Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sister's Keeper is a keeper

Tuesday Night at the movies:  I had a not so good day so I thought, "I might as well go see a movie about someone having a worse day!"  We went to see "My Sister's Keeper".   Yes, it is a sad movie and no it is not a "Chick Flick" or a "Medical movie of the week".  It is a hard movie to set through, but it probably should be mandatory for parents.  It is so well acted by every actor that it seemed real.  I know it deals with a sick child and the idea of loss, but so does life.  I don't want to spoil the show, but I will give two pieces of advice:

1. You will sat at times with a lump in your throat, crying, or wanting to.  It is OK.  If it doesn't affect you like that, you are just heartless!

2. If throw up bothers you (I'm thinking of me right now!), eat the popcorn DURING the previews!

You will have much to think about after this.

I give it ****stars.

2009 Movie # 42

PS:  The movie "Brothers Bloom" that I thought you had missed, has shown up in our fair city!

Monday, June 29, 2009

You may be over weight if.......

I went to get a new driver's license today. It was the joy of joys. When it came my turn, they took the photo and then she stared at it and said: "Let's try another." I understood this being a portrait studio and all. She took another and said to take a seat. Later she calls for Mr. Martin.

She then tells me that my photo does not match my others (like I am an imposter or something).

I look at her and she says, "Don't be concerned, you aren't the first today and won't be the last."

Then I catch her drift. "Hey, Buddy you've put on a few pounds since your last portrait."

She later calls me to take another photo. I close my eyes. Then she says, "Let's try again this time keep your eyes closed until I say open." She says open and takes the photo. She frowns and says Okay.

She then fingerprints me and asks if my height and weight are the same. I smile and say, 'Sure, still 180 pounds.

Just like in 1979!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Now Serving Happy Meals, Stupidity & Insensitivity

I wasn't going to blog today until I caught this story in the newspaper.  McDonalds in all its marketing mastery is giving away  figurines from the movie, "Night in the Museum" in its Happy Meals.  The McDonalds in South Dakota are giving away the action figure of General George Armstrong Custer on a motorcycle with Happy Meals.  This is in the heart of the Lakota Nation and others associated with the United Sioux Tribes.   Yes Kids here is a toy of a guy that tried to eliminate your family!  One spokesman for the tribe compared it to giving away figurines of Hitler at Israel McDonalds  or toys with KKK hoods in the south.

As I considered this story, I thought:  Why was this character even in a comedy movie?  They weren't showing him any different than Teddy Roosevelt.

Sometimes the idea of political correctness goes to far, this time it needed to go much further.

Let's hope "Night at the Museum 3" isn't a laugh out loud comedy that takes place at the "Oklahoma City National Monument and Museum so that MickyDees can give out Timothy McVey toys!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I got googled!

I have been checking my Google Analytic lately.  I remain totally amazed that people from 32 states and 18 countries have been checking in the last two months.  Weird!

OPH: On Further Reflection

On Monday I posted some drivel about Old People's Hormone and that I am afraid I may be getting it.  Well, yesterday we took my 88 year old Mother to Fort Worth for a 24 hour trip.  After about 36 hours with her, I will say I have a long, long, long way to go.  I don't think I can catch her.  After all her stories, I am still not there.  At breakfast this morning she dropped her shied a moment.  We were eating breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast places, "The Lonesome Spur" in Justin, Texas. (Yes, that Justin!)  She leaned over and said sort of under her breath, "Do you ever send food back when you eat out?"  I told her that It doesn't happen very much, but I had.  She said,  "I heard on TV that if you do, they'll get you.  They will do things to your food."  I said, "Not good restaurants. They just want to please."   "You can't trust them" she replied.

Transformers, Revenge of the Special Effects Guys

Yes,  we finally made it to see  "Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen".  It is the "Empire Strikes Back" of  the franchise.   I understand that the second can't as original as the first, so they gave us almost 3 hours of robot aliens rolling around in the sand and casually killing thousands of people  in the process.  I am not saying I didn't like it, but I wished that they would have told the special effects nerds to cool it after two hours.  The writers tried to repeat the humor of the first, but did not succeed.  As the poster shown here says, "More Megan Fox".   She also provides relief  from the carnage, and somewhat successfully.  That was another bit of special effects just keeping her clothes, make-up and hair perfectly in place while the world is blowing to bits around her.

