Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movies: The Best Inspirational Mentor Films

We all have had those times when because of whatever was going on in our lives we just hit a wall. And either someone came into our lives with the right combination of wisdom and honesty that set us back on the right path, or we just wish there had been someone like that.

These films leave you breathless with excitement to live in the moment and help you appreciate each and ever second of our crazy, amazing, confusing lives.


Peaceful Warrior (2006) 

                                                                                   The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

Dead Poets Society (1989)

                                                                                 The King's Speech (2010)

Stand And Deliver (1988)


The Miracle Worker (2000)


                                                                                  The Magic of Belle Isle (2012)

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

                                                                                   Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

Nanny McPhee  (2005)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Society: Are We Asking the Right Questions?

A study was done with identical twins, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires in October of 2013. Inside one room, dressed exactly the same sitting side by side are pairs of identical twins. They are staring straight ahead, expressionless.

Then random people filter into the room, sit in front of each pair and are asked questions about the twins through a headset. The people answer by pressing a button to choose one twin over the other. The only difference between the twins is one is chewing gum while the other is not.

The point of the study is to apparently determine if the social stigma about people chewing gum is correct. The conclusion of the test is that the twin chewing gum makes the better impression. And that ends up being a fairly surprising thing since most people are told that chewing gum makes a less favorable impression. So this seems like break-through research.

Unless you consider that the Beldent test givers may have been asking the wrong questions.


Some of the questions in the video include:

Which one seems like he has more friends?
Which gets invited to more parties?
Which of these bosses would give you a raise?
Which one has a better sex life?
Which never puts money into the employee gift pool?

From the examples given in the video they seem to be about establishing "social comfort" factors that translate into likability, being casual and relaxed and going with the flow. In that instance the twin chewing gum trumped nearly every time. The end statistic showed that despite every other factor being the same, 73% of the people answering the questions favored the gum chewing twin. 

But what would happen if the line of questions changed? What if instead of asking about how casual and friendly they seem, what if they focused on things that are serious and really matter?

What if they asked:

Which one would you rather have perform surgery on you?
Which seems like they'd make a better defense attorney?
Which one seems more likely to cheat on a test?
Which of them would probably be more faithful in a relationship?
Which one would you trust with an important position of management in your company? 

I'm willing to bet then that the casual gum chewer would suddenly be the less favored candidate, and for all the same reasons that the first line of questions went well for them.

If the act of chewing gum makes a person seem:

more casual
more relaxed (maybe also more ethically/morally relaxed)
more friendly
more playful
more sexual

Doesn't it also seem that conversely gun chewers would also seem:

less serious
less responsible
less accountable
less educated 
more superficial

Since we don't have the full list of the questions asked during the study, but by using "if this, than that" line of reasoning, we can conclude that it would probably be fine to chew gum in casual environments (say a first meet/ date with someone) but probably not to something where you'll be judged upon your ability to be serious and sophisticated (like a corporate job interview).

It might also be fine for a stand up comedian or a sports coach to be "on the job" chewing gum, it would probably not be wise for a conference speaker or the president of a country to be seen publicly speaking while chewing away on a wad of gum.

It's hard to get a full picture of what effect chewing gum implies about someone. The answer of what it suggested about them varies based upon maybe what information you are trying to gather about that person. But one thing we can be absolutely sure of. Chewing gum does leave an impression. Take that into consideration the next time you break out the gum. People will be assuming things about you based upon that single choice, whether you want them to or not.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dating: Single or Not?

Give a person a heads up would you?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Politics: Presidental Disappointment

Halfway into President Obama's second term, there has been a lot left to be desired of how he's spent his time and money holding what many people agree is the most powerful job in the world.

There are those who will argue both sides of the coin.

Some say that he's pissed away his time playing golf, taking vacations and fundraising while the common American people flounder, counties in our care teeter on the verge of full scale war and our relationship with both allies and enemies make uncharted and largely unmitigated changes.

Some people say that he's been blocked and thwarted by conflicting political powers (namely congress) that disagree with his objectives and tie his hands from making the real progress he otherwise would be making.

And then there have a long and condemning list of scandals regarding Obama's history, his present and his future. The list is unprecedentedly long and deeply concerning given the amount of time and effort put into just confirming that Obama is legitimate and allowed to even continue holding the presidential office.

Regardless of what you say of all the scandals, there is something that bothers me even more than all of this.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Independent Films: What They Are and Why We Love Them!

Most people enjoy movies. They watch them. They love them or hate them. But most people don't understand the terms that describe what a movie is, aside from the genre. So when I say most of my favorite movies are Independent films...does that mean anything to you?

No? Well allow me to explain. 

"Independent" explains where the funding for the movie budget comes from. It also explains how and where the creators of the film got together.

