Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Deer Season at Christmas

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are you sure Columbus did it that way?

Full scale copies of Columbus' s Nina and Pinta ships are in our town for a visit. They sailed in just before Thanksgiving and we took the Grandkids to experience them. The Nina is 65 feet long and 18 feet wide and the Pinta is 85 feet X 24 feet. These boats are exact replicas of the original boats. They have not built the Santa Maria because it is too large to navigate America's rivers. The real one also sunk on Christmas Eve in 1492 while Chris was vacationing in Hispaniola.

Here is the deal these ships are smaller than most tract houses. The Nina had a crew of 24 and the Pinta had a crew of 32! Talk about tight quarters! Add to that the fact that they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. The Nina was the one that carried old Chris Columbus on the round trip.

"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue
and thru up all over the boat!" (my version)

Imagine going through a storm on this thing.

The kids loved it and so did I.

But here's the real story: After seeing the ships we left the marina only to be stopped by a train setting across the road. It took over 30 minutes for the train to move from our path. It seemed like forever! Impatience is NOT useful aboard the Nina when it took months to cross the ocean on this little craft. When I thought of that, I felt foolish!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Coloring the Turkey

In my youth in grade school we would get to color as a treat before holidays. The teacher would use a memo graph machine to run off those sheets of paper with Pilgrims in their hats and so forth. The strong smell of that purple inked paper was almost a drug, a strong drug.

The teacher would hand out a sketch of a fine feathered turkey and then show us pictures of real turkeys in full color. I would get to work with my 48 count Crayolas to produce a masterpiece.
Looking back it was one of the few creative times available to express myself. That was as close to an art class that I would have until college.

We would talk about the turkeys at school.... and then....go home and eat one.

It was like watching a Porky Pig cartoon and then eating ham.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The old cartoons are the best!

Descendants to the rescue!

Tonight we kept a family tradition. We see a movie every Thanksgiving Eve. Some years: Batman or some pre-Christmas blockbuster, but when possible we try to see a very good movie. I'm sure the new 3D movies like "Arthur Christmas", "Happy Feet 2" or "Hugo" are great family flicks. Tonight, however, we witnessed "Descendants" starring George Clooney. This may be the best movie I have seen this year.

It is possible that this is the best acting job of Clooney's career to date. He comes across as a truly "Average" guy. He walks, acts, and talks average. He is For George Clooney: That's acting!

The story is opens with a family (Clooney's) dealing with his wife on life support following a boating accident. Clooney plays an attorney who is also the trustee for his family's trust. The family members are descendants of one of Hawaii's oldest families who holds the last prime ocean front property valued at 500 Million! He has the final say for the sale. Both stories intertwine as the movie unfolds. George is trying to hang on. He is pulled in every direction. he has two daughters that he can't seem to handle. He is a wealthy person who chooses not to live like it. He has people keeping secrets from him. And more.

He is doing the best he knows how and feels totally inadequate. This is a VERY real story.

It is sometimes humorous and sometimes very emotional. Just like life.

It is not a downer movie but if you want Adam Sandler, this isn't for you.

Some of the acting made me see myself and made me think, "There except for the Grace of GOD......." and other times I would think, "Could I hold up through that." I have also not witnessed a telling of a story concerning family health crisis as real and as human as this.

Yes, This is a PG50 movie. Most of the people in the theater were Baby Boomers even though most of the actors weren't. It is "R" for cursing and because it keeps out all the ages that would not "get it". The cast was perfect.

It may be the best movie I have seen this year (so far). And, yes, it is ***** (5 star) in my world.
2011 movie #52

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21

On November 21, 1979 we saw our Duaghter, Heather, for the last time at the funeral. That was 32 years ago. I was 32 at the time, and Heather was 6. 32 years but I have forgotten nothing. Had things been different, we might be expecting Her family and additional grandkids for Thanksgiving. Life is something to be lived as it is not as I would like it to be.

It was another fork in the Less Traveled Road. 32 years ago we ventured onto an uncharted road that was not on my map. I thank the LORD for walking with us and being our guide.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

J Edgar, Steve Jobs and reality

It's been while since I've been to the movies. The movies that I want to see are not in our town so we journeyed to Tulsa to see Clint Eastwood's new movie "J. Edgar" starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I will disclose that my am prejudice toward Clint's work. I was not disappointed.

The story chronicles J. Edgar Hoover's creation of the FBI and his work through 8 presidents. It is not a flattering depiction of his life and from what I know it is spot on. Mr. Hoover was a powerful man who tried to get dirt on every president and public figure for his on self preservation. He took credit for things he didn't do and altered reality to fit his needs. He tried to ruin Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt and JFK. And that's just part of the story. He was a "Momma's boy" who was conflicted about his sexuality. But that's all historical. Mr. Eastwood does flashbacks form past to present. The only flaw in the movie was the makeup person. As the characters aged they looked like they were wearing "masks"! As you can see by the photos they matched J. Edgar and his "mate" very well with the actors.

