February 27th, 2015

Live long and prosper.
Some of the best of Spock.
One of the best scenes from the new movies:

From The Next Generation:

One of the reasons the character worked so well was his repartee with Bones.

And the most famous Spock scene.

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Hoyt Library hosting chess club

January 30th, 2015

If you’re a chess fan, the Hoyt Library is ready for you.
The library is forming a chess club for students between kindergarten and 12th grade.
The first day is Feb. 3, with the meeting running from 3:30 to 4:45.
Here’s the press release.

The Hoyt Library is now forming a Chess Club for anyone from K-12th grade beginning February
3, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. The club will meet the first and third Tuesday of every month.
Chess is a two-player strategy board game and is one of the world’s most popular games, played
by millions of people worldwide in homes, parks, clubs, online, by correspondence, and in
tournaments. In recent years, chess has become part of some school curricula. Chess uses math
and logical skills, and teaches patience to their fullest.
The current World Champion is Norwegian chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen. There are the
Women’s World Championship, the Junior World Championship, the World Senior
Championship, the Correspondence Chess World Championship, the World Computer Chess
Championship, and Blitz and Rapid World Championships. The Chess Olympiad is a popular
competition among teams from different nations. Online chess has opened amateur and
professional competition to a wide and varied group of players. Chess is a recognized sport of
the International Olympic Committee and international chess competition is sanctioned by the
World Chess Federation (FIDE), which adopted the now-standard Staunton chess set in 1924 for
use in all official games
Since the second half of the 20th century, computers have been programmed to play chess with
increasing success, to the point where the strongest home computers play chess at a higher level
than the best human players. The computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a
reigning World Chess Champion in a match when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997.
If you already enjoy playing chess, or you are a beginner, this club is for you! If you have your
own chess set please bring it for sharing.
For additional information, or to register, call the library at 570-287-2013, or visit the library’s
Facebook or web page at: www.hoytlibrary.org.

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Tom Petty, John Fogerty and a riff on plagiarism

January 28th, 2015

I don’t have a dog in the legal hullabaloo between Sam Smith and Tom Petty.
Admittedly, I like Petty’s music on a deeper level. I grew up with it. But, whether or not Smith lifted too much of Petty’s work isn’t something I’m going to spend my day caring about.
But the subject of plagiarism in music is something that has fascinated me for years.
I hear songs like this Gwen Stefani hit and hear echos of a Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson duet. But there was no great legal scruff.
One of the famous musical plagiarism cases is John Fogerty’s “Old Man Down the Road” (above), which was brazenly taken from “Run Through the Jungle.”
It’s obvious the songs share some DNA.
Especially since Fogerty wrote both. So that was an interesting lawsuit.
Which brings us to the great Petty/Smith brouhaha of 2015.
Slate has an interesting take.

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What are people saying about the Oscars?

January 15th, 2015
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Winterfest scheduled in Stroudsburg

January 14th, 2015

The 15th annual Winterfest hits the Quality Inn in Stroudsburg this month.
The festivities begin on Friday, Jan. 23 and continue until Sunday Jan. 25.
Winterfest is a weekend of acoustic music and fun featuring both regional and national bluegrass bands. Enjoy the sounds of banjos, guitars, fiddles and all sorts of acoustic instruments and songs, and bring your instruments as jamming is encouraged.
The festival kicks off at 6:30 PM on Friday with a free community concert by the Lost Ramblers at the
ARTSPACE Gallery on 18 N. 7th St. in Stroudsburg. Then, at 9pm at the Quality Inn, in the lounge will be performances by Heavy Traffic and the Crop Circle Agents followed by an open jam at 11 p.m.
On Saturday, the main shows will commence on two stages, one in the large conference room and the other in the Lounge. There will be a children’s program hosted by Peter Taney at the “Bookhouse” in the Monroe
County library beginning at noon. There will be plenty of singing, rattling and other hi jinx. All ages are welcome. Saturday’s activities also include free workshops for five­string banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, upright bass and an instrument maintenance clinic will be presented by Frank Finocchio, a
renowned luthier.
Saturday and Sunday’s performances feature acts such as Danny Paisley and Southern Grass from Delaware, Chasing Blue from Boston, and Mama Corn from N. Carolina. All in all, 13 bands will perform. And there will be a “Bandemonium” on Saturday night, a contest of impromptu jam bands. The winner will play a set
on Sunday’s program. As in all past Winterfests, Sundays program will begin with a gospel show at 11am. Stage shows begin at noon on both Rooms are available at the Quality Inn. For room info call 570 420
1000. Ticket prices are $40 Weekend, $25 Saturday, $15 Sunday, and $10
Friday at the door. Early bird rates are available. For more Winterfest info visit poconobluegrass.org or call 570 994 2545 or 570 807 2023.

