Manhattan – A stupendous movie about dating and relationships

This is a review of the Woody Allen movie ‘Manhattan’ (1979) I published a few years ago. I  just recently updated it, so I thought I would reblog it. I look forward to any comments you may have. Thank you for reading.

Observation Blogger

ManhattanManhattan (1979) Woody Allen – IMDB Page

I can’t think of a more charming and thought provoking movie about dating and relationships than Manhattan.  It possesses such rich dialogue and probing commentary on the desperate nature of human beings in search of love. Also it demonstrates Woody’s unrequited love for Manhattan, which is substantiated in the introductory narration. Although I  haven’t been to Manhattan, I have read numerous accounts stating that Woody Allen has captured the essence of Manhattan in this movie. ‘This is what it feels like’; they say.  Through Allen’s lenses we are seeing how the City is supposed to be portrayed.

I was amused to see Woody Allen’s character Isaac sticking up for the ‘only genius’ he knows in Cinema – Ingmar Bergman. Referring to a new acquaintance who is the lover of his best friend,  Isaac says to his 17 year old girlfriend, ‘…

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A little known Australian movie called ‘Candy’ and Tim Buckley’s ‘Song to the Siren’

Heath Ledger was at the peak of his acting prowess when he sadly departed from this great play we all take part called ‘Life’.  He was posthumously awarded the Oscar for best supporting actor in his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Despite the magnificence of his performance in Christopher Nolan’s 2nd film of his Batman reboot, I remember Heath more fondly for two other outstanding performances which often get overlooked in his film canon, namely Brokeback Mountain and Candy.   Regarding Heath in Brokeback, I would prefer to let Daniel Day Lewis do the talking which he does so eloquently here about Heath’s ‘perfect’ acting in Brokeback. Daniel who dedicated his award to the memory of Heath received best actor in There Will Be Blood the same night Heath’s father accepted his son’s award:

CandyCandy, I find worth discussing because so few people are aware of it. That could be because it was poorly received.  Why the critics didn’t like it is a mystery to me. Candy is a romantic drama centered around a couple’s drug addiction. I found that Heath Ledger and Abby Cornish gave such raw and salient performances and their chemistry was alluring and authentic. The story is engrossing and the ending very poignant as Tim Buckley’s song ‘Song to the Siren’ draws the story to a close. Below is Paula Arundell’s gorgeous rendition of ‘Song to the Siren’ set to scenes from the movie (warning some scenes contain spoilers). Whenever I watch this clip I feel very sad about the passing of Heath Ledger.

I would be doing this post a disservice if I ended it without presenting the original singer-song writer of ‘Song to the Siren’ – Tim Buckley who tragically passed away without finding commercial success in his lifetime.

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Posted in Music, Movies and TV

Leonard Cohen’s ‘Come Healing’ and 5 other contemporary spiritual masterpieces

As far as musical sub-genres go, contemporary-spiritual music doesn’t get its just-deserts!  Heck, we might have got into the weeds professing our love for folk-rock and alternative seattle music, but when did you ever hear people spout on about ‘contemporary-spiritual music’?
As I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Come Healing‘ it got me thinking about some of my other favorite contemporary-spiritual songs:

1. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah sung by the enormously talented Rufus Wainright.

2. Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s transcendent Blowin in the Wind became a huge mainstream hit in the 60’s.

3. I posit that Nick Cave’s The Ship Song is one of Australia’s greatest ‘unheralded’ contemporary spiritual anthems.

4. Australian aboriginal Archie Roach’s There is a Garden produced by Australian songwriter David Bridie might also be in contention.

When all the trees have gone,
All the rivers dry,
Don’t despair when all the flowers have died,
For I have heard, there’s a Garden somewhere…

When you hear the children cry,
When you see them die,
And Mother can’t sing a lullaby
I can smell the blessed warm spring rain.

We are young, we are old,
Oh but what we had, can’t be bought or sold,
And we are paying for your crimes,
Oh but everyday and every way, we get better all the time.

And when everything is gone,
And you’ve lost all hope,
And you have come to the end of your rope,
Well I believe that the flowers will bloom again.

