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Wanted: some fresh ideas for movies

In the 1996 movie “Executive Decision,” a special forces team is trying to board a hijacked jetliner in midair when something goes horribly wrong and the team leader is killed, despite the fact that he is Steven Seagal, given second billing for the film, and film is only half over….

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Your favorite movie sound effects

On a blog, the newest post is on top, so this is a sequel to the post immediately below, in which I whine about the overuse of some tired ideas in action movies. It got me thinking about certain conventions of sound effects in movies which I have perversely come…

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People who pay no income tax

The nation has been discussing people who pay no income tax since a few comments on the subject by Mitt Romney at a private fundraising event were surreptitiously videotaped by Mother Jones magazine. Like many Americans I was astonished: I had no idea Mother Jones was still in business. Much…

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The decline of good novel writing

For more than a century, there has been a general feeling that there are two broad areas of fiction, one consisting of high-minded novels written to be important and respectable and the other consisting of  stories written to entertain. I think the quality of the writing in the second tier…

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U.S. denies planning to invade Canada

Dudley Dooright won’t have to cancel his plans for the weekend after all. The United States officially denied having plan to invade Canada. It happened – yes, it really happened – in a State Department press briefing this week when a reporter asked why a meeting of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…

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When rumors are really just wild speculation

Panama’s drug-smuggling dictator Manuel Noriega was surprised when U.S. forces actually invaded Panama to arrest him in 1989, because there had been repeated rumors that this would happen, and it kept not happening – until it did. If a mainland airline ever buys Hawaiian Airlines it will be a surprise,…

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More ghosts of blogs past

For the fifth anniversary of “Sunrise,” I collected excerpt from the first 12 months of this blog, which started at the same time. Today I started looking beyond the first year anniversary in September 2008, and found a lot more of the posts were deadly serious, explaining the market meltdown. For…

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As dust settles, new information about the Middle East attacks

When we first heard about the embassy attacks in the Middle East, we were told that they were set off by a blasphemous film about Mohammed made in Los Angeles. But it now appears the movie was a tool of terrorists motivated by another agenda. The more we hear about…

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Howard’s highlights of five years of Sunrise

Monday is the fifth anniversary of “Sunrise,” which still has three of its original five cast members (Steve, Ramsay and me) and several of its original technical and editorial personnel (including but not limited to director Michael Harris and soundman Craig Kaleikini.) In thinking back over five wonderful years, some…

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Music Post: Living, lively and listenable

Composers are a dying breed. Bach and Handel and even Mozart died in the 1700s while Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Berliolz, Liszt, Verdi, Rossini, Brahms, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Moussorgsky were long gone before the end of the 1800s. And the so-called modern composers? When Prokofiev died in 1953, the…