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Movie Review: “Inception”

Posted by on Aug 22, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 3 comments

christopher-nolan-dalla

 

Writer’s Note:  This is a previously unpublished movie review of INCEPTION, which was released in 2010.

 

WARNING !

WARNING !!

WARNING !!!

DO NOT SEE THIS FILM !!!

What a piece of rubbish !!!

It’s been 90 minutes since I got home and my hands are still shaking.  Seriously, I had trouble driving home.  A throbbing headache.  I just went through 2 hours and 38 minutes of sheer misery.

I just spent $30 dollars on the IMAX version of Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.  Saw it today at the Red Rock Theatre.  $15 a pop to watch it on the giant screen.  With Marieta, that’s thirty bucks.  Most we’ve ever blown on a movie.

Anyone who had anything to do with INCEPTION should be kicked in the ass, hog tied, and given a one-way Greyhound ticket out of Hollywood.

How in the fuck could they blow $100 million on production and not get someone to write a fucking script???  You know, a SCRIPT!   Some pieces of white paper with some words written on them.  A S-C-R-I-P-T.  Something that has a FUCKING PLOT!!!!!!!!!!

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Murder in Black and White

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Blog, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

 

murder-in-black-and-white

 

A few days ago, a white woman was murdered in St. Louis.

You may have heard about this tragic story.  It was posted everywhere.  The 23-year-old woman, a former college volleyball player, was attacked in the front seat of her car in a parking lot and killed.  She was shot to death.  No one knows why.  The killer is still at large.

Everyone described the young woman as a wonderful person.  She was pretty.  She was popular.  She had her whole future ahead of her – tragically cut short in an act of utter senselessness.  Her photo is posted above.

But what else happened that same day? What else happened on the very day that Megan Boken died?

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Pet Sounds

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 2 comments

 

Nolan Dalla Cat

Alex — Our 11-year-old stray adopted from a shelter in Washington, DC

 

A few years ago, a famous Italian winemaker came to the United States on a mission.  He was determined to open up a new restaurant in the Seattle area.

The winemaker and aspiring restauranteur was in the process of hiring his staff.  While conducting job interviews with each applicant, he made it a point to pose one rather unusual question to each of his prospective employees.  It didn’t matter if the position was for manager, cook ,waiter, or dishwasher.  The question was always asked.

“Do you own any pets?”

Pets?  This seemed like a very strange question.  Especially for a job interview at a restaurant.  After all, the applicants weren’t applying for jobs in a pet store.

But the winemaker had his personal reasons for posing such a seemingly oddball question.  Immediately after asking about their pets, he watched the eyes and monitored the expressions of all those who were sitting across the table, eagerly hoping to be part of his new restaurant.  He listened carefully to the way each applicant spoke about their pets.  Were they excited?  Were there expressions of love in their voices?  For those who did not own a pet, was there a desire to get one someday?  For those who no longer had a pet, did they grow up with dogs and cats?  If so, how did they feel about them?

Naturally, this was a curious thing.  The winemaker was asked what any of this had to do with owning and operating a successful restaurant.

“Why do you ask every applicant if they own a pet?” he was asked by the person who told me this story.  The winemaker’s answer was intriguing.

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Will Those Who Praised George W. Bush For “Keeping Us Safe” Now Give the Same Credit to President OBAMA?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2012 in Blog, Politics | 3 comments

 

You remember the line of bullshit.

“Well, at least President Bush kept us safe.”

In 2004, that line pretty much summed up George W. Bush’s re-election slogan.  He ran a presidential campaign based entirely on fear — and it worked.  The slogan later became Bush’s swan song when he left office, since there wasn’t much else to brag about during eight years of crony capitalism, unless pushing the economy to the brink of depression deserves mention.

Indeed, at least President Bush could make one bold claim, which was — “he kept us safe.”

We won’t spend too much time here, citing the obvious white elephant taking a dump on simple logic.  Recall, the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor happened on President Bush’s watch.  Accordingly, for anyone to suggest the former president “kept the nation safe” brings to mind the absurd imposition hypothetically posed to Mary Todd Lincoln on the night of her husband’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre.  “Other than the gunshot blast to your husband’s temple, Mrs. Lincoln — did you enjoy the play?”

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Nolan Dalla Rants: DJ’S Earning Millions — Madness Spinning Out of Control

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Rants and Raves | 4 comments

overpaid-dj

 

I swear — I’m not making this up.

A few days ago, a story appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a so-called “superstar DJ.”

