Thursday, May 28, 2015

Respublic Amerike (Omar, the Egyptian): Part I - Quantum Lapse


A reigning champion keeps her throne by sustaining superiority, both physically and psychologically.
It's a given that exertion and dedication are necessary to keep her at the number one spot, but equally important is firmly believing in her own invincibility. If the belief, of her impregnability, is extended to her competitors as well, then she is sure to keep her throne for a long time.
Lela Kraft believed in that.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins (review in progress)

I've spent a couple hours today reading the latest mystery sensation, "The Girl on the Train," by Paula Hawkins. The novel, released last January, is still the number 1 best seller in Kindle's Paid list. I've reached pg 95, and calling it a day.

The novel's opening hit me with intensity: vigorous intriguing characters, and quite a suspenseful dramatic setting for the hopefully Gone-Girlesque mystery. I was captivated by the narrative and kept turning pages incessantly for the first fifty pages, then my reading pace noticeably slowed down, and I was more prone to getting distracted by the kids.

Now for those who have read the novel, I've quite some legitimate questions:


1. Rachel, the drunk in wrecks, suddenly puts her shit together and presents herself as a totally organized thoughtful person. Is there - later in the story - any explanation to this sudden, unfathomable change, or is it just redundancy on part of the writer?

2.  Rachel, the drunk in wrecks, previously nothing but an office worker as I remember, out of no where exhibits pristine detective qualifications and thinking. Is that accounted for later in the novel?

3. Rachel's bantering about her earlier life has been going on for quite a lot of pages and has been painfully slowing the pace of the novel. Is it going to stop at one point, and is this the new rhythm of the novel?

I really loved the strong suspenseful start, but I'm afraid that's all there is to it. If so, I'd really like to stop right now and look for something else.

Infidelity & Biology: Commentary on the NY Times Sunday Review

Yesterday, the NY times Sunday Review featured a fascinating science article about one of the most sensitive, yet divisive topics: infidelity and whether our biology has anything to do with it. The writer - and obviously, expert on the topic - Dr. Richard A. Friedman, ostensibly takes sides by his choice of words for the heading of his piece: “Infidelity lurks in your genes.”

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nightcrawler, the movie. Is it just macabre and pastime, or does something ingenious lie beneath?

Yesterday, I watched "Nightcrawler", the movie.
Immediately after, I had mixed feelings about it. The film, the directorial debut of Dan Gilroy -- an established script-writer -- is rich, bleak, aptly written and directed. The casting choices are not the best: Jake Gyllenhaal is way beyond the appropriate age for the wandering, yet decided protagonist, and Riz Ahmed is too Asian/Arab to go by the name of Rick. However, both are great actors, especially Jake Gyllenhaal who gives one of his best performances. Rene Russo was good in her few scenes as well. I loved the characters, the backdrop and the psychological tension throughout.
I had one problem with the movie, albeit a big one - there was no story to be told, no moral, no real theme. The films tells of a young man who's devoid of morals, but determined as hell. One day he gets to know of nightcrawling (chasing crimes, videotaping them and selling them to news stations). His daring techniques and ruthless character help him get the best "emotionally-fit" shots, as well challenge every opponent, even friends at time, in this harsh career. Through a couple of incidents, he records good material, gets successful, eventually expanding his business into a two-van company, hoping one day he'll own his own news station. And, that's it. The movie ends.

I looked up a few reviews about the movie, but nobody seemed bothered about this particular pitfall.
However, today it suddenly hit me. What if Dan Gilroy actually meant for his story to end off-screen? What if his take home message was exactly that: Ruthless, determined bastards are the only ones who could - through sheer determination and conceit - fulfill their dreams, and eventually they are the people running our news and show business right now. Gilroy just gave us a glimpse at how those heartless entrepreneurs began their lives. The takeaway message might be just that, "Don't ever believe them. They are real scumbags."
Could it be really that, or am I way off the mark?