Saturday, February 9, 2013
- Hit the sack is an expression that means simply to go to bed.
- Mario Lanza played the title role in the 1951 movie The Great Caruso which is a highly fictionalized biography of the life of tenor Enrico Caruso. Ann Blyth stars as his wife Dorothy.
- Espoo is the second largest city in Finland with a population of 252,730 (31 January 2012).
- AT is the internet domain suffix for Austria.
- The largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument is the tuba which first started appearing in orchestras in the mid-19th century.
- The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF were the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside French and British allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces.
- The Australian tourist town of Port Douglas is in Queensland.
- After Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the third American to walk on the moon was Charles “Pete” Conrad on November 19, 1969.
- Lilibet was Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood nickname.
- The French city of Dijon is famous for the condiment of mustard.
Friday, February 8, 2013
Some people are scared to have their feet leave the ground whilst other delight in the challenge and sheer exhilaration of achieving the almost unachievable.
Here are some such people who dare to be different.
- User has gotten her third replacement monitor in as many months, so support tech checks it out - and finds water under the monitor, but no source of a leak. The next day, he's walking by and catches the user's new secretary in action. "I explained to her that watering a plant on top of any electronic equipment is a bad idea, and that maybe watering an artificial plant wasn't the best use of her time either."
- A confused caller to IBM was having troubles printing documents. He told the technician that the computer had said it "couldn't find printer." The user had tried turning the computer screen to face the printer, but that his computer still couldn't "see" the printer.
- An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't get her new Dell computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, "I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happened." The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.
- Another customer called Compaq Tech Support to say her brand-new computer wouldn't work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked, "What Power switch?"
- True story from a Novell NetWire SysOp: Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?" Tech: "Yes, it is. How may I help you?" Caller: "The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my warranty period. How do I go about getting that fixed?" Tech: "I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?" Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer." Tech: "Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped, it's because I am. Did you receive this as part of a promotion, at a trade show?" Caller: "It came with my computer. I don't know anything about a promotional. It just has '4X' on it." At this point the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because he couldn't stand it. He was laughing too hard. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and snapped it off the drive!
- Another IBM customer had trouble installing software and rang for support. "I put in the first disk, and that was OK. It said to put in the second disk, and I had some problems with that disk. When it said to put in the third disk - I couldn't even fit it in...." The user hadn't realized that "Insert Disk 2" meant to remove disk one first.
- Network admins decide all users should move their files to network folders. But after 15 minutes of copying, one user complains to support crew about how long it takes. Rep explains that she has lots of documents and a slow network connection, and all the other users are uploading files too. But user points to the Windows animation of documents floating from one folder to another and says, "Well, wouldn't it go faster if they just moved these two folders closer together on the screen?"
- Big electronics company is building a factory for a joint venture. But the locally hired IT manager is a little fuzzy on some details, says a lackey working there. "The general manager told him to build a raised floor in the computer room. A month later, we saw it - he literally raised the floor six inches by pouring a cement slab six inches thick.
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ shows how far cinematic story-telling has progressed with its’ depiction of mental illness becoming open and honest. This more truthful exploration of issues has often led to some engaging films. ‘Playbook’ is one of them as it successfully mixes humour and drama. This allows for true empathy with its well-drawn characters as they attempt to overcome their various fragmented emotional states.
Dealing with a bipolar disorder, Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental home. Put in charge of his parents Pat Snr (Robert DeNiro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver), he tries to re-establish his life. When he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young lady with her own demons, he thinks he is on the right path. Beginning a strange romance, their courtship is hindered by Pat’s ex-wife and others not realising how bright their flame burns.
Although featuring characters wallowing in self-inflicted misery, ‘Playbook’ is actually director David O. Russell’s most optimistic movie. Everyone is fractured somehow from Pat’s obsessive behaviour, his father’s gambling addiction and Tiffany’s mourning for lost love. Yet all of them are so determined to find that elusive ‘silver lining’ their quest does more harm than good. Only when they don’t try so hard in having a ‘happy ending’ can they truly succeed – something coming across very effectively.
