Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I'm not doing this weekend

For the past few years we have flown to Vegas for this weekend. It is the ACM Awards. The absolute best country music event of the year. We are setting out this year, because of, well, money. We hope to return next year and will be satisfied to watch it on TV and save our coins.

I must say though that if you like country or rock music mark this weekend on your schedule for 2012. AND if you need a cruise director...........

FYI: last year's logo

PAUL, not the Apostle!

I "NEEDED" a movie tonight and was not too picky. My criteria was: It must be funny. It must be escapist. AND It must not be too crude. The movie is "Paul". My modest description of it is as follows: Take "E.T." mix in a little "Hangover" and add a touch of "Men in Black" and a profanity idea from "The King's Speech" and you have "Paul" Paul is an adult E.T. who has picked up bad habits in his stay on Earth. He is on the lam, trying to get to the place where he can be picked up by his space ship. He meets two nerds from the UK who are in the States for "Comicon". The cast has SNL players, and cameos from several veteran actors. The movie is great fun. Paul is voiced by Seth Rogan. Its "R" rating is for profanity (quite a lot of F bombs). They are at least spaced out as is the movie.

I would not be comfortable taking anyone under 20. But it is a great "send up" of E.T.

I give it ***stars.

2011 movie #15

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poem Fix from high school days

Byron once said:
"There's so much good in the worst of us
and so much bad in the best of us,
That it doesn't behoove any of us
To talk about the rest of us."

Joaquin Miller then wrote a poem titled, From Byron

In Men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still,
In men whom men pronounce divine
I find so much of sin and blot,
I do not dare to draw a line
Between the two, where GOD has not.

Hank Williams much later wrote:

"You need to mind your own business
so you won't be minding mine."

Saturday, March 26, 2011


You and I spend much of our lives working to PROVIDE. We want a decent and comfortable life and so we work hard. When we start a family, we step things up. More people more provisions. It escalates to grand kids and we step it up again.

But that's not all! We worry if our government provides us enough (or too much). We are concerned about our friends and acquaintances. Are they getting more than us? At church we wonder if we are providing enough and/or is the church providing enough to us? Is the school providing good educational value? PROVIDE

I listened as a speaker recently tested me, when he stated: "We don't believe that GOD will provide." He said that if we did we could all get along and have much more time to be better Christians. He says that we believe the theology of GOD providing our needs, but we don't live it. If we trusted GOD to provide we would not worry about the government, fear our safety and many other things that keep us from being content.

Just something to think about!

Sucker Punch

That is the name of a new movie out this weekend. NO, I did not see it nor will I. I read the review in the New York Times. The review had to be more fun than the movie. The reviewer said that as dreadful as it was you could make your on Sucker Punch movie with the following:

A video game platform
Dvds of "Shutter Island", "Burlesque", "Shrek" and "Kill Bill"
Back issues of Maxim Magazine
a large bag of Crystal Meth
100 million dollars
and your imagination.

Sounds like the Academy Awards to me.

It is PG13! He says that any addition voyeuristic things you may expect from the preview is absent. He also says that he doubts you would tell anyone you went!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Common Sense has left the building.

I was talking to a friend Tuesday about the death of "common sense" and he gave me a great example. His teenage son walked into the house and said that his pickup truck would not "go". They walk out side and the father looks down the road and ask, "How did it get down there?" The son says, "Well, it started and then it quit." The dad asks, "Does it have gas?" "Well the slow fuel light is on, but I've seen it on before and it had gas." It was out of gas.

That night I was watching the 10 o'clock news and a story came on about (I'm not making this up) a Christian women's pole dancing group! They are doing suggestive dances to Christian rock music around a stripper's pole. Pole dancing for Jesus! The woman interviewed was wearing tight, tight shorts and top. She explained how she felt a deep spiritual feeling while gyrating around the pole.

Yesterday, a client wanted to know how quick we could finish construction on his school because of a tight timeline governed by the federal grant. The construction manager said, "Well, unless you let us start, we'll NEVER finish!" The client has been stalling for 6 weeks and has not signed the contract while continually complaining about the deadline! The school may loose a $1,800,000 school building because they can't seem to get together to approve the project.

Last week I heard a guy complaining that Obama should impose a "No Fly Zone "over Libya. This week he complained because Obama imposed a "No Fly Zone" over Libya.

