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A Movie… Predicting Technology?

It’s Monday… is it time to refuel?

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I know… I am being crazy. I didn’t want to seem mean with that picture. I really can relate! In the past, I can remember “rewarding” myself with cake. (and maybe cheesecake too) And how can you be angry at cake?

Now… on to some smart stuff:

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OK, some real smart stuff.

Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is turning 50 years-old next month. (Wikipedia) It was the highest grossing movie of 1968. In 1991, it was described as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

But how did the writer/director (Kubrick) and writer (Arthur C. Clarke) see into the future of technology and predict the iPad and flat screen televisions?

In the movie, there are flat screened tablet computers. Of course, this was long before there was any talk of flat-screened televisions. It did not make the final cut of the movie, but the original plan was to even include a touch screen. Here is a shot from the movie:

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These “tablet computers” were called “Newspads“. They looked portable in the movie, even though they were welded into the tables for special effect purposes.

So how did they do it? Kubrick and Clarke met with an MIT cognitive scientist, who was also an artificial intelligence pioneer. The artificial intelligence computer in the movie is named “HAL” which stood for “Heuristic Algorithmic”. That meeting, coupled with their own thoughts is part of the history of how they did it.

The Wikipedia attachment does more justice to the production and legacy of the movie. In fact, I was going to compare some of this technology to Facebook. Then, I read about how this movie was included in a recent lawsuit. (Wall Street Journal article that requires subscription, so not attached)

It is probably not surprising that the lawsuit involves Apple. The first iPad was released in 2010. Samsung released a sim­i­lar de­vice about a year later. Then, Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement.

Samsung’s defense to the lawsuit alleged that Apple did not invent the iPad. The proof was that the device was already in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Right in the pleadings! You did not invent what was shown in 1968.

Sam­sung’s movie defense included photos attached to their answer, as well as YouTube links from the film.  The judge ul­ti­mately ruled that the photos and links were in­ad­mis­si­ble as ev­i­dence. But, this just added to the mystique of the movie and Kubrick’s vision of the future of technology.

I have always been fascinated with Steve Job’s determination about that lawsuit:

I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.” —Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson, March 2010.

Here is more information on what happened in the lawsuit. (here) How about that?

And for pic o’ day, I searched for a “smart picture and we ended up with… more smart pups:

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Sometimes I Just Want to Laugh!

I just wanted to start the blog with some pictures to make me laugh. Because Mondays give some creative license, right? And then I promise that I will have a real topic today. The fake of it is actually the reality. You’ll See! Or should it really be SeA? But first…

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Because just seeing “someone” laugh makes me laugh:

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And these “guys” are funny anyway:

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Which is worth more laughter to me!

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And because I did promise a real blog, here goes. It all started when I was looking at another law firm’s website. At their client comment section, they had several credited comments. One was from “Alan Smithee“. Do you know the story of Alan Smithee? Well, just in case, here’s the wikipedia description that I now borrow.

Alan Smithee is an official pseudonym used by film directors who wish to disown a project. Coined in 1968 and used until it was formally discontinued in 2000“. Here’s where it started.

The Smithee pseudonym was created for use on the film Death of a Gunfighter, released in 1969. During its filming, lead actor Richard Widmark was unhappy with director Robert Totten and arranged to have him replaced by Don Siegel. Siegel later estimated that Totten had spent 25 days filming, while he himself had spent 9–10 days. Each had roughly an equal amount of footage in Siegel’s final edit. But Siegel made it clear that Widmark had effectively been in charge the entire time rather than either director. When the film was finished, Siegel did not want to take the credit for it and Totten refused to take credit in his place. The DGA panel hearing the dispute agreed that the film did not represent either director’s creative vision“.

So the story goes, they allowed to originally credit director “Al Smith“. But, that was considered too common a name and it was already being used “for real” in the film industry. So, the last name was first changed to “Smithe” and then “Smithee. Then it became Alan

The film turned out to be critically praised including the famed critic Roger Ebert, who said, “Director Allen Smithee, a name I’m not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally.” 