If you liked the first one, you probably have to see this one.  Everyone else is.  I mean everyone else!  There are lines at the box office; lines at the ticket taker; lines at concessions, etc.

The real star of the movie is the Camaro (Bumble Bee) and it was joined occasionally joined by a crazy Corvette  Concept car.  Remember the Camaro was just a concept in the first one.

I give it **1/2 stars.  The first one I wanted to see again.  This one:  Not so much.

2009 Movie #41

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Hot

We are heading to Fort Worth where its COOL! HA!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transforming 1

On Wednesday nights we normally go to a class at our church.  My current class is a video series on proving that God created the world.   Having already figured that out, I decided to skip and go see "Transformers".  Well, it made sense to me!  We go to the 7:00 o'clock show and find that both the 7pm and 8pm showings were already sold out!  On a Wednesday!  Word to the wise this will be big.

Elsewhere U.S.A. the book

I am reading (listening) to a new book by Dalton Conley, a social scientist.   I find it one of the best at explaining the evolution of our society.  He starts by comparing life in 1959 to life in 2009.  He considers things like how air conditioning changed the politics of the U.S.!  It is an interesting idea.  Today he was discussing how the computer (which was supposed to be a time saver) requires and prods us to work longer. or  Why do we use more paper in business now that we are paperless?   Why we all by all the latest gadgets (Blackberry, IPhone) so that life can be easier when in reality, we just work around the clock and become even more distracted.  He asks, "How many of us feel overextended, as we are challenged to play multiple roles -  worker, boss, parent, spouse, and client- all in the same instant?"

Yesterday, I read is discussion of the idea of the tip!  Tipping the waiter, tipping the car wash guys, the tip jars, etc.  He explains that tips started as a way to reward good service and have morphed into a service charge!  He says he used to tip his waiter because the next time he entered the cafe, he could get better service from the same person.  He says now with the constant turnover in staff or tipping a cab driver, we will never see again, we have accepted new roles:  1.  We are helping the restaurant pay staff.  2. We are acknowledging that since we are of higher status, we are reaching down.  He says the incentive for the worker to provide better service is now lost because the expectation of the tip over rules the reason.  He also points out that the lowest paid service people who really, really need the money (think McDonald's) are allowed to accept them.  It makes for good challenging thought.

He also goes into depth about how companies like Goggle are changing company cultures in the U.S.A.    I am half finished.  It is a good read!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chick Flick that guys will like

It's HOT!  So on Tuesday Night we went to the movies.  We saw "The Proposal"  if you have seen the previews you know it is about a horrific boss who bribes her associate to marry her so she won't be deported.  I will say on the outset that this IS a chick flick that guys should like.  Most all the movie is in Alaska.  The cast is good.  No all the funny scenes aren't in the preview.  There is much more humor than romance.  It is what we always called a good date movie.  The stars are perfect in their roles.  I am not a Betty White fan and even she was good.

I give it **3/4 stars.

2009 movie #40   FYI:  Guys, "Transformers" starts tomorrow!

Monday, June 22, 2009


I think I am at the age where OPH has kicked in.  OPH is Old People Hormone.  I first witnessing it  as a kid when my grandmother and later my mother used to say what was on their mind out in public with me very embarrassed!  You probably been there.  When I sacked groceries as a teenager, I waited on many an "old person".  They would speak their minds at very inappropriate times and I would just cringe.  They would accuse me of putting their bread in the bottom of the sack and placing cans on top.  They would claim all kinds of things.  I would think, "They're old.  I won't be like that."

The main symptom of the hormone is the feeling that "What have I got to loose?" and  "I've earned the right to speak my mind!"

I am concerned that all this is making sense to me lately and am looking for an antidote.  Yeah, it would be easier to just shut up, but what's the fun in that?

This hormone mainly shows up in people over 60, but it does happen with young people as well. (I thinking my daughter,Lindsey!)  I can say that because her computer is broke and she can't read this!  She has spoken her mind since, well, age 2!

