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Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada)
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Surviving Survival
Surviving Survival
by Laurence Gonzales
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.87
31 used & new from CDN$ 10.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So you've survived a major crisis or trauma. Congratulations!! Now what??, Dec 1 2012
This review is from: Surviving Survival (Hardcover)
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"It is nearly impossible to live a full life without trauma. It may not be a shipwreck or war. It might be a husband who tries to kill you. It could be a bear that tears off half of your face. It might be cancer. But all such events share a dramatic quality that seems irresistible to the storyteller within us.

[These] stories always end like this: Just when Debbie and Brad seem doomed, the Russian freighter heaves into view and they are rushed to the hospital. Music up. Roll credits. Then they all live happily ever after. Offstage, of course.

But let's put the players back on stage and see what happens next."

The above extract is found in the prologue of this interesting and powerful book by Laurence Gonzales. He is a journalist and author.

This book is about coping and resilience AFTER a major trauma. In many cases, trauma or crisis survivors suffer more AFTER the trauma than they did during the actual trauma.

The author in each chapter describes the actual life-threatening experience that a person has survived (these alone makes for compelling reading) and how that person has coped in the aftermath of that experience.

Along the way (and I found this really interesting), Gonzales delves into several topics such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and biochemistry.

The last two chapters are entitled "The science of adaptation" and "The rules of life." These chapters put together all that was mentioned in the beginning chapters into precise and concise packages.

Finally, there is a two-page "Author's Note" at the end of the book. Here, the author tells us among other things what's going on now with all the survivors mentioned in this book.

In conclusion, this book, in my opinion, is simply brilliant. It presents vividly unforgettable stories of "fear, courage, and the adaptability of the human spirit."

(first published 2012; prologue; 15 chapters; main narrative 220 pages; author's note; notes; references; acknowledgements; credits; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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The Real "CSI"  (FRONTLINE)
The Real "CSI" (FRONTLINE)
Price: CDN$ 22.08
16 used & new from CDN$ 17.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Just how trustworthy is forensic evidence??, Nov. 24 2012
This review is from: The Real "CSI" (FRONTLINE) (DVD)
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"Forensic science is everywhere. On T.V., it's used to arrest and convict. But what we thought was science, may not be. Like the science of fingerprints. In fact, there is no national standard for any forensic testimony. And what about getting certified in forensics? You can do that online. [This program is an] investigation of one of the increasingly controversial tools of the criminal justice system: forensic science."

The above is what the narrator says in the introduction of this revealing documentary.

This program was first broadcast on PBS on April 17, 2012. It is a production of the popular investigative reporting show "Frontline."

This episode of Frontline specifically looks into:

(1) fingerprints
(2) a report on forensics by the National Academy of Sciences
(3) the Casey Anthony case
(4) forensic certification

Finally, to get its point across, this program has comments from real CSI investigators, judges, lawyers, those accused of a crime because of CSI or forensic evidence, etc.

In conclusion, this program reveals the truth behind forensic science. The big question is:

Has this documentary caused me to stop viewing my favourite CSI television program (which is "CSI Miami")?

NO. I like the main actor's acting ability. But now I realize that Crime Scene Investigation in the REAL world is not so simple.

(2012; 55 min; wide screen; 7 chapters)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Executive Decision
Executive Decision
DVD ~ Kurt Russell
Price: CDN$ 7.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You've made the right DECISION in choosing this action movie!!, Nov. 17 2012
This review is from: Executive Decision (DVD)
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"I hope there's a good movie on this flight."

The above is said by a U.S. commando as he secretly boards a hijacked civilian plane. (Two flight attendants on this plane are played by Halle Berry and Marla Maples Trump, former wife of "The Donald.")

This is what this movie is about: a group of commandos attempting to take back control of an Oceanic Airlines Flight 343 Boeing 747. Actually, it's a bit more complicated.

You have to get anti-terrorist commandos secretly onboard a hijacked plane that's in flight and make sure all 406 passengers are not harmed. As well, the Islamic terrorists have a sophisticated and deadly nerve gas ("DZ-5") bomb on the plane that will explode if there's an attempt at landing. Detonation is controlled remotely by a terrorist disguised as one of the passengers. (This person is known as the "sleeper" or "trigger man.")