The wikipedia attachment has all the movies listed where Alan Smithee was credited. But, I still wonder who is playing a joke on the law firm with their comment from Alan Smithee. Or are they just being funny. And that’s worth a good laugh too!

It’s going to be a great Monday… I just feel it! And finally, I guess it’s a reminder that things will always work out:

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Two Money Stories

Good to start a Monday with a smile!

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Today’s blog includes two stories about money.

The first is a Virginia story from Goochland at Richmond.com and is about movie money. The picture of the evidence gives us a good clue about the facts.

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Movie prop money is circulating in Goochland County and the sheriff’s department is issuing a warning. “Be aware that someone may intentionally or mistakenly pass one of these bills”.

There is a clue on the money, “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY”. That’s a pretty good warning! I guess that’s also what is meant by “Funny Money“.

And our next court money story comes from the NBC Today Show. A man who was not happy about his date not paying attention to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2. She was texting. So, he sued her.

They didn’t have to go to trial. She settled for the price of the ticket. She paid him $17.31. Apparently tickets for 3D movies cost more.

The moral of these two stories? If you are going to text during a movie and get sued, then settle with movie money.

And finally, I am reminded of the sign that hung above the counter at the Harley-Davidson shop where I worked summers during law school. It read, “In God we trust. All others pay cash“.

Go with certainty!

 

and for pic o, even beats the taste of money!

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My Movie Review in Lounging Pants

This blog is a movie review. How about that for a blog?

It was Saturday. I had my lounging pants on and snow was falling. Finally time to watch the 2016 Deepwater Horizon movie. I am ready to enjoy entertainment. Of course, I knew it was about the BP spill. And can a story about a drilling rig really be exciting?

That’s what had kept me from watching it for so long. I just didn’t think it would be that interesting. But it’s a lazy snowy Saturday afternoon.

Amazon made me buy it instead of renting it, so I typed in the purchase code and it was ready to go. Now, I own it. I’m not sure why… but I own it.

Initially it started a little slow. Except for the bird hitting the helicopter in the beginning, I wasn’t that into it. That did kinda startle me. Then the movie grabbed me. As the story progressed, it made me angry. The greed of BP. Profit over safety.

That’s my movie review. The true story of an oil drilling rig called Deepwater Horizon. I give it 2 thumbs up!

 

And for pic 0′ day, here’s a bit of crazy mixed with safety:

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It’s the Point of View

A college professor stood in front of his class and wrote the following words on the chalkboard: A woman without her man is nothing.  He then asked his students to punctuate it correctly.

The males in the class wrote the following: A woman, without her man, is nothing.

All the women in the class wrote A woman: without her, man is nothing.

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Here’s another point of view. The airlines have apparently decided that we are only interested in pricing and treat us accordingly. We will put up with cramped travel without benefits if the pricing is right. Doesn’t feel like a very good way of looking at travel.

Which brings me to the finale. Insurance companies and their point of view. We as the insured believe that if we pay our premiums, that we will be covered for loss. If you really think about it, the insurance companies have a different point of view. Premiums collected earn more money. Claims paid mean less money. Hmmm.

Recently I saw the movie Rainmaker again on TV. That’s one of those movies like Shawshank  Redemption that always seems to be on. In Rainmaker, based on John Grisham’s book, he wrote about a lawyer named Rudy Baylor who was trying to hold an insurance company accountable for not providing care to a dying man.

Grisham captured it just as the movie did. In the movie, they introduced an internal memo to deny all claims. Sometimes Hollywood does bring reality to life! That point of view.

And for “pic o’ day”:

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It is a Wonderful Life!

One of my favorite holiday movies is It’s a Wonderful Life.   George Bailey goes from wishing he had never been born, to understanding that his positive influence on so many lives would have been terrible, without him. Of course, Clarence the Angel finally gets his wings.

