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Forget the shrine, embrace the sheds Part II

With a tight schedule and believing it would suffice to only see the outside of the museum, I left the museum and drove to the next famous tourist attraction in Memphis: Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. I thought, “Oh man, won’t it be magnificent to see the whopping private jet, the fancy car and the mammoth mansion of Elvis? As a not-so-rich traveller who tried to save every dollar in the long drive from Chicago to the South, often by means of rationing money spent on meals, I decided to find a free parking space nearby, as it costs $10 to park inside the Graceland complex. »»»

Forget the shrine, embrace the sheds Part I

In my recent trip to Memphis, Tennessee, I went to the famous Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony in front of room 306. Now the motel has been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum, acting as a shrine for the poignant memories where Dr. King fell and the painful struggle that helped blacks rise triumphantly from oppression and denigration, although the struggle continues. Outside the museum, there is a protest stand and behind the makeshift shack and the weather-worn banner, where at first a black man stood, although in he was replaced by a thin woman moments later. Her name is Jacqueline Smith and she has been protesting the situation facing black Americans at the museum since its establishment in 1991. I learned about Jacqueline’s experience from a very brief account with a Chinese visitor to the site. »»»

What’s wrong with Hollywood?

Gravity is mediocre. The Internship is a commercial for Google. This is the End is a disaster. These are all getting high scores from IMDB. When the bad things get good reviews and high scores, it means the whole industry is at risk — the trust is lost. When movie watchers know the hard earned money and precious time are spent on manipulated reviews and scores, they will stop going to movie theaters. What’s coming next Hollywood? Depression. »»»

Don’t watch Gravity

Gravity’s score and reviews on IMDB is dubious. For a stunning high score of 8.7 and over 48 thousand votes, I thought this movie must be very good. However, the result is disappointing. I will just give this movie a 6.0 for its visual effects but the story line is very simple and hurried to the end. »»»

Some notes in the aftermath of Breaking Bad

OK, I was wrong about the finale of Breaking Bad and Heisenberg did die. The most unforgettable line in the last episode is, when talking about why he did what he did, “I liked it. I am good at it”. This explained why he wasn’t successful as chemistry teacher, because he didn’t fulfill his destiny — to do the things he is good at. The scene when the hidden machine gun in the trunk mowed down all the gang members is a cathartic outbreak of revenge. It is well done. However, it could be even better if he used his chemistry skills to deal with the gangs. »»»

Walter White will not die

I haven’t watched the last episode of Breaking Bad, but I am pretty sure Water White did not die in the finale. The producers and script writers have two choices: one is letting Mr. White put up a good fight and kill all his enemies and died a heroic death. The rationale behind this ending is Mr. White has late stage cancer and he will die anyway. The second ending is Mr. White will kill all his enemies and walk into the setting sun as Heisenberg — with his tell-tale hat. »»»

The mechanization and standardization of American life

When I am reading the little and old book called America in Perspective, which collects over 30 essays written by foreigners to describe American way of life. The excerpt written by Richard Muller-Freienfels offered very penetrative insights by characterize as a country of mechanization and standardization. Although it was published in 1927, the descriptions are still exactly true in today’s America. I couldn’t help but dogear the page and jog down his insights as follows: »»»

IMDB score is inflated

Like the ongoing inflation, the rating score on IMDB is inflated. The movies with a rating of 7 or above are tedious and boring. Honestly, the 2012 movie Lincoln, which has a rating of 7.6, is unbearable to watch. After the first twenty minutes, I just quit. On the other hand, some movies are underrated. For example, Identity Thief is a good road trip comedy, but it is only rated 5.3. My experience is that any comedy with a rating of 5 or above is worth watching if you just want to relax and have some fun time. »»»