Saturday, October 30, 2010


We went to see the new movie starring Hillary Swank, "Conviction". Before seeing the movie I watched Larry King interview both the cast and the true life people of this true story. The premise is a man is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His sister who only has a GED decides to get the CONVICTION overturned by getting an undergrad college degree and a Law degree to represent him. The movie is also about the CONVICTION that she possessed on this 18 year journey.

If you are backed against the wall a need a role model that anything is possible, look no further.

I had to constantly remind myself that this is a TRUE story.

Note: This is R rated for the language (F Bombs) that convicts and low life's use.

I give this movie ***1/2 stars (Hillary will be nominated)

2010 Movie #47

Friday, October 29, 2010

Can I have another shot?

I worked at a football game tonight. Our firm is working for a school district to pass a bond vote for a new high school. We had our drawings set up and a Monitor showing slides and animations of the proposed design. My job was to answer any questions that people had. Next to our spot, the hospital was giving free Flu shots. I was their first customer.

Just before the game started a guy comes up to me wearing a band uniform top, a flat brimmed hat, and had a miniature battery powered piano type instrument on a cord around his neck. He comes up to me a said, "Where is the coach I have some plays for him. My uncle came up with the plays. Have you heard of the quarterback shuffle?" I am looking at him bewildered. He says, "Have you talked to my uncle?" I say no and he proceeds to tell me his plays. I am not certain what illness that I am dealing with so I just listened until he left.

At halftime the home team is passing by to the locker and he hollers at the running back, "Good job, but I have some plays for you."

Music Man moves away only to return and get a flu shot. As soon as they were finished, he asked if he can have another shot.

It was one of those nights.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

mike goes to a funeral

I went to a neighbor's funeral today. The minister set a new record for the number of poems used. I would guess about 12! It was the kind of thing where he said one sentence about the widow and then did a poem, a sentence about the kids and poem, etc. It was a "insert your name here" sermon. The family did the eulogies and saved the service.

Fans! Rated R

Today a lady posted a nice comment about this blog. She said she liked the blog, "Open Letter to the church". She said she enjoyed the blog and liked reading on the subject. She then said she liked how I had changed the look recently and suggested I change it more often. The lady signed her name and gave her web page address. I clicked on the web site and to my surprise it was the "London Escort Service, London UK". There were photos of about 20 ladies and I was so shocked I forgot to see if one of them was her. One thing that caught my eye was the hourly, nightly and all day rates posted there. All night for 1,500 British Pounds!

It is not only wrong and sinful, its a lot a money for 3 minutes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yikes, 755! mike rants

Today, I was at a school client meeting with a board member and the Superintendent. We finish our business and the conversation drifted to politics. The discussion was harmless enough (warning) and we were talking about candidates who support education. Then during a lull the board member says, "These state questions are wild. I have been listening about Question 755, the outlawing Sharia Law from our courts in Oklahoma. They were talking about on the radio this morning." Thinking about the bit on the TV News last night, I add, "Isn't that the craziest waste of time?" OOPS! He responds, "This is very important. I don't want to sound racist but I am against anything that has to do with ISLAM." He said, "If we don't stop this now, it will be okay for men to beat their wives." (I wanted to say, "Do You still?", but he is a client. I just looked at the superintendent and said, "Well, I need to get on with the day!" The super said, "Yes, we don't need to go further."

If passed, We will be the only State in the USA to outlaw it. Aren't the progressive? 755 would "require that courts rely on federal or state laws when handing down decisions concerning cases and would prevent them from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings." The Bill's author stated, "While Oklahoma is still able to defend itself against this sort of hideous invasion, we should do so." The Domino theory strikes again.

The Oklahoman (the states most conservative newspaper) recommended a NO vote, stating, "As it is, judges exclusively use state and federal law to guide their judicial decision-making. Passing the question might make some politicians happy and make some Oklahomans feel better. That's all it would do. Voters should reject it as unnecessary."

