Rants, Raves & Reviews – Midway

imagesBeing a lover of war movies, I had to see the new ‘Midway’ movie on the big screen. And since the genre’s not Cathryn’s favorite I brought a buddy. The previews looked amazing, especially with today’s CGI technology and special effects. I knew the battle scenes would be explosive, literally. I was also anxious to see how the new movie stacked up to the 1976 version.

Unlike many American-made war films this story is told and viewed from both sides, the United States and Japan. It’s about the battle of Midway, which turned the tide of war in the South Pacific during WWII. As in the earlier version, the movie starts with the attack on Pearl Harbour – the decisive blow that forced the U.S. into the war.

The story was a bit choppy. It covered a lot of material and tried to focus on the personal lives of certain soldiers, along with naval strategies behind the scenes. There was plenty of action and battle scenes to carry the movie past the two hour mark. It didn’t drag on but definitely outlasted my popcorn.

The acting was good but there were only a few recognizable faces in the cast – unlike the ’76 version with its star-studded ensemble. That version also used actual battle footage which brought a sense of realism to the movie. In this new installment viewers get a look at director John Ford on the island of Midway, while he films the 1942 publicity documentary of the same name.

Overall the movie was good, but it felt lacking and got a 7 out of 10 from both my bro-friend and I.

Rant, Raves & Reviews – Jack Ryan

p17351835_b_v8_acWho doesn’t like Jack Ryan, the loveable CIA Analyst played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and now John Krasinski? Even though he routinely gets out from behind his desk to save the world, he seems more like the guy next door than that famous British spy.

Cathryn and I have taken the next step in home entertainment by streaming movies and shows through the internet and on our television. We thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Jack Ryan and I was excited to hear that Prime Video was releasing the second season a day early.

Guess how we spent Halloween night? Instead of coaxing costumed munchkins to our front door with the promise of candy, we hid in the dark and binged on season two of Jack Ryan. I felt like a junkie craving one more fix when the eighth and final episode concluded. What the hell, a season is only eight episodes now?

Anyway, the new series was a bit more explosive as the first, with scenes in places like Moscow and Caracas, Venezuela. So be sure to check out Amazon Prime if you have it, but I’m sure it will make its way to Crave or Netflix too. Be sure to listen for the reference to a Canadian institution – CIA boss Jim Greer poses as a Canadian coffee businessman by the name of Timothy Horton.

Rants, Raves & Reviews: Judy

imagesWhere were the new movie releases this past summer? And I don’t mean the remakes of superhero flicks. I’m talking about good drama or even action movies – blockbusters that used to debut in July or August, or even September. Are they saving all the good movies for November, just in time for Oscar nominations perhaps? It would seem so with the list of releases set for this winter season.

Cathryn and I couldn’t remember the last time we went to a movie so we were happy to get out and see Judy, with Renee Zellweger portraying the famous singer Judy Garland. The previews looked enticing and the reviews raved about Renee and the story.

I didn’t know much about Garland prior to the movie, other than her performance in the Wizard of Oz. The film is about her life during and after Oz, and it taught me a lot. Considering what the movie executives did to the young actress, it was no surprise that she died at the age of 47.

The story was bleak at times, but many hollywood biographies usually are. As she was in real life, the movie Garland was likeable and easy to root for. Zellweger nailed the part and will surely win some awards for her performance. I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster following this woman’s life. The ending was heart-warming and a tear-jerker.

Cathryn and I both enjoyed the movie. She gave it a 10. I gave it an 8.

Four – A Paranormal Thriller by Edmond Gagnon

Here’s my latest novel, coming soon…

Front Cover

While sitting around a campfire at their cottage in Northern Michigan, Kevin Jordan and his son, Timothy, witness strange happenings in the starry sky.

Timothy is introduced to friends of his father; three men, each from a different corner of the world. Throughout the night he learns how unexplained events in their lives brought them all together.

The Young man is skeptical of their fantastic stories and unique adventures. But when extraordinary things begin to happen on his own familiar shoreline, he must reconsider his thinking.

Four is a paranormal thriller that will have you questioning your own beliefs.

Ed’s Weekly Rant – Litter

wZ4_pH6zwyHfP2icTUVb4LXXYEwRt0KNUer-bsCWFLgCathryn came home all worked up today about the piles of litter around the east end Walmart store in Windsor. She noted garbage in the parking lot, as well as around the front of the store and in the shopping cart storage area. Going there to buy groceries, she was put off by the uncleanliness of the property as a whole.

I can relate and have seen all kinds of paper and plastic bags strewn across empty fields and neighboring lots and properties. Cathryn chose to complain to someone in the store on this occasion, since they obviously don’t care about the appearance of their store outside. Are employees and managers blind to this when they come and go from work?

Litter has always been a pet peeve of mine – and not this latest crusade to ban plastic to keep it from our oceans. When I was a beat cop I went out of my way to stop pedestrians or pull over cars if I witnessed them littering. Do people think their fast food containers or bags are going to disappear when tossed out the window? It’s just laziness and ignorance.

My newest beef is with cigarette smokers who toss their butts at traffic lights. The city has gone to the expense of laying artificial grass on medians to make the appearance of our roads more palatable, but now they’re an ashtray for drivers who don’t know what to do with or don’t care about where they put their buts.

I make no apologies to any of my friends who are smokers. Maybe you should try swallowing that butt. Disgusting right? That is how I feel when I stop at a traffic light and look out my car window.

