Author Archives: george

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (50th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray) and FOUR SCREENPLAYS By William Goldman



Yes, it’s been 50 years since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made movie history. The critics panned it, calling it “not a real Western.” But for a film that cost $7 million, the Box Office was $100 million ($700 million in 2019 dollars). I loved the film back in 1969 and I loved it when I watched it again last week. It’s a great buddy movie packed with wit and humor as two outlaws who find America too hot from their “career” of robbing trains decide to move on. Cassidy, Sundance, and Etta (Sundance’s girl friend played by Katherine Ross) travel to Bolivia to continue their reckless ways.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid won four Academy Awards: Best Cinematography; Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical); Best Music, Song (Burt Bacharach and Hal David for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”); and Best Original Screenplay.

This edition includes Audio Commentaries: The first features director George Roy Hill, lyricist Hal David, associate producer Robert Crawford, and the late cinematographer Conrad Hall. The second commentary track has screenwriter William Goldman who provides some detail on how his script took true life events from history and glamorized them for the film while reshaping the Westerns that followed.

All Of The Following Is True: The Making Of ‘Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid’ (HD, 36 mins): This documentary is from 2005 and delivers a good overview of the movie’s production. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katherine Ross together with director George Roy Hill, screenwriter William Goldman, and composer Burt Bacharach share insights. They discuss the whole beginning of the project, give us their views on some scenes like the ‘Raindrops …’ bicycle sequence, and speculate about the movie’s legacy.

The Wild Bunch: The Fact vs. Fiction of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (HD, 25 mins) The real Butch and Sundance are discussed by some Academics and then compared to the on-screen characters with references to many movie clips.

Deleted Scene (SD, 3 mins)

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 6 mins total) – The original movie preview and additional two trailers for the movie.

Are you a fan of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? GRADE: A

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #550: THE LIVING END By Frank Kane


Set in the 1950s, The Living End explores the rise of disk jockeys and a music industry corrupt to its core. Eddie Marlon weasels his way onto a radio station and then launches a series of marketing coups that produce big ratings, plenty of advertisers, and money for the radio station. But Marlon doesn’t stop there. He targets teenagers and gears the music on his radio shows to their tastes. Marlon’s next strategy is to coerce performers to deliver their services for free at events and in return, Marlon would play their records. Later, Marlon schemes with a music publishing company to get a percentage of the sheet music and royalties on records. The Living End exposes the payola practices of the 1950s and 1960s when deals were made and stars were born amid a blizzard of dirty money.

Frank Kane, most famous for his Johnny Liddell private eye novels, captures the excitement of the rise of Rock & Roll radio with all its luridness and corruption. If you’re looking for a gritty novel set in the steamy radio industry of the Fifties, The Living End will fog up your glasses! GRADE: A

MILKY WAY MIDNIGHT DARK


I stumbled over a reference to Milky Way Midnight Dark in the Wall Street Journal. I’ve never been a fan of Milky Way–I preferred Snickers–but I do like chocolate so I thought I’d give this new version a try. The Milky Way Midnight Dark features dark chocolate, golden caramel, and vanilla nougat. I found the taste okay, but I would have enjoyed some nuts or crunchiness. I think I’ll stick with Snickers or Peanut M&Ms when I need a snack. Do you have a favorite candy? GRADE: C+
NUTRIIION INFORMATION:
Calories 180
Total Fat 7g grams
Saturated Fat 4.5g grams
Trans Fat 0g grams
Cholesterol 5mg milligrams
Sodium 50mg milligrams
Total Carbohydrates 29g grams
Dietary Fiber 1g grams
Sugars 24g grams
Protein 1g grams
0% Vitamin A
0% Vitamin C
0% Calcium
2% Iron

VH1 STORYTELLERS


Remember VH1 when they used to run pretty much non-stop music videos with occasional “specials” like Storytellers where a song or an artist would be featured? I love to learn the background of how songs were written and recorded. This CD from 2001 is a bit of a cheat. Yes, the artists do tell how their songs were created, but that information isn’t on the CD. It’s printed in the little booklet that comes with the CD case. The disc just presents the music, many from “unplugged” live performances on VH1.