5. Archie Roach wasn’t alone. Fellow Australian Aboriginal singer Geoffrey Gurrumul delivered some of the most spiritually powerful songs heard in the last decade. This blind aboriginal singer who plays the guitar upside down delivered this absolute treasure, Djarimirri. Soon after Elton John and Sting wanted to appear on stage with him.


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Posted in Music

The Liam Neeson farce. Why is psychological insight of this nature being scorned?

I thought it was good for men ‘to talk about their feelings’?

What surprised me was how the interviewer stated his remarks have offended people of colour.

How on earth could his remarks be interpreted as a racial slur or blight on black people? His point was clearly to acknowledge his own deep psychological suffering and tribal angst in that era of his life. That took courage in my book.

In effect, his openness about this issue may prevent or dissuade the next person who is out for blood when they or someone close to them has become the victim of violence.

Instead, the ‘modern’ left pigeon-holed Liam’s reflections into their collectivist ‘group identity’ narrative. His individuality; remorse; intended message; and of course the actual victim are really of little or no consequence.

I remember a time when the ‘left’ would be lining up to give someone like that a medal. Now the the ‘modern left’ want him publicly shamed and his career effectively terminated.

Below is Joe Rogan & Sam Harris’ take on the Liam Neeson Controversy:

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Posted in News, politics

The Higgs Boson and the Fundamental Nature of Reality – Sean Carroll

I am an avid viewer of science lectures especially those relating to cosmology, the origins of the universe and quantum mechanics. I found the above lecture by Sean Carroll engrossing and challenging; so much so, I felt compelled to write excerpts in an attempt to internalize the information.

Most of what is written below is verbatim, however some of the lecture is partially redacted to be more reader-friendly:

Trying to find evidence of the Higgs Boson

Proton creatorNot every piece of The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is overwhelming in its size. This canister is where all the protons come from. The protons come from hydrogen which are shaken up to extract electrons and then fill up the LHC. There are 100’s of trillions of protons in the LHC at any one moment. This canister has enough protons in it to power the LHC for tens of billions of years. Effectively, the protons are smashed together and usually a whole bunch of particles we already know about are detected. The overwhelming majority of data is discarded. A trigger is used to look for interesting events. So there is a lot of effort put into isolating the signal from all the noise.

The Higgs Boson when immediately created instantly decays. The lifetime of a Higgs Boson is a Zeptosecond. You never see the Higgs Boson in the detector. They instantly decay into something else. And because it’s quantum mechanics you don’t know what it’s going to decay into, you can only discuss the probability.  You are looking for an excess number of events of a certain type. Trying to find the Higgs Boson is not like looking for a needle in a haystack, rather it’s analogous to looking for ‘hay’ in a haystack. You are looking for the statistical deviation from the predictable number of produced particles. It’s like trying to verify that there are a few more haystalks of a certain fixed length than you would ordinarily see given the statistics of haystacks.

Quantum Fields

What nature is made up of is fields. Quantum field theory is the central organising principle of modern physics. Quantum field theory is the reconciliation of special relativity with quantum mechanics. It is the best idea we have of understanding the world at a fundamental level. It might not be true. There might be better approximations, but it’s the best understanding we have now. There is absolutely no experiment which has ever been done on earth that even hints that Quantum field theory is not correct. A field doesn’t have a location. It exists everywhere. Particles have a location; and fields fill space.


The Iron filings in the image trace out the lines of the magnetic field. In between the magnet and the metal there is a field stretching out which you don’t see. The field is being affected by the magnet and the metal and they are being drawn to one another.

How does this ‘laser pointer’ know to fall down. It’s because there is a gravitational field. There is a field at every point in space such as the electric field, neutrino field, the up quark field. Quantum field theory tells you that everything is a wave in a field and when we observe vibrating fields we see particles. What ‘we’ see when we look at the world is much less than what there is. What there really is; are waves. But when we look at it we see particles.

