November 27, 2011

Columbo: Try And Catch Me - A Masterpiece of Mystery

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I first heard of TV series Columbo was almost 15 years ago, when I was a student watching the movie "Wings of Desire" in graduate writing class. Professor mentioned that one of actors in the movie - Peter Falk also played Lieutenant Columbo in TV series of Columbo. I did not pay much attention untill 15 years later, when I finally started watching this show, and found it incredible. I actually have to rand this show as my #1 personal favorite mystery TV show (I like it even slightly better than Hitcock Presents. )

The episode I just watched is Try and Catch Me, with Ruth Gordon as killer - a well known wealthy mystery writer. I must say, while Peter Falk was just as good as usual (maybe even a little better), Gordon's performance is absolutely brilliant. She made the character so alive and pleasant, even though with a unthinkable murder she committed. Every conversation between murderer and lieutenant was witty and amusing, and how Columbo solve the puzzle at the end pushes the whole show to a breathtaking climax. It is truly an intelligent thriller! Without any bloody gruesome "special effects".

I have to agree with one of reviews of this show (from online), that the best part of Columbo is that from beginning of all episodes you "witnessed" the murders and know who are the killers, so the rest of show all your attention is channelled onto Columbo and the killers, watching how Columbo plays with them, and feeling tremendous satisfaction when Columbo - the seemingly slow-witted one - eventually outplays the bad ones - usually the arrogant hypocrites - and brings them to justice.

I enjoyed most of Columbo episodes I've watched, but this one - Try and Catch Me - renewed my passion to this TV show. I watched this episode twice with equal joy! Highly recommend for mystery fans!

P.S. just got the "news" that Peter Falk died in June of this year. R.I.P the best detective in history!
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November 26, 2011

Reason of Falsifiability - Quote from Liu Xiaobo

This image is a crop from commons image File:D...
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The biggest mistake within all mistakes humans ever made is avoiding making mistakes; the most foolish foolishness within all foolishness of humans is believing in absolutes; the weakest weakness within all weaknesses of humans is establishing power. There is no omnipotent power, not God, not science, not Truth itself. This is the enlightenment that "Reason of falsifiability*" brought to human kind.

--- Liu Xiaobo, Spirit of Reason

*"Reason of falsifiability" is my temporary translation which may not be entirely correct.
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November 17, 2011

We Are Not (Only) Equal Before "God"

Dessins de Martin van Maele. Martin Van Maele....
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Instead, we are equal before each others.

I found, after turning into Christians (or any other religions), many people learned to "tolerate", to tolerate something once made them unbearable, such as family violence, abuse, etc. In other words, after turning into religions, they learned to obey the power, simply because of the promising payback - "justice" in "next" life, or "happiness" in that "infinite" life. So "we are equal before God" in many cases (to me) sends a message as such: "we are not equal before each other".

Don't you find this a huge convenience for injustice to prevail? I do. Even though I understand their choices - we humans mostly ARE fragile, especially regarding to our capability of enduring loneliness. That's how many people rather choose yielding to injustice than living alone, rather choose following others' thoughts than believing themselves. And this temporary "harmony" composed by "tolerance" of weak side and "aggression" by powerful side does exist everywhere and last very very long, only interrupted by periodic "crusades" - a never disappeared collective violence.

P.S. I do understand that "we are equal before God" also sends a positive message: giving hope to this hopeless world. I believe that these two sides of same coin are not mutually exclusive.
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November 15, 2011

What Is Art About?

The Creation of Adam is a fresco painted by Mi...
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I've done quite a few essays in Chinese recently and one of them is about the value of art works (ha, I do take break from criticizing Chinese culture sometime). It is a long writing so I have no energy to translate all of them in English. However I am quite happy about the ending of this writing,which I shifted a little from "art works" to "art":

I don't think the essence of art is about "works", either "quantity" or "quality", rather, I believe it is about experiencing life - the wonder of life and the beauty of life. This is because that art, as a spiritual creativity, is nothing more than a "re-creation" of our original life. Furthermore, this original life - every one of ours, is an ultimate masterpiece of artwork that no one can surpass. So, as long as one can enjoy every bit of living process, feel touched by every sunrise and sunset, feel marveled by every seasonal change every year, he/she is a true art master just like Michelangelo. Only if we have such recognition, could we fully understand what "everyone is artist" means, what "equality" means, and what Lao Zhi said over two thousand years ago means: "do nothing and everything is done".
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What Is Life About?

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Life is not about what we achieve or what we do, but HOW WE FEEL.
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November 4, 2011

Knowledge, Chinese Intellectual class and Political Power

Classical Definition of KnoImage via WikipediaIf we define "knowledge" in terms of "epistemology", there have never been knowledge existed in China. "Knowledge" in ancient Chinese intellectuals minds only existed by its pragmatic terms: either for practical productiveness or political power. This tradition, created a "spectacular" phenomenon - that most Chinese intellectuals (Chinese people as well) take it for granted that knowledge serves power. And this understanding of knowledge, inevitably made Chinese intellectuals as a social class that is the most selfish, weak, and in many cases sycophantic group, which always leans to the powerful sides without the least conscience.

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Political Correctness

is modern belief system designed to "equal" intelligent levels: to lower the higher - the minority of intellectuals, to fit the lower - the majority of dumb middle class.