Tuesday, March 7, 2023

LOL (part 5) - Breaking Bad meets Star Trek and Pies


Pi(e) Day is March 14 

An obvious mathematical pun - 3.14.

A few years ago, Breaking Bad (2008 - 2013) was a hit as a crime drama thriller.

Its premise: "A chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a former student in order to secure his family's future."

But there was some comedy relief, such as Season 5, episode 9,  as shown in this scene between the banter of characters Badger and Skinny Pete. 

While one of main characters, Jesse, is having a breakdown, Badger pitches his ideas for a Star Trek script over pizza.


For the animated version of Badger's script, courtesy of Matt Czap:


There you have it.

Breaking Bad meets Star Trek and Pies!

And hopefully it brings a laugh -- LOL -- for Pi(e) Day!



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Photo: Pi Day

Friday, February 24, 2023

Americana (part 4) - Do you remember these?


Just a little fun....

A trip down memory lane with the music of the Statler Brothers: Biography 


Enjoy this slice of Americana!



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Photo: Ghost sign

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Politics (part 2) - I, Claudius vs the Senate


Robert Graves wrote his historical novel, I, Claudius (1934) as an autobiographical memoir of the Roman Emperor Claudius (reign 41-54 A.D.)  

The memoir spanned the time of Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius' succession to emperor after Caligula's assassination.

 The novel is filled with political machinations, lust, and murders. Ironically when the Petronian Guard chooses Claudius as the new emperor, he doesn't want it. Yet, he soldiers on for 13 years until he's allegedly poisoned so Nero could succeed him. 

In 1937, Robert Graves' book was to be made into an epic movie, I, Claudius, starring Charles Laughton as the title role. But the serious injuries of one the irreplaceable actresses aborted the completion of the epic movie. 

Some of the archives of this shelved film were recovered in the 1965 documentary, The Epic that Neve Was

One of the greatest scenes: 

I, Claudius vs The Senate

Charles Laughton gives this moving performance as he's presented to the Senate to succeed the murdered Caligula.


Complaints of politicians sound familiar?

* Attaining their position through bribery

* Profiteering from their position 

* Abusing their office with excesses, such as gluttony

* Providing substandard goods to agencies for great cost

Promises of the new regime sound familiar?

* Stop profiteering and bribery
* Replace corrupt politicians with those who love their country better than their purses

* Drain the Roman swamp

2000 years later...

The complaints about politicians and promises of reformers amount to the same old same old.

So far, the book has not been made into the epic movie. Yet, it did eventually make it to the small screen of television.

In 1976, the BBC produced a 13-part miniseries, I, Claudius, with a cast of great actors and actresses. 

Here's the trailer:

The 13-hour series develops  the characters and the spirit of first century Rome more than perhaps an epic movie ever could.

It's a great yarn. 

Passion, Pathos, Power, Prophesy, Poison, and especially ....  



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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nostalgia (part 8) - Hiraeth


Almost 100 years ago

The archives director for The Saturday Evening Post said that the magazine has been regarded with "a mixture of nostalgia and affection". Shown: a Norman Rockwell cover from August 1924.

Likewise, so many of Norman Rockwell's paintings evoke a feeling of nostalgia, or perhaps hiraeth.

That is...

Hiraeth- (noun) - a deep, wistful, nostalgic sense of longing for home; a home that is no longer or perhaps never was. A yearning and wistful grief for people and things long gone.

FromWord Nerd

Hiraeth is one of the many emotions reflected in the Psalms, for example

We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us
what You did in their days, 
 in days long ago.  

Psalm 44:1 (NIV) 

There it is. 

A longing for the good old days.

Hiraeth is often expressed pop culture, like Those Were the Days, a remake of an old Russian song, performed below by Mary Hopkins.


But endings are new beginnings and can engender optimism and hope for the future.

Let go of the past and press forward.

And St. Paul took this advice to heart by the one thing:

Brothers and sisters, 
I do not consider myself yet
to have taken hold of it. 

