Expanding possibilities for showings of CODEBREAKER

I have earlier talked about the film CODEBREAKER, which is a film about the gifted mathematician and scientist Turing, who was responsible for breaking the Enigma Code.

After crowds enthusiastically raved about the film from coast-to-coast, TODPix is making it available in theaters around the country on December 6th. Using TODpix, a unique theater on-demand system, you can bring CODEBREAKER to your city by creating an event at a theater near you.

Here’s how you do it: Go to http://www.todpix.com/codebreaker.

If there’s a screening already set up for your city, go ahead and buy tickets! If you don’t see a screening yet, here’s what you do:

REQUEST A SCREENING: Click on the button, select your city and theater and we’ll immediately get the request. We’ll then set up the event for you and let you know as soon as it is ready to go.

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS: Once the event is set up, you can reserve your ticket(s).

GET THE WORD OUT: Now the fun part…let all of your friends and colleagues know about the screening and ask them to join you! They’ll in turn let their friends know and before you know it we have a crowd! Once 50 people have reserved tickets “It’s a go” and your event is booked!

They already have two events planned for Dec. 6th @ 7:30 pm at the AMC Empire 25 in NYC  and the AMC Loews Georgetown14 in Washington DC .  So if you live there and haven’t seen CODEBREAKER (or have seen it and want to see it again!) you can buy your tickets now. And please don’t forget to share with your friends

Film: Private Romeo

In looking for a film to watch on Netflix.com, I came across this film Private Romeo, a film that was described as a take on Romeo and Juliet at a military academy. I was expecting a film similar to how She’s the Man was written based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, where the characters and places have the character names and place names from the original and the story of the prior, but there is none of Shakespeare’s wonderful dialog. Private Romeo is different, it uses Shakespeare’s original language and dialog and it’s an all male cast that can really act. The acting is wonderful, the cast speaks the language intelligently with real emotion, along with some dialog that fits the scene to tie it to the setting and place. Yes, it’s a gay movie dealing with problems of homophobia and violence, but also love. I think even if you’re not gay, if you love the language of shakespeare, it’s worth seeing. Rex Reed of the New York Observer was impressed with the film. One of the actors Seth Numrich was onstage in War Horse at lincoln center. The film’s director Alan Brown was interviewed by the blog Film International which is interesting to read.

Trailer on Youtube.com.

If you don’t have Netflix and want to watch or buy the film you can go here.

 

 

 

Morrissey Live

The artist Morrissey, who is no doubt highly gifted has been doing a nationwide tour. He was recently interviewed in the Village Voice as well as Colbert Report.  He was in New York Wednesday which my partner and I saw. It was at Radio city, and sold out. the performance was ok, he seemed to be a bit off, sounded like he might have had a cold. The band was fabulous as usual. He did some material, I was not familiar with, it is apparently new material. He is currently without a recording contract, and holding out till he has the label, to record the new material. For those against animal cruelty, vegans and vegetarians, he performed Meat is Murder, with a video presentation which apparently came from Peta.

Mourning Whitney Houston

Last night February 11, 1012, the tragic news that Whitney Houston, the very talented singer died tragically at age 48.

Whitney was a singer, an actress, a film producer.

As of this time, no cause has been identified of her death and nothing seemed obvious. Rumors have abounded about substance abuse, as she has been in recovery, but nothing is known at this time.

Normally I would not include such a performer in this blog, as though she is very talented, I am not certain about how well she fits into the Gifted world.

In common parlance, someone can be said to be gifted if they have talents, but it is not what this blog is about. This blog is about giftedness related to high intelligence.

David Kennedy Polanco: Up and Coming Gifted Author

David Kennedy Polanco, who recently published the new collection of short stories Bellicose Boys was brought up in Boyle Heights (East-LA) California, wanted to become a writer since he was a child. David is Mexican-American with a pride in his Spanish heritage (a devotee of Octavio Paz), as well as his American Roots (his Grandfather was decorated numbers of times in World War II). As he has said, his ancestors were in California before it was a State. Growing up in the LA area, films were an important part of his experience, as were the characters he grew up with.