As Voltaire said: "Common Sense is not so common."

Emerson said, "Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing."

Coleridge: "Common Sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why we like who dun-its----Lincoln Lawyer

We went to see "Lincoln Lawyer" today. It is based on a Michael Connelly novel, and I have read some of his books (but not this). He tells a good story. As far as the movie goes, the story is told by one of the most seasoned cast of character actors possible. Actors include Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo and others.

This movie made me recall: "Body Heat", "Absence of Malice", "Serpico" and other movies about being framed. These are some of my favorite movies. Deep down we all like revenge stories, because, well, it is what we dream of from time to time. The idea of planning something really, really sly is thrilling. If this rings with you, you will like this movie. I did. It is a fun legal thriller.

Note: A light R for some cussing and subject matter.

Yes, it is a perfect gig for Matthew McC. and it is fun to see country singer, Trace Atkins play a biker dude.

This is a great popcorn movie. I give it ***stars.

2011 movie #14

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Would you like to be "Limitless"?

We are into a series of big question movies. "Adjustment Bureau" challenged free will. "Limitless" asks the question, "If you could take a pill that would allow you to use your entire brain and not just the 20% that everyone claims we use, WOULD YOU?" That is the easy question. Next question: "What if the pill had side effects? Potentially dangerous side effects.

This new movie starring Bradley Cooper (Hangover) and Robert DeNiro takes over your mind just like the little clear pill. Like "Adjustment Bureau" it seems like continual movement with chases, fights, and a guy who is living at 150%.

For me I have thought a lot in life about the statement that we only use 20% of our brains. It seems that in life I am constantly challenged by the 80-20 rule. Only 20% 0f the members of the local church are active. 20% of the people does all the work. 20% of any organization gives the money. 80% of the population lives on 20% of the land. etc. I have used this many times to explain people with unusual gifts. They are using more than 20% of their brains.

But I digress. This is a thinking person's movie. It is intriguing and challenging. We would all have like to be in control. We would like to be totally confident. That is the human side of us.

If you see both movies (A.B. & L), you can see several parallels in cast, characters, and effects on our life direction. They show controlling people. They show how politics plays. etc.

This is a good movie. I give it ***stars.

2011 movie #13

BUT back to you.... Do you want to control your life in all cases?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It can't get any worse! Wrong again!

I went to a movie last week that I didn't even review or add to my list of movies. In the movie this guy looses control in his car and crashes into a ditch. He says to his friend, "It can't get any worse." Then a voice says, "This is the police." He says, "I was wrong. Now its the worst." Then a voice calls his name and he says, "Wow, wrong again."

I have been living some of this lately but whatever problems I may be looking at I can't begin to imagine or understand the events in Japan. Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Melt down all in one week and much of it in one area. No matter who is reading this, if you have no ties to Japan and the affected area, you join me in knowing that our plight could be much worse than we have it.

I can't write much about this because I am at a total loss for words. I ache for these people and these events. I missed the WW wars, but have witnessed things like the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9-11. My mind and heart cannot grasp these things.

I pray for Mercy, Peace, and Comfort. I pray that we will all realize that we are all in this life together. As the song goes: "What the world needs now is love, sweet love."

Please God, give Mercy and Peace.

Friday, March 11, 2011

mike gets a hall pass

Today is movie day and I usually end the work week with date night. Today though Carol had to go to a seminar and I had to "batch" so to speak. We have seen the good movies and NO good new movies have entered our town today. So-o-o-0 I decided to see a movie that my wife and I would not see. I took a hall pass to see "Hall Pass". Let me say up front that this flick is not very good, not very funny and very true. I would have thought that Owen Wilson would make good acting choices and it was directed by the Farrelly Brothers who did "There's Something About Mary" and "Shallow Hal". But they are also responsible for "Walter the Farting Dog".

The movie covers one element of life: Many guys like to look at good looking women, and many even fantasize about good looking women. (Not me of course! ) I have the stamina of King David.
(Check that. Forgetting the Bathsheba thing!) It also asks the question: If said guy were given permission to sow wild oats for a week, would he? We are not talking about the people we know that do so regularly, we are talking about the Applebee eating guys.

