Top Twenty Five Best Reviewed Summer Blockbusters


THE BEST REVIEWED SUMMER MOVIES OF THE LAST 40 YEARS.    This list can be found on Rotten Tomatoes site.  It is interesting in various ways.  I have seen all these movies except one (can you guess which one I missed) and I understand why the critics liked the vast majority of them.  You will notice that many of them are children's movies or animated features, or movies that required a lot of CG or special effects.  You will also notice that Avatar (quite rightly) doesn't come close to making the … [Read more...]

Seeing Reds—- and Yanks and Sox…..


See anyone you recognize in this picture??  And why is that guy in the middle wearing Red Sox gear at a Reds vs. Yanks game. … [Read more...]

Roman Remains and Recreations

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They are everywhere in the Mediterranean world.  In famous places and obscure places. In high places and low places. In easy to get to places and in hard to imagine places.  The remains of the Roman world--- aqueducts, tombs, roads, bridges forts, cities.  You name it, they are still hanging around in ruined form, and in some cases (like bridges) they are still being used.  Here are some of the more interesting items I have found in museums in Turkey recently that fall into this category.   What … [Read more...]

'Midnight in Paris' and Michael Franks 'Time Together'

If you've never been to Paris, in some ways the most romantic and right-brained of all Western cities, you have missed a lot.   I have to say, it has a lot of charm, though some would say 'Paris is only spoilt by its being inhabited by snobby Parisians'. Well,  like all caricatures,  there is some truth in that, but there are also some very nice Parisians who don't hate Americans on first sight.   This movie is a mere bagatelle, or even a short baguette--- in an hour and 38 minutes it gives us va … [Read more...]

The Pasha's Palace

If you ask Muslims what's the main reason to take a trip to far eastern Turkey in the vicinity of Mt. Ararat they will not immediately say--- 'let's go find the ark'.   In fact, they may be far more likely to say, let's go see the Pasha's Palace which is in the same neighborhood. They have a passion for the Pasha, so to speak.   The Pasha's Palace is an Ottoman palace which was still being constructed up to about 1738.  It is situated high above the city of  Dogubeyazit ( or as I prefer to call i … [Read more...]

Altin Tepe

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It is hard to describe just how beautiful Turkey is in May.  The air is crisp, the temp usually in the 70s, the lack of pollution noticeable, the sky Carolina blue, and the flowers and snow capped mountains gorgeous. What's not to like.   This picture and the next one were taken next to the site of an archaeological dig at Altin Tepe a site that has both an ancient Urartu fortress and a much more recent Byzantine Church ruins with dazzling mosaic floor.In the picture with the poppies you can ju … [Read more...]

Sherlock the Dragon!


My elves in Hobbiton have been busy, and so has Peter Jackson.  First of all Evangeline Lilly (aka Kate from LOST fame) has been cast to play a sylvan elf, though Jackson has warned there will be no romantic twist with Legolas (aka Orlando Bloom)--- darn!    Secondly the much praised Benedict Cumberbatch  (you have to be good with a name like that) who plays Sherlock Holmes on the new Sherlock series on the BBC, has been cast as.......wait for it...... Smaug!    I can imagine Sherlock having drag … [Read more...]

The Oldest Temple in the World—- Part Four

The little skit by the minions above and the Gobeckli Tepe Temple both raise questions about what it means to be human.Are we all just hunter-gatherers moving through life driven by our urges and needs?   Or are we something much more than that?  What does it really mean to be human?   The Bible suggests that begin created in God's image provides some sort of answer or clue.   Some scholars have thought being created in the image of God had to do with our being mini-creators and rulers of the … [Read more...]

The Oldest Temple in the World— Part Three

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When we begin to think of how exactly 20 circles with monoliths weighing tons could have been put in place by ancients in 10,000 B.C.  and then we have a hard look at some of the columns themselves and see what artisans these stone masons were, carving recognizable figures of animals both in three D (way before 3 D glasses :) and in simple relief, the mind begins to boggle. We are not talking here about stick figures painted on the walls of caves here.  We are talking about sophisticated and i … [Read more...]