The movie seems like such a perfect story with the perfect ending. In fact, the movie was not initially a blockbuster hit and in fact was initially considered a disappointment. Wikipedia tells us that the movie even caught the eye of the FBI:

On May 26, 1947, the FBI issued a memo stating “With regard to the picture “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. [In] addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.

Hard to believe, when we now look back on it. Of course, the fact that the movie is looked upon with such good feelings is a bit like the book that George found inscribed at the end of the movie. It read, “Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence.”  It is a wonderful life when you have friends!

 

And for our pic o’ day:

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Bela Lugosi and the Chiropractor

     I was watching ESPN this morning, while I worked out. One commentator mentioned that football players are afraid to admit to injury because the next man up in the lineup may push them out of a job. That reminded me of Bela Lugosi. Scary movie time.

Bela Lugosi came to the United States in 1920 to pursue his acting career. He initially became known on Broadway by his portrayal of Count Dracula.

After three years, the play shuttered and Lugosi began to accept roles in film such as Count Mora in “Mark of the Vampire”.  You can probably catch him in one of those movies that play late at night. At that time, if it was a movie with a coffin, morgue or Frankenstein, it probably starred Bela Lugosi.

There came a time that he also began to accept roles that almost bordered on comedy. Some attributed his lack of discernment in the parts that he accepted, on needing money to support his drug and alcohol habit. Specifically, he had reportedly become addicted to morphine and methadone because of radiating sciatica pain. He was no longer the master of horror.

Because his parts began to dwindle, he began to take parts in movies directed by Edward D. Wood. A quick analysis of Wood as a director as well as his films, can be best summed up by the fact that he was awarded the Golden Turkey Award and called the worst director of all time.

Despite the terrible parts, Lugosi needed the income. Unfortunately, his ending is the basis for this blog. During the shooting of one of these Wood pictures “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, Lugosi suffered a heart attack and died.

Now, here is the kicker. Instead of re-shooting the Lugosi scenes or cancelling the movie, Wood just kept going. Wood asked his family’s chiropractor to step in and take over the scene. A man that had no acting experience and did not even look or sound like Lugosi.

This story made the blog because of pain, sciatica, and a mention of a chiropractor. Sometimes “next man up” might be plausible in sports. It might even be forced in the movies. Beyond that… I have no other application for the blog. Honestly, I just think that is quite a crazy story. Poor Bela!

For pic o’ day, a reminder that it still will not go away!

Insurance For Movies

Most of the time, we think of insurance for medical bills or cars. In Hollywood, insurance means protecting the movies. In this past weekend edition, The New York Times tells the story of how one specific company, Fireman’s Fund, is on set during many shoots, providing insurance.

Hollywood can’t insure that the movies will be blockbuster successes. But, most of the actors in major movies have some kind of  insurance to make sure “the show goes on”.

Ben Turpin was a comedian, known for his cross-eyed acting in silent films. He purchased an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London, which was payable if his eyes ever uncrossed. Jimmy Durante was an actor, comedian and singer who was most famous for his “Schnozzola”; his description for his large nose. He felt that his nose was such a part of his act that he insured it for $50,000.

This New York Times’ article is filled with stories that are behind the scenes. Because Tom Cruise always seems to be sprinting in his movies, apparently he now believes that his stardom is connected to action or hanging from buildings. Yes, there’s insurance for that.

One of the most expensive insurance payments related to a movie titled “Wagons East!” In 1994, during its filming, 43-year-old actor John Candy had a heart attack and died. The cost of the claim was 15 million when the movie could not be properly finished for distribution.

The next time you watch a wild scene of some horse and rider sprinting through the forest; you might not be thinking about it, but there was some insurance company that was concerned about that rider during the making of that scene. It might make you watch “Hunger Games” a little differently if you see the described futuristic fight scene. Last year, Fireman’s reportedly insured more than 250 movies and related events. That’s why they call it insurance.

Pic 0′ day is a reminder to keep all eyes on the prize:

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