They Called Him Bruce

Back when I was a kid, my friends and I felt certain we knew how martial arts movie star Bruce Lee died.

It was by Dim Mak, a kind of kung-fu death touch delt out by masters who were angry Lee was revealing their secrets on screen. That was our theory. It was nonsense of course, but American author Matthew Polly does address it in his very detailed book (616 pages) BRUCE LEE: A LIFE, published last year.

Author Matthew Polly https://mattpolly.com/ is a former Rhodes Scholar who spent two years studying Kung Fu at the Shaolin Temple in China (he wrote a best seller about that entitled AMERICAN SHAOLIN)

Bruce Lee‘s estate apparently does not like talking about his death. Polly speculates that’s maybe because he died not at home as first reported, but in the nearby flat of his mistress, actor Betty Ting Pei, who is still alive today aged 72 and who was interviewed by Polly for the book.

Bruce Lee‘s cause of death is still shrouded in mystery to some degree, though many now agree it may have been an allergic reaction to a headache pill made worse by some underlying health issues related to the physical extremes of Lee’s martial arts training.

Polly spent six months in Hong Kong researching his book and was worried at first no one would talk to him. But when film producer Raymond Chow (who died just 4 months after the book was published in 2018) and Betty Ting both agreed to talk, he knew he was on his way to being able to definitely chart Bruce Lee‘s life and times in meticulously researched worthy detail (included, if you can believe this, are a hundred pages of pithy and revelatory footnotes).

Bruce Lee was the poster boy for the little guy fighting (and winning) way above his weight. He weighed 64 kg during his Hollywood hey-day and stood 5 foot eight inches tall. I weigh 68 kg and stand five foot nine inches. I’ve always found a lot to like about him, though I wonder if millennials will even know who he is.

Then again, there’s a Bruce Lee character getting screen time in Tarrantino’s latest film ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD so it might be a little hasty to suggest his enduring legacy has completely wearied just yet.

Naturally thirty-six year old Mike Moh (who is of Korean descent) knows a thing or two in real life about martial arts. He is a 5th degree blackbelt in Taekwondo and runs his own martial arts academy in Wisconsin, U.S. Mike Moh features in the soon to be released Chris Hemsworth film KILLERMAN.

This video has him talking about his role in Tarrantino’s movie as well as showcasing some of his slammin’ moves –

On a side note, apparently Bruce’s daughter Shannon (who believes her late father could easily have beaten Muhammad Ali in a fight) isn’t too happy about him being portrayed, in her words, as “some kind of arrogant obnoxious joke” in the movie. Click HERE to learn more on that-

Choosing a clip from one of Bruce Lee’s films to include here turned out to be just too difficult. Iconic scenes from all seven of his most well-known films have been played literally to death over the years so I saw little point in repeating more of the same here. Instead you’ll have to content yourselves with an almighty loop of his famous two-finger pushups.

Ok then, if you insist…

So no-one can complain of leaving without their taste for chop-sockey inspired, stylized violence having been at least partially satisfied, I give you this little treat from Jason Statham (who has always cited Bruce Lee as his inspiration). What he does here with a fire-hose is highly…. unexpected painful creative effective?

Putting out fires – Statham style.

And while things are still kinda on topic…

Click HERE for a review of a new movie – billed as a ‘dark comedy’ – THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE

which in no way known should/could be mistaken for this animated offering going by the same name delivered by that lovable eccentric from yesteryear… GOOFY.

Scenic Writer’s Shack puts the ‘old’ into old-school once again. Can something considered funny nearly 80 years ago still raise a laugh today? You be the judge.

Ps. Last year, on these very pages, I published my list of all-time favorite martial arts movies. You may not have woken up this morning with a burning desire to see that list again, but while you’re here, why not take a look-see HERE

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World At Her Feet

Meeting a literary soulseeker who not only runs rings around you in the beautiful words department but happens to be forty years your junior had me recently trying to gather my dignity around me like a loosely fitted robe.

The occasion was a completely memorable red carpet book launch at my local library. Eleven year old Brisbane author Georgia Bowditch – who it can be reported wields her magic writing stick like Steve Smith is now once again wielding his cricket bat – that is to say with scene-stealing power, finesse and mad skill – was signing copies of her 40 000 plus word debut novel WOLFHEART – Moonlight’s Prophecy.