The leader of the terrorists is the ruthless Nagi Hassan (David Suchet, taking on quite a different role from his excellent portrayal of Agatha Christie's Inspector Hercule Poirot).

A plan to save the plane and passengers is concocted by government officials with the help of Dr. David Grant (Kurt Russell) who is a "consultant to U.S. military army intelligence," commando leader Lieutenant Colonel Austin Travis (Steven Seagal without his ponytail), and engineer Dennis Cahill (Oliver Platt).

Everything does not go according to plan. Four commandos (one played by John Leguizamo as "Rat" and another one played by Joe Morton as "Cappy") get secretly onboard the hijacked plane that`s in flight. By accident, Dr. Grant and engineer Cahill also wind up on this plane.

Steven Seagal fans will be disappointed. He only appears in the first 45 minutes of this movie. (As well, his name is not even mentioned in the opening credits.)

This movie has a lot of action that keeps you involved. In other words, adrenaline junkies won't be disappointed. As well, there is good drama.

All the acting in this movie was quite good (even though Steven Seagal was nominated for a "Razzie"). But I have to give special kudos to both David Suchet and Kurt Russell for their fine performances.

This movie presents a lot of hi-tech. But it's low-tech Morse Code and engineer Cahill's low-tech "magic wand" that turn out to be lifesavers.

The background music adds to each scene.

I liked the singing of Frank Sinatra over the end credits. I thought this was a nice touch.

This is somewhat of a unique movie. It could not be made today in light of 9/11.

Oh! Incidentally, "executive decision" means a decision made by the President of the United States.

Finally, the DVD (released in 2010) has two extras. One of the extras are "Production Notes" and I found that the information they provided to be interesting.

In conclusion, in reference to the quotation that begins this review, I don't know if Flight 343 had a good movie. But I DO know that this is a good, exciting movie!!

(1996; 2 hr, 10 min; wide screen; 36 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Price: CDN$ 14.96
5 used & new from CDN$ 12.86

5.0 out of 5 stars "They must do what no army can do...or go where no army can go...penetrate the 'Castle of the Eagles!!'", Nov. 10 2012
This review is from: Where Eagles Dare (DVD)
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"Do me a favour, will you? Next time you have one of these things, keep it an all-British operation."

The above is said at the end of this thrilling World War II action movie starring Richard Burton (1925 to 1984) and Clint Eastwood.

The title of this movie "Where Eagles Dare" comes from (Act 1 Scene 3) of William Shakespeare's history play "Richard III" (circa 1593): "The world is grown so bad, the wren makes prey where eagles dare not perch."

It was directed by the same person who directed "Kelly's Heroes" (starring Clint Eastwood). Alistair MacLean (known for his fictional thrillers or adventure stories) wrote the novel of the same name and this movie's screenplay at the same time.

The mission of eight military agents (one of them a women [Mary Ure, 1933 to 1975], all of them British except one who's American) is straight-forward: get in, get or rescue an American General, and get out ALIVE.

The problem is that the American General is being held at the German Schloss Adler, the "Castle of the Eagles." This fortress is only accessible by cable car (or helicopter).

This mission is led by Major Smith (Burton) with Lieutenant Schaffer (Eastwood) doing the dirty work. Problems plague the mission right from the beginning.

You'll have to pay attention when watching this movie or you'll get confused. It has many twists and turns (that really kept me interested). Schaffer says it best when Smith reveals some important information:

"Major, right now, you got me as confused as I ever hope to be."

All actors do a good job in their roles but I have to give special kudos to Richard Burton as the leader of the mission. He gives a magnificent performance.

Also look for "scream queen" Ingrid Pitt in a small but essential role.

The background music adds to each scene. And the cinematography is just first-rate. (This movie was filmed on-location in Austria and Bavaria.)

The action in this movie is literally "explosive." The action on the cable cars is unforgettable.

Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2010) has three extras. One of these extras is a twelve-minute featurette which I found interesting.

In conclusion, this movie is a thrilling classic that you must see in order to understand why it was the biggest box-office draw in the year that it was released!!

