Quick Review: Salt and Fire

Director: Werner Hertzog

Starring Veronica Ferres, Michael Shannon Gael, Garcia Bernal Image result for salt and fire

The movie has been classified as a “thriller”, and there are certainly very tense moments when Laura, head of a delegation of scientists, is abducted by a group of mysterious masked men. The viewer is unsure what to expect and the plot unfolds with plenty of absurdities and non-sequiturs. The dialogue at first is wooden and stilted for the most part, and the acting, too, seems awkward, matching the clownish dialogue and actions of the abductors. It seems predictable and formulaic until everything changes and the viewer is left wondering where the story if going to…and that is what kept me watching.

This is a tantalizing piece of theatre art, easily dismissed as superficial and facile at first, but as the plot unfolds and the protagonists begin to find common ground, the surreal landscape and Laura’s enforced solitude on the salt flats take on a different meaning. She is abandoned on an “island” in the middle of a vast salt lake with two little blind boys.

The two boys bring out the human side of Laura, forcing her to reevaluate her position as a mere observer, a scientist who is objective and remote.  download (6)


Hertzog’s vision of man’s inherent greed, leading to his ultimate self-destruction is revealed, bit by bit, in the agonizingly slow unfolding of the character of Laura, a hard-headed scientist, who is to make a report of the ecological disaster caused by Riley’s Consortium.  Riley has isolated her and two small blind boys – his sons – in the salt flats so that she can experience what the disaster really means to the indigenous people who lived on what was once a lake.

Image result for salt and fire

The viewer is, at first, left to puzzle the point of the story, to find the depth and symbolism through stark imagery, the sterile environment of the salt lake against the impending cataclysmic disaster of the volcano – an analogy of the destruction caused by mankind and the unstoppable power of nature that can destroy humanity.

Interestingly the “villain”, a wheelchair-bound menacing figure who can walk when he feels like it, is played by the famous physicist Lawrence Krauss.

Laurence Krauss.JPG

Lawrence Krauss




I can see why the movie was panned by better-educated reviewers than me, but I was fascinated by the entire concept of how he put his message across. Perhaps Hertzog is having the last laugh as I ponder the meaning and artistry of his film; certainly the last few scenes in the film were surreal as if he was having a lot of fun playing with perspective and man’s self-absorption, showing how tiny we really are in the bigger scheme of things, and how fragile…

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Posted by on February 4, 2018 in Movie Reviews, movies,, Uncategorized


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Great Read!

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Uncategorized


“Gomorrah”, the TV Series

“Gomorrah”, the TV Series

If you want to watch a gritty, violent mafia gang-mob series, by all means, go ahead and watch the Italian production Gomorrah. It makes the mafia of New York, The Sopranos, look like kindergartners.

What makes it so compelling to watch?

The characters of Pietro Savastano and his son, Gennaro, and their nemesis, Ciro, are all equally evil. There are no good guys in the series, no one that one particularly tries to root for, there is no redeemer who is going to save anyone from the damning consequences of their actions. It allows the viewer to peer into the abyss of a hell from which there is no escape.

This is especially true in the first season. There are glimmers here and there that Ciro wants to change things, to stop the incessant killing of adversaries. He attempts to form an alliance between his adversaries, but true loyalty depends on the strength of the leader of the pack. It’s a dog-eats-dog world, and all of them are hungry enough to destroy even close allies and friends.

Ciro, the right-hand man of old man Savastano, grooms the son, “Genny”, giving the haplessdownload (7), too-soft, overweight young man breaks to protect him from the disparagement of his father who can see too clearly that his son is not quite cut from the same cloth as he is.

Gennaro undergoes a massive change in character and appearance after his mother sends him to Honduras; he becomes a ruthless, cold killer who shows no mercy to anyone who crosses him. He has finally become the man his father wants, but he lacks experience in leadership and draws close to him the seamy underbelly of Naples’ slum world. These young men are as faithful to him as they can be, but allegiances are made to be broken. There are no guarantees that they will remain loyal. They are dangerous, cruel and violent.

A word of warning: this series does not conform to cherished American values in television: good vs evil is but a shade of perpetual grey, there is no such thing as political correctness and the violence is graphic and ugly.