She agreed to speak to SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK. In return SWS agreed to grab the opportunity with both hands. With talent and an unmistakably severe intelligence like hers, it won’t be long before Georgia is showcasing the fruits of her imagination on much grander literary stages than this one.

And then the moment arrives…

A person from the publicity department appears and announces our author is finally about to make an appearance. All conversation stops and the orchestra (someone’s mobile ringtone HERE) begins to play. Every eye is directed to the top of the stairs.Ladies and Gentlemen…. Georgia Bowditch”.

Wonderful to meet you Georgia. Can we begin with you letting us know what your new novel is about?

Moonlight and Wildfire are the alpha’s of a group of wolves called Spirit Pack. Without giving away spoilers, these two wolves must seize the reins of the group when an ominous and mystery-shrouded danger threatens to tear the pack apart.

Use four adjectives to describe how it feels to have earned the title ‘published novelist’ at the age of just eleven.

Surprising – strange – cool – stressful (people expect the next book).

Tell us a little about your public book launch and signing session held at Inala library.

I sat on a chair and answered some questions about my book and signed them.

Apart from inspired plotting and flowing prose, WOLFHEART: MOONLIGHT’S PROPHECY showcases your flair for dramatic and natural sounding dialogue.

“You thought I was nothing! Just like they did! Well you’re wrong. And I didn’t get to introduce myself before. I’m Luna. Pleasure to kill you.”

“You wouldn’t kill a goddess!” Ki whimpered, her two tails wavering.

“You’re not a goddess, and I would,” Lana growled. “I have my reasons.”

“I don’t see any reasons”, Hail murmured, “at all”. (p50)

Were you taught how to have characters exchange words in that climactic way or does it somehow just come naturally to you?

I have not had training for writing, but have done some drama classes.

** Editor’s note: Georgia has just recently gained entry into a author’s mentoring program run by the Australian Writer’s Centre. Way to go Georgia!

Did you do any research into wolves and wolf packs for the writing of the book?

Yes, to learn about how they live and communicate.

** Editor’s note: After having devoured the first half of the book myself, I can attest to the extent that literally every syllable of this heart-stoppingly authentic narrative is imbued – subtly and skillfully – with no less than a zoologist’s knowledge of wolves: from the way they move, forage, interact and stalk prey to the means by which hierarchical social orders are maintained and ownership of territory is asserted. And it’s all done not in an overbearing, information-dump sort-of-way but in a manner which compels the reader to go along for the ride and intuit “This feels real’.

There’s an old adage that books are not written they are re-written – meaning authors may go through many drafts of a sentence, paragraph or chapter before they are satisfied they have the right words. What was the editing process like for you?

For me it was exactly the same. I changed many words and many character names when I wrote the book.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Erin Hunter and Kathryn Lasky

Any plans for a follow-up to WOLFHEART: MOONLIGHT’S PROPHECY?

Yes, I am currently testing writing pieces for book number two.

When you Google your own name now what do you find?

The first thing I see is WOLFHEART, but I still see a few people who have the same name.

Have you ever heard of a movie, from ancient times, called DANCES WITH WOLVES?

Can’t say I have.

Georgia, would you be up for some...

Please…

Do you have a nickname?

Not really.

** Editors note – How does ‘The Girl Who Cried Wolf‘ or just plain ‘Wolfie’ grab you? Ok you’re right. They probably wouldn’t grab me much either Georgia.

Name one thing you learnt in the last week.

I learned that Moon Bears exist.

How do you feel about putting pineapple on Pizza?

Don’t like it.

What’s your star sign?

Taurus

** Editor’s Note: Good news Georgia! A little research on my part came up with the following about what amazing writers Taurians make –

 TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)
You’ve been jotting down your thoughts since you were a small child; you’ve always loved poetry, fiction, and you’ve even dreamed of doing it professionally. Good thing for you because you happen to be very good at it.

You take your life’s experience and translate it into words effortlessly. You’re a natural storyteller and you are always able to wow people with your written expression. Hey, with William Shakespeare as one of your own, you come well represented!

Go HERE to get the complete astrological breakdown on which star signs make the best writers.

You are now Queen of your own country. What’s its name and where is it?

SPAGHETTI-LAND – on Earth.

