Friday, April 30, 2021

We, Terrorized Part 2 ~ Re-imaged Jack Nicholson's 1963 movie "The Terror" as a silent era film


This is Part 2 of the exciting adventure of Lt. Duvalier as he searches for Helene, a mysterious girl that helped rescue him.

The Terror is a 1963 movie that Jack Nicholson (yes, *that* Jack Nicholson), Francis Ford Coppola (yes, *that* Francis Ford Coppola) and others may wish to forget they made, but something about this movie works as a silent film stylized to fit the 1910's.  This movie has been re-imagined as that serialized black-and-white silent film.  Jack's acting style of his early career seems appropriate for this reinterpretation.  What results is a film that will terrorize us all, "We, Terrorized"!

The Terror is a public domain film with expired copyrights.  All music is also public domain, being entirely from the Silent Film Era prior to 1923.  This silent film adaptation, "We, Terrorized Part 2", is wholly an original work that is Copyright © 2021, Matthew Lorono, All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Fun and Important Words - Boondocks


Boondocks is a word that is borrowed from Tagalog, being carried over from the Philippines by US soldiers in the early days of US colonization. In Tagalog, the origin word "bundók" actually means "mountain".  However, usage in the English language sees a meaning of a rural and sparsely populated area.  Another word for this is sticks.[1](1

It is common to hear both "boondocks" and "sticks" used similarly, such as "out in the boondocks" and "out in the sticks".[2]  

Either word can have negative connotations, being used to refer to areas where the people are backwards and unsophisticated.  However, when I occasionally use "boondocks", it's really just to describe an area that is out-of-the-way and deep in rural country.

Although "boondocks" is often cited as entering English around the turn of the 20th Century, ngram shows it's use in writing didn't really take off until World War II.
Fussbudget
Gobbledygook
Highfalutin
Malarkey
Newfangled
Roust
Twitterpated
Whatchamacallit
Whopperjawed

We, Terrorized (Part 1) ~ A re-imaging of Jack Nicholson's 1963 movie "The Terror" as a silent era film


The Terror is a 1963 movie that Jack Nicholson (yes, *that* Jack Nicholson), Francis Ford Coppola (yes, *that* Francis Ford Coppola) and others may wish to forget they made, but something about this movie works as a silent film stylized to fit the 1910's.  This movie has been re-imagined as that serialized black-and-white silent film.  Jack's acting style of his early career seems appropriate for this reinterpretation.  What results is a film that will terrorize us all, "We, Terrorized"!

The Terror is a public domain film with expired copyrights.  All music is also public domain, being entirely from the Silent Film Era prior to 1923.  This silent film adaptation, "We, Terrorized", is wholly an original work that is Copyright © 2021, Matthew Lorono, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Why I don't fear a US Constitutional Convention and yet still do not want one

Also read Article 1 section 2
paragraph 3 of the U.S.
Constitution and why you
aren't being represented!
There are four methods to change the Constitution via the Amendment process.  

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” -Article V, The United States Constitution, 1787[1]

That is to say:

  • 2/3rds approval from the House and Senate, followed-up by ratification by 3/4ths of all states' legislators. This process has been used for 26 successful amendments.
  • 2/3rds approval from the House and Senate, followed-up by ratification by state ratifying conventions within 3/4ths of the states.  This process has been used for 1 successful amendment.
  • 2/3rds of state legislators applying to Congress (House and Senate) to create a Constitutional Convention, followed-up by ratification by 3/4ths of all states' legislators.  This process has never been used.
  • 2/3rds of state legislators applying to Congress to create a Constitutional Convention, followed up by ratification by state ratifying conventions within 3/4ths of the states.  This process has never been used.

Guess what It's actually harder to change the US Constitution via the Constitutional Convention method.  Congress is still heavily involved in the process. 

A Constitutional Convention doesn't get to magically change the Constitution at will.  All the Constitutional Convention does is provide a forum separate from the US House and Senate to discuss a proposed Amendment, then vote to bring the proposal to individual states, with a 2/3rds super majority required to do so. The requirement for ratification of the Amendment is still the same. 3/4ths of all state legislatures or 3/4 of ratifying conventions from all states.