Polls show that 49% of Okies are for 755. I submit that 49% of Okies are against anything or anyone of ISLAM (or Mexico). As a state we don't seem to want anyone different than us around.

Now if we could just decide what we are! Oh, yes we are the ones that want everyone to speak English as God intended!

By the way if we can force English and ban certain laws, are Native Americans safe? It just takes votes and a little money and we can get everyone to be the same.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hereafter, the Movie not the place

I eagerly anticipate all Clint Eastwood movies. I became a fan with the "Man with No Name" westerns and he just keeps on surprising. Any movie he directs should be taken seriously and the newest, "Hereafter", is no exception. While it didn't grip me like say, "Grand Torino", it kept my attention even though it started slow. It is three stories that slowly connect using real world events and real life emotions. The main character played by Matt Damon is a psychic that is tormented by his ability to connect with the newly departed of the people he touches. At the same time a boy in London is dealing with the death of his twin brother while a lady in Paris has her life changed by a near death experience. These stories weave in and out through out. While Clint has acknowledged that he does not believe in the hereafter, he none the less tackles the idea with relish. This movie gives a quick nod to religion but does not go deep at all.

Some may find this movie slow but Matt Damon is such a good actor that he becomes the character. He is far from Jason Bourne in this. There are several things about this worthy of awards, but not the best that I have seen this year.

I give it ***stars.

2010 Movie #46

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

At Home with Chester Drawers

I am reading(Listening to) Bill Byron's new book, "AT HOME" (a short history of private life). It is a book of history, architecture, and inventions that are all told around the theme of how private homes and houses came to be.

The benefit of the audio book is Bill Bryson's voice. He would make a phone book sound like fun, but most of all he weaves such good stories. I am but a few chapters in but I have learned the history of the "Hall", the "closet" and am now on the "Kitchen". This is an interesting book.

Today I read about "chest-of-drawers" or as my family always called them: Chester Drawers.
Originally, families who had more than one set of clothes would keep them in a chest. You the items we refer to as cedar chests, those curved top wood chests. I learned that they were rounded on top to keep the rain out. Yes, many of the early homes weren't that water tight and when the family moved, the chest was one of the only pieces of furniture taken.

Since everything was placed on top of each other in the chest, unloading it was a chore. So much later the idea came to put drawer in the side of the chest. A little later legs were added so a person would not have to stoop. Thus, Chest-of-Drawers or Chester Drawers!

See I learned something new today, and maybe you did too.

I am a big fan of Mr. Bryson's books including, "A Walk in the Woods", "In a Sunburned Country" and "I'm a Stranger Here Myself".

I am excited that in November we have tickets to his lecture in Fayetteville. Super Cool!
This was my Boss's Day Card. The inside quote: "Happy Boss's Day to someone who puts up with a lot of crap around here." Loved it

I didn't scan it right so just click on the cartoon.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I am starting to get as many offers to go on a cruise as to play in golf tournaments (and I'm not a golfer). I am a fledgling cruiser. Well, I have been twice. Recently my friend Jim who does the show "Hankering for Hank" (a Hank Williams tribute) announced a trip out of Galveston for five days. Rooms were like $1350.00 per ocean view room. Boat is leaving in March and includes travel to the coast.

Today I got an offer from a group at CHURCH for the same trip in February for the same amount of time to the same place (travel to coast not included) for a more economical $800 per room. When I saw the list of those signing up, I had to e-mail the organizer and ask, "Is the 500 mile rule in effect or is everyone going to sneak around and hide from each other among the 2,000 guests?"
I mean with this many people from church on a cruise, we either need to convert everyone on the ship or agree to not be too judgemental!

More as I learn

Friday, October 15, 2010

RED, revenge of the baby boomers

We went to see "RED" this afternoon. It was funny that there was a good crowd for a matinee (all Baby Boomers). RED in the movie stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous. This action adventure comedy stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Hellen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Richard Dreyfus and a great supporting cast that you will know. The stars play retired CIA spy's that are on a list to be terminated. The movie is totally fun!

