Films, Reviews.

Too much alienation

Pocket Review, Title Five Easy Pieces, Studio Columbia TriStar, Rating 3.0,

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Director: Bob Rafelson

Pocket Review

The movie Five Easy Pieces was all the rage when it was made, a tale of alienation in a time when many fancied themselves agents of great change, so I decided to finally watch the whole thing, having only seen the famous chicken sandwich scene. Jack Nicholson's performance was excellent. The film, alas, for me, was too psychologically brutal to enjoy, and left me wondering what the point was.

Observations.

Shut Up, Legs!

Book Briefly Noted, Title Shut Up, Legs!, Author Jens Voigt, James D. Startt, Rating 3.0,

Shut Up, Legs!

Jens Voigt, James D. Startt

Briefly Noted

Jens Voigt was a wonderful cyclist to watch in the Tour de France. He was an aggressive rider, willing to attack in breakaways with few odds of success, friendly and available before and after a race. His motto, 'Shut Up, Legs!,' can be appreciated by anyone who rides bicycles long distance, or any endurance athlete for that matter: Muscular pain from exertion must be ignored in the pursuit of endurance feats.

Science.

Are there Laws of Medicine?

Book Book Review, Title The Laws of Medicine, Author Siddhartha Mukherjee, Rating 3.5,

The Laws of Medicine

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Book Review

Modern medicine began embracing scientific methods during the last couple of centuries, and in the past one hundred years this has produced an explosion of medical technologies that have aided physicians in significantly controlling some diseases and in particular, extending lives. Today in developed countries, many tests are available for diagnosis and many drugs are available for possible treatment. So why can't physicians today just run a comprehensive battery of tests for every sick patient and spit out a clear diagnosis, and with that, a clear prognosis and plan for a cure? Siddhartha Mukherjee proffers an answer via his Laws of Medicine.

Observations, Reviews.

Along the Way with Britt Towery

Book Book Review, Title Along the Way, Author Britt Towery, Rating 4.0,

Along the Way

Britt Towery

Book Review

Britt Towery is a very American thinker, who's opinion columns from a West Texas newspaper are collected here. I warmed quickly to his direct and sometimes folksy Texas style. He holds strong opinions on many subjects, but has a particular emphasis regarding the importance of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which safeguards our freedom of speech and religion.

Religion, Science.

Evolution + Intelligent Design = 42

Are evolutionary biology, intelligent design and the existence of God compatible? A reasonable case can be made for it, particularly if one relaxes their culture warrior muscles for a moment, and considers the argument that: science offers little tangible evidence of abiogenesis, the spontaneous creation of life from inanimate material, leaving room for God as the creator of the initial life forms; that God could just as well have created the remainder of life via the slow mechanism of biological evolution. This is not a new argument, and finds a much larger audience than the shouters like to acknowledge.

Essays, Politics-Government.

Citizenship: Making sense of hysteria

With the never-ending wave of hysteria being promulgated daily in the news media and on the internet, how do we make sense of it all? How do we deflect the emotional pull of anger, greed and hate, all cousins of fear, that are often brought to us by those who wish to drown our better selves in the worst emotions, so as to persuade us to think or act in some certain way? How do we find a way to think and act responsibly when our politicians, pundits, preachers, programs and parents promote their agendas, at times with little regard for truth or ethics or morality, while with the deepest irony, and sometimes cynicism, couching their points of view in the language of truth and ethics and morality?

Music, Observations.

American Soul

Aretha Franklin recently sang at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Carole King, reprising the song Carole wrote for her, A Natural Woman. The performance was glorious, and drew tears from the President, as well as from myself as I watched and listened to it later on video. Obama said of Aretha afterwords: 'Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and roll—the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings.'