(1968; 2 hr, 35 min; wide screen; 42 scenes)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands
Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands
by Ezra Levant
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Attempting to re-label DIRTY OIL as "ethical oil", Nov. 3 2012
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"[W]hat's important for us to remember is that, despite the pipe dreams of environmentalists, our carbon-based economy isn't going away...So we're stuck with oil for a long time, whether we like it or not. The only question that remains is: if we have to produce oil, and we have to buy oil--and we absolutely must do both--whose oil should we do our best to support? Who can we trust to do it the most morally? "

The above extract comes from the end of this very opinionated book by Ezra Levant. Several red flags went up after I read it.

According to this books inside back flap, Levant is a "lawyer, journalist, and political activist." Actually, Levant has a Commerce degree. After obtaining this, it was natural for him to get his law degree. (The law firm I deal with has the name "Dewey, Cheetem, and Howe.")

However, Levant has no degree or diploma in journalism. Thus, he is not a journalist. At best, he can be called a "media personality."

Also, we're not told that Levant was a tobacco industry lobbyist. Yes, he was one of those intelligent individuals who was paid to tell the public (which includes children) that smoking cigarettes causes no harm.

When I first saw the title of this book, "Ethical Oil," I assumed that the oil ITSELF (specifically, Canada's tar sands oil located in the Canadian province of Alberta) could be made so as to become "ethical" (that is, non-polluting, not affecting human health, and greenhouse-gas free). Sadly, this is not the case as this book is mainly concerned with where the oil comes from (as the above extract attests).

For Levant's argument to work, he must make the case that tar sands oil and its energy-intensive (thus expensive) extraction from the Earth is not an environmental threat. This he attempts to do--in spades. At the same time, he expounds on the merits of tar sand oil and the facilities that extract this oil.

Levant, among other things, attacks Greenpeace, environmentalists , environmental or "green" jobs, and individual people (such as a journalist--a REAL journalist). He even attacks the science of climate change or "global warming."

I found that Levant went off-topic many times. For example, he devotes a long chapter to "ethical funds." Not surprisingly, he discovers that ethical funds are not really that ethical saying that those who run these funds "say one thing, and do another." It's only at the end of this long chapter that he makes the sweeping conclusion that "This is the character of the oil sands' critics." (That is, they say one thing, and do another.) It's as if Levant suddenly remembered he was writing a book on the Canadian oil sands.

I had problems with some of Levant's references. For example, several references refer back to the "Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers."

The fact is, the logic of this book is faulty. Just because a country such as Canada is considered "ethical" (as Levant continually tells the reader) does not mean everything it produces or exports (such as tar sands oil) is ethical.

The science is also troubling. (Being a former tobacco lobbyist and having no scientific credentials, Levant doesn't really care about the science.) It shows that Alberta tar sands contribute to about 5 percent of Canada's greenhouse emissions and are Canada's fastest growing source of emissions. As of early 2011, they had disturbed a large area of boreal forest with little or no chance of true reclamation, using enormous amounts of water and polluting the surrounding air and water.

In the summer of 2010, an independent, peer-reviewed scientific study showed that toxic by-products from the tar sands extraction industry are poisoning a nearby river, putting downstream Aboriginal communities and the fish they consume at significant risk. Health studies show that these communities already have elevated rates of rare cancers associated with exposure to such toxins.

If Canada sells tar sands oil to countries with poor human-rights records, like China, does that effect the oil's "ethical" nature? And just how "ethical" are the companies operating in the tar sands? For example Exxon Mobile, well-known sponsor of climate-change disinformation campaigns or BP, responsible for the massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. There's also the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on our children and grandchildren--considered by many to be an intergenerational crime.

No matter what Levant says, oil has never been about "ethics." It's always been about (surprise, surprise) money (something Levant knows a lot about). Those like Levant who argue the case for "ethical oil" should work to ensure that our energy needs are met in a truly ethical way, now and into the future.

Finally, why hasn't this book an index? A wealth of information is presented but there's no easy access to it.

In conclusion, this book by former tobacco industry lobbyist Ezra Levant is an opinion-piece. It attempts to re-brand the dirty oil found in Canada's tar sands as "ethical oil."

(first published 2010; introduction; 12 chapters; conclusion; main narrative 235 pages; acknowledgements; sources)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Kellys Heroes
Kellys Heroes
Price: CDN$ 9.93
4 used & new from CDN$ 9.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They used to be another American army platoon but now they're "just a private enterprise operation", Oct. 27 2012
This review is from: Kellys Heroes (DVD)
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"Up yours baby"

These are the words on a cartoon sign (featuring Kilroy) that appears at the end of this offbeat comedy/war movie about a group of WWII soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank. Its main stars are Clint Eastwood (who plays Kelly), Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland. Others in this movie include Don Rickles, Carroll O'connor, and Gavin McLeod.

