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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 10/11/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 15, Whole Number 2088
Table of Contents
Puerto Rican Money (comments by mark R. Leeper):
I recently spent some time in Puerto Rico. There are good aspects and bad aspects of Puerto Rico but in one way the traveler or foreigner has a real disadvantage there. That is, in figuring out the money. You always have to spend a few minutes figuring out the money when you go overseas, but the currency in Puerto Rico is the worst and most difficult to figure out of any country we have visited. Usually a country will have two units of currency, and usually they will have a ratio of 100 to 1. The coins will have a numeral and the units of currency. Well, they start out okay with the big unit being something called a "dollar" and with the bills at least having numerals to show how many dollars they represent. I am pretty sure a dollar is the figure they show with an S and a bar through it, but I just don't see that figure on the bill anywhere. Oh, and of course the bills are all the same size, so it is really tough to tell them apart by feel. I pity a blind Puerto Rican. Imagine what a blind Puerto Rican must go through.
And then I hear people referring to something called a "nickel." I cannot find any coin that says on it "one nickel", so this must be a very rare coin.
The coins have denominations spelled out in words that are not even in the local language. They say things like "one cent" or "five cents"; "1 cent" and "5 cents" might be better. Now we get into fractions as well as words. The big coin says "quarter dollar." If I have my ratio right, and I am not sure I do, this is 25 cents. I also got in my change something from what must be a foreign currency. It is labeled "one dime." None of the other coins or bills say how many dimes they are, so I at first assumed it came from some previous system of currency or some other country. It is smaller than a cent but it is silver like a five-cent piece. It probably is something like a half a cent. A five-cent piece is the next larger silver coin and I can't think what else would divide into five cents. That would make 200 dimes to a dollar. I guess it does say "United States" like the others, but no other coin measures its value in dimes. Also, I asked a man where I could find someone who would give me 200 dimes for my dollar and he just walked away. I think what I'd have to do is ask someone to break a five-cent piece and give me my change all in dimes and I'd see how many I get. I can easily see how this weird currency could drive the Puerto Ricans to the bughouse.
Of course we don't have to worry about inconvenience for people using our money. We are the big, powerful Americans. Put the inconvenience on someone else. [-mrl]
THE RIOT ACT (film review by mark R. Leeper):
CAPSULE: In this independent film, probably crowd- funded, we get a father-daughter story of mystery and revenge set in 1901 and 1903. A troop of vaudeville players comes to a town and their presence sparks conflict between the part owner of the local opera house and his rage-filled daughter. While the writing could have used more work, the production designer makes a small budget work double time; the look and feel of 1901 and 1903 Arkansas feels authentic to me, but then what do I know about the turn-of-the-century Arkansas? Directed and written by: Devon Parks. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) or 8/10
In 1903 a company of players bring their brand of "high-end" vaudeville to an Arkansas town packed with secrets. Among the company is the attractive woman Allye (played by Lauren Sweetser). But there is more going on just beneath the surface than anyone realizes, most of it involving some of the town's past of a couple years before.
It seems that those two years earlier the acting company was playing this same town. Allye was having a short fling with one of the performers in the troupe. That relationship came to a short sharp conclusion when the town's resident doctor (played by Brett Cullen), who happens to be Allye's father and part owner of the opera house, fatally shoots Alley's lover. The doctor, who also partly owns the town's opera house, has simmered in anger for two years, but now Allye is back and there is bound to be friction. This relationship may not be the only one that will be causing trouble. The actors have invented and introduced stage blood and the exploding blood squib to excite the audience with the action that appears to be really happening in front of the audience. Somehow the film has the texture of a Hammer film; it just needed more of it.
Writer/director Parks' story telling is densely written with a slow but intense build. The film's credit list is very long implying that the film was crowd-sourced to a large but friendly crowd. Emily Danielle Parks (probably a close relation to Devon) created a strong sense of the period with an effective look on what was probably a low budget. I rate this mystery with a small edge of horror a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 8/10.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6702308/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_riot_act
Beate Uhse (letter of comment by Paul Dormer):
In response to his own comments on Beate Uhse in the 10/04/19 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:
Amusing coincidence. I've been watching the series "Copper" which finally has come to a channel I receive. It's about an Irish cop in New York in 1864. One of the regular characters is Eva, the local brothel madam, played by German actress Franka Potente. I was looking yesterday at her entry in the IMDb to see what else she's been in. I remember seeing her in the film LOLA RENNT many years ago. Turns out she was the lead in a biopic of Beate Uhse:
METROPOLIS (letter of comment by Gary McGath):
In response to Mark's comments on a newly colorized and dubbed METROPOLIS in the 10/04/19 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:
A dubbed and colorized Metropolis? AAARRRGGH! [Demon-warding gesture] [-gmg]
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
GOLDEN STATE by Ben H. Winters (ISBN 978-0-316-50541-3) is described as being set in "an alternate world that values law and truth above all else." This immediately brings to mind James Morrow's "City of Truth", the film THE INVENTION OF LYING, and the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire (Herodotus reports that they thought telling a lie the most disgraceful thing one could do). And there are some obvious parallels. For example, the television shows in THE INVENTION OF LYING are all boring documentaries; since recreations would be lies, the shows are all narrators just reading what is effectively a history book. In GOLDEN STATE, the shows are basically surveillance camera videos (e.g., "people buying a cup of coffee").
The premise of GOLDEN STATE is a little different, though, and it is the mystery of the book as much (or more) as who murdered the roofer. The fixation on truth seems in part a response to the current political climate, but it becomes more than telling the truth--it is recording the truth, and reinforcing the truth, and deciding what is the truth. Someone described this as "an alternate future," which at first seemed like an obvious phrase, but this is really more like the future of an alternate present--I am not sure it is entirely consistent with our present. But consistency with our present is not the point. The point is our attitude(s) toward truth: what it is, why it matters, *if* it matters. [-ecl]
Mark Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Quote of the Week: I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun. --Arnold SchwarzeneggerTweet
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