Creating the Higg’s Boson anew

By colliding particles together you are not releasing Higgs Bosons. You are creating Higgs Boson’s anew for the very first time. How are we doing that? The quarks and gluons inside your proton are really vibrating waves and when they collide at high energy they start another vibrating wave and that wave becomes the Higgs Boson. A good example of the way this works is if you play a piano sufficiently loudly and there is another piano sitting next to you, the sound waves can reach the strings of the adjoining piano and they will begin to vibrate and resonate. So the fields between the strings are connected to one another. So that is the world as we understand right now. It contains a bunch of fields interacting with one another and transferring their energies back and forth.

vibrations quantum fields

The gluons are the particles of the strong nuclear force that hold the quarks together. They merge together to make a top quark which then emits a Higgs Boson and then decays into bottom quarks and bottom anti-quarks. What is really happening here is; these waves in the gluon field set up a wave in the top quark field which converts into a wave in the Higgs Boson field that in turn converts into the waves of the bottom quark field.
So now we have been able to complete the standard model of particle physics.

There are only 2 kinds of fields in nature: Fermions (such as electrons or quarks) and Bosons. They are matter fields and force fields respectively. The matter fields are the Fermions which have the simple property that they only vibrate a ‘fixed’ amount. Converted into ‘particle language’ this means: you can only have one particle in a given place at any one time. The reason this podium is solid and doesn’t collapse in on itself is because the electrons in the atoms that make up the plastic molecules in this podium ‘take up space’ because they are Fermions.
The Bosons fields can oscillate widely. So in particle language you can pile Bosons on top of each other.  Bosonic fields describe forces acting on and between the Fermions such as Gravitons. So these 2 kinds of particles make up everything we have ever observed in any experiment ever done.

So why do we need the Higg’s Boson in the standard model?

standard modelWithout the Higgs field the standard model would make no sense.  What makes the Higgs field a different field to any other? Consider this scenario: So you go out into empty space in the interstellar vacuum where there is no radiation and no dark matter and you effectively make the minimum amount of energy you can have in a cubic centimeter of that empty space.

higgs field.jpgAll the fields are set to zero. So if you have a magnetic field it has zero energy. If it’s not zero then it has to have some positive amount of energy. You need to put energy in, for the field value to increase. The difference between Higgs and other fields is it wants to be nonzero even in empty space, even at its lower energy configuration. If you were a particle traversing between galaxies you would be moving through the Higgs field. You would not be moving through the other fields because they are close to zero. Essentially, the Higgs field is everywhere and surrounds us all the time. The Higgs Boson particle is a little vibration in the Higgs field and it effects the behaviour of all other particles that are moving through it.

What would a Universe without the Higgs field be like?

There’s a big difference between a universe without a Higgs field and one with it.   Without the Higgs field elementary particles (like electrons and quarks) would be mass-less and move at the speed of light like other mass-less particles: photons and gravitons. Fortunately, electrons don’t move at the speed of light otherwise they would never get stuck to a nucleus and form an atom. The electron encounters the Higgs field as it moves through space which gives it some inertia and mass. Essentially the Higgs field makes particles of nature slow down; join together and form complex structures like you and me.  So without the Higgs there would be no chemistry, no life. An atom forms when an electron joins up with a nucleus and in turn the atoms join together to make molecules. With the Higgs we have a complete theory of the everyday world.

Food for thought

We do know that there are no new parts of nature that we haven’t already found which could exert a substantial influence over our everyday lives. There are no new particles of forces that could be relevant for everyday life that science hasn’t already found.
Could there be new forces of nature? Yes, but they would have to interact with protons, neutrons and electrons. So they would be very weak; weaker than a gravity and short range; like shorter than an atom.

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Posted in Science

Mandy – An art-house supernatural horror trip

Related image

Mandy was certainly a trip to the bottom of the pit. If ever there was a movie which will assuredly become a cult classic, it’s Mandy. Also, if there is such a genre as art-house supernatural horror, then Mandy would certainly feel right at home.

I went in expecting an above average horror-revenge flick, but by the time the credits rolled I realised Mandy had far exceeded my expectations and was groundbreaking in what it achieved as a cinematic piece of art. Oh and by the way; lay off any previews if you haven’t seen it. Watch it roar (misspelling and pun intended).

Viewing Mandy, for me at least, was like having a psychedelic experience. The movie’s imagery consistently reflects an other worldliness; a lucid dreaming state that is set to one of the best music scores I’ve heard in a long time. And I don’t even like Death Metal, but in this movie it was superbly propounded.

