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>> Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
>> Zero Dark Thirty
>> The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
>> Hyde Park on Hudson
>> Safety Not Guaranteed
>> The Great Gatsby (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Peeples (PG-13) [trailer]
>> Aftershock (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> And Now a Word From Our Sponsor (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Erased (Limited) (R) [trailer]
>> Sightseers (Limited) (NR) [trailer]
>> Venus and Serena (Limited) (PG-13) [trailer]
Las Vegas: Satan Vacations Here
by Victoria Alexander
June 18, 2012
John Alexander in NGC's New Series Chasing UFOs on June 29 at 9PM, Movie Review: Prometheus, 'Prometheus,' Alien Invasion Genre Rejected By Scientific Experts, The Ugly New Face of Buddhism Gets Uglier, Mysterious Buddhist Retreat in the Desert Ends in a Grisly Death, Brahmacharya, and more...
National Geographic Channel's Chasing UFOs. The NGC new series Chasing UFOs investigates stories of the unknown. The investigators are Erin Ryder, tech supervisor and lead researcher; Ben McGee, an experienced geologist and radiation scientist; and James Fox, an innovative investigator and documentary producer.
The series starts with 2 episodes. John appears in the first episode called Texas Is for Sightings premiering on Friday, June 29, at 9 p.m. Ryder, James and Ben investigate reports of mysterious lights spotted in the skies over two Texas towns. The team begins tracking stories from more than 30 witnesses who all share similar testimonies seeing strange lights in the sky. Once they have gathered information, they seek a scientific explanation.
Movie Review: Prometheus. Fassbender's David is the film's centerpiece. Rapace plays the Hollywood girlfriend role instead of a steely protagonist on a messianic journey. Theron always commits fully to every character she plays.
I had to promise not to reveal two key spoilers. This, of course, limits me especially since one key scene (in different context) appears in Blade Runner and Gladiator, two of director Ridley Scott's iconic films. He's working through something. It's a form of therapy with one outstanding dimension it's on public display.
As Seinfeld said: "Not that there is anything wrong with that." In fact, in Blade Runner and Gladiator the scenes are powerful, memorable, and drive the film.
Meredith Vickers: "A king has his reign, and then he dies. It's inevitable."
Prometheus delivers even though there is no one to explain what is going on. It begins with a planet bursting with life-creating water. A strange humanoid prepares a ritual and drinks a toxic liquid that destroys his body. Intentional or hoodwinked? It seems he did not know what the liquid will do. Dying, he falls into the raging water and his body erupts. His damaged DNA breaks apart. The new life that will eventually emerge with have his corrupted DNA. What intelligent creature will develop?
The film moves to 2093 and the spaceship Prometheus is within reach of their destination a planet that may have a lifeform that created us. Scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have travelled all over the world finding ancient carvings and cave paintings pointing to this planet. Elizabeth believes it is an invitation and they have been chosen to make contact.
The billion dollar project is being financed by ancient Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce). He has died but appears in a hologram addressing the crew after they emerge from hyper-sleep. Laying out their project's goals, he introduces the crew to David, who is like a son to him. David is a robot.
See a young Peter Weyland give a TEDTalk: "I will change the world" at TED2023. Here is Peter Weyland's TED bio: "Peter Weyland has been a magnet for controversy since he announced his intent to build the first convincingly humanoid robotic system by the end of the decade.
"Whether challenging the ethical boundaries of medicine with nanotechnology or going toe to toe with the Vatican itself on the issue of gene-therapy sterilization, Sir Peter prides himself on his motto, "If we can, we must." After a three year media blackout, Weyland has finally emerged to reveal where he's heading next. Wherever that may be, we will most certainly want to follow."
(Video conceived and designed by Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof and directed by Luke Scott.) http://blog.ted.com
But that was 2023. It is now 2093.