An interesting side note is that the filming occurred in the slums called the Sails of Scampia, Image result for sails of scampianow doomed apparently for demolition. This massive estate houses a teeming number of impoverished people whose only hope of economic survival is crime. download (5)

The series is based on a novel by Roberto Saviano, which became a movie a few years ago.


So, to answer the question: Why do we continue to watch this series?

In our heart of hearts, we hope that there will be a moment when some inner decency causes a character to change; a belief in happy endings, a disbelief that things cannot continue the way they are. But, life is not a fairy tale, is it?


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Mysterious Things

Mysterious Things

I am excited to read this book by John B. Alexander, watch this space for a review soon!


Check the author’s website at

Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things that Can’t Happen – But Did by [Alexander, John B.]

Blurb from Amazon:

REALITY DENIED confronts conventional wisdom with events that, although quite real, seem to challenge the revered “laws of science,” proving them to be wrong or incomplete. The thorny issues of life after death, mind over matter, UFOs, remote viewing, telepathic communications with animals, and more are all addressed from Col. John Alexander’s firsthand perspective. Here physical and spiritual domains collide, providing glimpses of worlds beyond everyday reality.” (



Feature image at top of page from: RASTAN/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO


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The Tired Pilgrim

The Tired Pilgrim

Julia wiped her hand across her forehead, feeling the corrugations of a thousand wrinkles, reflecting on a life of worry and despair. She was never the strong one, the warrior who marched to her own drum; she was the one who stayed home, taking care of the elders, the sick, the weak.

Marina, her sister, had left the village when she was fifteen, running away with a boy whom she had bullied into accompanying her on a grand adventure to the land of milk and honey. It didn’t matter that Jose was married and nine years older. That was the power she had, to weave magical fairytale into a reality that suited her view of the world.

Jose had left his wife and three children, forsaking them for a girl with untamed hair and wild brown eyes. She had a laughing mouth, and her teeth flashed white against her olive skin so that she looked like the embodiment of life and lust and danger.

Julia sighed and the letter fluttered from her grasp. She watched as the wind took it, and it played and dipped and tangled with a tumbleweed, where it rested for a while. The paper was yellow with age and stained by her fingers from years of handling.

She knew the contents by heart, the words imprinted upon her very soul.

“Julia, please come! Don’t throw your life away!”

Marina had begged her to leave the village, to experience the vastness of the world, but it frightened her. Here, she could look down at the valley, admire the endless vista as the seasons changed and breathe the clean air. She felt sure God did not want her to leave, to forsake her duty to her family, so she stayed.

She rose from the rickety blue chair – the paint had peeled off around the legs and backrest from use –  and went inside the dark, cool adobe hovel.

Her uncle, the last of the family, was sleeping, drool oozing from his flaccid lips. She smoothed the sheet over his inert body, the chest barely moving as he breathed.

She paused, and knelt next to the bed, and then withdrew with a gasp.

Tio Manuel’s soul had fluttered with the letter, into the light of the great beyond, to a place where he was free.

She covered her face with her hands, dry sobs racking her body. She too was free. Free to be alone, to leave, to find Marina, to live the life she never had. She rose and drew the sheet over his waxen limbs, his sparse grey hair like gossamer on his bony skull. “Poor Tio Manuel,” she thought. “He had worked so hard all his life, never married, never knew the love of a woman.” Yet, as a man, he had opportunities, ones she had been denied.

No one in the family ever spoke about Marina, about the scandal she had brought upon the family. She was evil, she was a puta, even worse, a prostituta, despised and best forgotten. Her mother had died with Marina’s name on her lips and with the bitter words,  Que se pudra en el infierno!* Her eyes had stared into the fires of hell and it was there that she saw her daughter, despised, unforgiven and eternally damned.

Julia realized she had better fetch the priest and looked for her sandals, reaching under her bed in the corner of the room. The cat darted out and she screamed and then laughed at her own foolishness. The release of emotions brought on by the laughter was like a healing balm to her body and she could feel a lightness entering her being, as if she too, were being borne aloft by the wings of the angels. She felt her soul soar and expand as the shackles of the years fell away and she gasped as a surge of energy moved through her. It was so powerful that she sprang to her feet and she threw her arms open wide as if to embrace this new feeling, this freedom, this lust for life.

“I will find Marina! I will live my life! It is not too late…I am not too old!” she thought jubilantly. She was startled into reality by a timid, tentative knock on the front door.

