Monday, May 31, 2010

Letters to Juliet

Note: I haven't seen a movie in two weeks which is almost a record. And yes, there were action movies (Prince of Persia), and animation (Shrek 3 or 4) and sultry comedy (Sex and the City 2). That is why we went to see a so called chick flick named "Letters to Juliet". When I was younger this would have also been called a prefect "Date Movie". We went because we were in search of a movie with a fresh story. We Hollywood has made sure that some element of any story has been done before, so it is always safe to do a movie in Italy. Think about it. Have you ever seen a movie set in Tuscan Wine Country that didn't make you want to slow down and enjoy life and smell the fresh bread?

The story has to do with a lady that works for the "New Yorker" magazine that travels to Verona, Italy with her work-aholic fiance. She stumbles on the place where women leave letters to Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame) and also the group that actually answers them.
(Note: This is true the real group sued to prevent the movie and lost.) This is a romantic movie in a beautiful setting. The story is fresh enough to get you involved. There were actually three or four guys there with dates and women in groups. This is also Vanessa Redgrave's last movie. She was one classy lady. I liked this far better than I would have liked "Sex in the Desert2".

Safe for anyone: No sex, profanity or irritation. I give it **3/4 stars.

2010 movie #20

Words with Friends

Help! I have been attacked by another APP for my IPhone. My son has been asking for about three months if I was playing, "Words with Friends". It sounded interesting but I have enough games. The family was home this weekend and Nate set me up on "Words". While I can't speak in the first person about illegal drugs, I think I understand how someone gets hooked. To the rest of the family's chagrin, Nate, Lori and I set there playing each other on our phones. Who knew that "Qis" was a word (a valuable word at that!).

I know what you might be thinking, "It is just Scrabble!" Well, yes it is. But if we were playing the board game, we would have to set the each other's company and communicate. How 1990's!
Nate was playing in another room while looking through Cd's. Lori was in the same room as me but she was playing about 13 people while watching her son, Asher. I was playing them and while waiting on the next move was also playing "spider solitaire".

Not only that I have had to spot blogging twice to play! HELP!

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Yorker Cartoons for the weekend

The Worm in Me

Note: I used to teach a Sunday School class titled, "Life Lessons". The classes were from current experiences and my thoughts and reactions based on teachings in the Bible. This would have been the basis for one such class.

I have mowed our lawn three times so far this year and have started to notice something that makes no sense. Yesterday there were about 8-10 dead worms on the driveway (baked to a crisp). I suppose that during the night they came up from he ground and tried to get across the concrete to the other side. I don't know that as fact because I assume they could go beneath as well, but they were there when the sun came up.

I checked google about worms and learned that while they have no eyes, they sense light and move away from it. If they are exposed to light for an hour they become paralyzed and then start to dry. They basically fry!

Under ground they have the ability to regrow parts of there body that separates but on the surface the sun is there enemy and so is the "early bird". Why don't they have the ability to warn each other? But without eyes they don't see the other worm bodies laying about.

As I made my laps on the tractor, I thought about this and posed the question to myself. Why do I keep doing things that make me start "drying out and becoming paralyzed?" I have eyes. I have people who can warn me. I can see the the bodies of those who have tried things they shouldn't have. But I keep finding myself out on the concrete hoping that I can find a shady spot before the hot sun comes. AND THE SUN DOES GET HOT!

Preachers like to tell stories like this about frogs in hot water. They like the warm water and don't jump out etc., etc. But life is like the worm not the frog. No body puts the worm on the concrete, he goes on his own.

There is a life lesson there. I wish I could learn it!
Of course if this was my class time, I wouldn't stop there. I would say that there are other things the worm does not possess. While it has a God who created it, it does not have the promises given to me. I SHOULD look the the Light, because, "The LORD is My Shepherd, I shall not want."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oil Frustration

a feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticized. the feeing that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals,

There are a lot of frustrated people trying to deal with the Gulf oil mess. Those being directly affected I understand, but there are some I just don't get:

1. First there are all the "experts" in how the world should work that think BP isn't trying very hard to stop the flow of oil. They seem to think that BP has no reason to care! It is if they think BP is saying, "Isn't this nightmare fun?"

