Showing posts from January, 2013

24: The Complete Series box set: A review (with link)

24: The Complete Series

Reviewer’s Note: This Epinion focuses solely on the 24: The Complete Series box set (DVD format) and its particular features.  It doesn’t contain any season-specific content. It doesn't discuss plot or characters, either. However, links to the author’s reviews of the seven seasons found in the Epinions database have been provided in the  Content section of this review: 

On November 6, 2001, the Fox television network aired the first episode of 24, a hybrid of the action/espionage/political thriller and nighttime soap opera genres. Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran (La Femme Nikita) and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Federal counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer, 24 portrays the events of a single day in “real time.” 

The series ran for nine years and eight seasons – the seventh being delayed by almost a year due to the Writer’s Guild strike of 2007-2008; it spanned 192 regular episodes and a two-hour TV movie, Redemption.  On May 24, 2010, 24 ended its orig…

Underage "party princess" causes a fatal hit and run in Miami Beach

There are times when I wonder why many people, particularly young people, simply don't understand why there are laws that prohibit driving motor vehicles after drinking alcohol or doing drugs.

After all, we've known that drinking and driving are a dangerous mix ever since the Automobile Age began at the turn of the 20th Century. Operating any type of vehicle under any circumstance is a complex process which requires much care and mental acuity. Drivers need to have quick reflexes and what aircraft pilots call "situation awareness" in order to avoid an accident while going from Point A to Point B.  Alcohol tends to dull the senses, impairs judgment and slows the mind's ability to react quickly, especially in situations when split-second decisions have to be made. That's why there are laws on the books to deter or punish individuals who choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having several drinks.

Well, apparently Karlie Tomica, 20, didn't get the …

Things I Remember: Seville (Sevilla), Spain 1988

My Apartment in Sevilla
It wasn't exactly my apartment per se because I had to share Apartamento 2E at No. 1 Virgen de Robledo with two Spanish roommates.  When I arrived in Spain on September 21, 1988 I had it all to myself for about a week and a half; Juan Carlos, who was 18 and hailed from Jerez de los Caballeros in Extremadura, was the first to arrive; Demetrio, 31, was from  Madrid and he rented a room in that apartment every fall.

Apartamento 2E was owned by a middle-aged couple and was one of the many such lodgings used by the College Consortium for International Studies  to house American participants in its Semester in Spain program.  In my group, most of us lived in these residencias or in private homes with host families.  If memory serves, a few students opted to rent their own places without having to deal with Spanish roommates or host families; these, however, were a tiny subgroup in our 42-member CCIS Fall Term class.

Even though you might think that Apartamento 2…

Taps: Hutton, Cruise, Penn and George C. Scott go to war...sort of

When I was a junior in high school, 20th Century Fox released director Harold Becker's Taps, a well-acted if rather unrealistic film about a group of teenaged military school cadets who, with visions of honor and duty in their minds, challenge local law enforcement agencies and even the Army National Guard to keep their military academy from being closed.

Starring a Patton-esque George C. Scott as Gen. Harland Bache, the superintendent of Bunker Hill Academy, Tapsalso features a cast of young actors who were either already Academy Award-winners (Timothy Hutton) or destined for future Oscars and/or greater success in Hollywood (Sean Penn, Tom Cruise).

Based on the novel Father Sky by Devery Freeman, the screenplay written by Robert Mark Kamen, James Lineberger and Darryl Ponicsan is best seen as an allegory about teenagers' extremist interpretations of such notions as honor, duty and courage rather than being a true to life mish-mash which blends a look at military school life an…

Fantasies and Delusions: 10 Classical Piano Pieces by Billy Joel

Over 30 years have passed since Billy Joel debuted as a pop/rock singer with his "Piano Man" album  Listeners throughout the world know him as a versatile songwriter/singer with the ability to change styles almost effortlessly. And even in some of his "pop" songs, careful listeners can detect influences of such classical composers as Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and Grieg. 

Listen, for instance, to the doo-wop styled "This Night." The catchy chorus? The melody is from a Beethoven piano concerto. His "Lullabye (Good Night My Angel)" started out as a straightforward solo piano piece; owners of the Limited Edition box set can hear this version on the fourth CD of the collection. I have even heard that "Uptown Girl" was once a piano piece....I close my eyes and can hear the melody as a Mozart-like composition. 

The 10 compositions for solo piano are played skillfully by Richard Joo, and they definitely show the influence of those composers Jo…

The Day Kennedy Was Shot: A short book review

(This review was originally written for in November 2003 by Alex  I've altered it slightly to mark the fact that 2013 will be the 50th Anniversary of JFK's assassination.) 

Over the past 50 years, no event in American history has been so scrutinized or conjectured about than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Millions of words have been written about that tragic day in Dallas: Some point the finger of blame solely at Lee Harvey Oswald, while others weave a confusing web of conspiracy theories that accuse the Mafia, French criminals, Fidel Castro, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and/or militarists in the government who wanted to expand America's role in Vietnam. 

One of the best books on the Kennedy assassination is the late Jim Bishop's gripping The Day Kennedy Was Shot, a detailed hour-by-hour account of the events of November 22, 1963, starting with the President's 7:00 AM wake-up at Fort Worth's Hotel Texas and ends 20 hour…

Star Wars - Outbound Flight: Book Review

If you are a constant reader of noted science fiction author Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novels, you may have noticed that he often introduces a character, concept, or strand of storyline in one novel, seemingly leaves it alone for some time, then develops that person, concept, or situation more fully in a later novel. Such was the case when in The Last Command (1993), Zahn had Borsk Fe'lya make a comment that a Rebel mission to the Emperor's treasure trove on the planet Wayland could possibly have serious consequences for the Bothan people. In that Thrawn Trilogy novel nothing untoward happens, but a later visit to Wayland by Princess Leia and its dire repercussions become prominent plot points in Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future

One of the more prominent secondary storylines in Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy is the tale of Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth and his ambitious plan to seek out new worlds and new civilizations beyond the galaxy in a huge colony-ship with 50…

My "top 10" favorite songs by Billy Joel

Part One: Lost in Let's Remember, or How I Became a Billy Joel Fan Without Really Trying....

Although my taste leans heavily toward the classical/symphonic end of the musical spectrum, there are a few other genres that I like to visit from time to time, and pop/rock is one of them. Granted, I am a bit narrow-minded when it comes to rock; I tend to meander about in the softer, more sentimental stylings of early rock 'n' roll from the Fifties and early Sixties, preferring to listen to the Platters, the Skyliners, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles rather than to KISS, Metallica, or Alice Cooper. Hell, I'll even try listening to Alan Jackson or Garth Brooks if given a good incentive...say, a romantic evening with someone special who likes those singers and will be patient and loving enough to play me her favorite songs by those country singers to share part ofherself with me. I've learned, from personal experience, that a positive introduction to unfamiliar musical styles…