Independent film makers range in size from companies that started small but with movie success over the years have developed a name for themselves like Dream Works, all the way down to smaller ones that few people have ever heard of, like Yari Film Group. They are like Dick's Sporting Goods and Ray's Cycle. Smaller, almost mom and pop shops that have fewer regular employees and a smaller budget to work with. They tend to hire actors specifically for each film and usually work with emerging actors who fewer people know about and are will to work for a lot less money. They also don't have regular donators who provide the funding for their films so they have to do fund raisers and try to find personal investor who are willing to take a chance on the movie flopping and never making their money back.

Aside from those differences, are the types of films they make. Big production houses make your staple films that fall under the categories of: Comedy, Action, Horror, Drama.

Major producers like Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers are huge companies with lots of people who are contracted to work with them for period of years. They have reliable donators who consistently give money to their movie projects because they'll get a cut if the film does well and they can pretty much count on it being a success.

They're a bit like Home Depot and Lowe's. They're huge, they have lots of regular employees and they have a huge budget. They tend to have contracts with actors for how many films they have to make with them in order to get paid in full. And they tend to have the heavy hitter, established actors like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Beals who command a very large salary.

They fit those criteria with a formula so the movie makers and the audience know exactly what they can expect.They follow reliable recipes that have proven popular with their audiences, that way there is very little gamble that they won't do well. But this also mean they don't take risks. They don't give you surprises. They give you splashy special effects, your favorite celebrity faces and an ending you can rely to fit the movie type.

Independent films and foreign films are for people who love adventure and like to think outside the box.

Independent films are less defined. They might make a movie that starts out funny, ends up being about cancer and instead of the patient living, they might die and the movie ends on a sad note. They are full of surprises because they often give you fresh actors who you don't know how will act or react. You don't know if there will be sex between the psychiatrist and his own son while he's counseling a rape victim or if the romantic couple chasing each other throughout the movie will end up getting married or not. They take chances. They give you something you've never had before, wrapped in brown paper instead of a colorful brand label plastic container. Maybe you'll love it. Maybe you'll hate it. But you won't know until you try every one, because they're all unexpectedly different.

Stay tuned for my next post which will list some of my favorite Independent Films. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nasty Gal Clothing Line: True to Name

I will never understand products that are intended to be desirable that are given derogatory names. 

Take the word Nasty for instance. Look it up in a dictionary and you'll see.


[nas-tee] Show IPA
adjective, nas·ti·er, nas·ti·est.
1.physically filthy; disgustingly unclean: a nasty pigsty of a room.
2.offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
3.offensive; objectionable: a nasty habit.
4.vicious, spiteful, or ugly: a nasty dog; a nasty rumor.
5.bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo, etc.; dangerous; serious: a nasty cut; a nasty accident.

1. dirty, foul, loathsome. 
2. sickening, repulsive, repellent. 
3. stormy, inclement. 
4. smutty, pornographic. 
Now tell me where in any of that do you find something appealing or attractive that would make anyone want to buy or wear anything that would be described that way?? I just cannot see any motivation there. 
I can only think that they're either trying to be ironic, or turn nasty into an urban word that means something other that disgusting. Much how "sick" is now a way to describe something that is good. At least, depending on who you ask. 
But seriously, the unfortunate name kinda fits many of the clothes. And while I'm sure the clothing designers would not be pleased to learn that my condemnation of their styles and cuts aren't much better than the scathing reviews I had for American Apparel, at least they have decent models, backgrounds and photographers. It's just sadly their clothing that is horrendous and also, horrendously expensive. 

Unlike American Apparel which at least acknowledges it's clothing has little value and they don't charge you much for it, Nasty Gal has a ridiculously elevated opinion of it's self.
And you know how the famous old quote goes: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. (Who comes up with this stuff?!)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Young Love and Parental Roles: How They Affect Your Future Partner Preference

They say that you never quite get over your first real crush. 

Thanks to growing up watching old Western films with my grandpa, Clint Walker was my first crush.

I never thought about it much when I was younger, but after finding this about a week ago, I'm realizing there is a really good chance, somewhere in my subconscious for most of my adult life I've been trying to find my own living embodiment of this TV legend. 

It would really mean that a lot of things I've wondered about for years, suddenly make a whole lot of sense. I've always been drawn to taller men. Much taller than someone who is a diminutive 5'3 1/2 "needs" to be. I tend to prefer dark haired men paired with blue eyes. It certainly helps that the same grandfather who fostered that love of old westerns and weathered the duty of raising two of his granddaughters as though they were his own daughters, also had hair that was nearly black (even into his 60's) and had clear blue eyes. I like deep voices. Grandpa was a Baritone (one step above a Base). And I'm very fond of a certain style of straight nose (some call them larger or prominent noses, but all I see is it's straight) and straight eyebrows above confident eyes. And a broad, muscular body definitely is nice.

This is not to say that's the only type of guy that I'm attracted to, but it's certainly general collection of qualities that I harbor a soft spot for.

There is also some speculation that people are genetically coded to be attracted to certain types of people. People who have a certain set of physical features or qualities. 

So who is someone you had a crush on that forever influenced your idea of your ideal partner?