Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) an (almost right on time!) review

It’s taken a few days for me to get to writing this and, if you’ve read the post I wrote just before this one, you already know why.

One Sunday night my wife, youngest daughter, and I went to the theater to catch Zombieland: Double Tap, the sequel to (natch) 2009’s Zombieland, a film that delightfully skewered plenty of Zombie-movie convention.

Zombieland: Double Tap (let’s refer to it as Z2 from here on out, OK?) comes ten years from the release of the original and we quickly find out what’s going on with our four protagonists of the post-Zombie apocalypse: Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).

And the answer is: Not a whole lot.

They haven’t grown much since we last saw them, though they do seem to have a little more of a family thing going on and they have relocated to the White House. Problem is that familiarity, as the cliche goes, is breeding contempt, and Little Rock, the youngest of the four, in particular is developing a strong itch to spread her wings and go out -and away- from this group.

Meanwhile Columbus and Wichita, who are together, are also having issues. Wichita seems to still like Columbus but she too feels trapped with him and the routine they’ve developed. Which makes it most unfortunate that at that point Columbus decides to propose marriage…

Wichita and Little Rock fly the coop, leaving behind the two male leads, and Columbus in particular doesn’t know how to react to this. Soon, they find another survivor and things get a little more complicated, especially when Wichita returns and states that her young sister has abandoned her as well for a (*gasp*) hippy they found along the way.

Look, anyone coming in to Z2 expecting profound/deep plot lines and/or high art should have their head examined.

Z2 is a cute, at times quite funny journey through this particular Zombie apocalypse that features some interesting cameos (but none quite as good as the one presented in the first film, even though he makes his return in this one) and adventure.

None of it is taken terribly seriously and that, unfortunately, is the movie’s main problem and one I also found with the recently released Hobbs and Shaw.

To wit: How can you make a film that is (I’m assuming here) supposed to have its moments of suspense/thrills when it is clear from the get go that the filmmakers are taking none of this very seriously?

The fact is that Z2 does build to what should be an exciting, even suspenseful ending but the filmmakers never once give us a sense of any sort of seriousness/danger, at times winking at the camera and offering jokes that are clearly breaking the proverbial fourth wall.

So we’re left with a film that is for the most part quite amusing but never really moving to that higher gear to deliver some genuine thrills.

However, unlike Hobbs and Shaw Z2 is intended to be a comedy and therefore it doesn’t bother quite as much that the thrills are missing as they were in H&S.

Still while I recommend Z2, I have to also be honest and say: “I really wish there was more to it than what we got.”

Just because you want to make a smart ass comedy (nothing wrong with that!) doesn’t mean you can’t also deliver some suspense, amiright?!

To better days…

It’s a heartbreaking decision, one that everyone who has a pet faces at some point: The pet’s mortality.

Over my life, I’ve had many pets. Two in particular lasted a very long time. The first, we had to put down after some 12 years of life because his heart was simply giving out on him.

The other, we had for 15 and a half years and yesterday evening, we had to put him to sleep.

Oreo was given to us back then as a five or so month old ball of energy. He was named by my eldest daughter, who, along with my other daughter, loved him to pieces.

When we first got him, he would take me out on walks -he was the one guiding me– that took us around several blocks in the neighborhood. He was always a few steps ahead, darting this way and that and chasing after any stray lizard that had the gall to walk in front of him. He never caught them, but sure loved the chase.

As the years passed, he had certain health issues. His teeth were always crooked and weak. He would get most of them removed over time. When the teeth on the left side of his mouth were mostly gone, he began hanging his tongue off that side of his mouth… as you see in the above photograph.

The walks grew shorter. I distinctly recall the day we set out to do our regular multi-block walk but when we reached the edge of the first block, he slowed and stopped, looked up at me, and turned around to return home. That would be the last time we did one of our usual long walks.

Over the next few years, he slowed down even more, as any dog who reaches a very old age does. The now one-block walks became walks back and forth down our street. We no longer could use a neck collar as he pinched a nerve one day thanks to their use.

His favorite perch, which you see in the photograph above, used to be one he could jump from the floor to the couch to. No longer. We had to get him a small footstair to climb up to the couch and then up to the pillow.

Two weeks ago he had a strange episode which I thought was a muscle cramp. He stretched, then didn’t seem to stop stretching. His head turned back, and he howled in pain and dropped to the ground.

He seemed ok afterwards, but the fact was that this was the first sign of the bad things to come. Over the next few days, he had a couple more episodes like this, which I realized were seizures. Some were so strong he would lose control of his bowls.

