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La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

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Jackie

There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Finding my own voice

Computers can do just about everything these days, from running airplanes to carrying out labyrinthine mathematical calculations. It would seem to be such a simple thing I am asking. I would like a computer to provide me with my own voice. Many people have suggested this: "Why don't you get someone to take tapes of your speaking voice and create a voice you can use with your computer?" They make it sound so simple. They look like they've had a brilliant idea. But it is not so simple.

Two years ago, I was told by helpful computer wizards at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana that such a thing was possible. There is even a company in Urbana that creates computer voices. But it appears it might cost me a small fortune to have one custom-created for me. Wouldn't you think the same technology could be applied to create many voices? Apparently that's not so easy.

Soon after my second surgery, when it became apparent I wouldn't be able to speak, I of course started writing notes. This got the message across, but was too time-consuming for communications of any length. And notes were unbearably frustrating for a facile speaker like me, accustomed to dancing with the flow of the conversation. There is a point when a zinger is perfectly timed, and a point when it is pointless.

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