Young people trying to get rid of the old people just like in business and real life.

There are "old guy" jokes, but the crew gets back together to reminisce about how much they miss "killing people".

It is all tongue-in-cheek comedy, but refreshingly good comedy.

I give it ***stars.

2010 movie #45.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Secretariat 2

I read a article about Secretariat the other day. They always talked about how much "heart" the horse had. When he died they did a horse version of an autopsy and found that his heart was 2-1/2 times larger than a normal horse heart!

Blogs are Us

As if I don't have enough to do, I have started a second blog. It is more of an archive in a way.
In the early 1990's I wrote a weekly article in my home town news paper about growing up in the 1950-60's era. I was fun and people seemed to like it, but I also had to get the stories approved by the publisher. He rejected 3 of my stories because of racial issues and such and so I stopped. The title of this blog is the same as the newspaper article, "Haskell Stories" at . I will reissue some of the stories that I wrote back then and add some new ones. A few people had asked me to compile them into a book, but this will have to do.

If you like thinking about simpler times or want to know where my weird ideas were rooted, this is the place. I hope to post a new story every few days.

"When you die, if you go somewhere where they ask you a bunch of questions about your life and what you learned and all, I think a good way to get out of it is just to say, "No speaka English."
Jack Handey Deep Thoughts

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

OOPS, I did it again!

Sunday afternoon, I met with a church building committee about a master plan. In the middle of the meeting, a guy across the table said, "Mike, your ear is bleeding." I reached up and felt blood. Then they said that it was dripping on my clothes. So the meeting was stopped while it used a couple of band aids on the ear and walked around the church site loading wet paper towels to my head. Embarrassing!

Tonight I am at a school board meeting and my ear itched. Yes, I absent mindedly reached up and scratched and sure enough, I looked down and blood was on my shirt! I left the meeting (I was a spectator at this point) and by the time I got the ear "stabilized" the vote had already been taken.

Note to self: Don't Scratch.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Secretariat, a movie YOU need!

Any Movie that starts by quoting the "Book of Job", gets my attention. at the beginning of "Secretariat" Diane Lane who plays the horse's owner reads Job 39: 19-25 and sets the stage for a great story. The story is about the last horse that won the Triple Crown. Right? Sort of. It is actually the story of the family who raised the horse and the lady who defied all to follow her instincts and heart. It is an uplifting story at a time that I need one. I suspect you do too.

I remember watching these races in the early 70's, but never knew the back stories. Diane Lane and John Malkovich are great as the owner and trainer. the horse is pretty good too.

Even the theme song during the credits "It's Who you are" is good. A they use the gospel song "O Happy Day" as well.

I really liked this movie and it was a great way to start the week and it possibly a great way to finish the week.

I give it ***1/2 stars.

2010 Movie # 44

Paul Thorn Concert 2

Saturday Night we went to see Paul Thorn Band in concert. It was a small venue in Fort Smith that seats about 200. It was perfect! The sound was good and we set about six rows from the stage.

I'm going to keep talking about Paul Thorn until every one checks him out. He became my favorite singer/songwriter by being the most sincerely real person that I think I have ever witnessed in public. He grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi and remains there. His dad is a Church of God of Prophecy Minister and he brings that element into his songs. He sings of his(and my) failures, and he sings of in life is important to him (and me). He tells funny stories, sad stories, and stories of Southern, rural life. He is small town, but not REDNECK. He is very intelligent, very expressive, extremely creative and very sensitive.

He is more R&B than country. He has toured with Delbert McClinton and Bonnie Raitt. If you like their music, you like Paul. Two nights before our concert, he opened for B.B. King. He writes his own songs and when he does a acoustic guitar solo, you start seeing the folk singer as well.