His strength rapidly diminished. He could only walk a very short distance before being exhausted and run the risk of having another seizure. We took him to the vet and gave him medication for the pain, but in the last four days in particular it was clear he was on a rapid downward glide.

Yesterday, we left for a movie and when we returned home, he was on his feet, walking to us wagging his tail, but we realized he had just emerged from another terrible seizure and had laid -for who knows how long- in his own urine and defecation.

It was clear to us, even as it ripped our hearts, that he wouldn’t last much longer. By this point, he could barely walk and we feared leaving him alone for any length of time. His breathing was ragged, his strength almost non-existent. He was in bed most of the day and night, and we feared for him whenever he was up and walking, however short the distance.

We made the most difficult decision we could and took him in last night for his final ride.

In the end, Oreo lasted longer than most dogs of his breed. 15 and a half years is a very long time to live for any dog, and I know the joy he gave us -and I hope the joy we gave him- made up for his last few very rough days.

Here’s to you, Oreo.

You’ve earned your rest and you will be missed.

Classic rock…


Over at deadspin.com Lauren Theisen has provided a list. A list of Classic Rock, ranked. A list that is likely to inflame passion. Anger…

What do you think?

Classic Rock, Ranked

All right, I’m going to spoil the whole damn thing and give you their entire list in the order they rank each musician/band…

1. David Bowie
2. Fleetwood Mac
3. The Beatles
4. Steely Dan
5. Jimi Hendrix
6. Black Sabbath
7. Heart
8. The Beach Boys
9. Elton John
10. The Rolling Stones
11. Bruce Springsteen
12. Tom Petty
13. Queen
14. Simon & Garfunkel
15. Led Zeppelin
16. The Cars
17. Neil Young
18. Pink Floyd
19. King Crimson
20. Creedence Clearwater Revival
21. The Police
22. The Band
23. The Allman Brothers Band
24. The Who
25. Lynyrd Skynyrd
26. Billy Joel
27. Yes
28. Van Halen
29. Cheap Trick
30. Wings
31. AC/DC
32. Rush
33. Electric Light Orchestra
34. Steve Miller Band
35. The Doors
36. Cream
37. Kiss
38. ZZ Top
39. Journey
40. Styx
41. Eagles
42. Kansas
43. Bad Company
44. Foreigner
45. Aerosmith
46. Boston
47. Getting hit by REO Speedwagon
48. Jethro Tull

Those on the floor, pick yourselves up, its over, man.

My feelings?

Well, its a list and any list consists of people’s opinions so yadda yadda yadda everyone’s entitled to their opinions yadda yadda.

As those who frequent these parts know, I consider David Bowie one of my all time favorite musicians. Even so, if I were making this list, I’d still put The Beatles at #1.

The fact of the matter is that without The Beatles and without their revolutionary sounds, there would likely be no modern rock music. And this is without noting that almost their entire catalogue of music rocks.

Fleetwood Mac #2?


Look, I love Nicks/Buckingham Fleetwood Mac. I love Rumours. I love Tusk. I think the songs Stevie Nicks created during her initial years there are absolute, stone cold classics… not that the others, including Buckingham and Christine McVie were anything to sneeze at, either!

But… #2? Ahead of The Beatles, who this list puts at #3? Nah.

So if for me The Beatles are #1, who would I put at #2? Probably… Led Zeppelin. They are listed at #15, behind Heart at #7 which is really strange. Heart was heavily inspired by Led Zeppelin and some have even derisively stated the band is like a Led Zeppelin tribute act!

So for me, The Beatles #1, Led Zeppelin #2, then, probably, The Rolling Stones (on the above list, #10).

Then I’d probably put David Bowie at #4, even if I personally find his music better than some of the acts I’ve put above him.

We are talking about Classic Rock, Ranked, and if I think back to classic rock radio, these are the acts I tend to hear over and over and over again on that format.

But I’m sure others will disagree.

It’s the nature of the beast!

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)… any good?

Incredibly, there are suddenly a handful of films I’m genuinely curious to see in theaters. Will I get a chance to? Well, that’s a whole other story.

Still, I’m reading reviews of some of those films that are either released or set to be released and, over at rottentomatoes.com, one of the films I’m curious about, Terminator: Dark Fate, now has 35 -count ’em 35– professional critics’ reviews. Check it out here (the count will surely go up, so if you’re reading this in the future, don’t be surprised to find a higher number of critical and, eventually, audience reactions):

Rottentomatoes.com: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

So, as of this moment, the 35 critics offer an average rating of 60% positive for the film.