The Constitutional Convention is a very unstable route to take, as fundamental questions about the process are not addressed in the Constitution.[2] For example, there are no quorum rules for discussions once the convention is underway.  Also, does each state get one representative at the convention, or is representation equal to the Electoral College with voting among the representatives of a state to decide their state's vote?  Then, what happens if a state rescinds its application for the convention and the convention is no longer requested by the required 2/3rd of states?  What happens if such an application is rescinded during or after the convention takes place?  Since the convention is still organized by the US Congress, does Congress have the ability to limit the scope of the convention (i.e., "what's your hot take on this proposed amendment" as opposed to "go ahead and write a new amendment")?  Do the state applications limit the scope themselves?  If the scope is limited, could Congress or Federal Courts invalidate the convention approval if the scope is deemed to be exceeded?  Etc.

Anyway, I foresee that we'd have nothing short of a political quagmire if a Constitution Convention is ever established.  Most likely result is no changes will come of it, save for a bunch of lawsuits questioning every step along the way.  Those lawsuits may answer some questions about the process by the courts, but that would only benefit future generations in their attempts to have their own Constitutional Conventions.

Also see: How to find your US representatives and tweet them

Friday, April 16, 2021

Doctor Sleep and all, without spoilers

Movie sequels often fail in many aspects.  Sequels that come many years after the original often fail for even more reasons.  The filming style of the original movie is often clearly a product of the time within which the movie is made. If a sequel comes much later, there's very little chance of successfully capturing the same style and general feel of the original movie.  This is especially true of Kubrick movies and their sequels.  But the sequels don't have to be failures, even when they fail to recreate the original.

Two Kubrick movies now have cinematic sequels (not including TV series).  2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) continued the story of 2001: A Space OdysseyDoctor Sleep continued the story of The Shining.

2010, briefly

2010 was a good movie.  To its credit, it doesn't appear to even attempt to recreate 2001's style and feel.  Much like 2001 was a movie of its time (1960's), 2010 was very much a 1980's movie.  However, unlike 2001, 2010 hasn't aged well, though it is still enjoyable to rewatch (if you can overlook some of the inferior special effects and filming techniques).  If you wish to see full reviews, please see 2010: The Forgotten Odyssey - A Video Essay and 2010: The Year We Make Contact Review.

Doctor Sleep

Although Doctor Sleep (2019) borrows heavily from The Shining (1980) in terms of certain imagery and plot points, it is its own movie in other ways.  Mainly, Doctor Sleep is very rewatchable.  It pulls the curtain back on some of the supernatural elements of The Shining (trying to explain them), but does so in a way that works well for the story.  Doctor Sleep actually does a much better job of character development and arc.  

In The Shining, Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson never feel like a couple.  Also, the viewer never really gets the sense that it's the hotel itself that drives Jack's character mad; characters being very one-dimensional.  Despite the praise Kubrick often gets for his movies, and the fandom of The Shining, it's not a true masterpiece in my mind.  In fact, if you compare Rotten Tomatoes (RT) scores of Kubrick's films, The Shining is actually near the bottom of the list.  Even though Eyes Wide Shut has a lower RT score, I actually think it's a superior movie to The Shining.

Table featuring the critical reception of films directed by Stanley Kubrick
YearFilmRotten Tomatoes[62]Metacritic[63]
1964Dr. Strangelove98% (91 reviews)97 (32 reviews)
1956The Killing98% (41 reviews)91 (15 reviews)
1957Paths of Glory95% (60 reviews)90 (18 reviews)
1960Spartacus93% (61 reviews)87 (17 reviews)
19682001: A Space Odyssey92% (113 reviews)84 (25 reviews)
1987Full Metal Jacket92% (83 reviews)76 (19 reviews)
1975Barry Lyndon91% (74 reviews)89 (21 reviews)
1962Lolita91% (43 reviews)79 (14 reviews)
1971A Clockwork Orange86% (71 reviews)77 (21 reviews)
1955Killer's Kiss86% (21 reviews)N/A
1980The Shining84% (95 reviews)66 (26 reviews)
1999Eyes Wide Shut75% (158 reviews)68 (34 reviews)
1953Fear and Desire75% (16 reviews)N/A

Character of Danny in Doctor Sleep is the adult version of Danny as a child in The Shining.  However, in Doctor Sleep, Danny is fully-fleshed-out character with purpose and solid reasons for doing certain things.  As with 2010, Doctor Sleep is more conventionally filmed than Kubrick movies.  But with Doctor Sleep, there is a unique style that makes it uniquely enjoyable, particularly when it explores supernatural interactions.  