Early, David was the editor and co-founder of a Hollywood Fan magazine Remembrance which included interviews with many classic stars, including Gregory Peck and Katherine Hepburn. His favorite films include: The Letter and The Whales of August.

He is a gay man living in New York City since 1990, an animal advocate and avid football fan of (USC and Harvard) and enjoys reading classical literature and poetry. David started writing his first in 1985. Eventually this evolved into the Off Broadway play Fireworks! in which he introduced his unique character Harvard. Siouxsie and the Banshees has been an influence in his creativity.  This was later a screen play. He wrote, directed and acted in his second work A Playground Twist, which also appeared on Off Broadway, which is the story about the adolescent relationship between Harvard, the Gifted Gay adolescent/adult Mexican-American and his white love a high school football star who can never be open about his sexuality. Harvard of course is open and accepting courageous about himself. After they breakup, the football star dies in a foreign war.  It is a unique story which deals with, self-acceptance, athletes, and soldiers. His next work The Stranger Inside deals with the darker side of ourselves. His latest work is Bellicose Boys.

Racism and Brilliant People

It’s always painful to realize that people you admire and appreciate have flaws and limitations, but it has come to my awareness that people of real intellect can also be incredibly arrogant and engage in Racism and other stupid practices. While preparing to write the article on Morrissey which I recently published, I was doing research on my subject and discovered some real racist actions on his part. At first, I considered deleting the post and never publishing it, but decided to address the issue more head-on.

Later my partner and I were watching a PBS series that the British constitutional historian, David Starkey did called The Monarchy which is very intelligibly researched in deep historical detail through many and many years. One can appreciate the work that went into his work, and his perspective as well as the presentation. It was also very disappointing to discover, when reading his biography rude, and arrogant behavior and Racism, saying the lower classes in England were becoming like the “Blacks.” How can someone characterize whole groups of people like that?

Of less intelligent and more ignorant people, I would not be surprised, in fact I suspect the extremes of racism, for instance like the KKK, the Klans, The Aryan Nation, etc., are examples of ignorant people who have limited intelligence, are frustrated by their own limited skills and lack of education, and the economic challenges that come from these realities.

My mother also Gifted who wound up with an Ed.D in Special Education, who had worked with the handicapped for years grew up in Philadelphia, PA. Her father was a a cop who rose to be captain of detectives during the bad years. She remembered stories with his Racism. He had a limited education, but was intelligent. He retired, and years later got a second Dachshund, which he named “Tar Baby,” a clear racist reference. My mother was furious and the name was changed.

People can take offense to racism, because it offends our basic values and sensibilities and affects people we know or have known, but it’s important to consider the science around racism and stereotypes, which set racism in motion.

Racism is not the only type of prejudice, and one can add homophobia, sexism, classicism, antisemitism, ablism, agism and other isms, as well as xenophobia or fear of the other.

In social Psychology and Cognitive Psychology thinking suggests that stereotypes arise from our brain’s tendencies to use heuristics or shortcuts which help us manage information overload. The problem is these heuristics help our brains process much information, but causes us faulty thinking at times. Along with this, our brain also from the same mechanisms favor those of groups like us, and fears groups who are different from us. This is called the ingroup/outgroup bias. Given this, we are all susceptible to stereotypes and prejudices, and even racist tendencies. We need to rise to our best selves, and challenge our own tendencies toward stereotypes and prejudices, and challenge those of those around us.

Musician: Morrissey

I am reminded frequently how intelligent, principled, the musician Morrissey is. Morissey (Steven Patrick Morrissey) first appeared in the English band The Smiths in the 1980s and is now a solo act.

He is a vegetarian, an outspoken advocate for animal rights and against child abuse. His Lyrics are very intelligent and thoughtful. In a smiths song “Meat is Murder” he makes an incredibly strong case against eating meat. He has a long career writing inspired songs and has a large following, including in the Latin community. In an interview where he was asked what political candidate he preferred, he declared he could not support either one, because all world leaders are bullies using force to change the world they live in. There is real truth here, considering what the American government has done in recent years, other dictators in Africa, the Nazis, Other European powers, including England, France, Spain in eras past.