2. Then there are those people who have been complaining that the socialist Obama is trying to rule and run over private enterprise. They say he is thinks the government is the solution to everything. This week they are saying that he is not doing his job because he hasn't taken the reins from BP. Now the answer is Big Government! I listened to Sarah Palin say on FOX that there needs to be an investigation to see how much BP gave Obama during the Campaign now that HE is the friend of Big Oil. Why else would he drag his feet?

3. Then there are those that believe that the environmentalists blew up the rig! That sounds easy.

It is funny that BP keeps saying that it is 5,000 feet UNDER water and everyone thinks it is an oil pipe in about 5 feet of water. And at the moment no one is saying, "Drill, baby, drill!"

I feel that I am in Bizzaro World! (Superman reference)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tale of two clients

I have one client that calls every other day to read down a checklist and make sure we are all on the same page. We are. Sometimes I am amused, but the truth is we have ultimate communication even though anal.

I have another client for whom I have done three projects. We are starting a new project for him. He called the ME the other day and talked to me for about ten minutes and then said, "What is your full name?" After the answer he ask, "What is your firm name?" and "Are you in Muskogee?" When I stated that I had worked with him on three different projects he said, "Yeah, that's right." I remind you that HE called me! We had talked about his project and set up a meeting, before the questions!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nashville,Troubadours & Shirts

Random Thoughts:

1.One thing about this reunion tour that is not always possible is the fact that the band that played with James Taylor and Carole King in 1971 is the SAME band that is playing on this tour.

2. When we got to the arena, I realized that I was finally going to a concert where I was not the oldest guy there. It looked like a Boomer AARP Rally (including the Band).

3. One difference from recent concerts is that the line to the Men's Room wasn't because of too much beer. It was old guys with bladder issues!

4. Another weird thing was after the show we went to our truck expecting a crazy traffic jam. We were one of only four cars leaving the lot. Everyone else headed across the street from the arena on Broadway where there are blocks of clubs and live music places.

5. The flood has really messed up the downtown area and the Opryland area, but it did not slow things down. Across the street from our show was a Dierks Bentley concert at the Ryman and a few blocks further was the Grand Ole Opry's temporary home with an all star line up including one of my favorites Kathy Mattea. At the Stadium was a National Rod show with 2,000 hot rods and custom cars!

6. Driving by the Gaylord Hotel, Opry Mills Center and the Grand Ole Opry was sad. All the parking lots were jammed with construction tents and trailers and workers in Haz Mat suits going in and out. Things won't be the same until December, but Nashville is still COOL!

7. Friday night we had an excellent dinner at "the Depot" in Springfield, Tennessee with Bill and Leslie Foutch (Carol's Nephew and wife). Great time! Good Food! Neat City! Great Company!

8. At one point in the concert after they had sung, "Shower The People With Love" and "You've Got a Friend", James Taylor said, "We know we are in the Bible Belt but that was the part of the show we call Hymns for Agnostics!" It got a big laugh.

9. James Taylor sings exactly like he did 40 years ago. Carole has lost a bit but her voice is just as strong as ever. They took turns singing, talking about their songs, and singing together. The audience was great and let them sing! AND for the first time in about ten concerts we were not seated by people who sang along to every song. There probably weren't 10 teenagers in the entire arena! Just old people with money. The seats around the stage went for over $1,000 each but the proceeds form those seats went to charity and to date these seats have raised 1.5 million so far on the tour.

10. If you want a taste of the show download or buy their new Reunion CD it has 15 songs in the order we saw them. At the concert they added about 6 additional songs.

We got to Nashville Friday afternoon only to realize that all my shirts were still at a Little Rock hotel. I got to get new shirts and my other shirts got to vacation in Little Rock until we met up with them Sunday afternoon. They had fun and so did we!

Anniversary 42, Anniversary Concert 40

Sounds like a sports score doesn't it!

I know we go to a lot of concerts, but this trip was different. Way different. We went to Nashville this weekend for the Carole King- James Taylor Troubadour Reunion Tour. The Tour is celebrating the 40th anniversary of a concert by them at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles in 1971. We have seen both of them in concert separately in outdoor venues but this was in the round, indoors. It was magic!