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Watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler open the Golden Globes

January 12th, 2015

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Golden Globes again Sunday night. They are an immensely likeable duo. Part of their opening monologue (which you can watch below) was a riff on the Bill Cosby scandal.
They also had several good, light-hearted jokes at the expense of other celebrities: George Clooney, Emma Stone, Oprah and Meryl Streep.
What do you think of their opening?

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Get ‘Spanked!’ at the Kirby Center

December 15th, 2014

Spank! returns to the F.M. Kirby Center in March. The stage show, which parodies the “50 Shades of Grey” phenomenon, hits the theater just after the movie based on the book hits theaters nationally.
Here are the details from the press release:

“SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is the whip-smart comedy that takes on the naughty fun of the best-selling book and highly-anticipated movie, and brings it to outrageous life! Featuring musical numbers, steamy performances highlighting the famous hunk and his grey tie, and lots of hilarious surprises, SPANK! is bound to have you begging for more. Get in the mood with pre-show cocktails, then stick around and fulfill your fantasy, with the opportunity to take photos with the star himself. It’s a riotous night of fun that will leave your Inner Goddess breathless. Don’t miss your chance for the ultimate “girls’ night out!” Learn more at spankshow.com.
“SPANK! takes place at the F.M. Kirby Center on Friday, March 6th at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $39.50 (plus applicable service fees) and go on sale Friday, December 19th at 10am and can be purchased at kirbycenter.org, 570.826.1100, or the F.M. Kirby Center Box Office. A special Kirby Member Pre-Sale begins Wednesday, December 17th at 10am.”
Since its premiere in October of 2012, SPANK! has become a huge box office hit with tour dates in over 200 cities across the globe.”

New Bond movie gets title and cast

December 4th, 2014

We knew Daniel Craig would be back. Now we get the main cast and name for the film.
It’s “Spectre” and the cast additions include the mesmerizing Christoph Waltz and brilliant Monica Bellucci.
Here’s the story.
What is your favorite Bond movie?

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Getting ready for The Force unleashed

November 28th, 2014

Pat’s three rules of “Star Wars.”
1. Han shot first.
2. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
3. Let the Wookie win.

With that, Here’s the biggest news of the day.

But, let’s have a little more fun.
Here are the trailers from the original films.

“Star Wars” (1977)

Notice that it says it could be happening right now. Also, the trailer makes it sound like a romance between Luke and Leia. Gross, now that we know the background.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

That narrator kind of sounds like Han Salo.

Return of the Jedi (1983)

Not much of the ewoks in the preview.

The Phantom Menace (1999)

No mention of midichlorians in the trailer. But we get our first glimpse of Jar Jar.
On the plus side, Padme, Darth Maul and young Obi-Wan.

Attack of the Clones (2002)

This trailer does not represent the movie. It’s full of action, the movie is full of angsty love.

Revenge of the Sith (2005)

This was Ian McDiarmid’s movie.

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Enjoying Mike Nichols

November 20th, 2014

Award-winning and beloved film director Mike Nichols has died.
For me, I have a love-hate relationship with the director. It’s mostly love. But, when things go bad, it’s not just awry. It’s gallons of water shooting out of your basement furnace terrible.
I loved “The Graduate,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Regarding Henry,” “Primary Colors, “Silkwood,” and “The Birdcage.” I own the first four on that list. He had a beautiful way to subtly show you how a foibled and flawed person could do astounding things. I haven’t seen all of “Angels in America” but have seen enough to know I’m cheating myself for not having seen the entire thing.
But “Closer” and “What Planet Are You From” were boring, incredibly lazy and major disappointments. Sure, there were scenes that fulfilled the promise of a Nichols’ film. But on the whole, they were incomplete. “E! True Holywood Story” when I wanted Ken Burns.
Instead of concentrating on those two films, however, I look at the brilliance of the others.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman had a career of fantastic, deep performances, but his role as Gust Avrakatos in “Charlie Wilson’s War” was his best. You could tell he was having fun and working hard on this brilliant, cantankerous real person. The way he uses his body and how he finds a way be understated at points with a very overstated character is astounding. Check out this scene. I didn’t imbed the video, instead giving you a link, because this blog is part of a family newspaper chain and the language is very blue.
Compare that scen with this.

I probably like “Primary Colors” more than I should. It’s not a better movie than “The Graduate” or “Regarding Henry,” but I watch it more. I enjoy all the performances. Part of it is that the movie doesn’t use Travolta to show who the character is. We learn more about him by the reactions of his wife, his staff and the voters.
In many ways, it’s similar to the “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold” profile by Gay Talese.
Then, there’s “The Graduate,” his best known and best loved film.
Everyone remembers the iconic exchange with Mrs. Robinson, but I love the final scene.
The shot of them running to the bus and the looks of the other passengers as they sit, laughing in the back.
It’s scenes like that that were the backbones of his brilliant career.

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