I give the movie ***1/2 stars. With better makeup: 4 stars.
2011 movie #51

Now here is where Steve Jobs comes in. I am also reading the Steve Jobs authorized biography. Both Jobs and Hoover altered reality to meet their needs. They also were power hungry, conniving jerks who would do anything to get their way. Both had great ideas and both lived by PR. The book is very intriguing, as was the movie, but I would not want to trust either.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oklahoma Earthquakes

It's That Time Again !

The Boys and Jo Pa

I don't claim to know what's going on at Penn State. It is a dreadful story filled with pain, suffering, and ruined lives. I do have some thoughts about Joe Paterno. He is 84 years old. My Mother is 91. People of this era have trouble even discussing subjects like Child Molesters, Homosexuals, even Divorce. In their day such things weren't discussed. Homosexuals are called "different" people or mentally ill. If someone in the family was thought to be "perverted", they were just shunned or avoided.

I once asked my therapist friend if sexual predators were more prevalent today than in the past. He said it has ALWAYS been this bad. The difference is that we are willing to talk about it. Such things weren't discussed in polite company or on TV & radio or even within the family structure.

When I was a kid, my Mother did not allow the word "pregnant" to be used in our house. Someone may be "expecting" or "with child" but never pregnant. If the pregnant person was not married, they were not spoken about at all.

Now I am not dismissing in the least whatever involvement that JO PA may have had in a cover up, but he was probably out of his element.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Team Meetings

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Full Circle Concerts

30 years ago Carol and I took our son, five year old Nate, to his first concert. He was a Hall & Oates fan and they were at the top of the charts when they came to town. Our seats were left of the stage and out a little. As the concert began and the decibels increase to jet engine loud, he fell asleep and slept through most of the show.

Last night Nate and his two oldest boys went with me to see their favorites, Zac Brown Band, at the BOK Arena which was built just across the street from the site of the H&O concert. After two opening acts, Zac and Company took the stage. We had seen ZBB in outdoor venues but in the Arena, the sound was all out rock. As the guys on guitar reached deafening heights, 5 year old Addison leaned his head on my shoulder and was out.

Like Father, Like Son and a priceless memory for me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wayman's World

Tonight, I had the privilege to go to a screening of the new documentary, "The Wayman Tisdale Story". It will be shown tomorrow night on the NBA channel. It is the life story of Oklahoma's best Basketball player and NBA great. It is also the story of his love of music and his second career as a Jazz Base guitar player. It is also the story of his battle with cancer and his victory.
He did die of cancer, but it did not beat him.

If you get the chance see this film. It is of a man with a smile and a deep faith.

It made me feel bad for ever being sad. He is an inspiration.

The master of ceremonies tonight was sportscaster, Chris Lincoln and a musical tribute by a band that included Grammy Award winner, Marcus Miller, a Jazz Bass player who influenced Wayman's Music.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Litigators: Counting your chickens

I just finished reading (listening to) John Grisham's new book, "The Litigators". As I started the book, I quickly realized that I had big problems with the characters and the story. Not that the story was implausible but because it was VERY real. It is about attorney's that dream of better days and giant cases that pay giant fees. (That's all I will say about the plot.) This is a good follow up to "King of Torts".

The story takes a while to develop, but suddenly it hooked me. And like most stories I was consumed.

As the story unfolded it reminded me of an architect that I know extremely well. He has had MANY, MANY times in his career that an opportunity has arisen that made me (I mean him) count up the great fees that could be generated from a big project. There have been maybe 20 life changing ideas that have appeared. 2 payed off. That's not a good record.

I remember each one well. I start dreaming of the outcome. I "counted the chickens before they hatched". It's like buying a lottery ticket and expecting to win so much so that you start spending the money before the numbers are drawn. Its human nature to those of us who are turned that way.

Others would never succumb to such. Others are methodical and safe. I was born a dreamer and will continue to count my fictitious chickens.

By the way: Good Book. Great story. I have met most of the characters in this book and this version is similar to my version in life.

In the last two days I have driven 800 miles and one good book.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tower Heist, Critics and Elevators

When I first saw the previews for "Tower Heist", I thought: "Finally a Eddie Murphy comedy as I remember him." This movie has a great cast and a perfect bad guy jerk, Alan Alda. But here's the deal. The critics say it was a good idea and a good cast, but as the movie progresses it gets silly!
Ok, what part of a staff of condo workers stealing millions from a Bernie Madof type character during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with FBI everything doesn't seem silly!

I bought my ticket expecting silly. I got it. It was just what I needed on a Friday night. It is a fun movie.

In the movie there is a scene where they were trying to put a large object into the elevator and ended up placing it on top of the elevator cab. That part is real. Several years ago I helped an architect friend move a large building model to downtown Oklahoma City to the 15th floor of a corporate office. We ended up riding on top the the elevator cab and balancing the 10 foot tall model between us! It was an interesting experience!

Good SILLY popcorn movie! Eddie Murphy in "Beverly Hills Cop" character.

I give it **1/2 stars.

2011 Movie #51