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Hercules – C+


It takes a Herculean effort to sit patiently through the special effects loaded “Hercules” movie with The Rock – in a food, exercise and steroid enhanced body.

However, Marty and I felt the wait was worth it for the ending. It was a long time coming and no surprise but was good nonetheless. No one in this flick is going to be nominated for anything other than getting a big check.

If you aren’t a Dwayne Johnson fan or like to look at men with big pecs and arms wait for home rental.

Uncle Larry

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Movies

 

Jersey Boys – The Movie. Marty and I give it a luke warm B Minus.


Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had some great songs. However, when I looked at the 672 downloads in my iTunes Library there is nothing there by him/them. I guess you could say we like his hits but we aren’t big fans.

If you’re a fan of the Four Seasons and you have NOT seen the live show on Broadway you will really enjoy this movie and I highly recommend you see it soon. I love Clint but it is so very difficult to take a huge stage hit like Jersey Boys and keep it fresh, personal and feeling live on FILM. It would help if you were a fan and you really cared about their life story.

Marty and I were fortunate enough to see Jersey Boys when we were in London for our 35th Anniversary. I can still remember now how pumped up we were at the close of the show. Speaking of the “close” – that is the very best part of the movie. Please don’t jump up and run out until the screen goes black. While they run the credits they bring all the cast together for a big song and dance number that reminds us so much of the stage show.

There really isn’t a lot more to be said. With the constant going back and forth between “the story” and the “singing” the film doesn’t present the Actors the opportunity to get deep into their character.

One thing is for certain – at 2 hours and 14 minutes if you aren’t a Four Season fan you can definitely wait for home viewing. As it was I took a bath room and walk outside break about two thirds of the way through the film. If I would have had a Margarita before the film I probably would have stayed in my seat and got a short nap.

Larry

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in Home, Movies

 

The Problem in the VA Medical System – An Imbalance of Supply and Demand


What is the long term solution to the Problem with the VA Medical Care System?

Before I begin to give you my answer – in case you don’t know me personally – let me give you my qualifications to have an opinion. I served in the US Army from 1968 to 1970 and spent one year of that in the Infantry in Vietnam as a Platoon Sergeant – did a classified long range patrol in Cambodia observing the Ho Chi Min Trail and was on one of the first birds in the Cambodia Invasion. I was awarded the Bronze Star, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, ARCOM, RVN Service, Campaign & Civil Action Medals, CIB and Purple Heart. By definition I am a “Combat Wounded Veteran” and have Partial Disability status with the VA and receive the grand sum of $101 per month. I am a Card Carrying Member of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

When my wife Marty and I lived in Chicago I regularly visited the Quadriplegic Ward at West Side VA with my local VFW Troop. As a retiree in Florida we serve as volunteers for Christ Fellowship Church calling on people in the local hospitals and in particular the Riviera Beach VA Hospital and Nursing Home – which is among the VA Hospitals mentioned in the press coverage of this issue.

Over the years we have known some of the very best and caring VA Medical Professionals you will meet anywhere. We have a very close friend who was Chief of Oncological Surgery at West Side VA in Chicago and a life long friend who is an Internist in a Regional Outpatient Clinic in New Jersey.

All that said is there a problem in the VA Medical System? Of course there is! Should the Head Man have been fired? Absolutely! When a company fails to serve its customers and its systems are broken the leadership has to be changed. If an investigation by the Administration or Congress or any legitimate body turns up specific departments and or individuals who falsified documents to cover up the failure to serve our Vets – should those Department Heads and the individuals named be fired? You bet your Purple Hearts on it!

Will The President and or Congress’s preening and strutting in front of any available camera – giving “face” and talking in serious tones about what we owe our Veterans really make any long term difference? I doubt it very much.

Do I favor the Bills I have read about being served up in Congress to increase eligibility and services which will add Billions of Dollars to our annual budget? NO I do not!

WHAT? How could a Veteran be against increasing care for Veterans?

This is my thesis. Supply and Demand – almost all of life comes down to supply and demand.

If we have learned nothing in the past decades surely we know that our “supply” is not unending.

First – Supply. There are limitations as to what our Nation can spend – though the Special Interest Groups and Liberals among us seem to have missed this message.