Other songs of his, speak to how it feels to be a disaffected teenager, how it feels to be alone, the suffering of poor Mexican-American people, sexual minorities and others, powerless and helpless children, and others.

Although I admire his work, I have come to see less desirable aspects to this person. I also care about animal issues and can understand his frustration with workers in China producing goods brutally exploiting animals, Morrissey declared that they were subhuman, which is extremely racist. It also ignores the economic circumstances and the very poor in China who also have very little right.

Obituary: Christopher Hitchens

This week we mourn Christopher Hitchens a writer known for his free thinking intelligent criticism and thought.

Hitchens Died thursday 12/15/2011 of Pneumonia. He had been valiantly fighting esophageal cancer for a number of years. He had been discussing and writing about his Cancer for a number of years almost ad-nauseum, including his book Hitch-22. He will be missed for his thought, writing and debate. He was known as an atheist and defended his atheistic beliefs and refused to accept religion into his fight against cancer and his dying. To be an atheist is very hard and their are few friends in this world for which I defend him. He has argued about the harm that has come from religion in many writings, including his book God is Not Great. Esophageal cancer is highly correlated with Drinking and Smoking, which Hitchens has admitted to have doing heavily. He argues that he would not change his life, even though the drinking and smoking killed him prematurely. He argued that it helped him think and write at his best. One can imagine the alcohol loosening the inhibitions and the tobaco calming the nerves.  Hitchens had been an author for Slate.com and Vanity Fair Magazine. Hitchens had appeared on television numbers of times, including on Charlie Rose.

 

Writer/Poet: Edgar Allan Poe

I was walking in our neighborhood, in the Upper West Side in New York City, turned the corner from Broadway onto 84th Street and discovered an apartment building on the site of a house where The Writer and Poet Edgar Allan Poe lived when he wrote his classic gothic poem, The Raven.  For those Simpsons fans, the show had an episode from the episodes from around Halloween playing out the text of the raven, of course Bart is the raven.

Once upon a midnight dreary,while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door-

                Only this, and nothing more.”

The words Poe uses in this poem are so intelligent, along with his rhyming, this is a classic poem of mourning. Themes of death and mourning run through Poe’s work. In Poe’s story The Premature Burial, in which the fears of his day, the fear that one might fall ill, and be thought dead and be buried alive and wake up in the coffin and die for lack of oxygen. The band Siouxsie and the Banshees, on the 1979 album Join Hands had a song Premature Burial, which was written based on Poe’s Story. The story The Tell-Tale Heart is about a murderer who plans a murder and is haunted by the beat of the heart though the walls. The Author Lenore Terr, MD in her book Too Scared To Cry, suggests that Poe as a child was left alone in the house with his mother’s corpse after she died from tuberculosis, a horrid death, which she suggests led the groundwork for themes in Poe’s work.

 

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

 

I was watching the wonderful production of The Grinch who Stole Christmas  complete with Boris Karloff’s voice and the wonderful lyrics thinking about all the wonderful words Dr. Seuss created for us. I grew up in the 196os and read Dr. Seuss’s books with much joy. It’s been said the the word Nerd which gifted people are often accused of being was created by Dr. Seuss. If the word was created by Dr. Seuss, than I am glad to be one.

Theordor Seuss Geissel (1904-1991) grew up in  Springfield MA, and went to Dartmouth in NH. He was the editor of the school’s humor magazine. His father wanted him to become a professor, so he went to Oxford which he found boring and began a career as a cartoonist. Though too young to be a soldier he served in the signal core making training films, where he learned how to do animation.

The bo0k, The Cat in The Hat, came out of a illiteracy campaign, where he was given a list of 400 words, and asked to reduce it to 250 words, he used 220 words in the book. When he wrote Green Eggs and Ham, he was challenged to use 50 words, the book was written, but the bet never paid.

By the time of his death, he wrote and illustrated 44 books, that were read by millions. There is a museum in Springfield, MA.