Identifying Likes: A Worthwhile Exercise

Identifying our favourite things in life and determining why can tell us a great deal about ourselves. I started an exercise to identify my favourite books, favourite music and my favourite movies, and to then ascertain as to why I liked them. This would be very useful information… I thought.

The book and music project would be tough. There would be so many genres. A quick trip down memory lane on the books and music front saw all sorts of titles jumping out at me already. I’m also never quite sure about music. The tracks I used to love and played over and over again, no longer have the same appeal… that’s life I guess. On the book side of things, how could I determine my favourites when there were still unread books on my shelves that might well be included in my favourites had I read them. What about the books out there that I don’t know about. There could well be and probably is a life changing book out there and I’ve never read it. It could quite possibly already be on my shelves. Thoughts start to come into my mind like ” he went to his grave, but he never read that book.” ” It could have been so different if only he’d read that book.” ” The answers he craved were in that book and guess what… he never read it.

The Treasury of Quotes
The Treasury of Quotes

Hey, I can identify a favourite as America’s foremost business philosopher Jim Rohn quotes were springing to mind.

Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book. – Jim Rohn

The book you don’t read won’t help. – Jim Rohn

I now have one of the better libraries. I’ll admit that I haven’t read everything in my library, but I feel smarter just walking in it. – Jim Rohn

I hear you Jim and yes at the moment I’m guilty as charged on all fronts. You see Jim I’ve got too many projects on the go at the moment, I’m spinning plates again and doing my best to make sure that none of those plates drop. I have a tight schedule Jim and at the moment there’s just no time to read. How do I know that the book I’m about to squeeze into my tight schedule will help.

The book you don’t read won’t help.  – Jim Rohn.

Yes, Jim I know, but I’ve got a few blogs to keep going, interviews to do, money to go out and earn, a catering business to run and the learning of a couple of oriental languages to boot. By 11-30 pm I’ve scheduled to read for 30 minutes before hitting the sack, but it’s just no good Jim, I keep dropping off to sleep and then waking up and reading the same parts that I’ve already read. I’m reading the book, but it’s poor quality reading and I’m not getting very far.

I can’t say that I feel smarter just walking through my library at the moment. I feel overwhelm and frustration as I look at the unread books in a pile that I made in order to read. It’s the way of things at the moment as other projects are at this point in life more important, but I hear you Jim. The favourite book list project is on hold for a while and so is the favourite music list.


Finally, and to my surprise, a project that did not take long to do at all, deciding on my favourite movies. I gave myself the question to name my 3 favourite movies of all time? Not only name the three favourite’s, but put them in order of preference. Once again and surprisingly enough, this task also came with relative ease. This is rare, a project of relative ease. Not only could I name my favourite three movies, but a favourite television series of all time as well.

Third Place

The Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption
Shawshank Redemption

One of those movies that I must have seen ten times or more. Each time that I see the movie and despite knowing the outcome, I still watch it through to the end. Banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover, but he was innocent of the crimes. The movie also stars Morgan Freeman as Red, a man who’s known to be able to get things in prison. Red and Andy become good friends in prison and Andy makes a request to Red to get him a rock hammer.

A corrupt warden picks up on the financial skills of Andy Dufresne and starts to use him in a money-laundering operation. This is referred to here in a conversation between Andy Dufresne and Red.

Andy Dufresne: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they’re gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.

Red: Well, I’ll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you’re a Rembrandt!

Andy Dufresne: Yeah. The funny thing is – on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore) was the prison librarian and had only really known a life behind bars, he’d been in prison a very long time. Finally, after 50 years in prison, Brooks is paroled. Brooks couldn’t adjust to the outside world and committed suicide by hanging himself. This is a letter he penned to his former inmates beforehand.

Dear fellas, I can’t believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they’re everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called “The Brewer” and a job bagging groceries at the Foodway. It’s hard work and I try to keep up, but my hands hurt most of the time. I don’t think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work, I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello, but he never does. I hope wherever he is, he’s doin’ okay and makin’ new friends. I have trouble sleepin’ at night. I have bad dreams like I’m falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun and rob the Foodway so they’d send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus. I guess I’m too old for that sort of nonsense any more. I don’t like it here. I’m tired of being afraid all the time. I’ve decided not to stay. I doubt they’ll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me. P.S: Tell Heywood I’m sorry I put a knife to his throat. No hard feelings. Brooks.

Second Place

Midnight Express

Midnight Express
Midnight Express

William Hayes (Brad Davis) is an American who is caught smuggling hash out of Istanbul, Turkey. He receives a prison sentence of four years. The four-year term is later overturned after a prosecution appeal and he’s then ordered to serve a 30 year to life term. Some brutal scenes, experiences and characters in the movie. I remember the movie leaving me with a haunting type of feeling in my youth, I think the haunting music added to that. There were only really two outcomes here, escape or death.

Max: The best thing to do is to get your ass out of here. Best way that you can.

Billy Hayes: Yeah, but how?

Max: Catch the midnight express.

Billy Hayes: But what’s that?

