Why I usually don’t like math/science movies that *should* interest me

I kind of cringed when my wife wanted to take me to see Hidden Figures, a story about 3 black women who worked as engineers/mathematicians/programmers for NASA.

Oh do not get me wrong; these women were crazy-good; they would not have had their jobs at that time in US history (or at any time for that matter) if they weren’t, and their story deserves to be told to a wide audience. No argument there.

And yes, movies are not documentaries; there is going to be some embellishment, rearranging incidents to make a better story, and of course the “mathematics” that they would show would be mostly math jargon used out of context. And I was not disappointed though one scene showed Schrodinger’s equation on the blackboard (and ironically, I often teach Euler’s method in differential equations class, as well as Graham-Schmidt in linear algebra).

But there were many other errors; they described NASA as being segregated at a time when it was not, and they showed that one of the ladies as not being allowed to author a report, as she actually did. And the computer supervisor got that title in 1948, not 1961 (so here, real life was even more impressive than the movie).

And yes, a small kid factoring a polynomial with integer coefficients is moderately impressive, though not what most would call a prodigy; my guess is that the real person was able do much more than that.

But with all that being said, it was still a good movie (plot, excitement, suspense, relationships, and gives a reminder of our painful past). So by all means, see the movie; it IS well done. But expect some “liberal feel good, White Savior” bullshit, and remember that the real life women were actually *more* impressive than the movie shows. And if you know math, expect to wince from time to time.

You can find a “fact check” here.

Workout notes: Monday, easy 1 hour 5 mile hilly run (gentle pace)
Tuesday: same course, this time a walk after weights:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 good sets)
bench press: dumbbells, 10 x 70, 10 x 75, 10 x 80
incline press: dumbbells, 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 (standing)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
incline press: Hammer machine, 2 sets of 10 (45, then 70 each arm) then 1 sets of 7 with 90 (each arm; 180 total)
lots of sets of 5 squats, most with 45 pound plate…maybe 6-7?
2 sets of 10 x 250 leg presses
abs( 2 sets of 12 twist crunches, 10 leg lifts, 5 moving bridge
head stand (sort of unsteady for a while)
side planks: 30 seconds each.

February 28, 2017 Posted by | mathematics, movies, running, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Harry Kellerman and troubles….

A few days ago my wife thanked me for listening to “her troubles”. I said “oh, I am fine..that is the price I pay for…”…well never mind that.

But that did remind me of a scene from a 1971 movie starring Dustin Hoffman: it is called Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Terrible Things About Me? It is a comedy-drama that is about a musician who has emotional and mental issues.

Sure enough I found the movie on Youtube. The Hoffman character is visiting his analyst and he imagines his analyst breaking into the song Don’t Tell Me Your Troubles (17:06 into the movie video)

It is the Ray Charles cover:

And that got me to thinking about my protocol (yes, this meme is a JOKE). Remember the song is about a guy in anguish because his “sweet love” left him, and he just doesn’t want to hear about anyone else’s troubles AT THAT TIME.


January 26, 2016 Posted by | humor, movies | , , | Leave a comment

Short videos that I never get tired of watching

Basketball: Larry Bird Scores 60


Social issues

Bus Fights



Monty Python:

Larry David

Honest Best Man Speech

Easter Egg Hunt

Career Builder ads

Foghorn Leghorn gets his wave function collapsed

Other (possibly NSFW; some sexual humor)

Friends try on tights (gluteal nudity).

April 4, 2015 Posted by | basketball, butt, evolution, football, morons, movies, religion, republicans, science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Now Police Academy (the Tackleberry character) was just a movie…but

Watch the first 1:00…though, of course, some might think that I like 1:42-1:44. 🙂

What reminded me of this was this article: a police officer pulled a gun on kids having a snowball fight (he did let them go though)

February 1, 2015 Posted by | movies, social/political | | Leave a comment

Fundamentalist Pastor has big troubles with civilization

Sometimes, it is a shock to see that what YOU take for granted isn’t the norm everywhere. Yeah, this guy sounds like a complete idiot, but there are many communities where he would be the norm.

November 9, 2014 Posted by | movies, religion, social/political | Leave a comment

Tom Laughlin (aka “Billy Jack”): RIP.

Ok, these films will never be known as “great cinema” (ok, they were sort-of bad films…all right…bad) but I loved Billy Jack and Born Losers. Tom Laughlin and Dolores Taylor did 4 of these (also: The Trial of Billy Jack and Billy Jack Goes to Washington and yes, I have all 4), though Ms. Taylor didn’t appear in Born Losers.

Mr. Laughlin:

From Born Losers
Billy Jack gets involved

Billy Jack wants his money back.