Second – Demand. My perception, therefore my reality is there is too much demand for VA Medical Services! Have I completely lost my mind? Do we not owe a debt of gratitude to our Veterans? Yes, of course we do. However, it’s also my perception that we have offered full medical services to too many men and women who have served in the U.S. Military Services – safely at home stateside who do not fit the profile of the Combat Wounded Veteran that we see on the news and know from our personal encounters has physical and emotional and mental scars from COMBAT that really, really needs our help.

Yet when a WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan Combat Veteran goes to his local VA for medical or psychological services he stands in line behind men and women who served two years training and possibly training others here in the good old USA five, twenty five or fifty years ago. Please hear this: 90% of the services provided by the VA are to men and women (mostly men) who never served in a combat zone and whose medical needs have absolutely nothing – nothing at all to do with their military service.

Please allow me to repeat what I feel is a key point we need to at least think about and discuss publicly. Fully ninety percent of the “demand” for VA Medical Services is not related in any way, what so ever to service related issues.

Like it or not, the VA Medical System that we have today has become another poorly run social transfer payments system.

What do I propose?

First and foremost – anyone who “qualifies” at present from prior Military Service will continue to receive the VA Medical Benefits they were promised. I am not suggesting that we break our promises to the men and women who served state side and or just off the shore line of America of the benefits we promised them. Benefits that 90% of the time are not at all related to their Military Service.

However, going forward I propose that we begin a National Dialogue about creating various classes of “Veterans” and prioritizing who will be guaranteed full VA Medical services and scale it back from there.

What is my starting point or Class I Veterans? Members of all our Military organizations who were deployed to an active combat theater. They would be Class I.

Classes II and III and however many there are and what services they receive could be a part of the Public Debate and Administration/Congressional negotiations.

If you take the time to open the site below – and there are many others like it on Google – it can be seen that:

1. From 1950 to 2,000 there were 118,800,000 active duty military personnel

2. Only 22% of them were stationed “overseas.” Please note this does not mean they were assigned to a combat zone such as Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan – just overseas.

If foreign duty assignments that were not in a combat zone were defined as Class II Veterans and they were not given full medical benefits but something less – prescription drugs, emergency care, etc. – the demand for full VA Medical Services would be cut significantly – at least by 78% or approximately 92,600,000 persons going forward.

Think of how much money and demand for full medical services would be saved. This kind of reduction on the demand side would make it more likely for the current “private” medical services industry to absorb the remaining patients with vouchers and or what ever form of payment is decided on – thus lessening the need for an entrenched bureaucratic monstrosity like the VA Medical System we have today.

Finally, please allow me to address an issue that may be raised by some critics of this multi-level system for full VA Medical Care. I do not believe that the loss of full medical benefits would be that great a deterrent to the recruitment of young men and women so long as they are still promised and given things they can more readily relate to now like: training in a specific area of expertise that will assure them of a civilian job when their service is complete – college education assistance – technical school training – etc. What percentage of 18 to 20 year olds are thinking about long term medical care when they get old?

If you are still with me I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments and especially your ideas on how we can improve the balance between a reasonable amount of supply and seriously needed demand.

Larry

http://www.vetfriends.com/us-deployments-overseas/

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Mind of U L

 

Maleficent – a wonderful film for children, families, romantics and those who still believe in true love!


Marty and I enjoyed Maleficent. There was about thirty minutes in the middle of the film when I thought I was not going to like it but the very strong and surprise ending saved the day. We highly recommend Maleficent for children, families, romantics, anyone who enjoys fairy tales and those who still believe in true love. Cynics should forget this film ever existed because there is “make believe” in almost every scene and detail.

Maleficent is Angelina Jolie! This movie must have been made for her. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role nor can I say that any of the supporting actors added much to the film. Her make up and hair/head-dress artists will definitely be nominated for awards. Angelina’s face showed all her natural beauty combined with flawless skin and just enough evil to understand why she married Billie Bob Thornton. Once during the 97 minutes I thought Billy Bob would have been better cast as the King instead of the bumbling block who lifelessly played the role.