I mentioned the bank that`s to be robbed. Specifically, it's a bank that contains 14,000 gold bars (total value 16 million dollars). Oh, I forgot to mention that this bank is located thirty-miles behind enemy lines and is protected by three German Tiger tanks. (Tiger tanks were feared because of their might and impressive design.)

This is one movie where all actors do good jobs in their roles. But I have to give special kudos to Telly Savalas as the crusty but caring U.S. sergeant. And then there's Donald Sutherland who plays a U.S. tank commander. His character is, well, just--odd.

(Also, look for Telly's real-life brother, George and "Uncle Leo" of the sit-com "Seinfeld," Len Lesser.)

All of the action scenes are quite realistic and the background music adds to each scene. (The main theme music is entitled "Burning Bridges.")

This movie was filmed in Yugoslavia.

There is a nod to Eastwood's "spaghetti westerns" in the scene where there's a stand-off with a Tiger tank--a tongue-in-cheek remake of the ending of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (1966) right down to a very similar musical score.

This movie was directed by the same person who directed the excellent WWII adventure film "Where Eagles Dare" (1968) which starred Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

Finally, the only real extra on this DVD (released in 2010) is a theatrical trailer. (This is too bad because many who acted in this movie are still alive and I'd bet there are many "behind-the-scenes" stories.)

In conclusion, this movie has it all: a good story, good music, good acting, good action, it's funny, and it's dramatic. It's just a good movie or as Donald Sutherland's character would say,

"Woof, Woof."

(1970; 2 hrs, 25 min; wide screen; 37 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
The Rich And The Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto
by Tavis Smiley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.37
45 used & new from CDN$ 4.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's called the 'American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it", Oct. 20 2012
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"Dear Mr. President:

I'm sick and tired of a country that only works for the 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans while millions of Americans face unemployment, underemployment, and poverty. I urge you to stand up for the struggling 99 percent and call for a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty that will lead to long-term solutions and living-wage jobs for all Americans.

Our country is in a state of emergency and in need of bold decisive leadership. Americans need jobs and immediate solutions to support the unprecedented number of citizens who are now trapped in poverty.

I believe this country has the resources and expertise necessary to end poverty, but this effort must become a national priority mandated by the highest office in the land.

In order to set legislative priorities that will end poverty once and for all...I'm asking that your first official act of President of the United States be the convening of a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty in America."

The above is a letter to the next U.S. President (who takes office in late Jan. 2013). It is found in this incredibly informative but slim book (dedicated to the "poor people in America") by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. This book was written as a result of Smiley and West's "Poverty Tour" which took place in early Aug. 2011 (beginning in Hayward, Wisconsin and ending in Memphis, Tennessee).

Smiley is a broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist He is perhaps best known for his late-night T.V. talk show, "Tavis Smiley," on PBS. West is an educator, philosopher, and author as well as a Professor at Princeton University. He holds more than twenty honorary degrees.

As can be deduced from above, this book tackles the "P" word--poverty, with excellent suggestions for its elimination. Peppered throughout it are graphs and tables to back up all of its claims. What I especially found appealing was the quotations smattered throughout. (The quotation that entitles this review is by the late comedian George Carlin.) I also appreciated that everything that was said was put in an historical context.

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that it has no index. Each page is packed with information but with no easy access to it. Thus an index would have been very beneficial.

In conclusion, this book tells you everything about poverty in America especially the poverty that has resulted since the "Great Recession" that began in 2008. I leave you with these words from the authors:

"This manifesto is founded on the fundamental conviction that there must be a renaissance of compassion in America: there can be no genuine compassion without a resurrection of an explosively radical movement of righteous indignation directed at eradicating poverty."

**** 1/2

(first published 2012; introduction; 7 chapters; main narrative 205 pages; appendix; notes; acknowledgements; about the authors)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life
The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life
by Shimon Edelman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.27
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that attempts to understand what it means to be human and how humans are shaped by their journey through this world, Oct. 13 2012
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"The fundamental insight that serves as a starting point for [this book] is that the mind is inherently...a bundle of ongoing computations, the brain being one of many possible substrates that can support them.

