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Sunday, October 14, 2012


Once a month on Sundays I go to the movies.  I usually first have lunch at Buca di Beppo and have some wine.  After the film I can then safely drive home.  

This week because of timing problems, I brought with me six sticks of celery to have with a Kid's $6 combo of popcorn, a small drink and a candy pack.  On Wednesday lunches I tend to also have celery with a bowl of soup.  A long time ago I heard on the radio that celery has a negative calorie effect.  That means it takes the body more calories to process than what's in the celery (about 6 calories/stick).  Turns out this is not true, but as I have tended to keep my weight relatively constant by eating so much celery, psychologically, I have convinced my mind that this is good.  We of course recognize this subterfuge as silly, for the butter popcorn, sugary drink (many times with two ounces of gin, which is easy to sneak into the theater) and some candy are not exactly great for your diet.  Further, I can tolerate the enhanced flatulism and burping.  So why abandon something that works?  Irrationality makes my life more interesting.

Okay, I went to the two films indicated in the above title because Taken 2 had the highest box office revenues last week and Argo had a shot at gaining the #1 spot this week.  Turns out Taken 2 earned $22.4 million and Argo came in at $20.1 million.  These are not particularly impressive numbers, so I thought the Major League Baseball Playoffs plus the National Football League games were why.  Well, total box office revenues this week were $122.7 million, while they were only $77 million last year, so must be that these two will not be blockbusters.

Taken 2 was not well reviewed, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 21% rating and 60% with the audience.  (Taken, the first in the series, and, yes, there will be a #3, had a Tomatometer of 58% and  likes of 83%.)    But Argo got fabulous scores (94% on ratings and 95% with audience likes).  My sense is that Argo will overtake Taken 2 next week.

Both were exciting and enjoyable.  Taken (1) was better, but 2 was a satisfactory fantasy escape.  The 60 year old Liam Neeson has matured well into an action star, and his movie wife and daughter  continued their roles.  He gained particular fame two decades ago from Schindler's List, which won the Oscar for Best Film in 1993. The making of Taken 3 will depend on Neeson's knee condition.

Argo will come up for Academy Award consideration.  Not only was Ben Affleck the star, he also produced and directed.  I identified with the story because I was working in the U.S. Senate in DC when the Iranian hostage issue was the commanding news item in 1979 and 1980.  In addition to the Americans held hostage in the U.S. Embassy, six were working in a separate building and managed to escape to the Canadian Embassy.  The details are different from the reality, but go to Canadian Caper should you wish total accuracy.  To recap, the CIA worked with the Canadian government to fake a Star Wars knock-off entitled Argo as the ruse to rescue the six Americans.  This is the actual 1980 movie poster to the right, with the 2012 version below:

All of a sudden, there are five major ocean storms:

Hurricane Rafael at 72 MPH will threaten the Bermudas, but then move north and east and weaken.  Hurricane Paul at 72 MPH will continue north towards Baha, but will lose strength and turn west.  Typhoon Prapiroon at 85 MPH will head north then east, staying away from populated regions of Japan.  Tropical Storm Maria is close to Prapiroon, but won't gain hurricane strength and also remain sufficiently east of Japan.  The most dangerous of all is Tropical Cyclone Anais, already at 115 MPH, but should weaken as she continues towards Mauritius and Reunion Island:


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