Blade Runner – New Questions

I was driving earlier today, recounting a rather long and vivid dream that I had last night. This dream got me to thinking about one of the quieter scenes in the movie Blade Runner and some questions that never crossed my mind before.

In the movie, after Zhora and Leon are “retired”, Rachael and Deckard retreat back to his apartment. After some talk Deckard cleans up his wounds and winds up falling asleep. Rachael sits down at Deckard’s piano and begins to play. Deckard slowly awakens, approaches Rachael at the piano and says, “I dreamt music”. Rachael plays again and replies, ” I didn’t know if I could play. I remember lessons, I don’t know if it’s me or Tyrell’s niece.”

This got me thinking, what childhood memories would she have besides Tyrell’s niece? Would she be able to read music and play piano based solely on the implanted memories or was this a built in replicant ability? Bryant refered to her as a Nexus 6 and Tyrell stated that she was an experiment. That’s pretty much all that we know about Rachael. As a replicant we do not know her Incept Date, her Function or her Mental and Physical Levels. Are replicants able to learn new skills on the fly, or are all of their abilities programmed?

One of the many great things about Blade Runner is that even after many repeated viewing over the years you still see new things. You still may have new and unanswered questions. These questions continue to help keep the movie fresh and inspire yet another viewing.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., A Reevaluation

I am currently in the process of rewatching the first season of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the third season winding down and the impending release of Captain America: Civil War, it felt like a good time to reevaluate the series. Six episodes in, so far, and I am enjoying the first season much more than when it first aired.

I must say that my expections of what I thought the show was going to be really lead to an initial letdown. Overall Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a character driven show that happens to be set in the Marvel universe.  I was expecting a fast paced show full of action and super powered heroes and villians.  At times there is a great deal of action and the appearance of super powered characters, but these are not always the main elements. The main thrust of the show is the characters, the slow reveal of their back stories and how they work together as a team.

It’s quite interesting rewatching the character development of the team from the begining knowing where they will wind up in seasons 2 and 3. In some way each member of the team has been through hell.  Each has grown, for better or worse, into drastically different versions of themselves throughout the show’s run.

There is some debate about one of the major plot twists in season one. Some feel that it was written in later, in reaction to the storyline of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But there seem to be subtle hints that perhaps the twist was planned all along.  If the twist was intended from the begining than major kudos to the writers.

To date Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a very enjoyable show that has improved greatly with each new season. It is a nice piece of the ever growing Marvel cinematic universe.  It is also on a short list of my  must watch television shows.  Here’s to hoping that the series will continue to improve and have a long run.

The Confessions Of A Satisfied Yankees Fan

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As the 2016 Major League Baseball season begins, I have a confession to make.  Let me start by saying that I have been a fan of the New York Yankees for most of my life. I am going to make a confession that may infuriate some fellow fans and confuse others.  If the Yankees never win the World Series again, in my lifetime, I am okay with it.  Some may question my loyalty as a fan, based on this statement, but let me explain. From 1995 to 2015 the Yankees went to the playoffs almost every year, missing only three years. They played in seven World Series and won five of them . That is an embarrassment of riches. I have witnessed a great deal of amazing playoff baseball in my lifetime. Many fans have yet to see their team win a championship. Some fans have never seen their favorite team even make it to the World Series.  Another confession, deep down I would love to see the Yankees win it all every year, but that’s not realistic and it is a bit greedy.  I have seen enough winning baseball to last me a lifetime. That being said, let’s go Yanks!!!

Led Zep – My 10 Favorite Songs

Just my opinion, but I feel that Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band of all time. Their catalog defines well written, iconic songs, outstanding musicianship and extremely well produced albums. Add to that the fact that Jimmy Page seemingly wrote nearly every great guitar riff ever.  Has any rock band, besides The Beatles, been more influential on popular music?

All that being said I would consider myself a causal fan of the band.  I love many Zeppelin songs, however as great as they were there are other bands, many heavily influenced by Zeppelin, that appeal to me more. But that does not mean that I do not recognize their greatness. Over the years I have heard most of the band’s catalog, either through the cassettes and cds that I’ve owned or borrowed, as well as from the massive airplay that the band has gotten on rock stations in my area.

A few days ago I was reading an article on the recording and release of Presence, so of course I had to play the cd. Hard to believe that it was released 40 years ago.  That got me to thinking about my ten favorite Led Zeppelin songs.  Here they are, in no particular order.

The Immigrant Song – Short and sweet, 2 minutes and 24 seconds of metallic fury.  As an aside, Stryper recently recorded a great cover version.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine – So heavy, how did Page write SO many great riffs?

Kashmir – I consider Kashmir, and not Stairway To Heaven, to be the band’s best song.  That riff is so hypnotic.

Bring It On Home -A great example of Page’s guitar army, massive guitar riffage here.

The Ocean – One of the best guitar riffs ever.

The Song Remains The Same – Such a great prog rock track.

No Quarter – I always loved this song’s atmosphere.

Dancing Days – Great guitar riffage, along with Plant’s incredibly cool vocal make for an amazing tune.

All Of My Love – The band didn’t need heavy guitars to be great. Includes some very tasty, understated guitar work from Page.

Fool In The Rain – Like so many of Zep’s songs this one has an incredible groove.  Another great vocal from Plant.