The other anniversary was our 42nd wedding anniversary that is June 1. You see James Taylor was big while we were in college and three years later when Carole King's Tapestry album was released, she had a major impact on our young marriage. In 1971 I was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Carol stayed in Oklahoma. We got the Tapestry album and played it for about six months straight. It was our soundtrack when I got to come come on weekends and has remained special to this day. "You've Got a Friend" became a hit for her and James Taylor. In 1971 the idea of ever seeing them live was as crazy as going to the moon. S0 this trip wasn't another concert notch on our belt, this was part of the fabric of our life.

So when I saw them last night, It was as good as a moon trip.

When I hear Carole King sing, I see Carol Martin and the great life that began with a few good songs. "I feel the earth move under my feet!"

Oh, the concert? It was a magic point in time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My best blog ever

Sorry, This blog has been pre-empted by hours of radar. Set your computer to manually find the blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh, Be the Way

Sunday night CBS is broadcasting the Brooks and Dunn Special that we witnessed in Vegas. This is well worth your time. There are some great performances from some great stars.

Losing it!

You know that you are over weight when you loose 25 pounds and absolutely no one notices! That is where I am. Since Thanksgiving, I have lost that much with a lot more to go. I have gone down one pant size and things are beginning to change. Over the years I have lost weight before, but with this I have had other experiences. We drove back from Fort Worth Sunday and pulled into the drive. As I am getting out of the truck something happened that sort of startled me. I walked toward the house and suddenly my underwear dropped to my knees! Inside my pants!

Very Weird!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Robin Hood without tights!

I must say up front that I am bias. I grew up with "Robin Hood". In the 50s there was a TV show, The Adventures of Robin Hood and that's where I learned about Robin, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marion and the Sheriff of Nottingham. It took the country by storm and all us 10 year olds ran around with green hats and bow & arrows. I'm not talking about rubber suction arrows. they sold us bows with metal tipped arrows to play with in the yard. Nothing was safe including us!

Only later did I learn that Erl Flynn was the first movie Robin. Since then I have seen every version from the Disney cartoons, to Mel Brook's "Men in Tights" to the Kevin Costner version to the new version which is actually a prequel.

I like this version just fine, thank you. It is even a good christian movie (No cussing and plenty of violence). By today's standards it is slow because there are no major explosions or people flying. As for it being like "Gladiator", I remind that Robin was created first! It has a good cast and a very good story. The story is how Robin Hood started and about England in the 12th century as the troops were returning from the Crusades. This movie is probably PG50 and more suited to Baby Boomers because it has a story to tell.

I liked it! I give it ***1/2 stars. 2010 Movie #19

Robin Hood and the Critics

I have been reading all week about how the new movie, "Robin Hood" is NOT a good movie. Most critics say that it is a rip off of "The Gladiators"! They compare characters and say that this a retread with Russell Crowe just doing the same thing again with a different character. My question is, "Why wasn't "Inglorious Basterds" a rip off of Robin Hood? After all they were outlaw soldiers after the mean Germans. Robin Hood was around way longer than me. It predates Star Wars, 7 Samurai, and any other renegades. The critics are mad that it was not the movie they would have made IF THEY COULD MAKE MOVIES!

Critics are lazy. They decide the results before they see them. If they don't like the star (think Tom Cruise) or director (think any PG movie) they hate it sight unseen. Easy Work if you can get it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lawnmower Man turns 4

He is expanding his horizons as he marches forward!

mike thinks about hand guns

My fair state of Oklahoma is considering a new law called "open carry". It allows people to carry their fire arms openly and not concealed. It is a step to get us back to our roots. There is no crime when everybody has a gun and it fits the Constitution because we can all see who is "bearing arms" and who does not support and defend the Constitution.

My only problem with this idea is that I have seen too many movies. When the robbers go into the bank, the guard gets it first because he has a gun. Back to our roots: A guy goes into a bar (sounds like a joke) and aims to be the roughest, toughest guy there and challenges the gunslinger. As my current favorite saying goes: "Nothing makes mistakes faster than a computer with the possible exception of hand guns and tequila."

If a gang banger (in the movies) wants a gun, why not get YOURS. He doesn't need to break in to you house or anything. He just needs to shoot you first!

I can see all kinds of logic in the proposed bill. The problem is that people that you and I will protect ourselves from are NOT logical.

I look at most of the crimes that are in the news and think, "If everyone in this story was carrying a loaded handgun, would it have turned out better?"