So you may need to help me.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

Year One - 40 minutes later

Okay, I admit saying to Carol: "There's two new movies out today the Proposal and Year One.  we will probably see both of them so lets see a mindless one first!"  We went to see, "Year One".  The trailer was amusing but we had seen it so often in the last six months that I hoped there was much more.  After all it is directed by Harold Ramis (one of the original stars of "Animal House") and he directed "Groundhog Day" and  "Caddyshack"!  After all it stars Michael Cera who I loved in "Juno" and then there is Jack Black who I may say on reflection is funnier in Poster form, but I'm, getting ahead of my self.

I think that had I saw this when I was 13 (year two) I would have thought it crazy fun because there are fart jokes, naughty talk, and suggestive things.  It has every thing that an ignorant 13 year old needs.  No help now though!

We went to the 5:05 movie in Tulsa.  We got there late and got to our seats about 5:25 and still had a couple of previews to watch before the feature,  The Movie started about 5:30 pm and we made it until almost 6:00 pm! (I never leave until the popcorn is gone!

The borrow a line from the guy that played Cain (of Cain & Abel fame):  This movie "Suckles!"

It is not worry of further talk.  If you see it and like it, don't tell me!  I want to think highly of you!  If you rent it, don't tell me.   If you think, it's just a movie, what's the harm.  Yeah, and I get get root canals for fun!  It is NOT time well wasted.

Rating from one to five stars, I give it NOTHING.

The trailer was amusing though, which bothers me because the preview of "The Proposal" seems funny too.

2009 movie #39 (I'm using the term movie very loosely)

Best movie so far that you won't see

I have been wanting to see "The Brothers Bloom" since I saw the trailer a few months ago.  I was only on in Tulsa at one theater and time got away.  We were going to see it this weekend, but when I checked times, I found that tonight was the last night. (the next time will be in DVD!)  WE zipped to T-Town and caught the film.  It is an independent film about two brothers who have been con-men since childhood, bouncing from foster home to home. They decide on a major con involving a super rich lady who lives alone; wrecks yellow sports cars almost daily, calls herself an epileptic photographer, and whose hobby is collecting hobbies!  Yes it is a comedy and like movies like "The Sting" you are constantly wondering is this a con or real. Tons of fun. Very original. Rent it when you can.

I give it ***1/2 stars

2009 movie #38

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The taking in of a movie as easy as 123

Its Tuesday night and I was supposed to be at school board meeting that was cancelled for lack of Quorum!  I quick call to Carol and shazam we are at the movies.  We had the whole theater to ourselves, too.  We saw "The Taking of Pelham 123" for the second time.  The first though was in the 1970s with Walter Mathau  playing the Denzel Washington role.  John Travolta plays the bad guy and the two banter back and forth in the course of the movie and it is classic.  The movie is tense from beginning to end, the pace is good, and it is NEVER dull.  The remake brings the story into modern New York with modern problems.  Word of caution though John T. uses the F bomb constantly and there are a few violet scenes of people shot.  If you can get through these things iy is a swell summer movie.  Nobody portrays COOL better than Denzel.

If you want a thriller, take this in.  I give it *** stars.

2009 Movie #37

Monday, June 15, 2009

Well worn sayings 1: Forgiveness vs. Permission

Okay, chances are you have used the saying:  "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission."

I have heard this the most in business and church.  Yes, church!  The first time was in the late 1980's at a church I attended in Tulsa.  We were always pushing the envelope so to speak and getting into gray areas or areas that some would find uncomfortable while most would find refreshing.

In business, the term could signify taking a risk that could have a great outcome or Not!

This brings me to my story.  Last week I met with a potential church client. It was a large fast growing church in a rural setting.  They want to build a day care center as a service to the community and realized that such a center would require an architect.  I went and visited with the Pastor and Associate Pastor at the church.  We had a great meeting and I was impressed at what they had accomplished in less than ten years.  

I walked them through the process explaining that the State Health Department and the State Fire Marshall will be involved.  I said well I need to inform you that when they inspect the new building the Fire Marshall would inspect the church building as well.  They did not see a problem.

I explained that as I walked through the building, I noticed NO exit signs, emergency lights, panic bars in the doors,  and that the building had the wrong doors.  They just smiled and said, " Well we just built all this (including a large gym/activity center) ourselves.  No body paid any attention then."   I said that had the Fire Marshall visited he would have shut them down.  To that the Pastor said,  "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission." and then he laughed.  They knew what they were doing. They were saving money!