Not superb, but not too bad.

The most worrying reviews note the film seems to be almost a remake of Terminator 2, which I have to admit makes me very nervous. I thought the original Terminator was a superb film and rightly put director James Cameron and actor Arnold Schwarzenneger on the map. However, I felt the film, which many people absolutely love, was ultimately a very sleek piece of work but not, again IMHO, as good as the original Terminator. In fact, I consider the original Terminator one of the very best horror/action hybrid films ever made.

Still, Terminator 2 wasn’t a bad film and I was hoping we’d get some decent/good Terminators afterwards. I thought Terminator 3 was a decent enough film but ultimately couldn’t quite match up with the previous two. Terminator: Salvation likewise I thought was only OK and, when all was said and done, wasn’t much more than a mild and forgettable time-killer. I thought the Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, the TV show based on the movies and starring a pre-Game of Thrones Lena Headey was far better than it had any right to be and its season 2 cliffhanger was incredible… alas, the show was cancelled and the cliffhanger’s resolution would never be dealt with. Terminator: Genysis, the most recent Terminator film, started promisingly IMHO but its last act was a mess.

In sum, there’s some good (T1 and T2, Sarah Connors Chronicles), and a lot of not so very good when it comes to the Terminator franchise.

Still, I have a fondness for the concept and in looking over the reviews so far posted, the general consensus among the various critics who do like the film is that it is far better than the many theatrical sequels to the Terminator films post Terminator 2.

So, yeah, I’ll certainly curious to see it, given the fact that James Cameron is once again -for the first time since Terminator 2!- back on board as producer and one of the writers.

I’ll catch it.

If I can!

Opinions are like…

….well… you know.

The older I get, the more I realize there is a very golden truth in that saying. What to you is solid gold might be, to me, nothing more than a smelly turd.

And vice-versa.

Having said that, I love reading opinion “lists”. In this case, and appearing on fashionbeans, Tom Fordy offers the following…

James Bond Films Ranked Worst to Best

Given the preamble I offered at the start of this blog, I think you can see what’s coming: There are points where I strongly disagree with Mr. Fordy’s list.

But first an admission: It’s been years since I’ve seen many of the Bond films in their entirety. It’s a fact of life: I have only so much free time and if I want to be fair to the films, I probably should revisit them before offering my opinions about which are “best” and which are “worst”.

Having said that, Mr. Fordy offers these films as the “bottom 10”, ranked from worst to best of the worst:

Die Another Day, Diamonds Are Forever, Tomorrow Never Dies, Thunderball, Octopussy, Quantum of Solace, A View to a Kill, The World is Not Enough, Moonraker, and You Only Live Twice.

Die Another Day, the last of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, does get a lot of grief for going waaaaay overboard on many of its elements, including an invisible car. The CGI for the film was also quite crude, though that is more of a function of the fact that the film is by now rather old and those effects are simply a sign of that time.

Having said all that, the worst of the Bond films?!

For me, the very worst Bond film is easily the last one released, Spectre. Mr. Fordy feels good enough about that film to not even place it on the bottom 10 and ultimately ranks that film #14, which makes it his opinion #11from the bottom in the rankings. The fact of the matter is that I hate Spectre so much that I haven’t even bothered to buy a digital copy of it, even though I have all the other Bond films in my collection. And I’m a completist! It irks me to have so many films and not “complete the collection” but I hate that film so much I won’t spend another dime on it.

But as I said above, opinions are like… well.

My second least favorite Bond film is probably Moonraker, which Mr. Fordy puts at #16 on his list (or, to put it another way, 9th from the bottom). For many, many years I felt Moonraker was the absolute worst of the Bond films, supplanted only recently by Spectre. My opinion, however, has mellowed. In part it was because I so hated the Craig film that I realized my hatred of Moonraker might be exaggerated… after all, of the Moore Bond films, isn’t A View to a Kill even worse?

I have to admit, today my opinion would go that way.

Similarly, Diamonds Are Forever is listed by Mr. Fordy as the second worst Bond film ever made. I disagree. I happen to like the film and enjoy its pleasantly tongue in cheek attitude. In fact, of the Connery Bond films I would put You Only Live Twice as his worst, though I would agree that Thunderball was the first Bond film to start showing the formula could go bad. Still, I generally liked the film even if it was bloated.