I know.  I had to do a doubletake on that one, too.  “SUPERSTAR DJ.”

He reportedly earned $2 million last year.

Just in case you don’t get it — a “superstar DJ” is a personality (I cringe at the notion of celebrity) who is invited to a special event — usually a hot nightclub opening or swim party — to come in and (hold your breath) spin records.

That’s right — spin records. As in pop a few LPs on a turntable and pump up the volume.

Which begs the first question — wouldn’t it be a helluva’ lot easier to just load up a few CDs, hit the “play” button, and watch the dancing begin?  In the ecstasy-laced fantasyland of velvet ropes, VIP lines, and $22 cocktails, you think anyone in these high-priced insane asylums would know the fucking difference?

So, like I said — the “superstar DJ” shows up on a busy Friday or Saturday night and plays club music.  You know what I’m talking about — that inpenatrable thunder of batshit with the bass turned up so fucking loud your eardrums explode.  You know, that techno-jizz created by pre-programmed software. You know, that mindless industrial gunk played so goddamned loud you can’t even hear the person next to you  screaming in your ear.  Then again, maybe that’s the appeal.

I’m told these clubs are little more than meat markets.  How anyone actually picks up someone in one of these places is a complete mystery.  I mean, what’s a the typical opening line, “What a nice girl like you doing in a shithole like this?”

Stick with me.  There’s a punch line coming.

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Movie Review: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 2 comments

Southern Wild Photo

 

MOVIE REVIEW:  “BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD”

 

The opening scene in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” begins with great promise.  We’re introduced to an enchanting seven-year-old girl, played to perfection by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis.  She takes us by the hand on what will be a narrative adventure into her unseen world — the murky backwaters of the Louisiana Bayou.  As starting credits rolled, I thought to myself that I was about to experience one of the best films of the year.

Instead, an hour later, I was standing out in the lobby following a walkout.

So — what happened?

Critics have fallen all over themselves in reviews of this film.  It’s received almost universal praise – for cinematography, story, performances, and originality.

It’s easy to see why the reviews have been so positive.  Indeed, the film is original.  It’s emotional.  It’s a tremendous cinematic achievement, especially given its low budget ($1.8 million, paltry by Hollywood standards).  Filming in a swamp, which is the setting for the entire film, must have been a daunting challenge.  Moreover, for a film with no known actors, the performances prove to be not only realistic, but perhaps too convincing for conventional tastes.

So – why did I storm out of this film?

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The Dawn of Enlightenment and the Dusk of Superstition

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

Nolan Dalla Living Room

 

There was some encouraging news last week.  A series of polls was conducted in several nations.  The polls intended to measure religious faith and atheism.  The findings were published last Friday.

The bottom line is — religion is on the decline.  Or, as I prefer to think of it — enlightenment is on the rise.

That’s positive news to those of us fatigued by the insufferable influences of religion on politics and society.  How refreshing to learn that increasing numbers of people everywhere are rebuffing the archaic superstition of some giant “sky daddy,” rejecting the whimsy of a paternal heavenly dictator who sees and knows all.

If the poll numbers are to be believed, the shifts in faith (and lack thereof) are stunning.  Globally, belief in religion declined 9 percent since a similar poll was taken back in 2005.  That’s just eight years ago.  This number is based on 50,000 people who were polled in 57 different countries.

In the United States, the number of religious followers declined by 13 percent.  But that number pales in comparison to Ireland, where religiosity declined by a whopping 22 percent.  To be fair, the weakening of Irish faith may have a lot to do with recent scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church, which remains the dominant faith in Ireland.

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Nolan Dalla — Updating My NFL Halftime Betting Angles

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Blog, Sports Betting | 0 comments

 

Nolan Dalla

After a Buffalo Bills game in 1998

 

AN UPDATE (ENTERING 2012 REGULAR SEASON):

In 2001, I spent the entire summer creating my halftime betting angles, which could be applied across the board to all NFL regular season and playoff games.

I released these betting angles at a major sports betting information website.  The angles were later re-printed numerous times in several other betting forums and publications.

These seven betting angles hit in the 53-60 percent rate over two decades.  They actually performed even better after their public release — hitting around 62 percent in both 2001 and 2002.  There were about 4 to 5 plays per week, so not only were these angles extremely profitable, they also produced a fair amount of volume.  Best of all, these was absolutely no handicapping involved.

The downside to releasing and popularizing these halftime betting angles is many football bettors gradually caught on to them.  They began to lose value as heavy money poured in every time there was a play.  Opening halftime lines began changing.  Totals moved by a point, or move.  For instance, we never used to see anything below a 17 as a second-half total.  Now, 16s are commonplace.