I make the case for these claims by constructing...a conceptual toolbox that affords the reader a glimpse of the computations underlying the mind's faculties: perception, motivation and emotions, action, memory, thinking, social cognition, and language. This conceptual build-up culminates in an explanation that states...the nature of the phenomenal self and of consciousness."

The above comes from this slim but interesting book by Shimon Edelman. Edelman is now Professor of Psychology at Cornell University. He has also written many scholarly publications in theoretical neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence. Edelman is also an author.

Beware that this book does not give a comprehensive methodology of how to achieve happiness. Edelman says this more eloquently:

"I shall not pretend that the understanding at which we have arrived [at in this book] spells out a comprehensive algorithm for leading a happy life (although it does suggest some well-motivated actionable ideas, which could easily fill another book)."

Rather this book explains (in a scientific but unconventional way) why happiness can be increased and how this happens. This is done within a neuroscience and cultural framework.

What I found especially appealing about this book is that it has end-of-chapter synopses or summaries (except the first and last chapters). What I did when I read this book was to read the synopsis first for a particular chapter, then I read the chapter proper, and finally I re-read the chapter synopsis. I felt I obtained maximum value from this book by reading it this way.

This book, despite being slim, is not an easy read. It gives you a good vocabulary workout. As well, it would help to have a basic anatomical understanding of the nervous system.

What may frustrating to some readers is that Edelman does not talk about happiness until the end of the book. Especially, for the beginning chapters, I found myself asking, "What has this got to do with happiness?" However, in my case, I found the neuroscience intermingled with psychological insight interesting so I stuck with it. I was rewarded by the end of the book.

I think the author may have been aware that readers may become frustrated so he laid out "happiness teasers" along the way. For example, at the end of chapter one he states, "when fishing for happiness, catch and release." In the synopsis of chapter three, he says in the last sentence that:

"The computational nature of the understanding of the nature of perception, motivation, and action offers some intriguing insights into the meaning of, and the prospects for, the pursuit of happiness."

Finally, this book has an appendix (even though it's not labelled as such). This appendix is a review of this book written by the author. In other words, the author reviews his own book!! I don't think I've ever seen this before. I agree with the author's analysis of his book.

In conclusion, I found this to be quite an interesting book providing valuable insight into happiness. I leave you with this poem (written by C. Logue) which the author claims is this book's central message:

"You ask me:
What is the greatest happiness on earth?
Two things:
changing my mind
as I change a penny for a shilling;
and
listening to the sound
of a young girl
singing down the road
after she has asked me the way."

(first published in 2012; author's note; 7 chapters; main narrative 175 pages; appendix or book review; acknowledgements; notes; further reading; index)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Twelfth Night [Import]
Twelfth Night [Import]
DVD ~ Helena Bonham Carter
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 166.71
5 used & new from CDN$ 50.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HE'S really a SHE: a movie that proves that sometimes clothes REALLY do make the man!!, Oct. 5 2012
This review is from: Twelfth Night [Import] (DVD)
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"A while ago the world began,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day."

The above are the last words spoken (actually sung) in this well-acted movie based on William Shakespeare's (1564 to 1616) last romantic comedic play of the same name (written circa 1600).

With a lavish estate, plenty of amorous encounters, upper class--lower class plotting, and two cases of mistaken identity, this movie is like a house party where no one goes home. However, there is something sweetly sad, unsettling, and even bitter about this movie.

Both this movie and the play are festive but they also dabble in madness, despair, sexual ambiguity, and even cruelty.

The play is about love and grief, their pains and their pleasures, and how the two emotions are often difficult to distinguish. This movie captures all this quite well.

This movie features an all-star cast with perhaps Helena Bonham Carter (as the as the rich countess Olivia "of beauty truly blent") and Ben Kingsley (as her clownish sometimes singing "allowed fool" named "Feste") being the most identifiable. All the actors do good jobs in their roles but both Imogen Stubbs (as the very female Viola turned male "page" Cesario) and Nigel Hawthorne (as Olivia's self-loving attendant Malvolio) do, in my opinion, outstanding jobs in their roles.