From Billy Jack
The Ice Cream Shop episode

Whop you on that side of your face (Bong Soo Han actually did the kick)

Billy Jack takes on the townspeople

One Tin Soldier song:

A Dolores Taylor scene

December 18, 2013 Posted by | movies | , | 1 Comment

Aging and the Play “The Graduate”

Workout notes planks, McKenzie exercises, abs (3 sets of crunch, v. crunch, twist, sit backs), hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff.

pullups (5 sets of 10)
bench: 10 x 135, 10 x 165
incline: 2 sets of 10 x 140
military (dumbbell, seated, supported) 3 sets of 12 x 50
rows (dumbbell, single arm) 3 sets of 10 x 65
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 70, machine
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160.

I was just a bit tired. And yes, these-a-days, I am trying to slow the rate at which I get weaker rather than get stronger.

You know something else about age: I saw the “stage” version of The Graduate. In this play, a 21 year old male college graduate is “seduced” by a woman who is twice his age (Mrs. Robinson). Mrs. Robinson is…well…on the verge of being too young for me! 🙂 (e. g., if I hit on her, *I* would be the lecherous old person in that picture!


The photo is from the play; the clip is from the movie.

The play: the Elaine’s fiance is not developed in the play (rather than being the macho jock as he is in the film) and Elaine is seen as being “daddy’s girl” in the play. Also, at the end, Mrs. Robinson pushes Elaine to “break out of it” in the play rather than what she does in the film.

I saw the Cornstalk production and it was quite good.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | movies, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

The Butler: see it.

I just saw the film The Butler.

Was it overdone? Sure; it put a montage of experiences into a single family’s experience.
But I think though this one person/family’s experience, it tells an important story.

Among the features:

1. It reminds us of the violent racial discrimination that existed within my own lifetime.

2. It tells the story of conflict between generations who are trying to overcome racism. It shows the (understandable) impatience of the young activists and how they fail to understand why their parents are often more reserved in fighting discrimination. They lack the context to see where their elders are coming from and they confuse their moderation of action with approval of the existing situation. It also shows that, many times, the young set has a better ear for how things are NOW (things DO change) as opposed as to how they once were.

3. It reminds many of us how many of the opportunities that we enjoy (I am speaking as a brown man now) weren’t there for our parents and elders. We owe our elders some gratitude for getting these opportunities opened up to us. We also owe some from the majority culture who followed their conscience; that isn’t always easy.

4. Of course, it is a good family story in its own right.

At times it is harsh medicine, but on the whole, it was uplifting.

More here.

Note: some are complaining about Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan.

Yes, she did go to North Vietnam and pose by anti-aircraft guns and make anti US statements. While it was true that I too didn’t like the war (albeit mostly because I didn’t want my dad to get killed there; he went twice), it was a colossal mistake and a very bloody one. Evidently Ms. Fonda felt the same way, but she was duped by the Communists. All too often young, idealistic headstrong “know-it-alls” rush in without really knowing what they are doing, and in my opinion, that is what happened here.

But really, who is worse? Is it someone who makes dumb (with good intentions) statements or someone who gets us into an unnecessary war that kills and maims lots of Americans? I have far more disgust for the latter.

Now call me cynical, but I wonder if this Fonda issue is the real issue that some conservatives have with the film (I am sure that some do); I really wonder if they are reacting to
1. Some of the genuine sins of the country being exposed and
2. Barack Obama being portrayed positively.

I really wonder.

August 25, 2013 Posted by | movies, racism, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

My favorite movie villains …

This is MY list and I admit that I am not consistent. Some I just find creepy; some I just like. You have professional killers, ruthless people, stalkers, sex criminals, rapists, cranky computers and…frogs. (ok, toads).

No, it isn’t a complete list, and these aren’t the most vile ones I can think of (at least some of them). But they are CREEPY….or…hoppy…or…not of this world….or…ok, plain ridiculous in a few cases.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Odd Job in Goldfinger

Ok, he was your run of the mill James Bond Henchman.

The reason I like him:


Yes; he won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympic games in weightlifting (light heavyweight). He really was a strong man! He also did professional wrestling. And he was popular enough to have a commercial.

Blowfeld (various James Bond episodes)


Best quote (from You Only Live Twice): Chinese representative upon Blofeld changing the conditions of the deal: “That’s Extortion”. Blofeld: “Extortion is my business”.

Dirty Harry: Scorpio

This guy was a psychopathic killer and child rapist with no remorse; just plain creepy.

Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men


He is a professional killer who would kill you as easily as he’d look at you. But he is even creepier because, well, he kills on the principle of it…just because…well, he feels obligated, or, in his twisted mind, it is the right thing to do, or because a coin flip went a certain way.