The visual effects/make believe and audio specialists should also be nominated. In fact all I can really remember from the film is Angelina, her “wings”, the three Fairies, the Dragon, the ending and how believable the wonderland was that they created where Maleficent was born.

Maleficent is the first “PG” movie I can remember seeing in years. There is absolutely nothing sexual – except the Angelina “look” – zero bad language and the violence is about 10% of that which we see in the eight o’clock TV time slot.

Try it – I’m sure Mikey would like it if he had a chance to see it.

Larry

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Movies

 

Dinner with one of The Greatest Generation


Tonight Marty and I had the opportunity to treat for dinner for a couple – who happen to be Jewish friends in our building – who are among the last of the Greatest Generation.

Sheldon – now 90 years young – went into the Army Heavy Weapons group in 1941. He went into the beaches of Normandy just after the massive sacrifice. At that time “heavy weapons” were considered Mortars. Today an American soldier carries the same firepower in a specially designed AR 15.

From there his Division went chasing the Germans through France, Holland, Alsace and then Germany. In addition to his combat he also was hospitalized for jaundice. After all that when the “peace” was declared he was sent to Czechoslovakia to defend the lines against the Russians. As an aside have the Russians changed much in seventy years?

I looked at him directly and asked him how in the world did he manage to survive emotionally – knowing he was in for the duration. I said Sheldon how did you handle the pressure of knowing the only way you were going home was a life threatening injury, death and or peace. He said simply – we were too busy surviving from day to day to think about the long term.

I was literally taken back with his modesty when he said to me Larry I have seen your Medals and you are a real hero.

His willingness to fight – his victorious attitude about living through the “duration” – his humility about his sacrifice and service are among the things that classify Sheldon and his wife Annette as being among the last of the “Greatest Generation.” May God Bless all of them that remain to this day!

Larry

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Mind of U L

 

Godzilla – How can $100 Million in Ticket Sales Be So Wrong?


Godzilla – don’t do it! Don’t see it in the theater – don’t pay $5.99 for HD home rental – maybe you wait for free cable but don’t mark your calendar.

Marty and I had high expectations for Godzilla because it’s sold $100 Million in tickets since its opening. How can that many people be wrong? Or maybe they were curious like us and feel equally burned.

My primary complaint is SLOW and SLOWER! This flick moved slower that Godzilla dragged his tail through the streets of San Francisco.

My second complaint is Stupid!

My third complaint is lack of creativity and design. The two nuclear fed “evil” creatures Godzilla finally destroys look like a really bad Transformer with a head like the hood ornament of an Olds 88 or maybe one of the Jersey Boys with a flat top but no hair – just a flat head. Really totally lacking in creativity.

On the plus side we arrived at the theater just in time for freshly popped popcorn so all was not lost.

Larry

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Movies

 

Captain America grows up and Marty gives him an A+ and The Movie an A


The recent cycle of the Marvel Comic characters produced on the big screen; “Captain America – Winter Soldier” is entertaining. Marty gives Chris Evans an A+ for “working out” – code for she was caught staring at his male figure. Larry gives him a B+ for his acting and the Producers and writers an A for being willing to allow the ultimate good guy to question authority.

Larry gives Scarlett Johannson an A+ as a “red head” and a B+ for her acting. Marty didn’t notice Scarlett as she was sharing her visual field between Captain America (CA) and Robert Redford – who still has a great head of hair and charisma – though his face could use a little help with the wrinkles.

Samuel Jackson plays – you guessed it – Samuel Jackson. I swear there are writers everywhere putting out scripts that only Samuel Jackson can play. Who – you ask yourself will play Samuel Jackson when he dies?

Rotten Tomatoes gives this version of CA an 89 – which is the highest of any flick out there. I would give it an A for action, adventure, suspense, romance, special effects and killing without blood letting. However, while working out some of the story lines in the final third of the film it moved at a “deliberate” pace. I won’t say it was slow but towards the end before the big shoot out with all the good guys winning I did check my iPhone.

Given the underlying themes of Big Government Bad and CA questioning authority and thinking for himself + the excellent computer generated special effects + the overall feel good when you leave the theater feeling + Scarlett Johannson as a Red Head both Larry and Marty recommend you see what we think is the best Captain America portrayal on the big screen.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Movies

 
 
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