But one thing I do: 

Forgetting what is behind 
and straining toward what is ahead,
 I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward
in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) 

I'm grateful for your readership, my friends, this year in 2022.

As we finish out the old year, look to the new year--2023.

Happy New Year and keep looking up!


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Monday, November 28, 2022

IS40:8 (part 6) - Hanukkah and The Solomon's Prayer


This December many will celebrate Hanukah as well as Christmas.

Hanukkah means "rededication"

This holiday recalls the Jewish victory over the Greeks more than 2,000 years ago, as summed up in the history video below.

reference: https://youtu.be/-6FBX53ZblU

A miracle happened during the rededication of the temple, where just a day's supply of oil allowed the menorah to remain lit for eight days. Hence, the 8 days and candles.

More information: What Is Hanukkah? – A Season of Miracles and Light

Hanukkah, though, originated between the writings of the Old and New Testament. Its rededication happened after the first temple was destroyed in the exile, rebuilt post-exile, then defiled and restored.

But before this rededication of the second temple, there was the dedication of the first temple built in Jerusalem.  

King Solomon offered prayer at this dedication, known as The Solomon's Prayer.

And a portion of this prayer is presented in song below.

reference: https://youtu.be/2FK1-_cCg-E

Prayer reference: I Kings 8:56-60

Though there is no mention of Hanukkah in the Old Testament, it's mentioned in the New Testament, specifically the Gospel of John.

And Jesus celebrated Hannukah known as the Festival of Dedication in the winter.

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. 

It was winter, 

and Jesus was in the temple courts 

walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, 

“How long will you keep us in suspense? 

If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

John 10:22-23 (NIV)

And Jesus had given the people an answer during those spiritually dark days, such as the story of Hanukkah celebrates where light triumphed over darkness.

“I am the light of the world. 

Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, 

but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 (NIV)

As we enter the winter of long nights, holidays such as Hanukkah and Christmas anticipate the coming of the Light--spiritual as well as physical.

Blessings and peace this December
and into the New Year
as the days grow longer.


Isaiah 40:8

The grass withereth,
the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God
shall stand for ever.


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Similar threads (search blog):

10C - The Ten Commandments
Biblia Files
PPP - Psalms, Proverbs, and Politics



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

ELM (part 7): 2 Boleyn Sisters - 2 Queen Elizabeths


The Boleyns

Thomas Boleyn (1477-1539), 1st Earl of Wiltshire, was an English diplomat and politician. 

Thomas was ambitious and worked his way into Henry VIII's inner circle, as well as did his surviving children George, Mary, and especially...

Anne Boleyn

Much has been written about Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn (1501-1536). The King's desire for a son changed history. His first wife could not deliver a boy who survived infancy, so he looked for another woman to give him a legitimate son and heir to the throne. And Anne put herself out there as the one.

Since the Pope would not grant a divorce, Henry maneuvered to break away from the Catholic Church and become the head of the Church of England. And as head, Henry got his divorce and married the ambitious Anne. 

But it did not end well. Anne only produced a daughter, lost the King's love and interest, and lost her head. The following years were full of drama. In the end, Anne's daughter would become....

Queen Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) would be known as the Virgin Queen who brought England into her Golden Age. She was one of the longest reigning monarchs and considered one the greatest. 

Yet the line from Anne Boleyn died when Elizabeth I died as Anne had no other surviving children and Elizabeth never married. 

But there was Anne's older sister, the other Boleyn girl...

Mary Boleyn

Mary (1499-1543) was Henry XIII's mistress for a short time. She was soon cast aside and out of the limelight, truly the underdog. She had experienced heartache, was widowed, was impoverished for a time. 

But Ann and George had been executed in 1536. And after her parents passed away, Mary inherited the estate. Mary, the underdog, survived.

Mary Boleyn was not a mother to a ruling queen like sister Anne's Elizabeth I. But she was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of....