This scene is among the creepiest:

Antonio Salieri, Amadeus

First of all, I am talking about the *character* Salieri, and not the real person (who struck me as a pretty good guy). True, Salieri didn’t kill anyone, but he was a self-pitying, sexually repressed (*), back stabber who couldn’t be content with his own (considerable) success.

Note: to see what a complete worm he is, watch the “director’s cut” of Amadeus. It doesn’t come out as clearly in the usual version. Example: in the director’s cut, you understand why Mozart’s wife was enraged to find Salieri with Mozart at the end; Salieri really cruelly humiliated her in the director’s cut.

Here is Salieri getting “showed up” by Mozart. Note: in real life, the initial piece was a real Salieri piece and what it was turned into was a real Mozart piece.

(*) the real life Salieri had lots of kids and so wasn’t too sexually repressed. 🙂

Daniel Plainview: There Will Be Blood
This guy didn’t kill as many as the professional killers in other films, but was still cruel, cold-blooded and ruthless.


He is probably most famous for this:

Baby Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Jane Hudson is a child movie star who flopped as an adult whereas her sister did well. So she torments her sister mercilessly. Ok, you might cry “foul” as this movie has a surprise ending; things aren’t as they seem.


Here is a famous scene:

Annie Wilkes: Misery
A lonely fan rescues a famous writer from a car crash….but then….well, watch the film. The “hobbling” scene is tough to watch. She is almost as creepy as the book character.


General Jack D. Ripper: Dr. Strangelove

Well, he went crazy and started a nuclear war; he felt that because he couldn’t…”get it up”, there must have been some Communist conspiracy to spike the water.

“Alex” Forrest: Fatal Attraction
This is a later version of Play Misty For Me, except this time, the guy is married and the villain doesn’t something very mean to the family bunny.


Evelyn Draper: Play Misty For Me
This is the psycho stalker character:


Mrs. Mott: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Mrs. Mott is married to an obstetrician who has a bad habit of sexually molesting his patients. He gets turned in, and commits suicide. Mrs. Mott no longer has access to her husband’s assets due to lawsuits…and so decides to take a long, drawn out revenge on one of the whistleblowers.


Anyone who has a baby and suffers from asthma will find this beyond creepy.

And I remember these scenes:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 8.58.45 PM

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 8.53.45 PM

Martin Burney: Sleeping with the Enemy
Wife beater and creepy stalker; he has the black mustache Wagner listening Hitler like presence. She fakes her death to escape. But it doesn’t quite work out and he ruthlessly tracks her down….


Grady: The Shining

You’ve seen this: the Jack Torrence character who goes crazy while care taking a mountain resort during the winter:


And he does kill and tries to kill his family:

But to me, the REAL villain is Grady who has, well, an interesting way of “correcting” his daughters:


Roman Castevet: Rosemary’s Baby
Ok, now we are in the realm of the “supernatural”. And Roman has a plan for Rosemary and her baby; this is one of the few “supernatural” movies that can still creep me out.


Ash: Alien
Ok, Ash was really an android:


But he was ruthless and completely willing to sacrifice the crew of a ship to obtain these aliens as a biological weapon. I didn’t see the aliens as villains as they were acting in their own self interest, just as humans would.

And I remember this:

(and yes, the science was pure BS but the movie was a thriller)

Hal: 2001, A Space Odyssey

Hal decides to kill the crew of a spaceship going to Jupiter when they decide that Hal has made a mistake.
Hal does kill many of them.

The Frogs: Frogs
Ok, the Frogs are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Ok, this is a movie about nature’s revenge because of bad ecological practices and the villains are frogs…which are, in reality, cane toads (an invasive species, by the way).

The Frogs direct various assassinations by “ribbiting” (dubbed in Pacific Tree Frog ribbits) and end up ribbiting the main human villain to death.

Bernard Posner: Billy Jack
Bully, Rapist and Murderer. The spoiled son of the local Sheriff; ok, he is a cardboard villain for Billy Jack extract justice from.



Bernard gets rejected:

See Bernard getting beat up (among others)

And the final humiliation:

Hitler: Downfall
Ok, this is a bit of a cheat because Hitler was a historical figure and probably one of the very worst monsters of all time. But I am referring to this character, whose famous rant has been made into many parodies. Google “Downfall parody”

Hit Man (unnamed): Bullitt
There were two hit men in Bullitt and a main character that Bullitt was after. My favorite: the character played by professional driver Bill Hickman in this famous scene (he is the driver of the Dodge Charger)

July 28, 2013 Posted by | movies, Uncategorized | | 4 Comments

Watermelon Man

I had planned to watch a bad James Bond movie tonight but found Watermelon Man (Godfrey Cambridge) on the internet:

This is a funny but disturbing movie. Yes, liberals really get (justifiably) called out.

July 3, 2013 Posted by | movies, social/political | , | Leave a comment