Max:  [laughs] Well it’s not a train. It’s a prison word for… escape. But it doesn’t stop around here.

The Winner

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Randle Patrick ” Mac ” Murphy (Jack Nicholson)  is transferred from a prison farm to a mental institution for evaluation. Mac Murphy is an anti-authoritarian, a repeat offender who see’s a way to avoid hard labour and see his sentence out peacefully.

Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) a strict authoritarian, rules the institution with total power and control. She employs tactics like unpleasant medical treatments and repeated mind numbing daily routines. Mcmurphy takes the role as the leader of his fellow patients and is quickly identified as a threat to the authority of Nurse Ratched.

In one scene, Mcmurphy feels cheated after winning the vote to watch the World Series on television. The chief (Will Sampson) put his hand up to swing the vote in the direction of watching it, but Nurse Ratched said the vote had already taken place beforehand and it was not in favour for watching the World Series.

Mcmurphy then begins to commentate  on an imaginary baseball game from the lounge and draws a crowd of patients.

 Koufax… Koufax kicks. He delivers. It’s up the middle! It’s a base hit! Richardson is rounding first. He’s going for second. The ball’s into deep right center. Davis cuts the ball off! Here comes the throw. He throws it to second! He slides! He’s in there! He’s safe! It’s a double.! Richardson’s on second base!

After bribing the night orderly, Mcmurphy arranges a party at the hospital which includes a couple of young ladies entering in through the window. The ploy was that Mcmurphy and the chief would escape back out of the window at the end of the evening. This never occurred as due to the combination of alcohol and medication, sleep took over and everyone passed out including Mcmurphy and the chief. Nurse Ratched arrived in the morning to a mass of passed out bodies all over the floor. During the clean up operation they discover that Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif) had slept with one of the young ladies. Nurse Ratched regains control by informing Billy that she will tell his mother. The now happy, non stuttering  and newly found confidence of Billy Babbit ended there as he locked himself in a Doctors office and killed himself. This triggered Mcmurphy into rage as he attempted to strangle Nurse Ratched to death, before being knocked out by an orderly.

The response of Nurse Ratched …

The best thing we can do is go on with our daily routine.

The plot moves on from here and has a happy and a sad ending. The escape plan is eventually carried out, but it’s a sad ending for Mcmurphy, but a good one for the chief.

Throughout the movie the chief was apparently just a deaf and dumb Indian that was as big as a mountain. It was towards the end of the movie that Mcmurphy passes the chief a stick of gum and the chief say’s.

Mmmmmm, Juicy Fruit.

This of course caused elation for Mcmurphy as he delighted at the chief’s craftiness. Mcmurphy had literally made the chief feel as big as a mountain inside as well. The chief was ready.

Before seeing the movie, I had already read the book  by Ken Kesey. The movie was of course fantastic, but I found the book even better. I’d definitely have it down as my favourite movie of all time.

My own evaluation

On first evaluation of this lot, I had my concerns. It looked like I had a secret hankering to be institutionalised, as my favourite movies were all about life behind bars. On further investigation, what I actually hated was injustice, denial of freedom and people in positions of authority who abuse their power and play God. Furthermore, what I actually wanted to see was injustice reversed and those playing Hitler to receive their comeuppance.

I have a love / hate relationship with the words power and control. Personal developed power… i.e. skills and information acquired by working on and developing one’s self, hence resulting in taking control of one’s own life, I have massive respect for, and believe in.

Bangkok Beat
Bangkok Beat

Those in positions of power that abuse their power, plain old bully’s and the greedy bastards that destroy people’s dreams or put innocent people’s lives at risk purely for the pursuit of more and more money, I definitely despise those bastards. There’s a quote I’ve come across twice now that sums this point up nicely. It’s mentioned in both   ” Phnom Penh Noir ” edited by Christopher G. Moore in the short story by Christopher G. Moore called Reunion and in Bangkok Beat by Kevin Cummings who was referring to the same quote by Christopher G. Moore.

I don’t believe in capital punishment except for one offense: fucking with people’s dreams and hopes. Put those bastards against the nearest wall and shoot them. – Christopher G. Moore

Phnom Penh Noir
Phnom Penh Noir

Favourite Series: Kung Fu

As a child growing up, I never really used to watch a great deal of television. I would be mainly found honing my soccer skills out in the back yard, but the television series ” Kung Fu,” I never missed an episode of.

David Carradine starred as Kwai Chang Caine a Shaolin Monk on the run. He was on the run after killing the Chinese Emperor’s nephew who had killed his teacher in cold blood with a gun. He flees to America to escape retaliation and settle in a new land. However, his travels in the wild west continually see him run into trouble in the form of ruffians, desperados and bounty hunters pursuing the price on his head. His martial art skills come into play with devastating effect.

I always loved the way that he gave them a few lines of wisdom before he kicked their butts. Actually, they usually had the chance after the wisdom was given to leave quietly. They usually chose the wrong option of course. The power was with Kwai Chang Caine in the form of martial art skills and teachings. Once again the good power, self developed skills if I am not mistaken.

It turned out to be a useful little exercise.

Kung Fu
Kung Fu





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