Saturday, August 30, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Cameron Diaz!

AKA Cameron Michelle Diaz.

Born August 30, 1972.

She is an American actress whose father was of Cuban and Spanish descent and whose mother was of German, Scotch-Irish and English descent. She started out as a model when she was in her teens, then made her movie debut in the 1994 film The Mask. She has since made a lot of movies including My Best Friend's Wedding, The Holiday, The Box and The Green Hornet, and she is pretty much close to being Hollywood's ideal of the All-American Girl -- which, of course, I should find ironic because of her ethnic background.

It is hard for me to believe that she is already 42 years old...

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Joan Blondell!

AKA Rose Joan Blondell.

Born August 30, 1906. Died December 25, 1979.

She was one of my favorite actresses in the Busby Berkeley films and she was very memorable in a lot of films that were not made by Busby Berkeley. I am sorry her career was not more successful but at least she is still remembered -- even though most members of my generation probably know her more from her supporting role in the 1978 film Grease than from her starring roles in many an old movie.

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The Jane Austen Book Club Deserves More Than a Quick Glance

One of the film critics who reviewed the 2007 movie The Jane Austen Book Club expressed concern that it might be dumbing down the books of Jane Austen. Granted, I am not really sure what dumbing down means in a world where director Paul Verhoeven's not-exactly-as-highbrow-as-the-original versions of Hitchcock and Heinlein regularly receive critical praise and the most commonly read author by most literate English-speaking adults on the Net seems to be not Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy or even John Steinbeck but rather J. K. Rowling. I will, however, admit that I liked this movie despite my not being a big fan of Jane Austen and that it actually made me more interested in reading her books than the usual sermons about my duty to read great books.

Then again, I have found that the surest way to kill one's interest in reading a particular book is to treat the act of reading it like a holy act of obligation. After all, no one particularly likes reading a book because he or she has to read it; instead, even the most intellectual among us tend to gravitate toward books that we want to read. No doubt this is a habit that drives literary critics up the wall but then most writers whose work is worth reading don't necessarily write for literary critics; they read for people.

Anyway, I was not happy about every plot twist in this movie. Moreover, when I read the original novel soon after seeing the movie, I found more than a few of the movie's embellishments on the original plot to be a bit disappointing. Even some of the "improvements" left a bit to be desired. As nice as it was to see actor Jimmy Smits on the big screen again, I could have done without another version of the old "unfaithful Latino husband" stereotype. Indeed, I found it a bit ironic that the movie not only switched the ethnic backgrounds of two main characters but also played down the bilingualism of those two characters and their daughter. Even the movie's attempts to show the universal appeal of Ms. Austen's books by including in the storyline the type of people (for example, gays, Asians, Hispanics) who are not normally associated with Jane Austen left me feeling more than a little sorry for members of the one minority group associated with Southern California that was consciously left out of the movie.

Then again I did like the way literary science fiction got treated in a respectful way for once and how the movie avoided the usual jokes about Star Trek fans and Star Wars aficionados. Given some of the recent developments in actress Maria Bello's personal life, I found the movie's focus on her character's failure to marry to be a bit ironic if not unintentionally humorous but at least that character received a more respectful treatment from the script than most middle-aged female movie characters normally receive nowadays. I even liked the way the movie depicted the act of reading as a pleasurable activity -- though given my status as a hardcore reader, I am understandably biased.

The Jane Austen Book Club is not exactly a movie I would recommend for everyone but it was not a movie that made me sorry to have seen it. Since I can't say that about every movie I have seen as of late, I would like to think that constitutes a bit of a compliment right there.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Movie Poster of the Week

And to think... school here in Dallas did not start until just this week!

Wow! The title character of this movie must have been a very busy person.

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Cuento de Mi Id

“The Second Time”

“I’m sorry to do this,” I said, “but the moment can’t be put off any longer.”

The old man looked at me from the depths of his cell. “They asked for me?”

“No, but the State can’t be put off any longer. I have orders to carry out the sentence immediately and -- well -- orders are orders.”

I unlocked the cell door and led the old man out. He went along slowly but uncomplainingly. As we got to the courtyard, he looked around in puzzlement.

“Last time there was a crowd,” he said. “A big crowd.”

“My superiors want you to be executed in private,” I said. “They do not want another martyr to the cause.”