The Prometheus has a crew of 17, including the captain, Jadek (Idris Elba), and a sterile, high-functioning Weyland executive, Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Meredith is in charge. The crew and especially the scientists are "employees" of Weyland Industries.
"Good morning. I am Meredith Vickers, and it is my job to make sure you do yours."
And then there is David (Michael Fassbender), a brilliant robot who has modelled himself on Peter O'Toole's performance in Lawrence of Arabia. (So humans can relate to him.)
After landing on the planet, they see a group of straight lines and know that intelligent life must be responsible. As one crew member says: "God doesn't do straight lines."
Several members of the crew immediately go outside and head for a massive structure that looks man-made. Inside, they can take off their breathing equipment. This being their first time at the rodeo, they want to take back some souvenirs. David packs up a huge jug.
David is the most fascinating character in the film and Fassbender is terrific. It is a difficult role he has to play an android learning about humans and how to relate to them. Fassbender must be inquisitive without looking like an awe struck man-child. As a trusted "son" by Weyland, why does he behave the way he does? If not Weyland's directive guiding him, whose agenda is he following?
Why were humans invited to the planet? What happened to the race of intelligent beings who lived there and came to Earth to leave clues? Were we a failed experiment and the time has come for someone to "trim the herd"?
The devoted fans of the Alien movies will not be disappointed. The 3D and special effects are terrific. The muddled story never really jells and some type of linear understanding of the storyline is missing. The reasons are ambiguous. Rapace, in her Hollywood incarnation, is miscast here. She is more interested in camera angles and playing a heroine instead of being a scientist-warrior on a mystical quest. Rapace was the least engaging character in the film. She should have played Elizabeth as a visionary "fire-eater." Co-starring with Theron, in her Ice-Queen role, must have been intimidating and it shows.
'Prometheus,' Alien Invasion Genre Rejected By Scientific Experts. Joe Statran's article in the Huffington Post quoted John Rummel, chairman of the Panel on Planetary Protection; Paul Davies, director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science; and our dear friend Al Harrison on the likelihood of an alien invasion. I've extracted Al's comments with a link to the full article below. Al gave me a copy of the fascinating book he co-edited, "From Antarctica to Outer Space: Life in Isolation and Confinement."
Statran begins: "To judge by some of the biggest blockbusters of the past few years -- and especially the past few weeks -- we're on the verge of an alien invasion."
"Albert Harrison, who studies the idea of extraterrestrials at the University of California, Davis, told The Huffington Post that he participated in a privately funded mini think tank called the Contact Planning Group in 1999. He and other interested parties from science, science fiction and even government discussed possible human reactions to close encounters of the third kind. Harrison said that he was sworn to secrecy about the identities of the other panel members.
"It's a very low-probability thing in some ways, but I think it's something that we should be prepared for," said Harrison. He added that it frustrated him to report that he had never heard of anything more official than that group."
"Travel in the flesh in spacecraft between stars is completely infeasible and absurd," Davies said. "People just have no idea of the stupendous cost of moving hunks of metal across the universe."
"For all intents and purposes, we'd look at them as if they were other persons," Harrison said. "If they've got a behavior that's widely condemned, we're going to hate them and fear them. If we see virtues, we're going to like them." http://www.huffingtonpost.com
The Ugly New Face of Buddhism Gets Uglier. In TDH's February 15, 2010 column, I wrote about Geshe Michael Roach. TDH friend Eric Davis, Senior Research Physicist, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, sent me this update from the New York Times regarding a death of Ian Thorson, the husband of Roach's former protιgι, celibate spiritual partner, constant companion and former wife, Christie McNally (they took a vow never to be more than 15 feet apart). I spent several days researching this astonishing story.
But first, my piece from 2010 taken from New York Post's Page Six:
"Buddhist monks usually wear saffron robes and remain celibate -- but not Geshe Michael Roach, 57, who wears Armani suits, dances at Cielo, and enjoys "joining" with female followers. "We [monks] are not allowed to have sex, but in yoga there are practices that involve joining with a partner," Roach explains to Page Six Magazine. "They are secret . . . You might think of them as sex, but their purpose is to move inner energy. It takes very strict training. There would be penetration, but no release of semen." As for his disco dancing: "If we don't make it fun and healthy, Buddhism will die out."
