New Page: Movie Reviews


I don’t know why I never did this before, but I added a page to the bar of links at the top of this blog’s homepage with a list of all the Movie Reviews I’ve written since this blog went live in 2006.  So, if you’re looking for ideas on a movie to watch, or you watched a movie and want to know what I thought of it, this is your one-stop shopping.

Hey, I didn’t advertise this, but did you notice that I tried to watch and review a movie every day in February?  I didn’t quite make it, but added quite a few movies to this list.  There will be more movie fun coming up in April.

What are you reading in 2018?


In years past, I’ve made a list of books I plan to read in the coming year.  You can find my current Book List 2018 up in the navigation bar with a drop-down list for previous years.

I’ve made things less complicated this year instead of listing out books to read, I’m just going to use my existing wishlist at LibraryThing.  I will also be trying to keep track of audiobooks, books for my Around the World for a Good Book project, and books for  Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge.

I will post the books that I’ve actually completed reading with a link to review and books I’m currently reading on the Book List 2018 page as well.  If you’re reading something good, I’d love to hear about it and I’m always happy to open a discussion of books on this blog.

Science Fiction Double Feature – Vanity Edition


Last night I watched on Netflix an episode of Star Trek and an episode of The Twilight Zone back to back.  The thread that connected these two tv shows together is their guest actor, a man who shares my name, Liam Sullivan.  Despite my best efforts, he is probably the most famous Liam Sullivan of all time, known for his many appearances on television shows, particularly as a villain (albeit I’d argue he plays a sympathetic character in The Twilight Zone episode).

Sullivan is quoted as saying about his villainous roles:

“Playing truly evil people is a great way to release tension and anger and disgust with humanity. Show bad people what they really look and act like and maybe they’ll recognize themselves and change. Who knows?”

I remember seeing Liam Sullivan’s name in the credits of tv shows when I was growing up and it was a treat.  Unlike the present day when the name Liam is a frequent top ten baby name for boys, it was an unusual name outside of Ireland in the 1970s and 80s.  It’s all the more remarkable that the actor Liam Sullivan was born and named in Illinois in 1923.

In the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” (1968), Sullivan plays Parmen, an immortal with telekinetic powers who cruelly bullies and torments the crew of the Enterprise.  This is third season Star Trek episode so you have to look past some plot and dialogue absurdities to appreciate the actually very strong acting performances put in by both the series’ regulars and guest actors like Sullivan and Michael Dunn.  This episode is famous for the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura.  The kiss is actually forced by Parmen in his efforts to humiliate the crew, so hey, someone named Liam Sullivan is behind one of the most famous moments in television history.

The Twilight Zone episode “The Silence” is a rare instance of the show not featuring a supernatural or extraterrestrial element, and is in fact based on an Anton Chekov story called “The Bet.”  Sullivan plays Jamie Tennyson, a young member of a gentleman’s club who talks constantly much to the irritation Colonel Archie Taylor (Franchot Tone).  Sullivan appears much younger in this show although it’s only 7 years earlier than Star Trek, and appropriately, is ruggedly handsome.  Taylor proposes a wager that Tennyson must remain silent for twelve months under observation of club members, and should he do so would win half a million dollars.  Since Sullivan doesn’t speak for much of the episode, it is remarkable how well he conveys emotions through facial expressions and movements.  This is especially true when Taylor begins to realize he may lose the bet and starts to cruelly torment Tennyson. The episode has a twist at the end as you might expect, one which I’m not sure would actually work physically, but shocking all the same.

So that’s the story of my name in lights.  Who is the most famous person that shares your name with you?  Do you feel any kinship with them?

Related post: People Who Are Not Me

Movies that Everyone Has Seen Except Me


I like movies, and I’ve seen a lot of them in my time, but there are some movies that seem ubiquitous in popular culture that despite no particular effort to avoid, I’ve never seen.

Avatar – apparently no one actually likes this movie, but it is currently the top grossing movie of all-time without my contribution.

Blade Runner – I’ve been meaning to watch this for decades.  Of course, it’s difficult to determine which “cut” of the movie I should watch first.

The Godfather (and all its sequels) – I remember my sister watching one of these movies when I was a kid but I was too young to handle reading the subtitles of Sicilian people yelling at one another.

Goodfellas – I guess I’m just not into mobster movies

Jurassic Park (and all its sequels) – I actually did avoid this one because I read the book and it was styooo-pid.  I’m surprised it’s still such a big cultural phenomenon.

Mrs. Doubtfire – This was once on the list of top-grossing films of all-time but has been usurped.  It looked dumb and creepy so I never saw it.

Pulp Fiction – I actually have avoided this one because I’ve been told that someone gets shot in the head which is something I find too disturbing to watch.

The Shawshank Redemption – I rented the videotape once, but it malfunctioned.  Why have I never followed up?

The Shining – Over the years, I think I’ve gleaned the entire plot of this movie, at least the part that was reenacted by bunnies.

Shindler’s List – Always meant to watch, but never found the right time.

What hit or classic movies have you missed seeing?  Which of these movies should I try to watch first?