“In that case,” he said, “you should let me go.”

“I’m sorry. I can not. You’re much too dangerous for us to keep alive.”

“Too dangerous, huh?” The old man smiled.

“Of course. The world is very unstable nowadays. All it needs is one more fanatic to send it over the edge and plunge it into World War III. We can’t have that.”

“Have you no tolerance for a man with strong beliefs?”

“Sure, if he keeps them to himself. But when he starts gathering crowds around him and trying to convert others to his viewpoint... he’s a troublemaker.”

“Your world doesn’t seem to have much room for strong personalities.”

“Of course it does. We just can’t afford chaos.”

“I see,” said the old man. “And a man like me…would start chaos.”

“Of course.”

“You don’t really believe that.”

“I believe what I’m told to believe.”

“Then I pity you.”

Something about the old man got to me. If I were in his place, I would be scared to death, but the old man did not flinch an eyelash. I knew he must be trembling inside at the thought of his imminent death, yet he did not show it. Perhaps he was gripped by self-doubt about the validity of the cause he espoused and he didn’t want to show it. Yes, that was it.

If so, he didn’t say so. He just stood there silently, daring me to speak.

Finally he spoke. “All the healings I did... I suppose they don’t mean anything?”

“There was no reliable witnesses to any of them, “ I said. “Therefore, there were no healings.”

“What about the patients?”

“Either con-men or fools. In either case, hardly very convincing.”

“What about the dead man I resurrected?”

“Another phony miracle. And just as well, considering the population explosion.”

“You’re quite cynical for a young man. Surely you believe such things can happen.”

“I would not know. I have never seen them happen.”

The old man sighed. “Your world sounds like a sad one, Sergeant. Surely you must believe in something.”

“Sure, I do,” I said. “I believe in God.”

The old man laughed.

I glared at him. “Did I say something funny, old man?”

The old man fell silent.

“If I did, I wish you’d say so,” I said, “so that an old soldier like me can get in on the joke.”

The old man sighed.

“You wouldn’t understand,” he said.

He walked brusquely towards the end of the courtyard and turned towards me.

“Finish it,” he said.

I frowned. Something about the old man made me uneasy. He was not acting the way I had expected him to act.

Moreover, there was an air of familiarity about him -- as if he reminded me of an old family friend or a favorite uncle. Impossible, I thought. None of my family or friends would be caught dead associating with the type of scum the old man has associated with. Yet he talked to me as if he had known me all my life. As if I had known him long before he had been assigned to my prison.

Perhaps he was a fanatic, I thought. That would explain his reaction. In his mind, he was dying for his cause. Never mind if it was the right one. At least in his mind, he was doing something for the sake of whatever it was he believed in.

As for the air of familiarity, that could be explained too. People like him thrived on making converts wherever they went. No matter how unlikely the place or how unlikely the convert. And how better to make such converts than to feign friendship in even the most hostile environment.

I smiled when I realized this. Seen in that light, the old man no longer seemed so impressive.

“Turn around and face the wall,” I said.

He did so.

A couple of shots from my revolver and it was done.

Good, I thought, as I summoned some guards for burial detail. The old man was finished. One more would-be revolutionary had bitten the dust.

I started to turn around, then remembered to cross myself. As my fingers brushed across my crucifix, I suddenly seized it and brought it before my face.

It was at that moment that I finally realized where I had seen the old man’s face before.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Movie Quote of the Week

You don't need a tongue to have a voice.
--Frances Bay, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

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TV Quote of the Week

I'm not so sure I want a revolution going on in my ear.
--Lindsay Wagner, The Bionic Woman (The First Series), "Kill Oscar"

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Iconos de Televisión (Summer I)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

R.I.P. Richard Attenborough

English actor, director and film producer Richard Attenborough -- best known for his acting role in the 1993 film Jurassic Park and the two Academy Awards he won as producer and director of the 1982 film Gandhi -- welcomed his last visitor to Jurassic Park on August 24 at age 90.

He will be missed.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comic Book Image of the Week

That's funny. She doesn't look like Eva Green.

In fact, the lady in the above drawing does not look that much like a white woman at all, especially given the angle from which she is drawn. I don't know whether or not that is intentional. After all, Sin City creator Frank Miller has not been shy about drawing people of color in the past. Yet he usually is not so ambiguous in his creation of such characters either. So could he be trying to tell us something by making Sin City resident Ava Lord out to be a black femme fatale? Or am I just seeing things?