Mysterious Buddhist Retreat in the Desert Ends in a Grisly Death. Bowie, Arizona rescuers had to rappel from a helicopter to a cave 7,000 feet up in a rugged desert mountain to find a jug with about an inch of water, browned by floating leaves and twigs and a woman, Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious. And they found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead.
Some background: Christie McNally and Michael Roach were secretly married in 1998 (in stark violation of the Buddhist tradition to which he belongs) and in a 1999 three-year retreat (living silently) had shared a yurt, but swore they were celibate. The relationship nonetheless stirred reproach by Buddhist scholars, who urged Roach to renounce his monastic vows, and the Dalai Lama, whose office decried his "unconventional behavior."
They had written books together, given lectures around the world and were the forces behind the un-accredited Diamond Mountain University which heaped honors and titles on "Lama" McNally, who became its leading teacher.
Roach says he has been celibate since 22, and that when he penetrated Lama Christie, it was not sex, it was moving internal energy.
Married men who cheat a new explanation!
In 2009, McNally left Roach for Thorson, a young student who had once served as their attendant. After, Roach was seen dancing in Manhattan clubs with Russian models.
Mr. Thorson and Ms. McNally, 39, married on Oct. 3, 2010 (B&W photo), a month after Mr. Roach had filed for divorce. McNally and Thorson began another three-year retreat at Diamond Mountain. However, McNally made a startling revelation during one of her lessons.
She said that Mr. Thorson had been violent toward her, and that she had stabbed him, using a knife they had received as a wedding gift. Mr. Thorson had been stabbed three times in the torso, and that one of the wounds had been sutured by a medical professional who is among the retreat's participants.
Roach and the Board of Directors of DMU gave the couple five days to leave. Instead, they departed without notice and went into hiding. In a letter McNally wrote, she said some of the retreat participants would leave water for them, knowing they were still around. She told the authorities that at some point, she fell ill, he fell ill and they grew too weak to fetch it.
The retreat is set to end on April 3, 2014. Of its original 39 participants, 34 remain.
Fun fact about the couple: Ten years ago, Michael Roach and Christie McNally, Buddhist teachers, took vows never to separate, night or day. By "never part," they did not mean only their hearts or spirits. They meant their bodies as well. And they gave themselves a range of 15 feet.
Brahmacharya. I completely understand what Roach is talking about regarding penetration without release but it is a near impossible, very difficult practice to achieve.
Only McNally could attest to Roach's claims.
"Brahmacharya or spotless chastity is the best of all penances; a celibate of such spotless chastity is not a human being, but a god indeed... To the celibate who conserves the semen with great efforts, what is there unattainable in this world? By the power of the composure of the semen, one will become just like Myself." Sri Sankaracharya
Sri Swami Sivananda has written: It is the only key to open the Sushumna and awaken the Kundalini (the primordial cosmic energy). This seminal energy is the "Atman". The secret of health lies in preservation of this vital force. He who wastes this vital and precious energy cannot have physical, mental, moral and spiritual development.
The Yogi who can preserve his sexual matter thus overcomes death; death comes by discharging sexual matter via orgasm, and life is prolonged by its preservation - avoiding orgasm.
Retention of semen is so essential in progressive human life that it is simply astounding how the whole endeavor of modern civilization is based on discharging it as much as possible. Semen retained in the body goes upwards to nourish the brain, rendering the body robust. A great deal of vital energy is being aroused and stirred up, and then, since it is not being discharged, it is circulated and re-absorbed throughout the body.
If you would like to contact me about this column, or be included on my private distribution list for a weekly reminder, just email me at Masauu@aol.com.
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