Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
10/11/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 15, Whole Number 2088

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
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Puerto Rico Needs to Fix Its Money (comments
        by Mark R. Leeper)
THE RIOT ACT (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
Beate Uhse (letter of comment by Paul Dormer)
METROPOLIS (letter of comment by Gary McGath)
This Week's Reading (GOLDEN STATE) (book comments
        by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Puerto Rico Needs to Fix Its 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]


TOPIC: 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:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: 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:



TOPIC: 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

A dubbed and colorized Metropolis? AAARRRGGH! [Demon-warding
gesture]  [-gmg]


TOPIC: 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

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 mailto:

          I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun.
                                          --Arnold Schwarzenegger