I don't know.

I do know that I will watch for people with guns and not go to places that allow them. But then what if the pizza guy is packing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tornado Season

I grew up with a weird view of tornadoes. In tornado season I would lay in my bed at night hearing the thunder and the crack of lightning. If it was raining I was not scared. My parents had told me that tornadoes never come "while it is raining"! Not true but it worked for me. We lived near the center of town and when the tornado siren sounded for everyone to take cover we went through our ritual. 1. Get Dressed. 2. Get in the car. 3. Drive to the edge of town to our friend's storm cellar. 4. Women and small children go in the cellar. 5. Men and older boys stand out in the rain and watch the clouds. If it gets real bad jump in the cellar. Looking back my family and our friends seem suicidal!

First the cellar was on the southwest side of town in the path of most storms. Then the idea that we would see the tornado. We might have heard it but not see it.

We were lucky and never witnessed a funnel. Years later while I was away at college, a tornado hit the edge of my hometown (in the very area of the cellar).

I am so much smarter no. With all our weather coverage on TV, I don't have to get wet, I can set in my chair and watch the storm until we loose power!

Tonight's tornado missed us by 15 miles.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sleazy Mickey and Iron Man Too

Yes, Tonight we went to see "Iron Man 2" and a fun time was had by all-- almost. Let me say right off the top, It is hard too watch Mickey Rourke in anything. He is spooky, weird and sleazy! As David Letterman used to say: "Yikes-a-hooty!" He was strange in "The Wrestler" and he continues. He is the same guy in every movie, strange face, tattoos, tooth picks and all. he is a convincing bad guy.

The Second addition of Iron Man is more of the same. It is a comic book movie where there is mayhem in the city and it is implied that many get killed, but you see no one die. Robert Downey Jr. sort of plays himself. He is the cocky guy that takes nothing seriously while saving the world.

If you liked IM1, you will like IM2- to a point. There is a moment in all of these sci-fi, special effects movies when you go, "ok, I get it. You can make any scene that you can imagine. How about a great story?" If there is Iron Man 3, I won't go, just like I am through with Hulk, Spiderman, and the Fantastic 4. It gets old quick. Not to worry though. This movie introduces at least two other super heroes who will team up with Iron Man in the "Avengers" coming out in 2012. Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansen, and probably Don Cheadle (the new Iron Man).

It is a good pop corn movie but you need Milk Duds also to survive Sleazy Man.

It give it **1/2 stars. 2010 movie#18

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Practice what you preach!

Tuesday, I was a speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Expo. My topic was "Fads, Trends and Principles". A portion of the talk was aimed at the fact that sometimes we are so dependent on the technology that we forget to give the proper attention to those to be served. Sound idea.

I had a neat Power Point that Michelle of the SDA staff had created and thirty minutes before the talk the Expo I.T. guy helped us hook up the video feed. Nothing happened. The screen was blank. We tried 3 different projectors. Time was ticking away. It took one of the staff to bring in our equipment in at the last moment to rescue the talk.

I was standing there "freaking out" on the inside thinking: "I'm not going to be able to give this talk because I am so dependent on the technology that I have nothing else to offer!"

That is Irony. And Scary!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

City Island

If any of you have noticed, I haven't seen near as many movies as last year. Last May 2 our movie total was 10 more. The movies so far this year mostly suck! But today was a special day. We saw a really good movie! We went to see Andy Garcia's new movie, "City Island". You haven't heard about it? Probably not since it is an independent film. What is it about? Here are some clues:

1. Andy plays a prison guard who wants to be an actor. Each week he leaves for a "poker game" (really acting class in NYC) but his wife thinks he is having an affair.

2. As a prison guard, he sees an inmate who is actually his son by another woman (years before he met his wife). He gets the boy released to his care without telling his wife the truth!

3. His daughter has been kicked out of college and is working as a stripper though her parents think she is in school.

4. Their teenage son has a fetish for overweight women who like to eat.

5. The whole family smokes but hides the habit from the rest.

That is how the story begins! It is an inventive, well acted, well written film. It is PG13 so there is not much shocking and it has NO worn out material.

The actors include Alan Arkin and Julianna Marqules (the Good Wife).

This is worth your time.

I give it ****stars! 2010 movie #17