Not that Mandy is without it’s shortcomings such as an underwhelming and ‘slow’ first third, but that is soon forgotten by the waves of extraordinary scenes which follow. The tempo and unfolding of story is not unlike The Shining.

Now for Nicolas Cage: I never really dug his output perhaps since Adaptation, but he risks everything here and it pays huge dividends. You will remember his crazy eyes in ‘Face-off’, well he shits all over that in this performance. Mandy highlights just how in control he is of his craft. He truly embraces this like he is the last man.

Overall, it’s a very underappreciated movie from what was arguably a relatively lackluster year in cinema…2018. I think Mandy will become one of those unheralded gems and be embraced by cine-files for years to come.

The light shines
through everything
The light is true,
the lessons learned
His song of you and me
When I was at the bottom
of the pit...----From the movie script 'Mandy'
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Posted in Movies and TV

Why isn’t the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) finding much traction?

For information about what and whom consist of the IDW, visit this web site.

I was reflecting on Eric Weinstein’s discussion above about the IDW on Rebel Wisdom.  His suicide bomber analogy at the ‘diversity’ dinner  was a real stand out.

Then I came to realise, the Intellectual Dark Web really doesn’t seem to be finding much traction. Obviously each constituent has their own fan base and all are gaining in popularity, but people seem to be reticent about embracing the IDW concept. Look at these numbers for instance:

So the IDW as a virtual constituency is a comparatively small renegade. Joe Rogan viewers remain loyal to him and Sam Harris to him and so on. But it’s unlikely Sam Harris fans are also Jordan admirers and vice versa. But there appears to be a lack of engagement and conversation between fan bases; a real parting of the waters as it were.

The numbers don’t lie and for someone who cherishes liberty over authoritarianism, and the importance of freedom of speech; the lack of IDW traction on the broader virtual landscape is surprising and frankly concerning.

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Is this Joe’s most illuminating ‘Science’ podcast yet? Ladies and Gentlemen, Professor Brian Fox

Brian cox is an English physicist who serves as professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. Brian Cox is one of the best speakers when it comes to communicating science to the average Joe (no pun intended). This was probably the best Joe Rogan ‘science-related’ podcast I have seen. I didn’t think Sean Carroll’s first podcast on JR could be topped, but it just might have been here.

This was extremely informative even for someone who actively watches science communicators in these mediums. I also liked Joe a lot here. They got right in the middle of things and managed to have a really fluid conversation from beginning to end. Brian is truly a gift to us.

Below are some other podcasts with Brian Cox:
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Posted in Science

Thought policing now operational in the UK

thought police
Man investigated by police for retweeting transgender limerickThe Telegraph

Police are being deployed by Humberside Police in the UK to call up social media users to ask them to explain their thinking behind their controversial posts/likes.

He added: “Although none of the tweets were criminal, I said to Mr Miller that the limerick is the kind of thing that upsets the transgender community. I warned him that if it escalates we will have to take further action. If someone comes forward and says: ‘I’m the victim of a hate incident and it’s really upsetting me’, then we have to investigate”.

After Mr Miller questioned why the complainant was being described as a “victim” if no crime had been committed, the officer told him: “We need to check your thinking”.

What the hell is happening? People being called up by coppers because they liked or retweeted a limerick. You have got to be kidding me.

While I do not share Mr Miller’s proclivity to retweet or ‘like’ content of this nature, I do find it alarming that police resources are being used to curb someone for liking or retweeting content which another might find offensive.

The power the authoritarian-left is beginning to wield on western democracies is very concerning.

Related Articles:
1. Now the dust has settled – The Maga Catholic School Controversy
2. Dystopian scenes at Everteen State College
3. What happened to the political left and why I bailed out?

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Crikey! ‘That’s a tough mother bleepin’ wooden door’

A fellow Aussie’s commentary on the greatest police ‘fail’ ever.

Related Articles:
1. Comedy and the Ages. Lenny Bruce, Charles Bukowski and Hunter S Thompson
2. Gillette is on point
3. Movies and TV menu

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