If you’re intrigued by any of the songs on this CD, you’ll find out plenty of background information on them here. As far as I can tell, this is the only compilation VH1 CD although there are a series of VH1 Storyteller DVDs and CD devoted to individual artists. Are any of these artists or songs interesting to you? GRADE: B
TRACK LIST:
1 China Girl (Storytellers) by David Bowie 4:41
2 Edge of Seventeen (Storytellers) by Stevie Nicks 6:53
3 Back On The Chain Gang (Storytellers) by The Pretenders 4:05
4 Rain King (Live At Chelsea Studios, New York/1997) by Counting Crows 5:53
5 Crash (Storytellers) by David Mathews & Dave Mathews Band 5:04
6 Who Will Save Your Soul (Storytellers) by Jewel 7:06
7 Stay (I Missed You) (Storytellers) by Lisa Loeb 3:08
8 Regarding Steven (Storytellers) by John Popper 5:05
9 Mexico (Storytellers) by James Taylor 3:04
10 Strong Enough (Storytellers) by Sheryl Crow & Stevie Nicks 3:21
11 Here Comes The Rain Again (Storytellers) by Eurythmics 3:54
12 Carnival (Storytellers) by Natalie Merchant 5:30
13 Jack & Diane (Storytellers) by John Mellencamp 5:56
14 Just A Memory (Storytellers) by Elvis Costello 3:57
15 How Deep Is Your Love (Storytellers) by Bee Gees 4:43

ABBEY ROAD (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) By The Beatles


Beatles fans will love this new, remixed and remastered version of Abbey Road. It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since this album changed the musical landscape of the late 1960s. Abbey Road remains the best selling Beatles album. It’s also an album with mysteries. The Beatles were in the process of breaking up during the recording of these wonderful songs. Despite the friction, John, Paul, George, and Ringo managed to pour their talents into making these tunes memorable.

This deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition includes alternate versions and outtakes of familiar Beatles songs. With the new tweaking of the sound, many of these songs sounded new to me. Do you have a favorite song from Abbey Road. GRADE: A
TRACK LIST:
CD 1: 2019 Stereo Mix
01. Come Together
02. Something
03. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
04. Oh! Darling
05. Octopus’s Garden
06. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
07. Here Comes The Sun
08. Because
09. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty
CD 2: Sessions
01. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
02. Goodbye (Home Demo)
03. Something (Studio Demo)
04. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (Take 7)
05. Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)
06. Oh! Darling (Take 4)
07. Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
08. You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
09. Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)
10. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
11. Here Comes The Sun (Take 9)
12. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)
CD 3: Sessions
01. Come Together (Take 5)
02. The End (Take 3)
03. Come And Get It (Studio Demo)
04. Sun King (Take 20)
05. Mean Mr Mustard (Take 20)
06. Polythene Pam (Take 27)
07. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Take 27)
08. Because (Take 1 – Instrumental)
09. The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969) (Medley: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr Mustard, Her Majesty, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End)
10. Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only)
11. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)

THE PRICE WE PAY: WHAT BROKE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE–AND HOW TO FIX IT By Marty Makary, M.D.


Marty Makary, M.D. provides dozens of examples of how average Americans overpay for health care. Markary supplies ample evidence that we are being over-tested, over-medicated, and over-operated on. The Price We Pay opens with a story about a traveling clinic that would provide “free” diagnostic testing for common aliments like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heartburn at churches around the country. One of the questions the staff would ask of participants was “Do you have leg pain?” Just about 100% of the answers were “Yes.” The clinic staff would then refer them to surgeons who “sold” the idea of stents in leg arteries to “cure” the pain. The result was a $25,000 operation that provided minimal relief from pain.

