Ron Moody (1924-2015)

The actor died yesterday in London. He was 91.

There are some actors who leave an indelible impression because of one particular role and this was undoubtedly true in the case of Moody’s appearance in the musical Oliver! that was based on the book Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens that was first a stage play in London and Broadway before being made into a film in 1968.
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Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi is a fine actor, often cast in quirky roles, whom I first saw in Fargo. He often makes cameo appearances in films and has such a distinctive face that when he does, you never think “Where I have I seen that actor before?” (as so often happen with other actors) but immediately say “Hey, there’s Steve Buscemi!” This is actually a good thing for me because often my mind gets distracted by trying to place who an actor is and where I have seen them before and I miss some of the film that I am watching.
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Book review: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

For many people of my generation, the Vietnam war was a turning point that radicalized us. For the first in our lives, we saw a cruel war waged by a massive military power that used chemical and biological weapons on a massive scale against a much weaker nation and a defenseless population and whose effects will be felt for generations to come. But we also saw how that military could be defeated by a determined population that was fighting to repel foreign invaders and their local puppets. We saw first hand how the US government and its allies lied shamelessly in the effort to advance its imperialist ambitions, cloaking its real goals behind the rhetoric of democracy. That undoubtedly colored our view of geopolitics and is maybe why we saw so clearly the lies that led to the Iraq war and can also see the same dynamic trying to be resurrected against Iran.
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Review: 1971

Last evening I watched the documentary 1971 about the burglary in that year of an FBI office in the Philadelphia suburb of Media, PA by eight people who took away the files, separated out and sent to various people those files that exposed wrongdoing by the FBI, such as infiltrating and spying on peaceful groups and carrying out what were called ‘dirty tricks’ to try and destroy the lives of people that the government thought of as its enemies. The burglars were never caught and only revealed themselves a couple of years ago. (I wrote about this earlier.)
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Frontline TV documentary tonight: Secrets, Politics and Torture

I just learned about a Frontline documentary with the above title and the subtitle The secret history of the fight over the CIA’s controversial interrogation methods, widely criticized as torture that is being shown tonight on PBS stations at 10:00pm though your local station might have it at a different time. The description is:
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Adam Sandler and me

When I was still in my early teens I became a huge fan of comic writers such as P. G. Wodehouse, S. J. Perelman, and Stephen Leacock. I loved the way they played with words to get laughs and dreamed of writing just like them. So I tried writing a comic story, a parody of the hard-boiled detective genre which Perelman in particular was a genius at, such as his famous short story Somewhere a Roscoe.
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