The movie answer is fairly true to form and is more like a documentary than a comedy. Yes, the Farrelly Brothers tries on a few occasions to shock (it's "R" rated), but each case is embarrassing and low brow. Like most of the current gross out comedies, deep down the story is innocent and marriage affirming, but not a marriage seminar.

It give it * 1/2 stars and say don't even rent it. I started to leave on two occasions, but being the only person in the theater, I stuck it out. I guessed the ending about 15 minutes into the movie.

In other words my hall pass was just like the movie "Hall Pass". I wanted to have some juvenile fun, but did not. I feel guilty for going just like Owen Wilson did acting in it.

If you need a movie, see "The Adjustment Bureau" or "Rango".

2011 movie #12

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diet Colas and me

I like diet colas. Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke are fine with me. I even like Diet Dr. Pepper and Diet Sprite and Diet Mountain Dew on occasion. I don't start drinking Diet Pepsi or Coke until I arise from sleep and I don't drink them when I retire to bed. I have my rules. We (My wife is a partner in crime) usually switch to decaffeinated from 5 pm. I would guess that I drink about 4 liters a day on average.

Yesterday USA Today ran this headline: "Is it healthy to drink diet soft drinks?"

And I said: "Oh Crap!"

I will say that this article made as much sense as Charlie Sheen because here is what our research money found out. AND I QUOTE: "A study found that increased risk of stroke and heart attack among people who drink diet soda every day vs. those who drink no soda at all."

Really! A study also shows that I have a greater risk of stroke than ALL people who have died.

The nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and one of the nation's top experts on beverage consumption stated, " I prefer Americans drink water or unsweetened or lightly sweetened coffee or tea, but if it is between diet beverages and juice, fruit drinks or soda with tons of sugar in them, diet beverages are preferred."

The article ended with a Boston dietitian answering the question: How much diet soda is ok?

She said: "I think if you are drinking more than 12 ounces a day, you may run the risk of crowding out other more nutritious beverages, such as low-fat milk or and 1% reduced fat milk, that Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest you drink more of."

What a coincidence, I drunk 12 ounces while reading that. But I had some 1% on my cereal Sunday (while drinking a Diet Coke).

The ultimate is next: BACON FLAVORED DIET COKE!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Free Will or Fate or Predestination?

A Someone named Hai Lee Luyah once said, "Man was predestined to have free will."

Okay, Let's be honest. Haven't there been times in your life when you asked, "Are things happening to me because of my decisions or is someone pulling the strings?" We talk about having free will to lead our lives, but we pray, "God, if it be Your will....". We work hard and believe that good life decisions will bring good results, but when it doesn't we say things like, "It just wasn't in the cards." No matter your faith you are challenged from time to time to figure your part in the Big Picture.

I went to see "The Adjustment Bureau" today starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and a large cast of guys who wear hats. it asks the question, "Do we control our destiny, or are we manipulated by unseen forces?" If you have seen the previews, you probably wondered is this any good or is it too far fetched? If you read the reviews that say it is "Inception Lite", you will miss out.

As a Christian I believe in the idea of "Free Moral Agent". I also believe in the Devil and Guardian Angels. I also believe that God can change anything he chooses to change. Right now and right here! So 20 minutes into this movie I was feasting on many thoughts coming at me and my popcorn. It was a great movie for this exact time in my life.

Question: Did I choose this movie or was it chosen for me?

It was a very good story. It is designed to hit you at what ever level of spirituality that you happen to linger. The idea of Guys in hats that guide life's direction is weird. Right! What if you call them angels? What if they are demons? There are a few things to consider here.

Question: Do you believe that love conquers all? Oh!

This is a spiritual story. This is a love story. This is a life lesson. This a good movie

Question: Do you trust me? I am wearing a hat.

I give it ****stars.

2011 movie #11

FYI: I found this story very uplifting and I will think about it a lot. Expect another post or two.

Isaac Singer once said, "We have to believe in free will. We've got no choice."

Friday, March 4, 2011


Rango, the newest western since True Grit started today. It has some firsts. First animated movie by Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas's Company) if you don't count the Animated Stars Wars stuff. First movie by director Gore Verbinski with Johnny Depp if you don't count the three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. AND probably the first animated movie to prove you don't need 3D.

This movie rated PG was a full house of half adults and half kids. Like most good animated movies, the animal characters were for the kids and the story, private jokes and humor was for the adults. As has been pointed out in reviews there are references to movies like "Raising Arizona", "Chinatown", "High Noon" and Clint Eastwood westerns.