After all, dark-skinned minorities are more often than not absent from most classical examples of the film noir that inspired Frank Miller's Sin City. Even Raymond Chandler's novel Farewell, My Lovely -- which made little effort to downplay the fact that its hero's office was located in a poor black neighborhood and that its first major conflict involved a white gangster throwing his weight around in a black-run tavern -- was considerably whitewashed when it was adapted for the movies and renamed Murder, My Sweet.

Then again, you don't exactly have to be a rocket scientist to guess why Frank Miller would not want his fans to instantly perceive Ava Lord as a black woman. After all, if there is anything more politically incorrect than a unrepentant femme fatale who brags about herself being evil, it's a black femme fatale who does the same thing. Yet one of Frank Miller's characters in one of the other chapters of Sin City is a black prostitute and yet another is a female Japanese assassin so it is not like he's above drawing nonwhite criminals.

I guess only Frank Miller knows for sure which race Ava Lord is supposed to be and so far he's not telling. And since director Robert Rodriguez has chosen to cast a white actress in the part, I suppose that should settle the question.

And yet I can't help but wonder what difference it would make if Ava Lord were black. Or Hispanic. Or Asian. Ideally, it should make no difference but then we don't live in an ideal world.

Then again one could argue that dark-skinned actresses have enough problems without being cast as evil women. So it should be all right to leave those roles for white people. After all, no one objected too much when the producers of the Broadway production of Miss Saigon chose to cast a white guy as a biracial and half-Asian pimp...

Oh, wait. They did.

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Summer Books

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Quote of the Week

If Mormons like not my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intellectuals wish to re-cut my "Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" so it shapes "Zoot," may the belt unravel and the pants fall.
--Ray Bradbury, "Coda" from Fahrenheit 451

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Summer Movies

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Jorge Luis Borges!

AKA Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges.

Born August 24, 1899. Died June 14, 1986.

He was one of the most famous writers in Argentine history. I have yet to read much of his work but I hope to do so some day.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

R.I.P. Don Pardo

Dominick George "Don" Pardo -- an American television and radio announcer best known for his announcing work for the NBC TV series Saturday Night Live -- made his last announcement on August 18 at age 96.

He will be missed.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Ray Bradbury!

AKA Ray Douglas Bradbury.

Born August 22, 1920. Died June 5, 2012.

He was one of the first contemporary science fiction writers that I was taught to know by name. And I suspect his short stories and novels have had an effect upon me even when I disagreed with them. Indeed, especially when I disagreed with them.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Dorothy Parker!

AKA Dorothy Rothschild.

Born August 22, 1893. Died June 7, 1967.

She was an American writer best known for her membership in the Algonquin Roundtable. She also wrote quite a few screenplays in her time as well as some short stories and poems. In short, she was a regular Renaissance woman who had the misfortune to live through a modern-day Reformation.

She has been missed.

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Cuento de Mi Id

“The Last Day of Summer”

It was the last day of summer, and there was no one else on the beach.

Normally the beach would be quite crowded this time of year but now for some reason, it was empty. Quite empty.

Must be all the stuff that happened in Matamoros that did it, Callie thought. Stuff like that usually scares away the tourists; in fact, it always does.

But not her. She had waited too long for this break, this vacation. Waited too long for this week which was now drawing to a far too rapid end.

She had waited too long for a lot of things. Perhaps that was why she finally decided to kick off her flip-flops, strip off her bikini and plunge into the warm waters of the Gulf.

Not that it mattered. There was no one around to see. No one around for miles. And her friends back at the beach house had their own dates -- and undoubtedly they were already doing things with them that were far more daring.

But Callie did not feel sorry for herself. No, Callie was too good a person to do that. Better to hold it in. To swallow it down. To pretend it did not exist.

She did not need a date. She never did. She never will. She probably would not know what to do with a man even if she did meet one.

But she did know how to swim. She took lessons at the Y. And no matter how depressed she felt tonight, there was no way she was going to emulate that Crissie girl in the Benchley novel. She was much smarter than that.

Just swim to the buoy and back, she thought. Simple. In fact, she could do it dog-paddling. And no one on the shore could see her. No one at all.


She touched it.