Over the course of the next few seasons (2003 and beyond), the sportsbooks/oddsmakers caught on to these angles and began adjusting their numbers so much that betting these angles blindly was no longer profitable.

Moreover, two trends in recent years have severely hurt the angles.  First, NFL rule changes tend to favor offenses which creates more scoring.  Second, NFL quarterback play is now at its all-time historic pinnacle, which kills opportunities to bet second-half UNDERS.

Unlike what I first released ten years ago, I do not have confidence that all of these angles will produce a profit.  However, I am posting them here for consideration if anyone wants to tinker with them, try and refine them, or run the W-L results since 2005.  Some bettors have told me that some of these angles (mostly the OVERS) are still profitable.  But I have not run the actual the data.  So, tread with caution.

You will please forgive one disclaimer.  I put in a massive number of hours doing research coming up with these angles.  Over the years, many writers and fellow football handicappers have purged them without proper attribution.  All I ask is to be credited with doing the research.  I think that’s fair.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED — MAY BE REPRINTED ONLY IF AUTHOR IS CREDITED

 

PART 1: GENERAL THOUGHTS

Just as there are “key” numbers is side betting and game totals, there are also key numbers in second-half totals.  The key numbers are as follows: 17, 20, and 24.

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Moguls of Hypocricy: Casino Magnates Adelson, Wynn, and Trump Whine While Fortunes Skyrocket

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Politics | 5 comments

 

 

Leave it to three casino industry tycoons to display the most brazen acts of hypocrisy in recent memory.

What would you call someone who repeatedly blasts our president for his “socialist-style economy,” while raking in billions in profits during the time frame the president has been in office?

What would you call someone who refers to our leader “the greatest wet blanket to business,” yet managed to double the size of his casino empire and increase his net personal worth by $200 million during the president’s first term?

What would you call someone who declared bankruptcy four years ago (at the end of the previous administration), and then preposterously claimed his net worth is several billion today?

If you’re having trouble coming up with the right words, let me help you.

Liars.

Hypocrites.

It’s impossible to imagine three more hypocritical blowhards than casino moguls Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn, and Donald Trump.  Their political posturing would be side-splitting if it were not so downright shameful.

The three current and former casino owner-executives have repeatedly blasted President Obama since he took office in early 2009.  They are certainly entitled to their opinions — outlandish as they may be.  But the facts clearly reveal, like the rest of the top one-percent of wealthiest Americans, they have enriched themselves handsomely under the current administration.

But that doesn’t stop the posturing nor the hyperbole.  Never let the facts get in the way of creative sound bites.  President Obama is anti-business, they say.  President Obama is bad for the economy, they say.  President Obama is a Socialist, they say.  Yada.  Yada.  Yada.

One would think the three musketeers of malaise have suffered while President Obama’s been residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  One would be led to believe their businesses have lost money or that they suffered personal financial setbacks.  But a look at the facts reveals quite the opposite.  In fact, these three hypocrites have – by any measure – made astronomical profits since President Obama took office.

Let’s look at the record, shall we?

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Movie Review: “The Intouchables”

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 1 comment

intouchables-movie

 

MOVIE REVIEW:  THE INTOUCHABLES

 

A French movie with English subtitles enters the finicky American movie market with two strikes against it.

It’s French — strike one.

It has subtitles — strike two.

Which is a crying shame, because one of the year’s most enjoyable and uplifting films has pretty much come and vanished from theaters, unable to garner much attention during another summer filled with mindless action adventure “thrillers” and sleep-inducing “comedies.”

The Intouchables is a marvelous film.  Carried by two outstanding lead performances by Francois Cluzet (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dustin Hoffman) and Omar Cy (who deserves an Oscar nomination for a movie-stealing performance), this film has wit, candor, humor, sadness, and ultimately great inspiration.  The film’s credibility is boosted by it being based on a true story.

Cluzet plays a quadriplegic, which means he is confined to a wheelchair unable to feel any sensation below his neck.  If there’s any upside, it’s that he’s also very wealthy, giving him considerable options that would not otherwise be available to a person of lesser means.

Cluzet is utterly bored with his life, not the least of which has anything to do with his physical impairment.  One senses that even if he were not parked in a wheelchair, he would still need something more.  A great deal more, in fact.  What Cluzet needs is stimulation, excitement, and most of all – someone he can call a friend.

He finds all of this in the unlikeliest of places.

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