The cast are first rate with Cooper and Lawrence making their roles sympathetic. You really shouldn’t warm to their characters but you do with some relatable traits making their problems feel genuine. De Niro and Weaver are great as Pat’s desperate parents – longing for an unattainable version of a picturesque family. Their performances are underscored by the deft mix of pathos and comedy naturally arising from situations. Whilst moments adhere to clichéd romantic-comedy formula, it has enough of its own energy making it unique.
A well-acted and scripted work, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ thrives on its authenticity. That it remains consistently absorbing with such a tough subject matter is a good mark against a production striving for quality.
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick about his Movie Review? Then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review Silver Linings Playbook
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.
The Silver Linings Playbook [movie tie-in edition]: A Novel
- Traditionally practised by Royal children, curtseying or bowing to their parents was abolished by Queen Elizabeth’s mother Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
- James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck (1740 –1795) was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland who is best known for the biography he wrote of one of his contemporaries, the English literary figure Samuel Johnson, which contemporary Johnsonian critic Harold Bloom has claimed is the greatest biography written in the English language.
- Nora Heysen, daughter of the famous Australian artist, Hans Heysen, in 1943 was appointed the first female official war artist. Her initial task was to paint studio portraits of the commanding officers of the women's auxiliary services. In April 1944, Heysen travelled to New Guinea to record the activities of Australian nurses.
- Pleb is a word for a common person from the social order of Ancient Rome and indicates that their ancestry could not be traced back to the first senate established by Romulus.
- The Gothic Brou abbey-church built by Margaret of Austria after the death of her husband, Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, is in the Ain area of France.
- Mt Etna is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily and is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high.
- Seoul is the capital of South Korea.
- Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth, was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands war.
- Australian painter Hans Heysen was born in 1877 in Germany.
- Joe Gargery is a character in the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
- If a job I do pleases you, keep it a secret. If that gets out, it could mean a promotion.
- If you don't like my work, tell everyone. I like my name to be popular in conversations. I was born to be whipped.
- If you have special instructions for a job, don't write them down. In fact, save them until the job is almost done. No use confusing me with useful information.
- Never introduce me to the people you're with. I have no right to know anything. In the corporate food chain, I am plankton. When you refer to them later, my shrewd deductions will identify them.
- Be nice to me only when the job I'm doing for you could really change your life and send you straight to manager's hell.
- Tell me all your little problems. No one else has any and it's nice to know someone is less fortunate. I especially like the story about having to pay so many taxes on the bonus check you received for being such a good manager.
- Wait until my yearly review and THEN tell me what my goals SHOULD have been. Give me a mediocre performance rating with a cost of living increase. I'm not here for the money anyway.
‘Django Unchained’ proves a point in telling cinematic stories. Knowing how to tell them in an engrossing way within a reasonable time-frame ensures its main focus is never lost. Director Quentin Tarantino had this ability when he scored big with ‘Reservoir Dogs’ over twenty years ago. Sadly his latest finds him losing his story-telling mojo. This doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means, it’s just his ode to Westerns loses much impact over its gargantuan running time.
Freed from slavery by bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), Django (Jamie Foxx) sets out on a mission. Determined to find his wife - now the slave of wealthy plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) - he enlists Schultz’s help. Entering the abode of Candie’s formidable mansion, vengeance drives Django. What ensues is a bloody game of brinkmanship where not many make it out alive.
Despite being too long and frequently self-indulgent ‘Django’ has a lot going for it. Apart from a great cast, it mimics the classic Western-style to fine effect. Not for a moment do we forget it’s a Tarantino movie however, with its ultra-savage veneer a perfect fit for his brand of quirky film-making. This is basically his version of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western – complete with booming orchestral score.
The cinematography aids this retro-imagining by capturing the dangerous realm the characters inhabit with starkness. It’s just a shame ‘Django’s tale of violent revenge is let down by the editing. There really isn’t enough plot to sustain the unwieldy length with the admittedly well-written monologues becoming tiresome. The action, when it eventually arrives, is suitably amazing but it’s a chore reaching those points.
Mixing humour with violence may be a dubious tactic although it’s something Tarantino has built his career on. ‘Django’ has lots of it and while not as good as his earlier works in terms of expressing its tale its vision of wild-west lawlessness is filled with several savagely memorable moments.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick about his Movie Review? Then please use the comment box, titling your comments with Movie Review Django Unchained
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.