mostly medical commentary with an occassional foray into anime, dogs, classical music, film noir and savant-like observations on the fraility of human existence (avoiding lapses into cynicism and darkness)
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Sieve of Eratosthenes This procedure, which dates back to the ancient Greeks, identifies all the primes less than a given number, in this case 121. It starts with the first prime — two, colored bright red — and eliminates all numbers divisible by two (colored dull red). Then it moves on to three (bright green) and eliminates all multiples of three (dull green). Four has already been eliminated, so next comes five (bright blue); the sieve eliminates all multiples of five (dull blue). It moves on to the next uncolored number, seven, and eliminates its multiples (dull yellow). The sieve would go on to 11 — the square root of 121 — but it can stop here, because all the non-primes bigger than 11 have already been filtered out. All the remaining numbers (colored purple) are primes. (Illustration:Sebastian Koppehel)
there are a lot of opinions concerning the explosion of Czech films in the 60s….when it began??? why it grew and persisted??? and what happened?? basically, the Czech New Wave erupted around 1964 with a meld of gifted artists and a government funded film industry centered in Prague….some of the films were slice-of-life…some historical…some semi-documentary in format…basically non-threatening to an Eastern Bloc country…however, a number of these films were socially barbed…controversial…and quite subversive….IMHO, the CNW began in 1964…flourished for five years…and more or less ended in 1969 after the Soviet invasion of 1968….here are some of the star players!!
MILOS FORMAN… best known in the West for CUCKOO’S NEST and AMADEUS…emigrated early from Czechoslovakia…. LOVES OF A BLONDE (1965) is his signature masterpiece…a bittersweet story of a working girl and a musician…full of humor and pathos….BLACK PETER and THE FIREMAN’S BALL are other notable efforts…
JIRI MENZEL… exploded onto the film scene with his debut feature CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS (1966)… this WWII pararable is full of humor and insight into human foibles, with a distinct Czech viewpoint of life…great performances…Academy Award winner…Menzel made LARKS ON A STRING (1969), which was so anti-communist that it was banned for 20+ years…
VERA CHYTILOVA… a feminist filmmaker from the early 60s…rose to prominence with DAISIES (1967)… basically a plotless film with numerous set pieces involving the two Maries…controversial…subversive…funny…avant-garde…and yes there are Daisies in the film…how this got released is amazing…maybe because it was apolitical??
JAN NEMEC… best known in the West for DIAMONDS OF THE NIGHT (1966)…another well told WWII story…two Jewish boys escape a prison train and struggle to survive alone and with help….very humanely told without being maudlin or mawkish…. REPORT ON THE PARTY AND THE GUESTS is Nemec’s most famous film…intensely critical and anti-establishment….the film was “banned forever” and made Jan a persona non grata..
JAN KADAR… before emigating to Canada, JK made the deeply personal SHOP ON MAIN STREET (1965)… yet another WWII story of a Czech Everyman forced to become the overseer of an elderly Jewish woman’s button shop…a wonderfully told and paced story…another Acadamey Award winner…
FRANTISEK VLACIL… MARKETA LAZAROVA (1968)… a epic 3 hour saga of 13th century Bohemia, concerning the clash between the last remnants of paganism and the Christian majority…a visual delight…long stretches of snow…wolves…forest…mountains…voted the best Czech film of all time…
well....I finally saw it...not in 3D thank you!!!!
THE GOOD.... it is pretty and very blue....good running story line...first class CGI....state of the art everything!!! the two leads (SAM WORTHINGTON & ZOE SALDANA are believable and have good chemistry!!
THE BAD... too much macho posturing a la STARSHIP TROOPERS (STEPHEN LANG is intense enough for 3+ movies)....an overly simplified picture of "aboriginal" people...CAMERON has developed a meld of AFRICAN & NATIVE AMERICAN cultural societies, but the NAVI are PRETERNATURAL ALIENS and more script work was needed to avoid some banal moments...
THE UGLY.... the 3 "bulging" veins in the right temple of STEPHEN LANG'S "SARG"!!!
is it worth $300,000,000??? uh...no!!! could have been made for 30 million easily!!
is this the future of film??? hopefully not!! I would prefer an old B&W film/story/sound of "BOGIE" from the forties!!!