Moving to Roger Moore, as I stated I very much disliked A View To A Kill. I also felt The Man With The Golden Gun (#12 on this list) was awful as well. My favorite Moore Bonds are Live and Let Die (#8 on the list) The Spy Who Loved Me (#11), and For Your Eyes Only (#13). I also like Octopussy (#20, or 5th from the very bottom). So right there you have strong differences in opinion. Further, to me For Your Eyes Only is Moore’s best Bond. I would then put The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, and Octopussy in descending order from best to lesser -but still good- stuff.

Intriguingly, my biggest disagreement with Mr. Fordy may be his ranking of the two Timothy Dalton Bonds. I thought The Living Daylights (#9) was a damn good Bond film but his follow up and last Bond feature, License To Kill (#3…!!!!!) was a terrible Bond film and deserved to be on the bottom 10 rather than so high up. History would seem to bear me out as Mr. Dalton left the franchise at that point and the film didn’t do all that well at the box office.

Moving to the Pierce Brosnan Bonds, I have to say… they blur into each other for me. I thought the very first one, Goldeneye (#10) was probably the best of the lot, but it had its problems IMHO and should have been a lot better than it was, given that Brosnan was great in the role and the cast was quite strong. The Brosnan era was, IMHO, a great missed opportunity. You had a strong actor in the lead role but the films were mostly, again IMHO, tepid.

Moving to Daniel Craig, we again have IMHO a major missed opportunity. Mr. Craig started incredibly strong with Casino Royale (#5) but each subsequent film has been worse and worse. Quantum of Solace (#19, or 6th from the bottom) was slick but nonsensical. Skyfall (#7) I loved while watching it the first time… but then I thought about the story and realized it made not a lick of sense at all. My opinion of the film has subsequently gone down very steeply. And Spectre, well, I’ve already given my opinion of that film.

To Mr. Fordy, the best Bond film ever made and coming in at #1 is… On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sole outing of George Lazenby as Bond.

Again, I don’t agree.

While I think OHMSS is a pretty good Bond film, it isn’t anywhere near my favorite. I thought Lazenby didn’t work well as Bond, even if the film they built around him wasn’t bad at all.

Which is my all time favorite Bond film? That’s a really hard one to say. I love the first three Connery Bonds, Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger. Having said that, the films are showing their age with regard to Bond’s sexism. Especially the later two films, which show Bond engaging in what can only be described as rape.

Heady, heady stuff, yet perhaps of its time.

I also love the Moore Bonds I mentioned, even if Live and Let Die is another film that shows some questionable societal ideation, in this case transplanting the “yellow peril” of the 1930’s to African American culture.

Again, we’re talking opinions here and no one is right and no one is wrong.

Well, except when you’re trying to tell me Spectre is a good movie.

That I cannot agree with! 😉

Odd news…

For those who are roughly my age, you may know actor Ron Ely. Though his heyday was a little before my time, I caught his work here and there and enjoyed it.

He Is perhaps best known for playing Tarzan in a TV series of the same name which aired from 1966-68…

A little later, in 1975, he would play famous Pulp hero Doc Savage in the film of the same name…

In truth, while those two features are what Ron Ely is best known for he acted in many other movies and TV shows from 1958 to 2014.

Now 81 years old, this bit of news appeared on CNN and its a wild story…

Police fatally shot a homicide suspect at “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely’s home in California

The basic story is this (and pardon me for giving the information away): Someone stabbed an elderly woman to death at Ron Ely’s home. The woman’s husband, who has a speech impediment due to a medical condition, nonetheless was able to indicate the killer was a family member. The indicated family member was subsequently found on the property, confronted, and posed enough of a threat to the police that they took him down.

Yes, the alleged killer him/herself was killed.

That’s the extent of the report to this point and anything else is speculation…

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if the woman’s husband may well be Mr. Ely (who is, obviously by this point, elderly himself). The speech impediment due to a medical condition, sadly, makes me wonder if the person suffered a stroke.

Was the killer the son/daughter of the elderly woman?

Again, its all speculation at this point yet a very sad set of circumstances, regardless of whether they more directly involved Mr. Ely or not.


Well, it now seems that the situation was as I speculated above. Ron Ely’s wife Valerie was stabbed to death by the couple’s son Cameron Ely. The police arrived on the scene and killed Cameron Ely.

This is all according to TMZ and the article can be found here.

A very, very sad set of circumstances.

Obviously I have no knowledge of the Ely family situation and clearly things went way overboard here for the son to murder his mother.