Ed’s Weekly Rant- Navigation – Paper Map or Electronic Device

a user is setting the gps on his carCall me old and stupid because I’m a map guy, but has anyone else every put their trust in a GPS while driving and ended up in a parking lot or dead end street? Maybe I wasn’t listening and should pick a better voice, one that says, “turn now you big dummy.” I’m sorry, but these devices are not foolproof and I know I’m not the only person who’s been led astray by one.

My first experience of trusting a GPS was on a boys bike trip where I was the old map guy and the three younger dudes all had fancy electronic gadgets that were supposed to take us to our cabin in the Smokey Mountains. When my buddy’s GPS said we’d arrived at our location I laughed out loud. There wasn’t a cabin, house, mailbox, or anything inhabitable in sight.

Cathryn and I relied on our GPS, a road atlas, and a guidebook on our recent cross-country trip on Route 66. Although not perfect, the book was the most reliable resource. I’m ranting on this topic because of Cathryn’s niece who recently told us paper maps are completely useless. This is from a Millennial who relies on Google to find the nearest shopping mall in the city.

Navigation systems are now built right into our vehicles and are supposed to be safer and more convenient – no more distracted driving or wire plugs hanging from your rear view mirror. But what about those fancy displays that tell you everything except what you ate for lunch?

The display on my dash likes to change when it feels like it and I constantly have to take my eyes off the road to get the proper screen back up. Same with the read-out for my odometer and speedometer, fluid levels and tire pressures that change with the weather.

My favorite is when my display goes black with a message that’s it’s unsafe to take your eyes off the road while driving. And how does one clear such a message? By taking their eyes off the road to select the appropriate button. It must have made perfect sense to the idiot engineer who designed it.

Ed’s Weekly Rant -Turning Wrong

GREEN+ARROWI know it’s not just me who has to look ahead and both ways before entering an intersection on a green light. Since when does green mean wait for everyone else who’s blowing the red before you go? And wasn’t it yellow lights that used to mean hurry up and go?

My wife complains to me almost daily about how many people who turn after the green and yellow arrows and then the red light. Is there a contest I don’t know about where ignorant drivers get a prize for being third or fourth or even the fifth car to blow through the intersection instead of stopping like they are supposed to.

Personally, I lay on my horn and barrel towards the blatant offenders, trying to scare the shit out of them or at least wake them up. One would expect to have the bird flipped in their direction for such behavior but most drivers continue through the intersection as if I’m not there and about to broadside them.

I wonder why the police don’t sit at these intersections instead of picking off dangerous speeders going 15km’s over the limit-it would be like shooting cars in a junk yard. Is blowing red lights not more dangerous than breaking the speed limit on an open road? Would camera’s at intersections make a difference? Is there a better solution?

Maybe it’s just Windsor drivers. I’ve driven in many other cities and some countries and haven’t seen it this bad at controlled intersection. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen safer intersections in some countries where there are no signs or lights at major intersections. We obviously couldn’t handle such responsibility here.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

HollywoodI think Cathryn and I may have felt this way about the last Quentin Tarantino movie we went to see; it sucked and was one of the worst movies we’ve ever seen. The best part of the movie was the soundtrack – lots of great songs from the 60’s and 70’s. Those responsible for set locations and wardrobe did a great job in reviving memorabilia and the fashion of the time.

To be fair we enjoyed some of the acting and the interaction between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Small parts or cameos by other big names weren’t enough to make this movie enjoyable. It started out slow and continued to painfully drag along right up until the explosive ending that was completely different than the real life events it mimicked.

Two other people in the audience left about half way through the yawner and we both considered following suit. I almost nodded off twice. Cathryn finally bailed about fifteen minutes before the ending which I thought was completely ridiculous. The whole movie was too long and drawn out.

In considering the little things we liked about the movie we’re each generously giving this flick a 2 out of 10.

Ed’s Weekly Rant -Disposable Electronics

DocumentI’m not one to complain about the amazing advancements in technology that I’ve witnessed in my short lifetime, but at what monetary cost are these wondrous inventions delivered to us? I know I’m not the only baby boomer who’s noticed how disposable our electronic devices and gadgets have become.

Let me start with my personal computer. I’ve recently switched carriers, going for newer and more advanced fiber optic service that promises faster internet speeds than their old style cable competitors. My installation went smoothly but the service technician found my computer was running slow. A speed check on the new line confirmed it was my hardware.

My computer is about 5 or 6 years old (had to replace the previous one cause it was slow) and I added RAM about a year ago to speed things up. Slow response times on the internet was one of the reasons for switching companies. So why, I asked my friendly installer, is my computer continually getting slower. Updates, was his first response – think about your cell phone he said.

I’d already learned long ago not to add all the suggested updates to my phone because it becomes completely locked up and you have to get a new phone. If you think that big companies like Microsoft would never do something like that on purpose, you’d better think again. They need to sell new products to make money so it’s only good business sense to make your devices obsolete because they know you’ll buy new ones.

Just in the last couple years we’ve had to buy new computer components and  replace audio equipment because the old stuff wasn’t compatible to our new smart TV. If it’s so smart why couldn’t if communicate with our other electronics? We had to toss our Blackberry because they’d no longer service it and the Kobo because they don’t make parts for it – so much for buying Canadian.

We also have an old wifi router sitting in the basement, along with an old stereo and DVD player…who uses those anymore? We just stream everything now and ignore the hundreds of DVD’s that I wasted money on. The good news is that I made some good cash selling a bunch of movies to a pawn shop. The bad news is that now I have to buy a new computer so we can enjoy all of our other helpful gadgets that we’ve come to depend on.