GIOVANNI RIBISI... How did such an accomplished actor find himself in such a one-dimensional role!!
a nice reference and overview of director MARK SANDRICH...another director NOT listed in 501 DIRECTORS by Steven J. Schneider...the author discusses some causes and reasons for his anonymity...some would say "one-dimensional" film maker...early death at age 45...collapse of the studio system....star-filled films that eclipsed his directorial skills...I would argue that he made wonderful niche films....basically invented the ASTAIRE/ROGERS chemistry....produced quality and successful films...if you do not believe me, check out these five gems!! #1. THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)... the first ASTAIRE/ROGERS pairing has a little more plot than most...still has it's share of music and dance...based on the broadway play THE GAY DIVORCE....great songs, including "CONTINENTAL" & "NIGHT AND DAY"...good support from ERIK RHODES & ERIC BLORE... #2. TOP HAT (1935).... my favorite ASTAIRE/ROGERS vehicle...minimal plot based on "mistaken identity"...a ton of wonderful IRVING BERLIN songs, including "CHEEK TO CHEEK" & "PICCOLINO"....BLORE & RHODES return for comedic relief....look for LUCY!!! #3. FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936)... a small step down from the high level TOP HAT...plot involves two sailors (FRED ASTAIRE & RANDOLPH SCOTT) romancing two sisters (GINGER ROGERS & HARRIET HILLIARD(NELSON)...based on the IRVING BERLIN musical HIT THE DECK...LUCY as "KITTY"!!!! #4. SHALL WE DANCE (1937)... an equal in brilliance to TOP HAT..flimsy plot, to say the least....it is really all about the Gershwins..."YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME"...THEY ALL LAUGHED"..."LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF".. #5. HOLIDAY INN (1942)... sorry..no GINGER...fred and bing crosby try to run an inn that is only open for "the holidays" (it ain't Shakespeare), setting up a song and dance session for virtually every known HOLIDAY, including GEORGE WASHINGTON... a bevy of IRVING BERLIN songs with BING singing the academy award winning "WHITE CHRISTMAS"....
disclaimer: by no means am I condoning the use of drugs, nor overlooking the tragedy that drug addiction brings upon the individual and society at large....however... these anti-drug films are all hilariously bad...poor production values on all levels...sensationalistic...exploitative.....often incorrect and simplistic in their observations...silly plots...bad acting...no name directors.... #1. REEFER MADNESS (1936)... the "grand-daddy" of all the "drug warning" films...produced by the infamous DWAIN ESPER....one puff and you are hooked...or you play the piano like a madman possessed...this is the one most folks know...I saw it in high school...not a part of civics!!! #2. MARIHUANA (1936)... directed by DWAIN ESPER...a companion/bookend piece to REEFER MADNESS...made with the "help of federal, state and police narcotic officers" (yea..right!!)....naive youths are given the "evil weed" by a guy with a mustache, and the next thing you know there is nude swimming and a drowning!!! #3. ASSASSIN OF YOUTH (1937)... a bit more polished than the first two films....too many reefer parties...an invetigative reporter poses as a soda jerk to collect his story...the short film with the film (THE MARIJUANA MENACE) is a hoot!!! #4. THE COCAINE FIENDS (1936).... young woman takes a "headache powder" from a dope dealer and become instantly addicted...her brother goes "on a sleigh ride with some snow birds"...tawdry/awful/depressing/maudlin/morbid...did I mention that it is awful!!! #5. NARCOTIC (1933)... the potentially sad decline of a physician into drug addiction (first opium and then heroin) is ruined once again by exploitative director DWAIN ESPER...in the right hands, this could have been a compelling and well told story...sorry..it ain't happening here!! #6. TEEN AGE DEVIL DOLLS (1952)... chronicles a teenage girl's decline into addiction and crime...NO DIALOGUE...filmed in documentay style with just a voice over...wonder why?? #7. THE COOL AND THE CRAZY (1958)... features two "known" actors (SCOTT MARLOWE & GIGI PERREAU), and that is about it...typical of the 50s juvenile delinquent films, it has thirty-somethings playing teenagers who start with grass and graduate to LSD...filmed on location in KANSAS CITY!!!
THE PITBULL TERRIER, poor fellow, is now almost obsolete, and what a shame! Will no one endeavour bring him back to his rightful own? Not to his former, much abused--pitifully abused--state, which was actually the cause of his downfall, but to the position of a true dog among dogs. Never was there a more noble, well -meaning, loyal, or courageous dog on the face of the earth. While perhaps some of the inferior types of this class were nothing much to look upon, yet those of the better specimens were really splendid-appearing animals and worthy of a place in any home or show ring. This terrier did not lose his reputation, and with it his popularity, because of any fault of his own.
Those who handled him, those who made him fight to maim and even kill other dogs, always at the grave risk of his own life, ultimately caused his decent down the grade rapidly toward oblivion. Left to himself, he was no more of a fighter than many of our other dogs which are held in the highest respect, and under the right supervision he was one of the most peaceful creatures living. Of course, it must be admitted that he could not really boast of blue blood, nor could he exactly claim a true-to-type strain, but, nevertheless, if other breeds could be carefully developed and raised to a standard recognized by the American Kennel Club, why could he not have enjoyed this honour? Surely, he well deserved it. So let us sincerely hope that some sympathetic person, or group of persons, may sooner or later take up his cause and carry it through until he has a fitting place in canine history.