An example of "over the kid's heads": At one point in the movie Johnny Depp's Sheriff character dresses up as a woman with other good guys and pretends to be a traveling theater group. When the bad guys asks who they are, they answer, "Thespians!" They exclaim, "That's illegal in about seven states!"

It is a great movie and a fun story. Johnny Depp is great. The animation is very realistic. I would rate the story and humor for PG30. Those kids don't know who Clint Eastwood is!

I give it ***1/2 stars.

2011 Movie # 10

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

F Bombs

When Melissa Leo won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress (I switch to the USA Today account): "Mine?" said a shocked Leo, who added an epithet that had to be bleeped from the broadcast. "For me? I'm shaking in my boots here."
Then Christian Bale wins and says: "What the hell am I doing here next to you? I'm not going to drop the F-bomb like (Leo) did. I've done that plenty before."

The crowd loved it!

Recently on the Grammy awards Cee Lo Green sung his hit F--- YOU (Sung thay night as Forget YOU)

The crowd loved it!

At the beginning of American Idol, Ryan brings a little sign out and gives it to Steven Tyler. It is a copy of the "American Idol" symbol that the censors super-impose over their mouths when they cuss. So they say the F word several times in sentences so they can use the sign.

The crowd loved it!

The only people that can't get away with the F-word is politicians and maybe preachers!

The coveted PG13 rating that produces the highest attendance is reached by taking a PG movie and adding one and only one "F-word"!

I have seen several movies where the F-word is used as noun, verb, adverb, and adjective in the same sentence.

When I was a youngster, the bad words were Sh*t, B*tch, B*stard and so on. You could get arrested for saying them in Public. Now you use the F-word to be considered current.

The society of the F word is alive and well. I remain amazed when I witness people who feel the need to drop the F-bomb so that they can be recognized as relevant, current, earthy people.
There are times when I can overlook profanity like in severe stress, but short of that: What is the point? You will not convince me that you are tough, relevant or powerful because you can curse. That is playground stuff.

More than one media person commented that the F-bomb dropped at the awards by Melissa Leo was planned and not a slip of the tongue.

Maybe when all society embraces the F-word, it will become passe and go away.

I still see it as a severe lack of respect for all in range of the speech.

"We can learn much from wise words, little from wisecracks, and less from wise guys."
William Arthur Ward

"Do you know what a pessimist is?" "A man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself and hates them for it." George Bernard Shaw

My Past and Having to Choose

I am a child of the 1950's. This was a time of limited media. The first media magazines were the teen magazines. The first sports specials on TV were Major League Baseball games. It was a time when we were constantly asked to make choices. You could not have it both ways. The limited media gave us limited choices.

You either liked:

Fords or Chevys
Elvis or Pat Boone (Really)
Fats Domino or Pat Boone (They recorded the same songs)
Coke or Pepsi
Hamburgers or Hot Dogs
New York Yankees or Brooklyn Dodgers
American League or National League
Rock or Country
Comedy Movies or Action Movies
Gunsmoke or Bonanza

As a boy in Oklahoma, the home of Mickey Mantle, you had to be a Yankee fan. Mickey was the center fielder for the Yankees of the American League and ALL my friends were Yankee fans.

My brother was a Dodger fan and influenced me. I became a Duke Snider fan. The Duke was the center fielder for the Dodgers of the National League. When I played little league, I was right handed but I bat left handed. (Because Duke Snider did!)

Both Mickey and the Duke battled each other in many World Series and both were Hall of Famers. I once got Mickey's autograph at an OSU Baseball Game, but I never got to meet the Duke.

Everyone in the 50's seemed to like Marilyn Monroe. The magazines kept comparing her to Jane Russell. Marilyn seemed to be the crowd favorite mainly because she was in public more. Howard Hughes controlled Jane Russell and kept her from making movies after the first few.

For some reason I, the small town, don't know nothing about girls, kid liked Jane Russell. Maybe it was because she reminded me of Tarzan's Jane. But if I knew what a "Crush" was, she was the first.

Monday, both Duke Snider and Jane Russell died.

I hurt a little because a bit of my youth "left the building".

mike has problems with gas: cartoon fix