Now swim back, she thought.


Before the sharks come.

Not that they will come, of course. You don't find many man-eaters in the Gulf. But then there is always a first time.

So Callie closed her eyes to protect them from the salt. And she swam back to the beach, stopping every so often to check for triangular fins.

But there were none.

Told ya, she thought.

Sharks are the world's oldest movie cliché, anyway. Stuff like that doesn't happen to people like Callie in real life. It just doesn't.

But it could.

Good thing she's not having her period.

They are attracted by blood, you know.

But the deed was done. She was through. She was finished.

She stood up and walked out of the water, feeling more than a little brazen.

Imagine me, she thought. Callie Martin, an actual skinnydipper.

She smiled and then glanced toward her clothes.

Only to notice that they weren't there.

But they were just there a few minutes ago, she thought. I know. I saw them.

Then where did they go?

Instinctively, she covered herself. Wrapped her arms around her torso as much as for warmth as for modesty.

The night wind was feeling quite chilly upon her backside and Callie was already beginning to regret her impulsive midnight swim.

Where are my clothes? she thought. Where are they?

She thought of what her friends back at the beach house would say if they saw her now. The inferences they would make and the assumptions that would not be true.

She thought about her parents and her grandparents and the kids back in high school. Kids she'd never thought she'd see again after graduation but who were bound to come into her life again once the scandal hit.

Then Callie saw a young Mexican girl up upon the dunes. She was wearing a red bikini. Her red bikini. Callie knew that much by instinct.

The girl was not facing her, choosing instead to concentrate on a pair of flip-flops she was putting on. Her flip-flops! They had to be.

In spite of her nakedness, Callie ran up to the girl and grabbed her arm.

"Those are my things!" she started to yell. But then the words died in her throat.

The face that looked back at her had once been pretty -- but no more. It was much battered and scarred. Nor did the scars stop at the girl's face. They ran all down her body as if they were seams -- invisible from a distance, of course, but all too visible up close.

If that were the worst of it, Callie might have continued. But she had already felt the girl's arm. Felt the girl's leathery arm. And she also smelled the aroma of something oozing up from the girl's body.

Then the girl grinned. Not a gold-toothed grin but it was quite obvious to Callie that the teeth did not match up with the girl's lips. Nor did the knife which the girl produced from within her bikini bottom's waistband.

Callie screamed but the girl just laughed. A harsh, masculine laugh that could not have come from such a girl under normal circumstances.

Then Callie ran. Not toward the beach house. But toward the sea.

She reached the surf before the Mexican girl did. She dived into it without a moment's hesitation and surfaced only after she had passed the shallow area. Then she swam out toward the buoy.

Only then did she turn around.

Only then did she notice that the Mexican girl was not following her into the sea. In fact, she was quite content to wait for Callie upon the shore with the knife still in her hand.

Callie let go of the buoy and dived into the sea. When she surfaced again, the girl was still waiting for her on the beach. Her arms were crossed this time, but she was still waiting. And as the girl started to sit down upon the sand, Callie suddenly realized that the girl could very well wait there all night.

That's okay, she thought.

I'll just wait her out.

I can swim. I can tread water. But apparently she can't do any of that or else she'd be out here already.

Good thing for me.

Now I just have to wait for dawn to arrive.

As soon as people start showing up on the beach, she'll have to move. Granted, the results might be a little embarrassing for me, but better that than whatever thing that girl had in mind.

Besides, she thought, I'm a lot warmer here in the ocean than I would be on the beach.

So warm, in fact, that Callie never really felt the onset of her period until the first drops of blood hit the water.

And a black triangle started zigzagging its way through the ocean behind her.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Anthony Boucher!

AKA William Anthony Parker White.

Born August 21, 1911. Died April 29, 1968.

He was a famous writer of fantasy and science fiction stories, not to mention a pretty neat mystery author. He was also one of the founding editors of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In addition, he was also one of the first English translators of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, having translated one of his short stories for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. As if all that was not enough, he also founded the Mystery Writers of America in 1946.

All in all, he was a very busy man whose influence on a variety of literary genres has been missed.