The three piece band that travels with him is as good as their is. They can rock! The show is comedy (He talks a lot in his southern drawl and tells the stories of his music), their is gospel because of his background, and their is R&B rock.

I say all this because he is coming to Tulsa, Wednesday, November 17 at the Cain's. I have my tickets and you need yours! I know some of you are thinking: "I have Church that night."

I wouldn't normally say this, but consider this a little different praise service.

Go to YOUTUBE and watch his videos.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The State Fair

When I was a kid, The fair was a "big deal". This will date me but The "Free State Fair" was just that- free admission (they charged to park!). With three dollars you could have a great time. Most all the rides were a dime except for a couple of big rides that cost a quarter. The exotic food was limited to cotton candy, but for some reason, a hamburger on the midway tasted wonderful.

I stayed away from livestock because pigs and cows were everyday things. I did like to go to the 4H exhibits where one of the competitions was to create models of farms. (I like models.)

But the fair has changed. This year we went with the grandsons. The highlight is the petting and feeding zoo. They were charged up. Asher was just discovering these new creatures up close and had a ball. They rode a couple of rides but they seemed to enjoy the whole atmosphere. Lets face it the fair crowd is just "interesting". The butterfly pavilion was also a great addition to the experience,

We did eat our way around the place (My only plan). I have rules and they are strict. I must have a polish with cooked onions and peppers, corn dog, ice cream, and deep fried snickers.

This year I also got a bite of Nate's "Krispy Kreme hamburger." A hamburger between two donuts that tasted good. I don't know which Nobel Prize scientist thought of that but keep up the good work!

Mind you I share my food so my weight watcher points were only "three day's worth".

The boys wanted something to buy and that is also tradition. I can remember my days past, staring at the ball cap-like hats that they sold where they would write your name in sparkles. How cool to wear something with my name on it. And it would last at least 4 days.

You're only young once but you can be immature always. Thank You FAIR.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


On Monday I decided to eat lunch at "Club Lunch". I have this thing for German Food but the closest I get is that CL serves sauerkraut and sausage this day. After a good meal and good chat with my guest, USA Today. I walked back to the office in the brisk air of fall. As I got to my building , I thought, "This is a great day for a walk." Then it hit me, I had driven to "Club Lunch." Thus getting to complete my walk ---back to the truck.

Later that day I looked hard for my cell phone and found it in my left hand!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Obsession 3-University of God

This morning I taught an adult class at church about being obsessed with things. The good side is living a life obsessed with God. The bad side is being obsessed about the things in Life that occupy our time and our thoughts. To represent this idea I pulled t-shirts out of my closet and showed them. An Eagles concert shirt, an OSU shirt, a Jeff Gordon shirt, a shirt from my firm, a patriotic shirt, etc. To show the good side I had a shirt and hat made that states, "University of God". I explained the message and the intent. It seemed to go ok.

Thinking of this blog and needing an image, I googled, "University of God". To my surprise the first hit was "University of God apparel .com ." It is a site that sells "University of God" apparel for the same reason I used in class! Can't get an image saved though!

There is nothing new under the Sun.

FYI: I might just have to expand my collection.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Obsession 2 - The Social Network

Speaking of obsessions, we went to see the new movie, "The Social Network". This movie is the story of the creation of FACEBOOK. Mark Zuckerberg created FACEBOOK while a sophomore at Harvard. The movie is told by flashbacks while Zuckerberg is caught up in two lawsuits at once. The depositions frame the story. While the actors are mostly unknown, Jason Eisenburg plays Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake plays Napster founder Sean Parker. If you are interested in Social Network types of things, you need to see this. Great acting, Great Story, Great writing, and some of it is true!

Oh yeah, the obsession part. It is about an obsessive computer genius who creates a network so that people like us can become obsessed about what our "friends" are doing this very minute and every five minutes thereafter.

Great Movie! I give it *****stars out of five. Best of the year, so far.

2010 Movie #43