At the beginning I mentioned that this statement is used in "gray areas".  I can tell you that when a Pastor tells me that breaking the law and endangering the church members, "wink wink" is ok if you can get by with it, and if you get caught, plead ignorance or say your sorry.

This doesn't preach very well!

The Country singer, Rodney Atkins sings a song called "Forgiveness and Permission" that talks of going into a bar and seeing a girl he likes.  The chorus goes:

Its easier to get forgiveness than permission.
So why wait when you know what I'm missing?
We could keep our distance
Spend our lives wishing when its
easier to get forgiveness than permission.

The song is on an Album called (of all things) "Honesty"

Rodney needs to go to this church!  Do what you want Saturday, Sunday it will be okay!

Now here is the ironic thing. I'm around a few Christians that practice  this.   You might have to step on a few people or hurt someone to get your way.  The outcome is what counts isn't it?  If someone gets offended, ask for forgiveness.  I mean Christians have to forgive!  It works every time!   

Churches never catch on fire!  If it did happen I bet they could find the door!  The law is keeping us from doing what we want.  I have heard this many times and it sounds like Atkins song.

I still like the quote.  WHEN USED CORRECTLY

They even sell shirts!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

CMA Clean Up Thoughts

On the 9 hour drive back from Nashville I had time to think about our trip to the festival and recent opportunities. Hear are a few tid bits of useless info.

1. I just checked Billboard magazine and the American Top 40 Country Charts. Of the forty top songs, I have heard 32 of them "live" by the artist in the last six months and will see another of them in August.

2. Things are so crowded in the restaurants, we shared many a table with others. (Norway, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Wisconsin) The couple from Georgia won their trip. They didn't know who the Zac Brown Band was even though ZBB is from Georgia! They didn't get wet Thursday night because they only came to watch Brooks and Dunn and left before Reba took the stage. The Couple from Ohio were in town for a wedding. All this stuff surprised them! The couple from Norway was enjoying the 83 degree weather. They said that summer in Norway was 5 days at 75 degrees! The Couple from Wisconsin were depressing. They had just moved to Tennessee for work in Corrections. The picture they painted of plant closures in the north were very dreary.

3. At the same time 40 to 50 thousand people watched the CMAs, Bonnaroo is going on in Manchester, Tennessee with groups like Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Jimmy Buffett, Elvis Costello, and on and on and has just as many people.

4. Some of the biggest treats of the Festival were:

a. "Little Big Town" doing Fleetwood Mac!

b. Wayonna's whole set. She did Merle Haggard"s "Are the Good Times Over for Good" and then followed it with Aerosmith and then Michael W.Smith's "I can only Imagine" She ruled!

5. Zac Brown doing everything!

6. I became a fan of Jake Owen, Jamie Johnson, and Josh Turner and Little Big Town.

7. The Country Music Hall of Fame is worth it any time I am near!

8. We had to miss the Sunday night show to come home. It included Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland and others. We had actually seen all of them at the ACMs in Vegas!

9. This is the only event like it in any form of music and probably sports. Buildings set up just for autographs. Each performer works for free (charity) whether it is at the Stadium or the four other stadiums downtown and at the riverfront and each does at least 30 minutes! There are venues for superstars and up & comers. You can go watch the stars paly in a charity softball game. The program lists 360 performers during the week! This is big! Would not go every year, but would go again!

10. The four teenage girls from Texas that sat two rows in front of us REALLY DO know the words to EVERY COUNTRY song.

I have officially OD'd on Country!

We are switching to Rock for a while!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

CMA Music Festival: On Further reflection

Yesterday was a great day.  We saw Rhonda Vincent in concert downtown and then walked a block an the lead singer for Little Texas was performing.  We went into the Convention Center where various artists have booths and saw Zac Brown Band, Wynonna and others.  The rain did not show and the big concert was great!  Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, and others performed.  The night was topped  by KID ROCK performing and Martina McBride setting in for "The Letter."  I take back what I said Thursday Night, this time it was all  GOOD NEWS!

