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Archive for January, 2014

Bend It

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Parminder Nagra is one of the most gorgeous creatures ever captured on screen. LINK


That may be a bit much, but she sure is likeable in Bend It Like Beckham.  I can’t believe how good this movie is.

Parminder Nagra

Like most people I had heard of it, but until very recently I had not seen it.  I knew it was British, starred Keira Knightley (and was a springboard for her), and was about soccer.  Perhaps I was turned-off by the saris, soccer, or Indian family content, I don’t remember.  They’re all things unfamiliar to me–not exactly in my comfort zone–and in fact there were U.S. marketing concerns.  I assumed it was like a lot of other teen sports movies with family conflict, coaches, music and dancing, new friends and romances, and a wedding.  It does include these things but I had no idea it would be so much more.  The backstory about the clash between Indian and British cultures, especially in such an energetic, teen, coming-of-age way, is an absolute treat.  Another theme is family love and yet another is the worldwide emergence of women’s soccer.

Gurinder Chadha

The biggest treat in the movie is Parminder Nagra.  She won widespread acclaim for her performance, including a FIFA award, and deservedly so.  The whole thing just wouldn’t work without her.  She is cute, gorgeous, troubled, crying,  running, kicking, talking to herself (or rather, Beckham), and Indian.  Even though she plays a teenager she was in her mid-twenties when the film was made and that is probably a benefit in terms of her range of emotions.  She is just great.  And the film catapulted her to stardom, unfortunately in Hollywood network dramas…  But I suppose, in a way that had to be.  One teen in a ponytail coming-of-age movie is all we get.  Oh what a treat it would be be to see “Mindi” in broader American movie roles.

The other star of the film is director Gurinder Chadha.  She is not your typical blockbuster movie producer.  Just watching her interviews explains where the film gets its energy and upbeat feeling (although she does come off as pretty domineering and egotistic, but hey, someone has to be in charge).  The story is great.  So many of the supporting characters are as well–Joe the coach, all four parents, Tony the friend…  She didn’t have Hollywood studio backing or a $100 million budget.  It is just pretty darn impressive for a handful of people to create, from nothing, a worldwide phenomenon like Bend It Like Beckham.


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January 27th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

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Fatal Christie

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From NY Times:

1. Why was The Star Ledger able to get to the bottom of this in the past month, but Chris Christie wasn’t?
2. Why did Bridget Kelly take it upon herself to close lanes on the GW Bridge on August 13th?
3. Why did David Wildstein understand her vague email and why did he go along with it?
4. Why did they wait almost a month to shut down the lanes?
5. If Christie says he doesn’t know the mayor of Fort Lee and the mayor of Fort Lee says he was never asked to support Chris Christie, who were Kelly and Wildstein trying to punish?
6. Why are emails about traffic being redacted? There is no national security being protected so why?

I don’t believe Chris Christie.

Star Ledger apparently broke it months ago.

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January 10th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

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Chris Christie: Lying on the Job (14-5)

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Chris Chritie’s staff was caught intentionally creating severe public disruptions (traffic jams).  There will be much written and much analyzed about the situation.  Christie is purported to be a Republican presidential candidate.

However, the situation is not complicated.  Whether he knew or not–it is highly unlikely he did know, given the seriousness and visibility of his offense–he should have known because his staff is demonstrably guilty.  He is either a bad manager or a liar or both.

How can you not know what is going on right under your nose by the people you hired and you supervise?  Remember Nixon?  People in these positions must know how to lie.  Mr. Christie, you are probably adding insult to injury by saying you didn’t know.


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January 9th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

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The “Purity’ of the Pro Game (14-4)

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January 5th, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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Pot in Colorado (14-3)

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Line-out-of-statersIt has been one of the biggest stories so far in 2014.  People don’t understand a big reason Colorado is first.

The reason Colorado is first–the first in the world to legalize pot stores–is that it wants the money.  Colorado has historically been a hands-off state in terms of government intrusion, taxation, and protection.  The state’s bureaucracy have not been leaders in economic development.  John Hickenlooper is an uninvolved, ineffective governor.

Colorado has innovative and progressive laws.  The problem is enforcement and regulation.  As a result, the pot program is likely to be a real challenge.  While I am in favor of decriminalization and even legalization–for certain users under certain circumstances–I fear for the worst.

There are many things to watch.  What will the impact be on kids?  Will public opinion change?  How will the economics work?  How many “undesirables” will surface?  What about addiction?  Its impact is being watched nationwide.

But the biggest issue is, how will it affect neighborhoods and local areas?  This is the question no one is asking.  State officials are unconcerned.  Nobody has even thought about it.  No one has any idea.

I am in favor of adults being able to indulge in the privacy of their own home.  Beyond that, there are too many unanswered, unenforceable, and unhealthy ramifications to this situation.

As for state and local governments, I say first things first.  I’d rather they put their energies toward keeping me and my home safe, private, and prosperous.

Medicine Man Grow House, Denver

Do you want this guy in your neighborhood?


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January 4th, 2014 at 8:50 am

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Getting the Best Picture on TVs and Monitors (14-2)

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With my cable TV problems and all the computers and monitors I have been playing around with I have been trying to figure out how to get the best pictures.

High definition (HD) is confusing, as are aspect ratios, screen resolution, native resolution, VGA, HDMI, 1080/720p, letterboxing, pixels, composite video, different cables and conversions, and all the other terms and definitions that go along with it.  Basically, I have learned that it can be, or is–I don’t even know the answer to that–all interrelated.  For instance, pixels isn’t an exact thing:  it is a “dot.”  Resolution has to do with number of rows–720p is 720 rows.  Neither of these things relates directly to absolute size or inches.

My takeaway is there are different options, do what looks good to you, and don’t trust a lot of what you read.  Last first…  It is a cliche’ that there is a lot of bad information on the web, plus, these concepts are hard to explain, especially for the neophyte and those who only think they are knowledgeable.  Computers do put out good video, even older ones and those not great for gaming.  VGA can produce a good/great picture.  Digital/HDMI doesn’t always mean the best picture, especially given the alternatives that may or may not be easily available for different set-ups.  For instance, composite video is often/usually impossible to tell from HDMI.  Here’s another little ditty I read somewhere:  720p is hard/impossible to tell from 1080p on smaller screens (e.g., 32″ and less).  Also, many “720p” screens actually have resolutions slightly higher.

I think we are too swayed by things or people telling us digital and HDMI are always better.  There are many factors that go into this.  And I haven’t even mentioned audio!  I, for one, feel as though I have considered a picture to be inferior because I felt there was something better out there.  It is soothing to learn that the options mentions mentioned here can be just as good or even better.

And, of course most of the content viewed isn’t really HD anyway.  But this gets back to the complication…  Given all the factors involved even non-HD content will and does look better on the best available (that’s the key word) set-up.



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January 3rd, 2014 at 8:52 am

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