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Movie Quote of the Week

Read the Bible again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined. It stinks.
--Salma Hayek, Dogma (1999)

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TV Quote of the Week

Batman, if I were to kiss you, would you think I was a bad girl?
--Julie Newmar, Batman, "The Bat's Kow Tow"

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Book(s) of the Week

I must confess I don't normally think of Spaniards when I think of H. P. Lovecraft and given some of the less than flattering opinions of non-English ethnic groups that Lovecraft had expressed in both his fiction and in real life, it is probably just as well. Lovecraft's work is interesting for a lot of reasons but I tend to read his work despite his prejudices, not because of them.

Anyway, I was quite surprised to find three volumes of the Young Lovecraft comic strip collection at my local library because while a lot of people over the years have tried to get humor out of Lovecraft -- including yours truly -- not all of them have been as successful as Young Lovecraft's creators.

Spanish cartoonists Bartolo Torres and José Oliver, the creators of the comic strip Young Lovecraft, take a surprisingly simple approach to their subject: suppose all the fictional monsters that Lovecraft wrote about were real. What would happen next? It does not hurt that Torres and Oliver's version of Lovecraft bears little if any resemblance to its historical counterpart. Even if it did, I highly doubt that the real Lovecraft had a gal pal named Siouxsie, much less one who looks like the Siouxsie character in Young Lovecraft.

Not that matters. Torres and Oliver are not interested in creating the definitive version of Lovecraft's life. They are merely using it as a starting point for their own fiction. And much of it is quite funny.

Would the real Lovecraft have approved of it? Not likely.

But then I doubt Torres and Oliver worry very much about that.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, H. P. Lovecraft!

Born August 20, 1890. Died March 15, 1937.

He was the most archetypical horror story writer since Poe. Nuff said.

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Lovecraftian Slang in Spanish

1. Antiguo -- Elder Thing.
2. Ciclo de las Civilizaciones Perdidas -- The Lost Civilizations Cycle.
3. Ciclo del Sueño -- Dream Cycle.
4. Círculo de Lovecraft -- Lovecraft Circle.
5. cosmicismo - cosmicism.
6. horror cósmico -- cosmic horror.
7. Los Dioses Exteriores -- The Outer Gods.
8. Los Primigenios -- The Great Old Ones.
9. Los Profundos -- The Deep Ones.
10. lovecraftiano -- Lovecraftian.
11. mitos -- myths; mythos.
12. Mitos de Cthulhu -- Cthulhu Mythos.
13. Necronomicón -- Necronomicon.
14. reanimador -- reanimator.
15. Universidad de Miskatonic -- Miskatonic University.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, La Filósofa de Felícula!

AKA MaryAnn Johanson or the Flick Chick or the Flick Filosopher.

Born August 19, 1969.

She, of course, is one of my favorite web-critics and the one person who got me inspired to start blogging in the first place. I hope she considers that last part to be a compliment. She does not post reviews as often as I would like but then that is not exactly her fault.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the Week

The conservatives love their cheap labor; the liberals love their cheap cause. (Neither group, you will notice, ever invites the immigrants to move into their homes. Not into their homes!)
--Edward Abbey, “Immigration and Liberal Taboos”

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The Flight Not Taken: An Alternative View of Planet of the Apes

Does anyone who has ever seen the original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes ever remember Lieutenant Stewart, the blonde female astronaut (played by an uncredited Dianne Stanley) who was killed in her sleep by an air leak?

I must confess that I remember her fate from the first time that I saw PotA but I did not remember her name nor even her hair color until I rewatched PotA a few weeks ago. Since then, I can't help but wonder how different the movie would have been if Stewart had survived her time in cryosleep and Taylor (the character played by Charlton Heston) had been the one to perish.

Not that I have anything against Charlton Heston -- he did a great job with the part he had been given and it's no surprise to me that his role in this movie was one of his most memorable roles ever.

But just suppose Stewart had survived in his character's place. Would she do the same things that Taylor did? Would she laugh at the fellow astronaut who had planted an American flag on the shore where they had landed? Would she be so quick to utter misanthropic statements?

Would she be so casual about removing her clothes in an alien environment just so that she could go for a quick swim? Would she be so casual about nudity, period, whether it was in front of her fellow humans or in front of the apes themselves?

Would she be more aggressive than Taylor when she was captured by the apes? Would she try harder to communicate with her captors? Would she attract the attention of her female captor as much as Taylor did and would she be “rewarded” by said captor with a mate of the opposite sex? For that matter, would she welcome such a reward? Would she earn the nickname “Bright Eyes” like Taylor did or would the apes be more fascinated with another part of her anatomy?