The Shining has a few iconic scenes for which the movie is loved by many.  There's no question that The Shining has influenced our culture far more than Doctor Sleep can.  However, for me, I'd rather rewatch Doctor Sleep rather than The Shining.  That said, due to some of the choices made by the writer and director of Doctor Sleep, the movie cannot stand on its own in other ways.  It still needs The Shining as its foundation, due to all the callbacks and fan-service.  Even still, I wouldn't watch The Shining and Doctor Sleep back-to-back since the movies are so stylistically different; there isn't a good flow between them (even though they share some imagery).  Watch both, but watch them at different times.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Fun and Important Words - Fussbudget


Fussbudget is a word with a strange composition, and no one is really sure as to why.  A fussbudget is a hard-to-satisfy person who is excessively anxious, bothered or concerned about many little details; that is to say, a fussy person.[1][2](1

The word "fussbudget" is presumably a compound of the words "fuss" and "budget". 

The "fuss" portion of "fussbudget" is kinda obvious, if one takes it to mean "fussy" rather than just "fuss".  "Fuss" is simply to show unnecessary excitement about something.  Whereas "fussy" is being worried about details or not easy to satisfy. 

The "budget" part of "fussbudget" is much harder to identify.  Many sources take it to mean a leather bag.  So, it might be said that the term comes from the idea of someone having a bag full of concerns.  This kinda makes sense, since we also have the word "fusspot" (fuss+pot) which carries similar meaning, but referencing a pot instead of a bag.[3][4](4)  
 
I use this word from time to time.  I'm not going into details as to where and why since the word can carry negative connotations.  However, it's a fun word to use.

In American English, there seems to be a marginal preference for "fussbudget" over "fusspot" according the ngram.  However, British English shows a strong preference for "fusspot".
Fussbudget
Gobbledygook
Highfalutin
Malarkey
Newfangled
Roust
Twitterpated
Whatchamacallit
Whopperjawed

Monday, April 12, 2021

Fun and Important Words - Whopperjawed


Whopperjawed is a awesome word that really does roll of the tongue.  It's not a common word (yet).  You won't find it listed in any printed dictionaries.  However, there are some great entries for whopperjawed on Urban Dictionary.

Whopperjawed describes something that is disheveled, askew, crooked, stuck in an awkward position, or any combination thereof.[1][2][3](1)(3)   

One of the difficulties with establishing a common usage of the word is that it has many regional variations, such as lopper-jawed, wapper-jawed, whomper-jawed and others (with a hyphen or not).  Of these, "wapper-jawed" seems to be the most historic, with a recording as early as 1825.  "Whopperjawed" appears in a letter by Mark Twain in 1863.[4](4)
 
Although I don't use this word everyday, I do use it regularly, as situations arise.  It's is a fun word to say.  It's also fun introducing "whopperjawed" to others who haven't heard it before.

Sometimes, but not always, the word may appear with the intensifier "all", as in "all whopperjawed".[5](5)

Based on an ngram chart, "whopper-jawed" variant seems to be the most common.  "Whopperjawed" without the hyphen is the second most common.  Arguably these are the same thing since compound words often start out with a hyphen that is eventually dropped.  Whomperjawed/Whomper-jawed is the next most common variant.  

Photographic example: Whopperjawed house
Fussbudget
Gobbledygook
Highfalutin
Malarkey
Newfangled
Roust
Twitterpated
Whatchamacallit
Whopperjawed

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Fun and Important Words - Gobbledygook


Gobbledygook is a great sounding word that almost rolls of the tongue (for English speakers).  According to Oxford, it's a word used to describe words, phrases and speech that are "unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms".  In simpler language, it's hard to understand or nonsensical jargon.[1][2][3] (backup links 1, 2, 3)  It's ironic that the Oxford definition for gobbledegook sounds like gobbledygook itself. 

The word is derived from an onomatopoeia of a turkey sound, though the use of gobbledygook is technically not the turkey noise itself.
 