Do you like your own handwriting? (And permit me to add, in all modesty Georgia, I’ve seen the complete gamut of children’s written script – from apparitions of mangled letter fragments that look like a chicken’s feet dipped in ink ran randomly across the page to motley sentence mishmashes that more resemble rare-dialect ancient hieroglyphics).

Sort of.

Last board game you played?

Chess.

On Sundays I like to…

Create animations.

What’s your spy name?

Agent Fish.

Favorite ice-cream flavor?

Vanilla.

Time suddenly slowed and with a puff of vanilla essence… she was gone. Georgia Bowditch had left the building – on a date with destiny and her next great writing adventure.

I removed my elbows from the table and sat a little straighter. In those brief moments, I’d met a young story weaver whose fantasy worlds are conjured faster than the weeds grow in my garden. In my midst was someone preparing to take on the world one magnificently-worded and intricately-plotted story at a time. Three huge fan cheers for you Georgia!

Ps. From a young imagination just setting out to a person at the other end of their writing journey…

American author Toni Morrison was a true colossus of the literary world. The author of eleven full length novels, she won the famed Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Five years later she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Among many other positions and accolades, she occupied the chair of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. During her lifetime she also penned two plays, four non-fiction books, five children’s books, numerous essays and worked as an editor on a great many other publications. She passed away last week at the age of 88.

Master of the House

Who’s the master of YOUR house?

It’s a worthwhile question to ask, with a perhaps not too obvious answer lying in wait – if you’re ready to face the ugg muggs truth.

Until recently I’ve had the good sense to acknowledge, on a quite regular basis, that that title belonged, most assuredly, to my wife. In some circles a realisation as profound as that might even be mistaken for wisdom.

Yet recently I’ve come to question that belief.

See, when there’s someone, or more precise to say SOMETHING in your home that commands you sit in front of it for a great many hours a day in a room set aside just for ‘it’, and can positively bring you and a sizeable portion of your functioning universe to its knees should it on a technical whim ever decide to, logic will dictate that sooner or later it will dawn on you who the real Tony Soprano in your midst actually is.

And when that day comes, if it hasn’t come already, trust me – you will be on your way to coming to terms with what the scarey and spectacularly humbling true order of things may actually be.

Our LG computer is going on 13 years old. By some standards that should have had the good folk from Antiques Roadshow knocking on my door a while back. It got me thinking about how far these fandangled smart machines have come since ancient times (the 1950’s).

Come see…

The true jaw-dropping impact of this photo begins to come into focus when you compare the behemoth on the forklift to today’s USB portable flash drives (aka memory sticks) that are less than the size of a child’s thumb.

The ones with the LEAST amount of data storage space on them, that you can commonly buy these days from stores like Officeworks is a 8 GB memory stick. That’s GIGABYTES mind! Just a single gigabyte is equal to 1024 megabytes. And the piano-sized bit of kit in the picture could hold just five MEGABYTES – not GIGABYTES – of data.

Yep, it’s pretty easy to get a laugh from old technology. The Apple Macintosh 512K definitely fits the bill now as old technology but the ad that was created to launch it is still considered a timeless classic.

Take a look back –

So what’s the newest thing in the world of compunication and frankencomputers? IBM’s latest supercomputer, named SUMMIT and capable of a processing speed of 200 petaflops (apparently that’s like really, really good!) went sentient live in November of last year.

But most folk know the real cork-popping celebrations will be held off for the advent of quantum computers. If you think I’m going to attempt a technical explanation of precisely how quantum computing will be the mother of all game-changers (the digital world’s equivalent of a cold fusion type technology breakthrough, if you will) you’re going to have to now sit there for a full minute in all your wrongness while someone else explains it –

There are plenty of much longer explanations plying their trade on the internet unpacking what quantum computing is and how it works but I’m pretty confident you won’t come across another one this concise.

And if the cartoon above is anything to go by, it’s pretty clear who, or better said ‘what‘ will be wearing the pants in everyone’s home and workplace in the next decade to an even greater extent than is already the situation now.

Don’t say you weren’t warned

Ps. I attended a book launch last weekend at my local library. WOLFHEART: MOONLIGHT’S PROPHECY is a 40 000+ word novel written by eleven year old local author Georgia Bowditch.

It features flowing, beautiful prose in a story about two wolves fighting for the survival of their group, known as the Spirit Pack. It is a truly stunning debut for a prodigious young writer embarking on what will no doubt be an astonishing and fun-filled literary odyssey. Watch this space.