A nun in a white and black habit stood there, an uncertain smile on her lips.

“Yes, Hermana? You come at a most opportune time,” Julia said with a tinge of sadness. “I was about to call the priest for my Tio Manuel has just passed on to the better life…”

The nun looked at her quizzically, then grasped her by the shoulders and looked her in the eye. Julia felt herself encircled in the  arms of the stranger who clung to her like a lost child and after a long, endlessly long moment, whispered softly in her ear.

“Julia, Julia, do you not know me? I have come home…”



*”May you rot in hell!”




























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There is a place, way yonder

Where devils and demons meet

It’s white and filled with gold but

Oil runs the river deep,

Swaying to the rhythm                                                                                  pictures-manticore

of mendacious Manticorean needs


The diamonds shine and sparkle

From the depths of flagrant greed but

The man who dwells in higher places

Has a chimera that he feeds

It will strike and bite and mumble

when the midnight hour tweets

His apocalyptic horsemen ride

with lies and travesty

and the unholy force of empty


wrapped in the poseur’s penny creeds


You wanted this? Empty promises from

a naked emperor

and his sycophantic trumpeting heirs?

My people, oh my people

How humanity now weeps.


Image result for trump tower


“The Martikhora (Manticore) is an animal found in this country [India]. It has a face like a man’s, a skin red as cinnabar, and is as large as a lion. It has three rows of teeth, ears and light-blue eyes like those of a man; its tail is like that of a land scorpion, containing a sting more than a cubit long at the end. It has other stings on each side of its tail and one on the top of its head, like the scorpion, with which it inflicts a wound that is always fatal. If it is attacked from a distance, it sets up its tail in front and discharges its stings as if from a bow; if attacked from behind, it straightens it out and launches its stings in a direct line to the distance of a hundred feet. The wound inflicted is fatal to all animals except the elephant. The stings are about a foot long and about as thick as a small rush. The Martikhora [the Persian word for man-eater] is called in Greek Anthropophagos (Man-Eater), because, although it preys upon other animals, it kills and devours a greater number of human beings. It fights with both its claws and stings, which, according to Ktesias (Ctesias), grow again after they have been discharged. There is a great number of these animals in India, which are hunted and killed with spears or arrows by natives mounted on elephants.”

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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in poetry, POTUS, Trump, Uncategorized


Overdose Epidemic

Overdose Epidemic

I find it very strange that in a country of such affluence, freedom of speech, religion and the sense that anything is pretty much permissible, that the use of recreational drugs as well as the number of “accidental” overdoses should be so alarmingly high. Image result for heroin needles pictures

I apologize for sounding moralistic and it is not my place to judge whatever people do in their spare time. However, if the purpose of taking drugs is to escape reality, then please, how bad is your life? If you were born and raised here in the land of milk and honey, what is it you want to escape from? Boredom?

Look at the tragic pictures of people starving in parts of Africa, the bombed-out homes of the Syrians, and others who suffer real deprivation. Take a moment to think about their lives. They don’t have the luxury of escaping their reality. Life is a constant struggle and there is no certainty that tomorrow will bring better times.

The spiritual bankruptcy  that exists in this country – and the prevalence of drug addiction especially in the Bible Belt – is testimony to the fact that Christianity is clearly not the answer.  People still look to be rescued from something, someone – instead of taking responsibility for the their choices.

It makes me angry. Very angry. But it is because the sadness of the situation just fills me with a powerless grief. and I don’t do well with expressing emotions. Three friends of mine have lost either a child or a sibling and it hurts me to the core of my being to see them dealing with such grievous, heartbreaking loss.

Addiction is a disease you don’t even know you have until you have it.

Photo published for As fentanyl death toll spikes, states step up their interventions

Grow a backbone, deal with stuff.  Stop feeling so sorry for yourselves. You have opportunities beyond imagining, and it is up to you to make a great life for yourself. Don’t even take that first hit. You just don’t know how it will affect you, your life and your family,  and all the people who love you.

“Neil speaks the truth, but it should still be preached that “It’s not the drug the makes the addict, but the need to escape that does.” Addiction is not the result of drug use. Addiction is a societal disease and one of the mind, its far more sinister and complex than a chemical could ever be. The drug is a vehicle for the crippled, making one feel like they can run when they can barely crawl.” – Steven Webb, comment on YouTube.




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