The weird thing is that apparently Cameron was the one that originally called the police and, again according to the TMZ article above, said it was his father -Ron Ely- that tried to attack his mother. Was Cameron trying to pin the blame of his mother’s murder on Ron Ely?

Regardless, the police arrived and somehow figured out Cameron was the one that killed his mother and then they killed him.

Wow. And damn.

Some days you just can’t believe the news you read.

EV Charging Stations

When I finally got to the point of needing to trade in my car and get a new one, I was already half-way there in going electric.

While I read up on the Volt and Bolt and was dimly aware of the Leaf, my main interest was in the Tesla Model 3. The car’s reviews were generally through the roof and I was determined, since I figured it was time to trade in my current vehicle, to at least give the Model 3 a shot. I took a test drive and that completely won me over and I’m now a very proud owner of a Model 3.

But I have to admit, I didn’t cover all bases in my thinking. For example, though I was aware of the Supercharger Networks Tesla had, I must admit I wasn’t all that familiar with how many of them there were and how useful they would be if/when I should choose to make a trip far outside my home range.

You see, if you have a house or apartment with an accessible 220 V plug, having an electric car is a no-brainer… provided your use of the car is within the range of your batteries.

Or, to put it another way, if you have a theoretical range of, say, 200 miles on your vehicle, if your main/only source of charging is your home, you don’t want to get your car more than 100 miles out of the range of your house.

Now, 100 miles is a pretty long range to travel, and as I’m sure many of you are aware, there are more and more charging stations -not necessarily Tesla Superchargers- appearing in all kinds of places.

However, Brooke Cruthers at forbes.com notes that…

EV Charging Stations Are Still Few and Far Between – For The Rest of Us That Don’t Drive A Model 3

The upshot of the article, which is pretty clear in its title, is that if you drive an electric vehicle OTHER than a Tesla (Model 3 or the others) you may find it difficult sometimes to find a good charging station in which to charge your car.

It’s not impossible, mind you, and as I said before it seems more and more charging stations are coming online, but the reality is that Elon Musk and Tesla have done a great thing with their Superchargers, which are very numerous and spread out all over the country and allow Tesla owners like myself the convenience of being able to make trips far from home and not worry too much about finding a great place to quickly charge your car.

The problem for owners of other EV cars is that sometimes the charging stations available are either charging at a diminished rate (ie 1 hour to get maybe 60 miles of range), not working at all, or have a long line of vehicles also waiting to use the chargers.

Again, this is not, at least in my experience, a problem for my Tesla Model 3. As I wrote before, I’ve already driven across the state and had absolutely no problems with a mid-state charge up at a Tesla Supercharger Station and, once I arrived at my destination, was able to charge up at a Supercharger Station there.

I’ve looked at the Supercharger Maps available online and I’m quite sure I could make trips through most of the United States and not have much of a need for other charging stations beyond the Tesla Superchargers.

But if I had a Volt, Bolt, Leaf, or any other EV car that cannot use the Tesla Supercharging network, I’d be facing a far more interesting time finding and using other chargers out there and for the reasons I noted above.

Will the charger work? I’ve seen posts where people lament the fact that they head to a charging station and once there find that it is not working. The Tesla Superchargers are listed on your car’s navigational map. Further, if you tell your Tesla you want to charge up, it will offer instructions to get to the closest Supercharger and will even tell you how many docks are currently available. If the station is out, it will also inform you of that and redirect you to another.

Secondly, what “speed” will the charger operate at? Will it be a lower lever charger, one that might take a good hour plus to get you a decent range? With the Tesla Superchargers, I believe they are all at least Level 2, which means they charge up your car quickly. In my case, I charged some 190-200 miles of range in a matter of 30 minutes or so the times I was “low” and charged things fully (My car has a range of 310 miles if 100% charged but I tend to charge the car to roughly 270 miles. It is recommended you do not charge 100% to help the overall life of the battery, though you can do full charges when going on longer range trips).

Frankly, I wasn’t aware of issues regarding charging stations when I purchased my Tesla. As I said above, my main interest was the car itself, and the reviews and my test drive convinced me the car was absolutely for me. It wasn’t until afterwards I realized getting a Tesla also made sense BECAUSE of the charging stations, and that having this car allowed you to make longer trips without too much worry.

Which begs two question: 1) Why the hell haven’t other EV auto makers made their cars capable of using the Tesla Superchargers?