Movies: The 500 mile rule

We have been in hordes of people the past two days at the music festival and decided that Saturday was a good time to chill (although we have another concert tonight).  So - It was movie time.   There is an intriguing movie out that I as a "Movie Buff" NEEDED to see.  Knowing quite a lot about this film, I could not see it in my town or even in Tulsa.  I mean what if someone saw me walking out of it and got the wrong impression?  They might think that I LIKE this kind of thing! They would not know that I viewed it as a PUBLIC service!  They might even think that I agreed with the POSITIONS taken by the director or something!  So given the 500 mile rule was in play, I went to see "The Hangover".    As a serious reviewer, I would say that Las Vegas was accurately portrayed  and that the actors through EVERYTHING into their roles.  The plot of course was totally possible:  Four guys go to Vegas for a bachelor getaway and wake up the next morning with one of them missing, a baby, a live chicken, a trashed suite, and Mike Tyson's tiger in their bathroom!  

Just between us, it was one of the funniest movies that have have seen since Tropic Thunder (which I never admitted seeing)  The guys in this are crazy.  No I can't recommend it!  I don't want the blame for lowering your morals.  The Movie is an R for much profanity (although realistic).  The trailer at the end though is NC17 for outrageous!   Again, If you talk to me in public about movies:  I did not see "The Hangover" (in Oklahoma!)

I give it ***1/2 stars.  

2009 movie # 36 (maybe, maybe not)

PS:  Bought a John Wayne T-shirt today with the John Wayne quote: "If you don't respect your elders then I'll just have to teach you to respect your betters."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Concert: Good News, Bad News

Today reminded me of an old joke:  Mr. Jones comes out of surgery and is taken back to his room. When he wakes up the Doctor is there and says, "Mr. Jones, I have some good news and some bad news."  Mr. Jones says,  "What is the bad news?"  The Doctor says, "We had to amputate both of your legs!"   "What is the good news?"   The Doctor says, "The guy in the next bed wants to buy your shoes!"

We pulled into Nashville today for the CMA Music Festival about 3:00pm.  We had to get to our hotel and then get downtown to pick up our tickets at Will Call.  The Bad news was that as we drove by to the hotel downtown looked like grid lock. However, the desk clerk at the Hotel said that Grey Line offered a shuttle service during the festival and downtown and the location to catch the bus was just about four miles from the Hotel.  He checked the schedule and said that the last downtown shuttle was leaving at 4:30. It was 4:20! Bad

We made it at 4:30! Good  I let Carol out to pay while I parked the truck.  

On the way downtown the people setting close to us on the bus we veterans of Music Fest.  They were telling rain stories:  "Remember last year when the concert was delayed 2 hours because of rain?"  No dear that was two years ago."  Last year it was delayed only an hour, Wynonna was late taking the stage."   I'm thinking, "Crap, we left the rain gear in the truck!  Rain is in the forecast!"  Bummer.  But good news is we are wearing sun glasses.  There is not a cloud in the sky. Great.

Things go easy getting our tickets.  Good.  We walk down to the River and find a good place to eat.  One Hour wait.  Bad   They say we can wait in the bar.  We find a table and the waitress says do you want to order.  Goood.  No wait.

We leave and go out to the next shuttle line and leave for the stadium.  The bus leaves us right at the gate.  Cool!   WE wait in another line to enter the stadium and when we give our tickets to be scanned.  They beep.  The lady says that we must go to the ticket office.  There's a glitch!  Bad.  WE go stand in another line.  No problem.  Good   WE go to our seats.  WE are on the club level and take the escalator up and walk thru and plush, air-conditioned lobby and find our seats (near the aisle and near the concession, nice restrooms, TVs, etc.  Great!

The weather is great.  We are in the shade. Its 84F.  They have the National Anthem and the Air Force does a fly over against a blue sky. Great.   

The show starts and Brooks and Dunn come out and do almost an hour set.  The sun is going down and off to the north you can see clouds building and lightning. Bad.  But it is North and moving east and makes a neat back drop behind the stage.  Reba joins B&D for "Cowgirls don't Cry" and then after a short break she takes the stage and does about 3 songs.    The lightning  is stronger but still North and over us are wispy white fluffy clouds. OK

Then after her third song, an announcer comes out and says that there is lightning in the area and stadium policy is that everyone (all 40,000) must take shelter under the stadium  until the lightning clears! Bad

Good news though is that we walk 20 feet into and air-conditioned lounge and we take two plush chairs by a big screen TV.   Bad news is another few thousand people come in and suddenly the air-conditioner is not keeping up! Bad   It is 9:20pm.