Typically I do not have the need nor opportunity to use this word in every day language, but it does come up once in a while.  As far as I remember, my first exposure to the word is from normal family conversations while growing up (1970s/80s).  For me personally, that says a lot about the commonality of this young word.  Despite it's recent entry into the English Language (1944), the word has found its way deep into our common lexicon, often in politics or government-related rants.[4](4)  
 
Weirdly, there's a blip on the ngram usage graph for gobbledygook from 1921.  Without any way to see the source referenced by Google, it's hard to tell if this is an earlier coining or if it's a false-positive.
 
Gobbledygook is sometimes mentioned along with gibberish when discussing lexicon.  However, gibberish is a more general term used to describe nonsense speech, regardless to reason.  Gobbledygook is more specific, referring to technical language that is nonsensical. 
Fussbudget
Gobbledygook
Highfalutin
Malarkey
Newfangled
Roust
Twitterpated
Whatchamacallit
Whopperjawed

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Trail 3 - Hike, Hiking and then something else

I recently purchased a book called 60 Hikes within 60 Miles for Denver and Boulder.  The book includes 60 parks and paths for hiking, including various skill levels from Easy to Moderately Hard.  It's not a comprehensive book of every hiking or walking trail in the Denver region.  What I like about the book, though, is that many of the trails are full loops, with little to no backtracking.  I prefer loops.

Sixty is an achievable number.  I could conceivably hike every trail in the book with a reasonable effort.  I'm not going to try to hike 60 trails in 60 days.  Instead, the attempt will be to hike all 60 trails over the next few years.  I've already hiked some of the trails before.  For those, I'll only count them if I hike them again.  All hikes will be journalled here, on my blog (at least the first attempt for each), with the assigned label of 6060Denver.

Today was the first day of this journey.  Allie and I hiked the trail at Bluff Lake Nature Center.  It's a very easy trail, listed as trail #3 (not a ranking), within the Denver (Including Foothills and Plains) section.  Though we are in Spring, the area is still a bit bare.  There are no leaves on the trees; and the grass and shrubbery are still brown.  The day was partly cloudy, with plenty of sun.

We did see a few prairie dogs, including one critter that vocalized very clearly that we should leave him alone.  We obliged, though we did take a couple of photos from a distance.  

There were also some geese, including this watchman on the side of the trail.

Afterwards, we explored Stanley Marketplace, about a mile West in Aurora, CO.  For lunch, we tried the restaurant Annette for brunch.   Though the food was good, there were some distracting quirks, such as very small portions for beverages (like, smaller than what one might expect for "child size"), and no refills for iced tea.  Main course prices were about right for the quantity and quality of each dish.



Thursday, March 25, 2021

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Avoided disaster - active shooter in Boulder

Though Monday's mass shooting in Boulder, CO was 15 to 20 miles from our home, our vet is located in that same shopping center.  Joie had an appointment for a checkup at 5PM.  Sometime before 4:30PM, Allie received a call from our vet.  They had to cancel our appointment because of an active shooter in the shopping center.  Everyone was ordered to shelter-in-place.  Even under such stress, our vet rescheduled Joie's appointment for another day.

This isn't how we found out about the unfolding crisis.  At first, we didn't think too much of it.  Active shooter alerts happened before.  Sometimes, it's a mistaken report, or just someone wielding a weapon in public, or targeting a specific person, such as a love quarrel gone bad.  

We quickly found out that this was so much worse.  There's really nothing I can say to sum things up or even make the story more personal.  The worse we had was a rescheduling of an appointment, avoiding the situation ourselves by a couple of hours.  Allie and I are OK and unaffected by the crisis.

Of course, Allie had a couple of family members contact her within minutes of the incident making international news.  Several coworkers also checked with me the next day during meetings that I attended.  

Thankfully, we avoid the whole situation.  Others were not lucky.  Their families are suffering, such as one Erika Mononey, who gave a tribute to her father on Twitter (backup link).

Here's the link to the Wikipedia article for sourced information about the horrific event.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Elite Dangerous: Rescuing inhabitants of Lave Station after the Nine Martyr's Attack

 

Full walkthrough of one mission to rescue inhabitants Lave Station after the Nine Martyr's Attack. Runs from launch at the rescue ship all the way through collection of rewards for successful mission completion. Includes some pointers a long the way for an easier journey.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Up and up building, or that's no murder!

 

Up and up; new building under construction in North Cherry Creek

It's not a murder of crows, but it's a gang of some menacing avian creepers keeping eyes on this intersection.