Note that this movie trims down Shakespeare's original play. This had to be done or this movie would have been way too long. This movie also updates the play costume-wise to the late nineteenth century.

The background music & cinematography are beautiful and add to each scene.

Finally, the DVD released in 2005 has no subtitles or closed-captioning. However, it does have a few extras. I also noticed that on the DVD case, the movie has the title "Twelfth Night." However, the opening credits tell us that its real title is "Twelfth Night or What You Will."

Bottom-line:

This movie is a worthy addition to William Shakespeare's cinematic canon.

(1996; 2 hr, 10 min; wide screen; 22 scenes)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future
Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas and the Weather of the Future
by Climate Central
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.89
13 used & new from CDN$ 6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deniers and delayers BEWARE!! Separating fact (or truth) from fiction (or lies) with respect to climate change, Sept. 28 2012
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"This book is an attempt...to lay out the state of the current knowledge about climate change, with explanations of the underlying science given in clear and simple language. It's not exhaustive, but it covers the essentials...

We acknowledge that some aspects of the problem can't yet be addressed with certainty. We also make clear what climate scientists do know with a high degree of confidence.

To ensure technical accuracy, each chapter has been carefully reviewed internally by Climate Central scientists and revised in response to their comments. The chapters have been reviewed again by eminent outside scientists who have particular expertise in the relevant subject areas--and then, if necessary, revised again."

The above extract comes from the introduction of this informative, well-written, and slim book produced by the non-profit, non-partisan, science and journalism organization founded in 2008 called "Climate Central." This book was actually written by two journalists, Emily Elert & Michael Lemonick and reviewed by five Ph.D. scientists on staff at Climate Central.

In addition (as briefly mentioned in the above extract), every chapter has been reviewed by at least one non-staff referee, chosen for his or her expertise and professional reputation in a relevant area of climate or climate-related science. The names of these outside referee-scientists and who they are (mainly professors at distinguished universities) are listed at the back of the book. I counted over twenty names.

Note that this book isn't entitled "Global Warming" but rather "Global Weirdness" since warming is only part of the problem.

This book itself is divided into numerous "bite-size" sections that form chapters. Below I will give the title of a chapter (in upper-case) and give examples of section titles for that particular chapter:

(I) WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS (25 sections). Example section titles:

(1) "Global warming" or "climate change?" Doesn`t matter. It`s all the same
(2) Carbon dioxide is only part of the problem
(3) A quarter of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from fossil fuels, and its on the way up
(4) Carbon dioxide could stay in the air for hundreds or thousands of years, trapping heat the whole time
(5) Cutting down forests means more carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere
(6) Stop all greenhouse emissions and the temperature will keep going up
(7) Melting ice makes the oceans rise--but it's not the only factor
(8) The poles are warming up faster than other places. That's just what climate scientists predicted

(II) WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING (14 sections)

(1) Sea level is eight inches higher than it was in 1900
(2) Earth's temperature is about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than it was in 1900
(3) Glaciers and ice caps have been shrinking since about 1850
(4) Polar bears will suffer as the sea ice continues to melt
(5) Droughts, torrential rains, and other extreme weather are happening more often than they used too

(III) WHAT'S LIKELY TO HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE (12 sections)

(1) Since we don't know whether and how much people might cut greenhouse emissions, it's hard to know exactly how high the temperature will go by 2100
(2) An imperfect but still pretty good prediction: sea level will rise two to six feet by 2100. But that could change
(3) Climate change is likely to destabilize the food supply
(4) Freshwater will become scarcer

(IV) CAN WE AVOID THE RISKS OF CLIMATE CHANGE? (9 sections)

(1) Who says a two degree temperature rise won't bring really bad consequences? Not scientists
(2) Wind energy can't solve our emissions problems by itself. Neither can other renewables
(3) Nuclear energy is essentially carbon-free. That doesn't mean it's without issues.

Finally, the only problem I had with this book is that it is not easy to access information. This could have been easily remedied if:

(1) there was an index
(2) having in the table of contents a listing of all this book's sections
(3) having both (1) and (2).

This book does not choose any of these three options! For a topic of such importance, I felt that easy access to important information was imperative.

In conclusion, this is an excellent book that explains climate change or global warming in easy and accessible language!!

(first published 2012; introduction; 4 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 200 pages; references; list of outside referees)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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