Good news is while we are waiting we can watch the NBA finals.  Bad news is some ladies change the channel to CSI!   But the game is on about 20 feet away.   I go out and check the weather.  It is now 10:00pm.  No rain!  good.

It is now 10:30pm:  No Rain. Lightning has stopped!  Good.  The concert is still not starting.

At 11:00pm the rain starts.  In Buckets  We realize that the concert may not go on.  No Brad. No Rascal Flats, etc. Bad  Now it is raining too hard too leave!  But the NBA game just went into overtime! good.    Then the satellite goes off! bad. 

It is now 11:30.  We decide to head for the buses (as does everyone else!)   It is pouring rain and no rain gear.  WE run from canopy to canopy.  We are soaked but finally get on the Grey Line bus.  It heads downtown.   WE ARE ON THE WRONG BUS.

WE get back to the hotel at 1:00am.  I post this at 2.

By the way tickets go on sale for next year's concert Saturday morning at 9 am!  Yeah right!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The State of the Movies

I am seeing fewer movies than this time last year, but not by much.  Good movies are harder to find.  That Will Ferrell like movies out sell serious movies has been explained as follows from Entertainment Weekly which talks about how people will turn out to see Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man but not to see The Soloist: "The latter Downey project, a onetime Best Picture hopeful called The Soloist, cost $50 million to produce and has grossed just $30 million. --Producer Gary Foster thinks that there is something deeper at play. "Audiences don't want to be reminded of the darkness in the world," he says, "They want to laugh, get taken to space, watch things in a museum come to life."

The article says that Movies for Grown Ups are an endangered species.  It says, "People are turned off to stuff that's holding a mirror up to there lives."  The producer of My Sister's Keeper which opens against Transformers says, " The strike zone for mature audiences may be getting smaller and smaller, but if you throw it right, it can still work."

I sure hope so!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Greek Chick Flick

I went to a chick flick tonight.  It had two things going for it.  Richard Dreyfuss is in it and it is about traveling in Greece (Something that I want to do).  The movie is about a bad tour guide with a group of typical weird tourists and about how the trip goes from dull to fun in the life of the trip.  I will not give the director credit for being a master or anything but after 20 minutes I thought I might be witnessing one of the worst movies in a while.  Nothing was funny, All stereotypical, and boring.  By the end of the movie, I was into it and enjoying it.  Things became funnier, etc.  Again, this could not have been planned.  The movie, "My Life in Ruins" with the girl from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and the same people that made it.  Great scenery!  OK movie.

Good Summer escape.  **stars

We did leave the movie thinking, "We know someone in Greece, what if.............."

2009 movie #35

Mike has a "run in" with Trust

This afternoon, I went to an important meeting at church.  A group of leaders has been having a series of meeting about (of all things) leading!  The matter of trust kept coming up in the meeting because a minority (one and a half persons) out of 12 would not show trust for any idea that they did not originate or anyone that they could not control.  So-o-o-o, a 30 minute meeting lasted over two hours because the 1.5 minority like to hear himself complain, doubt and mistrust the rest.  The out come was good though because when a vote was taken, even the 1.5 minority voted with the rest of the group because it is better to stay in the group so that he has people to mistrust.  If this sounds vague, good.  The outcome is good for the church.  Trust is still an issue, but MISTRUST has been put on notice.

So-o-o-o I get home and start mowing the yard.  Riding my tractor is great think time and so I used this time thinking about the meeting and the many grand things that I could say about it (none that I can recall now).  At one point and drive by our giant elm that was damaged in the great ice storm and think:  "That tree needs to be trimmed."

Later I am in the back yard mowing and Carol brings  brings back a guy that stopped by to see if we have any trees that need trimming?   I take him to the big elm.  We discuss it. Agree on a price and he starts work.

