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Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Writer's Life 3/12 - Fanfare

I've enjoyed the Mission Impossible series, and Rogue Nation (2105), which I viewed last night courtesy of Netflix, is as much fun as the other entries. Of course, the action and stunt work are the main attractions of such fare, but it's always more rewarding when the plot is sound, and it is in this one. The story involves the team's efforts to prove the existence of a syndicate responsible for the deaths of many covert agents. Three sequences were particularly exciting: an assassination attempt during the staging of the opera Turandot, the break in at an underwater vault, and the obligatory chase scene. The cast acquits itself well in the undemanding roles. My only quibble is that there are so many movies like it that it will likely fade from memory quickly. I don't remember anything about the previous installment. It is simply diversion, escapism, which is valuable. Tom Cruise seems to have formed a partnership with Christopher McQuarrie, who has directed the last two in the series and will helm the sixth. He has also teamed with Cruise on the excellent sci-fi adventure Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and on the adaptation of Lee Child's Jack Reacher (2012). He wrote the screenplay for all of them, as well as for one of the best modern crime films, The Usual Suspects (1995). The dude is on a major roll. 207,000+ users at IMDb have rated MI5, forging to a consensus of 7.5 of ten. I agree. It's appeal is largely for action fans, but no one should have any qualms about the violence, which is intense but antiseptic, as it should be in such innocuous fare. It runs just over two hours. Made on a budget of $150 million, it brought in $195 million in the USA alone. Tom Cruise continues to be a gold mine for Hollywood, and an asset for movie lovers.

RIP keyboardist extraordinaire Keith Emerson, 71, who succumbed to cancer. His most popular work came with bandmates Greg Lake and Carl Palmer, who brought variety to the rock world. Emerson's work was influenced by classical piano. While visiting a record store, he heard a recording of Switched on Bach and was captivated by the sound of the Moog synthesizer. He popularized the instrument, and was given prototypes by the appreciative makers. Eight of ELP's nine studio albums reached gold status in the USA. Well done, sir. Here's a clip of the band doing Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. It is preceded by a 15 second ad: (Facts from Wiki)

The netSpend Visa debit card carrying my tax refund has worked like a charm after the initial difficulty of activating it and registering it properly. It seems like it's universally accepted. I've used it without a hitch online and at Stop n Shop and Burger King. Also on the money front, the ten dollar bill I suspected might be counterfeit proved to be genuine. It passed the ultra violet test at S & S.

There were only two buyers at the floating book shop today, but both teenagers walked away with several books. My thanks to the young woman who bought four, including a hardcover dictionary and a large tome on science, and to Leyla, who purchased A Hitch in Twilight. Her eyes spread with joy when I said she was entitled to three non-Vic books with it. She selected three novels, including a 1953 edition of Sojourner by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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