KC Area ‘Beltway’ Enters 3rd Decade or “A Tale of Two States”

“Kansas followed the Texas plan, buying a wide enough swath of land for the high-speed interstate artery plus room for parallel service roads,” says Kerr. “Missouri just bought enough land for the interstate route and diamond intersections, and didn’t connect those diamonds from point to point.”

http://kcur.org/post/after-30-years-i-435-more-success-story-kansas-missouri#stream/0

I drive I-435 on the Kansas side nearly everyday. And I remember before it was completed and you couldn’t drive completely around the 81-mile circuit. I’m thankful my home state took the long view instead of being shortsighted for future generations. 

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Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Sarasota Opera

As a Matter of Fancy

imageGiacomo Puccini‘s Madama Butterfly at the Sarasota Opera

This being our second opera experience (the first being Verdi’s Aida at Sarasota in 2016), we now have a point of comparison.

Butterfly was better, and not just because my great-niece was cast. Where Aida was epic and pompous, Madama Butterfly was intimate and evocative story. As we’ve come to expect from Sarasota, the music and sets were great. After praising the ability (and stamina) of Joanna Parisi as Butterfly, we admired the simple, but evocative setting—essentially the same for all three acts—and amazing lighting transitions. Good show.

Rachelle Moss sang Kate Pinkerton, the American bride of the villainous lead male. The part is minor, but meant Rachelle was named on the program (as opposed to anonymously appearing among the wedding party, which she also did in Act One). She and Lt. B. F. Pinkerton (played by Italian Antonio Coriano)…

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Stuck in 1945

Two consecutive weekends I’ve returned to the Pacific, specifically 1945.

The Great Raid (2005)Last weekend, I watched The Great Raid, which I’d somehow missed when it was released twelve years ago in 2005.  This movie retells the story of The Raid at Cabanatuan, a rescue of Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians from a Japanese camp near Cabanatuan City, in the Philippines. On January 30, 1945, during World War II, United States Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts, and Filipino guerrillas liberated more than 500 from the POW camp.

This movie was a segue for me from The Railway Ran , which I watched two years ago and that I mentioned in my recent post on ‘Dropping the Bomb.’

My Rating:  3.5 to 4 stars

Joseph Fiennes turn in an excellent performance as the tragic Major Gibons, but the real surprise for me was seeing Connie Nielsen as Margaret Utinsky.  I spent half the movie distracted because I could not place her face in my memory.  I gave up and checked IMDB and had that epiphany feeling when I realized she performed as Lucilla in the twisted Roman triangle with Commodus and Maximus five years earlier in Gladiator.

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)I followed The Great Raid yesterday with a viewing of U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men of Courage.  This film more closely related to my post about ‘Dropping the Bomb’ since “In 1945, the Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, commanded by Captain Charles McVay (Nicolas Cage), delivers parts of the atomic bomb that would later be used to level Hiroshima during the ending of World War II. While patrolling in the Philippine Sea, on July 30 in 1945, the ship is torpedoed and sunk by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine I-58, taking 300 crewmen with it to the bottom of the Philippine Sea, while the rest climb out of the ship and are left stranded at sea for five days without food, water and left in shark-infested waters.” (Wikipedia).

My Rating:  3.5 stars

I survived Cage’s stilted acting, with the help of the supporting cast, who performed admirably and believably.  Matt Lantner, whose grandfather, Kenley Lanter, was one of only 317 men to have survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.  Matt portrayed Chief Petty Officer Brian “Bama” Smithwick with his usual All American boy-next-door Midwestern heart.  And did I mention he’s also the voice of Anakin in Star Wars: The Clone Wars?

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)I ended the weekend with the much anticipated and highly acclaimed Hacksaw Ridge, which I’d been hesitant to watch for fear of a too real portrayal of warfare (remember the opening to Saving Private Ryan?).

Hacksaw Ridge is a film “about the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacificist combat medic who was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refusing to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Okinawa.” (Wikipedia)

My Rating:  4-4.5 stars

Outstanding story, directing and acting.  Truth is so much stranger than fiction and infinitely more inspiring.  “Just one more, Lord” are words to live and die by.  I highly recommend this movie and I’m sorry I waited so long to watch it.

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Dropping the Bomb

My Brain Upgrade Project continues apace with readings on social and political philosophy.  I wrapped up the chapter with a section on the Limits of the State, which included the following Philosophy and Life insert on p. 595 of my Philosophy textbook:

Philosophy and Life - Society and the Bomb (p. 595)

I choked up reading the quote above in the left-hand column attributed to Henry L. Stimson.  Continue reading

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Reblogged Review of Being Mortal

Two of my real-life book clubs are reading Being Mortal this year. I recommended it to my uncle, who wrote the following review:

Book Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (Five Stars) – http://wp.me/p4lV5z-XJ

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Modesitt on the Fallacy of Undergrad as Vocational Programming

I am guilty of advocating more women pursue STEM degrees, but I’m also one hundred percent behind my daughter’s choice of career in vocal performance. At one point in her life, she was perfectly happy to pursue a STEM related career in zoology or chemistry. But her talent and love of music won the battle for her vocation. I have a career, more aptly referred to as just a job, in technology, but I can in no way begin to claim it is a calling or satisfying as a true vocation would have been. Ah, the regrets.

Recently, a semi-prominent president of an educational institution told a group of music professors that they shouldn’t complain about the fact that they were paid less than professors in other disciplines or that they were required by the institution to work longer hours and more days than most other professors because they “knew what they…

via The Education/Business Fallacy — L.E. Modesitt, Jr. – The Official Website

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