For that matter, suppose she and her group had not been captured. Suppose she was more cautious than Taylor and managed to avoid the apes. Would she and her fellow astronauts be able to survive on their own in an ape-dominated planet? Would she survive long enough to become the new Eve or would she suffer an even worse fate than Taylor's companions suffered in the original movie?

For that matter, suppose Dodge (the black astronaut played in the original movie by Jeff Burton) survived the attack by the apes instead of Taylor. Would he do anything different from the things Taylor did? Would he be more wary about dealing with his captors? If he escaped capture, would he play Adam to Stewart's Eve? Or would Stewart choose to play Eve to both surviving males?

Come to think of it, if playing Adam and Eve was such an important part of the mission upon which Taylor's crew were sent, why did they send only one female? Why not send two? Or three? Why not send a predominantly female crew? After all, one would think that it would make more sense to send a group of female astronauts into space than to send a group of males for no other reason that the average woman tends to be lighter and shorter than the average man. Given all the fuss sci-fi writers like to make about the “cold equations” that govern space flight, one would think that it would save more fuel to send someone who was lighter than the average male than to stick with the status quo. Then again, we're talking about 1968 (not exactly a progressive time in regard to feminism). And anyway, people don't always think logically just because they profess to be more scientific.

I could probably spend all day writing what ifs about Planet of the Apes but at the end of the day, I would have to admit that it is still an interesting movie in its own right. Granted, the first time I heard about the movie, I was just a little kid and every time I heard about it, I could not help envisioning a movie about a world full of giant apes. I suppose I should admit to having been just a little disappointed when I first found out what the movie was really about, but I still remember the movie having a huge emotional impact upon me, regardless of my original impression. Indeed, the first time I saw it, I literally could not go to sleep for a long time afterward because of all the thoughts produced by the movie's final image.

I wish all movies were as thought-provoking as the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes. Indeed, it says something great about the flick that though it has been the subject of many parodies, it still holds up to multiple viewings. Of course, it does help if said viewings are at least a decade or so apart. It helps even more if you don't try to take the premise too literally. Even as a kid, I knew that apes would be no more immune than humans to the disaster hinted at in the original movie and that the movie worked best as an allegory about the horrors of atomic war and not as a thinly disguised science lesson. But then one would have to live in a madhouse to think differently, right?

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Columba Bush!

AKA Columba Garnica Gallo.

Born August 17, 1953.

She is the Mexican-born daughther-in-law of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush as well as the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the sister-in-law of former Texas Governor and U.S. President George W. Bush. She is one of the few famous people I know who was born in my father's home state of Guanajuato. Although she was not born in the same town that he was, she was born in León, which is very close to it.

At this point, she is still more famous for the people she is related to by marriage than anything else though that could change if her husband decides to run for president in 2016. She also appears to be one of the most likable members of the Bush family thus far and I hope that is not a false impression on my part.

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Literary Quote I Like

I said, "I am a scribe. I do not prettify the world. I only describe it."
--Gary Jennings, Aztec

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Julie Newmar!

AKA Julie Chalene Newmeyer.

Born August 16, 1933.

She is an American actress best known for playing Catwoman on the original Batman TV series as well as Rhoda the Robot on the less famous TV series My Living Doll. She has also appeared in a number of movies but she is best known for her TV work.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Gaylen Ross!

AKA Gail Sue Rosenblum.

Born August 15, 1950.

She is a former actress whose best known role is that of Francine Parker in George Romero's 1978 horror film Dawn of the Dead. She also appeared in the 1982 horror film Madman and in a segment of the 1982 horror anthology Creepshow as well as in two episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. Nowadays she is best known for producing, directing and writing documentaries. She was born in a traditional Jewish family but generally is not identified with Jewish roles for some reason.

Let us all wish her pleasant dreams.

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Movie Poster of the Week

That's funny. This doesn't look like a Robert Downey Jr. movie.

