Countdown

19 July, 2006

A nickel for your thoughts?

No, your thoughts haven’t gone up in value.. it’s just that if Representative Kolbe (R. Arizona) gets his way, I won’t have a penny to give you. He has introduced a bill called the Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation Act. (cleverly acronymed to C.O.I.N.).

Among other things, the primary target of this act would be to eliminate the antiquated penny and round all cash transactions to the nearest nickel. Cash transactions ending in a 1, 2, 6, 7 would round down, while those ending in 3, 4, 8, 9 round up.

Now, this isn’t a new idea. It gets tossed about every few years. Rep. Kolbe also introduced it in 2001. He thinks it has a better chance of getting through this time around, mainly because the cost of zinc (today’s pennies are about 97% zinc, and are only copper coated) has sky-rocketed. It now costs about 1.4 cents for the Mint to stamp out a single penny (that’s the kind of efficiency that makes our government so powerful).

Should the penny go the way of the $2 bill? (Which, incidentally would be re-introduced in this act.) Most Americans are opposed to eliminating the penny, I personally would not be.

Sure, we would end up spending extra money on cash purchases... but let’s all be honest, how often do we actually still use cash? How much more often do we pull out the debit or credit card for our purchases? I use plastic considerably more than cash.

I also have containers full of pennies that I will never use at both home and in the office. They tend to get in the way more than they are beneficial.

I want to get your opinions on this. Let’s all kick in our 5 cents on this topic, leave your comments below.

12 July, 2006

When I started this blog, I said I was going to include movie reviews. I haven’t yet done one, partly because I am lazy, partly be cause I will go for months without going the theater. (Hollywood has been in a funk, and hasn’t had many good movies lately.. but that’s a different story, for a different day..). Please post whether or not you agree with my takes on these movies, I’m interested in seeing other’s takes as well.

I have seen 3 movies recently that I wanted to give my two cents worth. Let me start with the most recent, Superman Returns.

Before I get into the review, a friend of mine takes credit for the timeframe of this movie. About a year and a half ago, he said “I hope Christopher Reeve would just die”. His logic behind this statement is that they aren’t going to make or release the new Superman movie with him still alive. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, he passed, and now we have the Superman 5, thanx Joe.

It took me a while to decide my true feeling of the movie, and after careful consideration, I will have to say that it was a good movie, and worth seeing. I think Brandon Routh did about as good of a job as could be done portraying the Man of Steel. He had many of the mannerisms of the late Reeve. He had a good look. I don’t think that Kate Bosworth was a good pick to play Lois Lane. She was too young. I base this on a couple of things, first off, if this movie follows the original 4, she would be older. Add to the fact that she now has a 5 year old, and it throws it all off. Supposedly she was the top reporter for the Daily Planet when Superman left, and 5 years later, she looks to be 25, it just didn’t seem to make sense to me. The best job of casting without a doubt goes to Kevin Spacey as Lex. He (Spacey) was phenomenal, but what was the last movie he was in that he didn’t do a good job? (he has been in bad movies, but they weren’t bad because of him..)

The movie was very athletically pleasing. The physics of the movie were pretty good. (when he caught the plane, it didn’t just stop, it collapsed. BTW, what stadium was that in? I tried to get a look, but there weren’t many good shots of the stadium..). there were few plot holes, Luthor had his typical ‘less than intelligent crew’ with the one-liners you can expect for a comic movie.

I am not going to get too much into the plot and a curious path that the movie takes, which I am not sure I like it (and am leaning towards not liking it). It isn’t expected, but you are not surprised when it is revealed.

Overall, I would have to say if you are a fan of the original movies or the character himself, go see the movie.

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My next review is for another one of the early summer’s big draws, The Da Vinci Code. I’m going to start out by saying I didn’t read the book, had little desire to read the book, and would have rather have gone to see Superman that night, but my family wanted to see it (they had all read the book).

It is still a mystery how Forrest Gump was able to solve the code, (but then again, I’m still wondering why they were surprised when they had problems with the Apollo 13).

My biggest beef with this movie is, if I wanted to read the book, I would have. I don’t like reading movies. I get it, you’re speaking French.. a bad accent gets the same point across (see Steve Martin’s Pink Panther). It’s fine to have the first few lines spoken in the foreign language, to establish that it is not English, then switch to the language of the audience.

The movie had a ‘National Treasure’ feel to it, and Nicholas Cage did a better job then our favorite Bosom Buddy, and to me, it was more interesting watching American history rather than a made-up treasure hunt based on the Bible.

I won’t say avoid the movie, especially if you read and enjoyed the book, or if you like the ‘keep you guessing’ type of movie, but I would recommend ‘National Treasure’ first.

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The last movie I am going to review here is a movie I rented, ’16 Blocks’. In a nutshell, Bruce Willis is a burnt out cop (I know, it’s a stretch..) who is tasked with getting a witness to a court appearance 16 blocks away (hence the title..). Sounds easy enough… until he finds out that the two-bit criminal witness will be testifying against a handful of dirty cops who want him dead.

The premise is pretty believable, but some of the things that happen are a bit far fetched, but that is part of the fun.

The DVD offers an alternate ending, which, according to the director, is the original ending. You have the option of watching the theatrical version, or the alternate ending as you watch the movie. You can also watch the other ending separately. I think I prefer the theater ending, but they are both good.

This movie didn’t seem to do as well as the other two, because it made it to Blockbuster pretty quick, but I did like the movie. It is worth checking out.

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So, wrapping it up:
Superman Returns: 7.5/10 a ‘go see’.
The DaVinci Code: 6/10 a ‘see if you want’.
16 Blocks: 8/10 a ‘go rent’.

Happy viewing!
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