 

This blog goes to 11


I published the first post on this blog on December 4, 2006.  Although that anniversary passed a week ago, I did not want to let it go unremarked upon.  So here are some thoughts on being eleven:

  • This is the 2,676 post published to this blog.
  • I’ve now been blogging for one quarter of my life which seems like a pretty remarkable portion of time.
  • Still, it could’ve been longer.  I regret not going through with my thoughts of signing up for a LiveJournal in the early 2000s.  It would be fun to look back at now.
  • I’ve reverted back to the original name of this blog, Panorama of the Mountains.  It was foolish to believe that anything else could be more suited.
  • I’ve also redecorated.  Tell me what you think!
  • I’ve recently started using Instagram.  You can see it on the sidebar or check out my account. I’m trying to take interesting photographs everyday which I share there.
  • I’m still also using Tumblr (Portals of Discovery) and have a ridiculous Doctor Who-themed sideblog.
  • And you may find me tweeting at @othemts (general tweets, mostly politics and sports) or @archivaliam (professional tweets related to libraries, archives, records management), but I’m taking a bit of a rest from Twitter right now.

These are the five most viewed posts published in the past year:

Here are five posts that I like that need more love:

So that was the year that was…

 

 

Previously:

Blogging A to Z Challenge – Halfway There! #atozchallenge


We are halfway through the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!  Today’s a day off and I’ll resume with a photograph for the letter N tomorrow, but I wanted to take a moment to look forward and look back at the challenge itself.

 

First of all, I’ve decided that for the letter R post that will go up on Friday, April 21st, I will be taking “Requests.”  Please use the comments below or tweet me at @othemts and give me a suggestion for something I should try to photograph for the day.  Keep your suggestion family-friendly and within the bounds of law and I will pick the one I find the most creative.

Second, here are some of my favorite blogs that I’m following for the A to Z Challenge with their themes:

Third, here are all of my posts so far:

Happy blogging!

The November 18th All-Stars


As a child growing up rooting for the Mets, I knew that Dwight Gooden (then Mets’ ace and arguably the 2nd-greatest Met of all time) celebrated his birthday on November 16 and the all-time greatest Met, The Franchise, Tom Seaver, celebrated his birthday on November 17.  With my birthday on November 18, I was a natural for future Met great.  There was one problem, I had no baseball talent.

I’m now 43, past retirement age for baseball, although as long as the ageless Bartolo Colon continues to pitch there will still be an active major leaguer older than me.   For fun, here is the all-time all-star roster for players born on November 18.

C – Deacon McGuire – known as a gentleman who played 26 seasons at the most demanding position
1B – Roy Sievers – hit nine career walkoff homeruns
2B – Gene Mauch – can also be the team’s manager
SS – Kermit Wahl – finding a shortstop for the team was tough,  could move over Sheffield and seek out another third baseman?
3B – Gary Sheffield – Doc Gooden’s nephew!  Wonder if they celebrated their birthdays together?
LF – Steve Henderson – his walkoff homerun at Shea Stadium in 1980 is one of the defining moments of my baseball fandom
CF – Les Mann – regular centerfielders were also hard to find, but Mann played a key role for the Miracle Braves of 1914
RF – Dante Bichette – I remember him being called “Bionic Fat” which was inspiring to us men of large girth
DH – David Ortiz – Big Papi is  without question the greatest November 18th baseball player of all time

SP – Jamie Moyer – pitched until he was 49!
SP – Jack Coombs – won 31 games for the Athletics in 1910
SP – Allen Watson – was born in Queens and was briefly a Met in 1999
SP – Jay Hook – pitcher of record for the Mets’ first ever franchise win in 1962
SP – Cal Koonce – a reliever for the 1969 Miracle Mets although he was a starter earlier in his career with the Cubs

CLOSER – Tom Gordon – the Red Sox star of the late 90s had a Stephen King book named after him
RP – C.J. Wilson – a 2011 All-Star
RP – Shawn Camp – was the 500th selection in the 1997 draft
RP – Mark Petkovsek – had his best season in 1996 working as starter and long reliever for the Cardinals
RP – Matt Wise – appeared in 8 games for the 2008 Mets

 

Happy birthday to all of the November 18th All-Stars!

The Comment Challenge (July)


I signed up to participate in another challenge, this one called The Comment Challenge.  It will be running in June, July, and August this summer.  I missed sign ups for June, but signed up for July and probably will sign up for August as well.
The basic gist is that participants are paired up to read and comment on each other’s blog.  That’s it, pretty simple!  I pledge to make 5-10 comments on my partner’s blog, although I hope I can do more.  Following up on my last post, I’m hoping this is a way to make connections and make blogging feel less solitary.

The Comment Challenge is hosted by Lonna @ FLYLēF and Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense


While waiting for the Comment Challenge to begin in July, I plan to try to make two comments each day on blogs I read (not including responding to responses to my comments).

#humbleblog


Just want to take a moment here to point out that I have published at least one post on Panorama of the Mountains every day since December 1, 2015. As today is May 31, 2016, that means my posting streak is now at six consecutive months! In my nearly ten years of blogging, I’ve never even approached a consecutive day streak remotely approaching that long, so I want to take a moment to savor it.

In the past six months, I’ve published 306 posts (including this one). Dear lord, whatever did I have to say? I hoped posting more regularly would mean that I’d see an uptick in readers, commenters, and followers – which I have – but this is still a very lonely blog. If you like what you read here, drop me a note or share it with your friends on social media, won’t you?

According to my stats, these are the five posts from those 306 that interested the most readers:

 

Here are ten of my favorite posts  from the past six months which I think are worth reading, or re-reading, commenting, and sharing:

And then there are all 27 of my posts about Jamaica Plain for the Blogging A to Z Challenge!

 

Questions for my fellow bloggers:  How often do you publish blog  posts?  What ways have you found effective to attract more readers, and better yet, to make connections with fellow bloggers?  Have you have written anything you love and find it ignored?  I’d love to hear other bloggers’ experiences!