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The “I, Robot Syndrome” – a Quintapalus Vocabulary Lesson November 22, 2005, 9:24 pm

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This piece of Quintapalus vocabulary comes not from the excellent collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov, but rather that mediocre piece of tripe movie that could easily be mistaken for a 115 minute info-mercial starring Will Smith.

In the movie I, Robot, Will Smith plays a detective named Del Spooner who is tasked with investigating a supposed suicide of a robotic engineer who works for the biggest company in the world, US Robotics. US Robotics is on the eve of launching its next generation robot so the company is very edgy in its cooperation with the police investigation. They go so far as to assign one of their top scientists, Susan Calvin, played by Bridget Moynohan to act as liaison to Detective Spooner. A bit on Detective Spooner, he had a previous experience which leads him to distrust robots and believe them capable of harm.

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The “John McClane Syndrome” – a Quintapalus Vocabulary Lesson November 22, 2005, 6:55 pm

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This phrase comes to us from the three movies which comprise the Die Hard series. In the first movie, highly professional and well financed thieves posing as terrorists take over the Nakatomi Plaza in LA in order to steal $600 Million. John McClane, a member of the NYPD, narrowly escapes the initial assault and proceeds to do what he can to bring down the bad guys. At first, he is just trying to alert authorities to the situation but is unsuccessful due to bureaucracy and disbelief. Once all the authorities figure out what is going on, they spend half the movie arguing with McClane, the one guy who is on the inside and doing all the work. No one in the command of the LAPD or the FBI listens to McClane when he is in a unique position to help or provide intelligence, and they even threaten him with prosecution for interfering. Of course, McClane saves the day, even though he had to fight the authorities almost as much as the bad guys. The whole time all of his efforts and critical insights are shrugged off, met with disbelief, ignored or even threatened. Maybe the cops and feds were right to treat McClane with such skepticism in that first movie, but as we go to second and third installments of the series, this situation and the origins of this vocabulary lesson become very apparent.

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The “Chief Brody Slap” – a Quintapalus Vocabulary Lesson November 22, 2005, 4:54 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Quintapalus Vocabulary Lessons.
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This phrase comes to us from the classic 1975 film Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg. The death of a nighttime swimmer gives rise to a possible “shark problem� in the tourist, summer beach town of Amity Island. Although a marine biologist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is certain of a shark attack, the mayor, faced with the certain economic devastation that would come with shutting down the beaches, orders his Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Schneider) to declare the incident a boating accident and to keep the beaches open. Well, sure enough, a young boy is killed by the shark soon afterwards. While Chief Brody is explaining to the town’s people and tourists what happened, the boy’s mother, dressed in black in obvious morning, approaches Chief Brody and slaps him across the face. She accuses him of knowing about the shark, and that if only he had closed the beaches her boy would still be alive. Thus was born the “Chief Brody Slap� (CBS).

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