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Fantasy Quote of the Week

He had a knack for mockery, having endured so much of it in his life, and nothing pleased him quite so much as planting the thorns of his wit deep in a well-born hide.
--Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, The Godforsaken

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Science Fiction Quote of the Week

As he once put it, with his usual technical exactitude, "If the poet's name is writ in water, the journalist's is writ in ether."
--Chapman Pincher, Not with a Bang

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Cuento de Mi Id

“Overheard at the Door of a Cottage on the Shore of a Dark Scottish Lake”

For the last time, Beastie, Tokyo is thataway. I don't care what your GPS told you.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora!

AKA Don Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora.

Born August 14, 1645. Died August 22, 1700.

He was one of the first great intellectuals of the province of New Spain (later known as Mexico) as well as a friend of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Despite being a priest, he was also known to his contemporaries as a man of science. He was also a poet, a writer of non-fiction, a historian, a philosopher, a cartographer and a cosmographer. In 1690, he published Los Infortunios de Alonso Ramírez, a book about pirates which was once thought to be Latin America's first novel until recent research revealed it to be more of a non-fiction story.

He was not always popular with his superiors but he did leave behind a substantial intellectual legacy. Unfortunately, few of his countrymen dared to follow in his footsteps until many years after his death.

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Movie Quote of the Week

Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I'm a middle-aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I'm not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. Fuck the senator, I don't give a damn what he thinks.
--Robin Williams, The Birdcage (1996)

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TV Quote of the Week

Art is its own reward.
--Andy Hallett, Angel, "Happy Anniversary"

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

R.I.P. Lauren Bacall

American actress Lauren Bacall -- who was best known for her roles in such classic movies as To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep -- went off to visit her late husband Humphrey Bogart yesterday at age 89.

She will be missed.

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R.I.P. Robin Williams

American actor and comedian Robin Williams -- best known for his Oscar-winning role in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting and for his title role as Mork in the ABC TV series Mork & Mindy -- took it upon himself to cut short the final chapter of his autobiography on August 11 at age 63.

He will be missed.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Fire Next Door

Yesterday we had yet another fire in my condominium complex. Fortunately it did not spread beyond one building -- and that building was not mine -- but it caused enough damage that the Fire Department and the Red Cross were quite busy yesterday.

Here's hoping that no one was hurt.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Quote of the Week

Not to know what has been transacted in the past is to be always a child.

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

R.I.P. Marilyn Burns

American actress Marilyn Burns -- best known for her starring role as the final girl in the 1974 horror movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre -- finished her final finale on August 5 at age 65.

She will be missed.

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R.I.P. Chapman Pincher

English journalist, historian and novelist Chapman Pincher -- best known for the non-fiction espionage book Their Trade Is Treachery -- finished his last chapter on August 5 at age 100.

He will be missed.

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Saturday, August 09, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Gillian Anderson!

AKA Gillian Leigh Anderson.

Born August 9, 1968.

Despite numerous motion picture roles, this American actress is still best known for her role as Agent Dana Scully in the popular TV series The X-Files. She also played a female version of "M" in the 2011 movie Johnny English Reborn and is currently starring in the TV series Hannibal.

Contrary to what her most popular role may have you think, she is a natural blonde. However, I doubt that she normally spends a lot of time wearing fish the way she does in the above photo.

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Movie Poster of the Week

That's funny. Robbie Benson doesn't look Latino.

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Friday, August 08, 2014

Movie Quote of the Week

I see you've brought the female of your species. I didn't realize that man could be monogamous.
--Maurice Evans, The Planet of the Apes (1968)

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TV Quote of the Week

If you look at it my way, it's you who are the aliens.
--Gil Rogers, Lost in Space, "The Promised Planet"

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

R.I.P. Dick Smith

American make-up artist Dick Smith -- best known for his work on such famous movies as The Exorcist and The Godfather as well as for his 1985 Academy Award for his work on the film Amadeus -- removed his last bit of spirit gum on July 30 at age 92.

He will be missed.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Lucille Ball!

AKA Lucille Désirée Ball.

Born August 6, 1911. Died April 26, 1989.

She was the star of one of the most popular TV sitcoms of all time, not to mention the most famous TV spouse of an Anglo-Latino couple ever to appear on television. It says something about how mainstream her family's status was that when I was growing up, I never once considered her daughter Lucie Arnaz to be a Hispanic half-and-half like myself even though her father was obviously Cuban. To this day, Ms. Ball continues to be a major influence on the pop culture world. And yet my maternal grandparents used to think my siblings and I were crazy because we watched I Love Lucy much.

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