The answer is pretty simple: Elon Musk has stated he doesn’t mind allowing other EV cars use his network but he has asked the automakers to provide some funds to maintain them. It seems eminently logical to me and would be a great boon for other EV car makers to be able to say they use the Tesla Superchargers but these car companies either don’t want to pay or want to keep their product separate from the Tesla cars. A dumb move, IMHO. If the networks are available, why not take advantage of them, even if it means paying Tesla a little something to maintain them?

But no. So far the only cars that use these networks are the Teslas themselves.

Which brings us to question…

2) Why the hell don’t the other EV car makers have something similar? Why don’t companies such as GM (makers of the Volt and Bolt) or Nissan have their own Supercharger systems?

The answer is: I have no clue. It almost seems like these auto makers are doing half-assed attempts to burst into the electric market. They seem like they’re hedging their bets, coming out with one or two EV cars which are getting decent reviews but feel like maybe the EV market will dry up and fade away so they continue to work harder on their gas-powered cars.

It seems Tesla, a company solely devoted to EV, is the only company that really thought through the needs of the EV market. They not only created the best EV cars out there, they thought farther ahead and realized that such cars not only needed to be manufactured, they needed to have a vast network of reliable charging stations and undertook the difficult, surely quite expensive task of creating these networks for their vehicles.

I firmly believe that the days of the gas powered car are rapidly coming to an end. The EV vehicles, as exemplified by the Model 3, are simply better cars and, I strongly suspect, in a matter of a few years I wouldn’t be surprised if new battery innovations result in ranges of 500+ miles on a full charge. Perhaps even more.

I hope the other car companies put more of an effort into releasing their EV cars… and thinking through the things that need to be done outside of the car itself to make it more desirable for the common consumer.

In the end, competition benefits the consumer.

The Beatles… Oddities

Just stumbled into these various videos, created by “You Can’t Unhear This” (who has a channel on YouTube) that examine some of the various oddities found in songs by The Beatles.

If you’re as big a fan of The Beatles as I am -and who doesn’t like The Beatles?!- then you may find this stuff fascinating as well…

First up, an examination of the song I’m Looking Through You, found on the album Rubber Soul, which features a bunch of odd notes and sounds and whom the author of this video deems The Beatles’ “messiest” song…

Next up, something I already knew about but still find quite funny. It’s the case of the hidden “F-Bomb” in the very famous song Hey Jude

Here we have the mysterious guitar solo in Let It Be

And here we examine the “craziest” edit in Beatles history, found on the song Strawberry Fields Forever. I was aware of the change in singing but I have to admit it never occurred to me this was a splicing of different “takes” on the song together. Ingenious stuff!

Finally, we have the “mystery” of who did the “aaaahhhhss” in what is to many, including myself, the very best song The Beatles ever made, A Day In The Life. I have to admit, of the videos presented, this one to me seemed the most obvious and I always assumed the person singing this part was the person they said it was (I’m trying not to give away the video). Anyway, here you go!

Life on Mars…?

It’s one of David Bowie’s all time best songs (and he made many great ones)…

…and its also something scientists, academics, novelists, musicans (yes), and the general public have grappled with for a very long time: The question of whether there is/was life on the planet Mars.

Over at scientificamerican.com, author Gilbert V. Levin offers this intriguing article, wherein he states…

I’m convinced we found evidence of life on Mars in the 1970’s

The article is presented on Scientific American, so don’t be terribly surprised by the dry analysis presented.

If you can work through it, you’ve got yourself a very fascinating article that posits the Viking craft that landed on Mars back in the 1970’s actually detected possible life, in the form of microbes, on the planet… but the results were considered tarnished for various reasons and not accepted.

Mr. Levin feels this is not the case, that the results are solid and prove we did discover “life on Mars” back then.

Give it a look. It’s fascinating stuff!

Lidar and Archaeology…

Absolutely fascinating article presented on nytimes.com and written by Zack Zorich concerning how…

Online map leads Archaeologist to Maya Discovery

One of the most interesting things about modern technology is that we’re able to discover things previously hidden thanks to satellite imagery and, as the article notes, lidar.

At the risk of giving away the entire article, it concerns how lidar images, some posted free online, allowed an archeologist to “see” buried structures. In this case, Mayan buried structures.

From the article:

These structures, which have been buried for hundreds of years, likely would never have been seen had it not been for the lidar photographs.

With photographs such as these, the buried structures, some under foliage or trees, are suddenly crystal clear and allow archeologists a clear guide to where to search for such structures.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff, and one wonders how many more buried ancient cities/towns/structures will be uncovered in the years to come all over the world!