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (1926-2022) was the last head of state of any country to serve in uniform during World War II as well as the longest reigning English monarch--70 years.

2 Boleyn Sisters ... 2 Queen Elizabeths

Ann Boleyn --- 
mother of 
Queen Elizabeth I

Mary Boleyn --- 
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of 
Queen Elizabeth II

And Mary Boleyn's line lives on in Charles III

Long live the king!


For more in this series, search blog:

ELM - English, Language, and Musings



Elizabeth II: wikipedia.com/ElizabethII 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

STC (part 4) - Mikhail Gorbachev


Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, aka USSR, passed away on August 30, 2022. 

Gorbachev's tenure spanned the end of the Cold War and the tear down of the Berlin Wall as well as the breakup of the Soviet Union.

A tribute to him is shown below:

( reference: https://youtu.be/qgqDtgoLN_0   )

The historical fiction S*T*C covers 1984-1986, the final years of the Cold War and the last three leaders of the Soviet Union. 

In 1984, Samantha Clark was one of the women who had breached the male-dominated mission control teams inside the S*T*C--the Satellite Tracking Station--as the Reagan Administration took on the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union.


In 1982, Yuri Andropov had followed Leonid Brezhnev, but Andropov passed away February 9, 1984. 

This news broke at the end of the first day Sam had worked the S*T*C:

Sam turned on the radio for news about the Winter Olympics. Instead, a funeral dirge was broadcast. Then the lead story: Soviet leader, Yuri Andropov, had died. He had only served a little more than a year after succeeding Leonid Brezhnev. 

There goes another one of the old guard from “The Evil Empire.” Sam’s thoughts wandered to President Ronald Reagan as she turned off the freeway onto one of the roads into Santa Vittoria. 

When Reagan had used the term, Evil Empire, in a speech a couple years ago, he had gotten much flak from the press. But Reagan’s defense buildup to defeat communism was one of the reasons Sam had secured a job at the S*T*C.

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 44). Kindle Edition. 


After Yuri Andropov had passed, Konstantin Chernenko followed as the new leader, which the crew inside the S*T*C soon learned.

Later that morning, Lester Wong picked up the newspaper. “Konstantin Chernenko? Sounds like an Asian pin ball machine.” 

“Pachinko?” Tan asked. 

“Sounds like it.” Lester explained to those who did not have their newspaper privileges, “It says he’s now the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet…fancy title for the USSR’s latest Fearless Leader.” 

PC said in his southern drawl, “And the reason we all have jobs.”

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 104). Kindle Edition. 


Then a year later, Konstantin Chernenko passed away, March 10, 1985. He was followed by the Soviet Union's final leader, Mikhail Gorbachev:

As Sam was driving up Mt. Nauseous, she heard another funeral dirge on the radio. Then the news: Soviet leader, Konstantin Chernenko, has died at age of 73. 

In a few short years, the Soviet Union went from Leonid Bresnev to Yuri Adropov to Konstantin Chernenko. Now the big question: Who would be the next supreme commander of this communist superpower? 

The following day, everyone knew. Mikhail Gorbachev. And Gorbachev would usher in a new age of Perestroika (Russian for restructuring, to kickstart the Soviet economy) and Glasnost (Russian for openness, his policy of a more open government and culture). 

With Gorbachev, the US and the USSR began arms control talks in Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting was something the press had been carping about ever since Reagan took office in 1981.

Smith, S K. S*T*C (p. 247). Kindle Edition. 


So came the turning point in the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union.


In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued this challenge to Mr. Gorbachev at Brandenburg Gate in West Germany:

( reference: https://youtu.be/WX00QkvK-mQ    ) 

And November 9, 1989, the wall came down: Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world


For a feel of the times, 1984-1986, especially for women breaking into space programs, please feel free to check out:

S*T*C by S. K. Smith @ amazon.com

Your readership is appreciated.


For more in this series, search blog:

STC - for S*T*C
CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4  - for The Commander and the Chief series