone’s size from the daily patrols that take place to dealing with some of the visitors. This is what makes not just the drama of the main story so special but you get a sense of the happenings at the park, which draws you in even more. A truly enjoyable read and I’m sure like many others, I hope for more.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Reviews

 

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The Witch of Delray by Karen Dybis

I’ll admit when I first saw the title, The Witch of Delay, I conjured up in my mind a story about your typical witch. The kind of witch story that I evoked in my mind involved potions, curses, and even hexes. The interesting thing is, The Witch of Delray, will take the reader into the story of Rose Veres who some saw as a witch.

I realize that opening paragraph may grip the attention of people as you ask yourself, where is Delray? Is she really a witch?

The answer to the first question is that Delray is an old part of Detroit, Michigan. The Delray area in the early 20th century saw many Hungarian immigrants call the area home. This background is shared with in the pages of the book by author, Karen Dybis. She does a great job explaining how things where in Detroit during the period of the book, mentioning everything from the Great Depression, to corruption, crime, and race riot in the 1940s.

As for Rose Veres, you must realize the period of the story. This was a period when many old fears followed immigrants from their native lands. It is where neighborhood stories could lead others to fear a woman’s piercing glare as an evil hex. It of course did not help Rose that she had a husband die, mysteriously and even some of her borders also die.  You see, Rose and her husband Gabor, took in borders and after his death she continued to take them in. It was just Rose and her children in the house along with their borders, and it wasn’t till one of them died.

The Witch of Delray will delve deeply into the reported murder of Stephen Mak. He was one of the borders, and like so many during the depression, had trouble finding work. He would help with some chores around the Veres’ house and it was on one of these occasions he met with a horrific end. He either was pushed, or fell, off a ladder while working on a window in the home. The following police investigation would lead to the multiple events within this book.

Author Karen Dybis does her homework in writing this true crime story. She had to obviously do a lot of research digging into archives and stories from the events. Dybis looks not into the primary characters from Rose Verse, son Bill, but into those who prosecuted her. Dybis looks into the history around the events, the characters and the eventual outcome.  Readers will be introduced to Detective John Whitman, Reporter Vera Brown, Prosecutor Duncan C. McCrea and female attorney Alean Rose Brisley Clutts. The book will span over a few decades and will give readers a larger picture on the “witch” of Delray.

What I really enjoyed about this book is something one will not see on the countless of real crime TV shows out there. We get beyond the story of the murder but that of parties involved. We get a chance to see how those involved either met with fame, or failure. The thing book really does is show us everything has consequences and sometimes they have far reaching impacts.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Strong Legs and a Lesson

My original plan was to write a post on a book review but then I saw something that had me change my tactics. The source too many is hated and one of the worst news sources in the world, and that is Fox News. So, what could I find from there that would have me creating a blog post? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas running in people’s heads, but I’m sure they are in most guesses wrong. The title of this post may have given an idea, but what brought me to this post is simple. Her name is Janice Dean; she is a meteorologist for Fox News and most importantly has Multiple Sclerosis.

I’ve posted many blog posts about my struggles and issues with that disease but what I saw there had me change plans for this week. You see some viewer asked Janice Dean to stop letting Fox dress her as the skirts were not flattering on her. I got to say I have not watched Fox News in sometime, and to be honest I do not watch any major news outlet. I only saw this story due to the fact she does have MS, and I got to say she handled it gracefully. The key thing she let that body shamer know that she’s proud of who she is and those strong legs. In her response she pointed out that she was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago, and of course told the viewer if you do not like them you can turn the channel.

This got me thinking about not just those out there that suffer with MS wishing they still had strong legs that would allow them to walk, but much more. I for one am thrilled that my relapsing MS is under control and my legs still allow me to move around. I personally know others who have lost their ability to walk and now either rarely go out, or use a wheel chair.

Now, I want to get more to the point of this posting and bring up one of the best lines from Janice Dean’s response. The line was, “you can always turn the channel”. What makes this so interesting to me? It points the most logical thing a person can do if they do not like something, and that is turn the channel. I mean she’s not breaking any laws here so if they do not like it the option is to turn the channel. The option isn’t to boycott the station, call for a national boycott or even threaten her more so she changes what she wears.

I know what I said in the last sentence seems like a leap, but that is the world we now find ourselves in. If someone does not agree with a perceived way of thinking groups will threaten, boycott, or worse cases cause harm. It doesn’t matter the political stance of a person, or group, it’s the fact they want that offending person to pay for not thinking like they do. It’s an epidemic and makes me think that there are simple options to the issue. If you don’t like it then “turn the channel”. I know not all cases are so cut and dry but really is it that necessary to create hate, and loathing.

I mean here we are as adults saying we need to stop bullying in the in children but what type of example are we adults setting. We sit behind keyboards, smart phones, social media and other devices to speak of hate. We want a business put out of business, thus destroying not just an owner that may be the issue but all that work for them. We will threaten people with death threats; put up internet pictures of death or violence. We will even cut off long term friendships for a disagreement because they do not think the right way.

So I realize I’ve come a long way from Multiple Sclerosis and have gotten a connection to bullying. It however is in away fitting that these things are connected. We live in a society that pledges that we accept the differences of others, that we should be free to think as we wish. However, we instead shout down those differing views if they do not fit a specific ideological opinion. We scream and yell at others before even taking a moment to try and understand them.

To be brutally honest, to me there is one simple cause for much of this. It’s that simple thing that helps us all connect at same time divides. It’s social media as we have forgotten how to truly talk to each other. A simple message about someone’s looks can create the need for Janice Dean to respond to shame. A simple message can bring hundreds, if not thousands, down on a person for daring to think differently. It is really easy to do so much of this HATE when you are not looking into someone’s eyes. You do not see how your actions can hurt and scar a person when you are not up close and personal.

I’m going to end this post here as I hope it gets people to think. I mean when was the last time you actually sat and talked with someone? Do you talk to friends, or family, more over a messaging device over face to face or a phone? Ask yourself what kind of examples are we adults setting for children when we take everything so personally? Just stop and think on those questions. I’m hoping this post does not create hate as it’s not the cause, but who can say. I’m asking people to stop and think and I’ll add now if I see hate coming in comments they will be deleted. I’m not one to continue the cycle but asking people to think. Even better for those things you find so upsetting instead of attacking and wishing death, try telling them you love them and hope they rethink their opinion. Let love show that it can conquer the hate by turning that hate to love over hate. If I’m lucky some will read this and realize what I am saying in this long winding post.

**Note the two links in the article will take you to an opinion piece by Janice Dean, the other an article from Forbes on the dangers of lack of human interactions.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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