There is a low stone wall that circles the tree that forms a planter that Carol has just planted.
I start warning him not to drop limbs on the planter or the wall and he says he will be careful.  
I ask do you have insurance.  He says no.  I start thinking:  I don't trust this guy!  He starts cutting the large dead limb and in the process another good limb comes down as well!  Crap, I think.  It missed the wall but if he keeps going no telling what will happen!  I say lets stop with the upper limbs and just trim the hanging lower limbs.  While he and his wife are working , I go to the back of the truck and enter his truck tag number on to my iPhone.  Then I go to to side of the truck and get the phone number off the side.   Now he is telling me about the guy in Sallisaw who stiffed him yesterday.  He talks about people who don't pay.  I don't trust him. he is building a case for making me pay after he has destroyed my low wall.

They get all the limbs and large chunks of trunk down without damage and start to clean up.  I am feeling very uneasy.  I haven't left my spot since they arrived.  I want them gone so I say don't worry about the leaves. I will pick them up with my tractor after they leave.  I pay them and realize that maybe they aren't so bad.  They leaves things look good.

I get on my tractor and circle the wall to gather the leaves.  I get too close and snag a stone and RIP OUT ABOUT 6 FEET OF WALL!

Who can you trust?   Lesson learned.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Land of the Lost or isn't there anything that Will Farrell won't do?

This weekend there are 4 movies for me to see.  One that I will have to travel to Tulsa to see: "The Brothers Bloom".  For today it was "Land of the Lost".  I wanted something mindless and that's exactly what I got.  You know by now that Will Ferrell  will do anything for a laugh (anything!)   Yes, there is a story and a plot, but at times he sees to be winging it.  Those are the best moments.  Now this movie is not to be confused with a bright, witty, intelligent farce.  It is exactly what you think it will be.  More about intelligent movies later. This is Ricky Bobby goes to Jurassic Park.

I give it **stars but had a good time.

2009 movie #34

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

I read a comment this week that ask,  "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?       Tomorrow is my 32nd Birthday!

Memories and Full Lives

Tomorrow is my birthday and I celebrated it early today.

First, I finished my current book, "Paul Newman, a Life" by Shawn Levy.  Being a big Paul Newman fan (for several reasons), this was a welcome read.  It went behind the movies, races, food products, etc. and looked at his complete life.  While I bear no likeness or degree of talent, I have been drawn to him since college.  I like movies.  He made great movies and many are my favorites.  I like car racing.  He has won championships and owned great race teams.  I respect people who give because they want to and not to be noticed.  I was influenced by him early on to not worry about power, or powerful people.  He showed that you could be yourself no matter what.  The book gives a good insight into what made him tick.  I was also surprised that his oldest son died exactly a year to the day before my daughter died.  A  dispute with the New York Post led him to make the movie, "Absence of Malice".  When I had my dispute with the local paper, I reminded them of this very movie.  

This is a good read.

Second, tonight I went to see the Doobie Brothers concert.  These guys started out in the early 70's (same as me)  and are still performing at a fantastic level.  A lesson for me.

Both Paul and the Doobies remind me of my favorite Jimmy Buffet song title,  "I'm growing older but not up!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Against all odds

This past few days a Brad Paisley song kept popping into my thoughts. I is not one of his hits. It is a song called, "If love was an Airplane". He states that people fall in love no matter what the risk or the future and in the chorus has a pilot giving pre-flight information to the lovers saying, "Thanks for flying, but there is a 6 in 10 chance we are going down!"

When Carol and I got married the odds were better about 60% success rate. Before long the rate went to 50%. After 10 years of marriage we lost our first child and were told that couples going through such a loss have an 80% chance of divorce. Then 10 years later I was in a funk that was called by the therapist (clinical depression), by an observer (mid life crisis), but in reality I was a self absorbed guy who was not a good husband or dad. The odds of surviving that should have been 99% failure. The key in defying all these odds was being married to the most wonderful woman in the world. Without her, there is absolutely no telling where I would be. She has weathered a lot more than me, because she had to put up with me. She is shy to talk about her self, but she knows more about "real life" than most and has a gentle yet firm nature that is the anchor in anything we have faced. I hope my kids realize that she is the strength of our family and that I pale in comparison. How could they not!

I say all this to say: Today is our 41st anniversary! We lasted longer than the Beatles!

Happy Anniversay to us!