Makay claims the opioid crisis resulted from over-medicating patients. Studies show that 15 opioid pills were sufficient for most post-operative patients to manage pain. But doctors prescribed 60 opioid pills. Makay suggests we can fix our health care system by providing transparency on pricing for starters. Why should a hip replacement operation cost $30,000 in Pennsylvania and $80,000 in New York City? The variance in prices is one of the biggest medical scams today. I learned a lot about current medical practices. But I always knew medicine was not just a profession but a business. The Price We Pay proves that convincingly. GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Preface ix
Part I Gold Rush
1 Health Fair 1
2 Welcome to the Game 15
3 Carlsbad 36
4 Two Americas 52
5 The Ride 70
Part II Improving Wisely
6 Woman in Labor 89
7 Dear Doctor 99
8 Scaling Improvement 111
9 Opioids like Candy 127
10 Overtreated Patients like Me 139
Part III Redesigning Health Care
11 Starting from Scratch 153
12 Disruption 167
13 Buying Health Insurance 177
14 Pharmacy Hieroglyphics 191
15 4K Screens 205
16 Diagnosis: Overwellnessed 215
17 The Words We Use 227
18 What We Can Do 237
Acknowledgments 247
Notes 249
Index 261

BUFFALO BILLS VS. TENNESSEE TITANS


The 3-1 Buffalo Bills travel to Tennessee to take on the 2-2 Titans. The Bills are 3-point underdogs. Bills QB Josh Allan has been in Concussion Protocol all last week, but has been cleared medically to play in this game if Head Coach Shawn McDermott decides to start him. I hope McDermott starts backup Matt Barkley instead, but who knows what will happen. How will your favorite NFL perform today?

THE WIDOW By Georges Simenon (Translated by John Petrie)


The Widow (aka, La veuve Couderc and Ticket of Leave) was first published in 1942 and has been reprinted several times. Simenon’s story of a stranger called Jean who arrives in a small French town and enters into a relationship with Tati, a widow, fascinated critics like Andre Gide and Paul Theroux. Theroux provides an insightful Introduction to The Widow and puts the novel in context with the hundreds of other novels Simenon wrote. It becomes clear after the first page of Theroux’s Introduction that he’s read plenty of Simenon and admires the prolific writer. Theroux points out that Simenon distrusted critics and scholars. Most scholars dismissed Simenon as a commercial writer and hack. Yet, as Theroux notes, The Widow, published the same year as Camus’s The Stranger, is a deeper and more profound work.

Tati lives with her father-in-law who abuses her. Tati’s sister-in-law plots to oust her brother’s widow and take over the family homestead. Amid all this drama, Simenon explores guilt, love, and desperation. For a slim, 152-page book, The Widow packs a wallop that will stay with you for a while. Do you have a favorite Simenon book? GRADE: A

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #549: THE SUPER HUGOS Presented By Isaac Asimov


During the 50th World Science Fiction Convention, MagiCon, in Orlando, Florida in 1992 attendees were asked to vote for their favorite Hugo Award winning stories. Of the 4000 members, 1000 turned in their Best of the Hugos ballot. Joe Siclari and Edie Stern’s essay on the voting provides all the details of the voting. Isaac Asimov was to provide an introduction to this volume, but in 1991 Asimov was gravely ill. He died shortly before this volume was published. Charles Sheffield and others stepped in to complete the project.

I had never seen a copy of The Super Hugos (1992) until last week when I bought it at a Library Book Sale. Of course, all the stories in this anthology are familiar to me. I read many of them in their original publications. Do you have a favorite story among this group? GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1 • Introduction (The Super Hugos) • essay by Charles Sheffield
7 • Sandkings • [Thousand Worlds] • (1979) • novelette by George R. R. Martin
55 • The Bicentennial Man • (1976) • novelette by Isaac Asimov
101 • Enemy Mine • [Dracon] • (1979) • novella by Barry B. Longyear
173 • The Star • (1955) • short story by Arthur C. Clarke
183 • The Big Front Yard • (1958) • novella by Clifford D. Simak
244 • “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman • (1965) • short story by Harlan Ellison
261 • Weyr Search • [Dragonriders of Pern short fiction] • (1967) • novella by Anne McCaffrey
327 • Neutron Star • [Known Space] • (1966) • novelette by Larry Niven
349 • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream • (1967) • short story by Harlan Ellison
369 • Flowers for Algernon • (1959) • novelette by Daniel Keyes
403 • About the Super Hugo Voting • essay by Joe Siclari and Edie Stern
413 • Appendix: The Hugo Awards • essay by uncredited