Thursday, January 31, 2013

All the News that doesn't fit

As a kid our media news was the 10 o'clock news for about 15 minutes, then 5 minutes of weather then sports.  Now the media news is constant, 24-7, breaking and stupid.

It may be news that Lance Armstrong cheated by using drugs.  After a month of daily reminders of that fact, it is no longer news, but soap opera.

Someone says that Beyonce did not sing the National Anthem live, but not I don't need to get to the bottom of that story.  Her voice was fantastic.  There is no conspiracy. No Beyonce-gate.  Shut up!

So a college football player is scammed by someone on line.  Why should we wait to find out if Teo is innocent or guilty - OF WHAT?  of the media wasting my time.  Now they are asking if he is fit to play football.

Then there is another sports star who makes a snarky remark about gay football players (or actually "what if?")  He is asks he answers without realizing that anything with the news must be politically correct.   Now they are asking if he should be suspended from plying in the Super Bowl.   

None of us would win this battle if after every day at work, we had a press conference before going home.

I have been around liars and on occasion I have been one.   That will always be news for a short time.

I heard someone say on the news that they refuse to forgive Lance.  Be careful with that thought.

Matthew 6

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stephen weighs in

Some of my good friends have been filling up FACEBOOK with uproar about "the right to bear arms shall NOT be infringed".  I really did not no how sacred guns were!  They remind me of photo of the sign on the cover of one of my Paul Throne CDS.  The sign says:  BEER, GUNS, CHURCH and underneath We sell Diesel. (come to think of it I have the shirt).

Today on the Net was a news release that Stephen King has written a 25 page essay, "Guns", that can be purchased on Amazon Kindle.  He talks of being the owner  of three handguns and makes sense to me.

Here is an excerpt:

"No one wants to take away your hunting rifles. No one wants to take away your shotguns. No one wants to take away your revolvers, and no one wants to to away your automatic pistols, as long as said pistols hold no more than 10 rounds. If you can't kill a home invader (or your wife, up in the the middle of the night to get a snack from the fridge) with ten shots, you need to go back to the local shooting range."

"How paranoid do you want to be? How many guns does it take to make you feel safe. And how do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren? Are you sure you wouldn't do better with a really good burglar alarm? It's true you have to remember to set the darn thing before you go to bed, but think of this - if you happen to mistake your wife or live-in partner for a crazed drug addict, you couldn't shoot her with a burglar alarm."

I for one know that Mr. King knows something about "Crazed" people.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Django again

Last night we went to see Django. I had seen it but Carol had not. I could give cues when to look away and when it would be a good time for the lady's room.  That movie was just as much fun the second time.  There is one scene where all the KKK guys show up to do some damage. It is an hilarious scene about their hoods not being made right.  Seems right out of blazing saddles!  Remember though that this movie is over the top with profanity.

It is still ****. 2013 Movie #6

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Queen of Katwe : A Road Less Traveled

I finished two books this week while on my three day journey in the Oklahoma Panhandle. These are books purchased with my iTunes card (Christmas present). The first that I will discuss is the title of this blog. Like "Searching for Sugar Man", I heard about this on XM's "Bob Edwards show. He interviewed the writer of "Queen of Katwe" and as the story came to light in my mind, I knew it would be a must read.  The author is a writer for ESPN magazine and tells the story of a girl who grew up in one of the toughest slums of Uganda. To quote NPR's review: "Her days were spent focusing on survival, until she discovered chess. She is now on her way to becoming a world-class chess competitor.

The book had three parts:  Life in Uganda, Sports Outreach, a missionary group that reaches the kids of Uganda through soccer and chess and food, and Phoina Mutesi,the girl from the slums.

Here are a few things to think about: Uganda is the youngest nation in the world.  The average age is 14. Because of ruthless dictators (Idi Amin) and AIDS, the nation is basically fatherless and the men of parenting age  beat and abuse the children. Katwe is a giant slum outside Kampala.  It is huts, shacks and houses.  When a developer wants some land, they just set a controlled fire and burn down the land they want.  The property is in lowlands and floods when it rains. No electricity.  No running water.  No street signs, no addresses. AND those that live in the slums can see No way out.

They asked Phiona early in her story what were her plans for the future.  She was puzzled. Her future was having a meal for the next day!

Her brother was going regularly somewhere each afternoon to play soccer and was being fed.  She followed one day a saw part of the group playing chess. Her life changed.

The book tells the story of her at 12 thru 14 years old rising in chess to become a champion.  You read her thoughts from her diary, you see the faith instilled in her and you will read a GREAT STORY.

You watch this "duck out of water" take her first ride in a car and on a plane. You witness her seeing the weird idea of eating three meals a day instead of one.  The author says that the story would be no different than bringing someone form the 1800's and putting them into the 21st Century. 

This is an amazing story.  It shows how MISSIONS can work.  And most of all:  When I have prayed- Give me this day, may daily bread.- I had NO CLUE what that means.

I would love to say more, but I would love for you to read this book.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Broken City

No I'm not talking about Broken Arrow. We are talking the Big Apple with Russell Crowe as the mayor.  I must say that he is better equipped to be a mean mayor than he is to be a singing French cop.
The other stars are  Mark Wahlberg and Catherine Zeta Jones.  You will need a score card to know who the good guys are (if any).  It is a good "who done it and why?"  Fast paced and well acted.  Nothing is as it seems. Just like the rest of the world. Popcorn movie.

I give it **1/2 stars.  2013 Movie #5

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Great Football Quotes

Alex Carras/ Iowa & NFL: "I never graduated from Iowa, but I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower."  

Duffy Daugherty/Michigan State: "I could have been a Rhodes Scholar  ...... except for the grades."

Shug Jordan/Alabama: "Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David."

Spike Dykes/Texas Tech: "They whipped us like a tied up goat."

Darrell Royal/Texas: "They cut us up like boarding house pie....and that's real small pieces."

Walt Garrison/Oklahoma State & Dallas Cowboys: "I asked Darrell Royal why he didn't recruit me and he said: "Well Walt, we took a look at you and you weren't any good."

Booby Bowen/Florida State:  "Son, you've got a good engine, but your hands aren't on the steering wheel."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm Searching for Sugar Man

It started one day in October changing radio channels and tuning in to the BoB Edwards show on XM.  Bob was interviewing a guy who had made a documentary movie called, "Searching for Sugar Man".  I had just started listening when he said,  "How would you feel if you suddenly learned that Elvis (John Lennon, etc)  was not dead and was coming to your city for a concert?"  They had me,

In the next while I heard the craziest story in Music.  In the 1970's there is a Singer/Songwriter in Detroit who went by his last name, Rodriguez.   He was big in local clubs and was signed to a record deal. His first vinyl album, Cold Fact came out and no one even new about it.  He writes like Dylan and sings like James Taylor.  Both his records tanked and no one even heard them. No radio play. No promotion. He disappeared.

Fast Forward a few years to South Africa where Apartheid conflict was reaching a peak.  Someone brought the record to the country and before long it was in demand from the young.  The lyrics were saying what they were thinking.  As soon as the radio stations started playing it, the government banned it.  Black market recordings started and then a record company started redistributing it.  No one knew who the singer was or where he lived.  In the course of the next several years Rodriguez's albums sold  over 500,000 copies.

As people asked what happened to the singer, two different stories surfaced: 1. He set himself on fire. 2. He shot himself on stage.

Truth was he was working construction in Detroit.  The movie is about South Africa after freedom found out that their hero was alive, and "Sugar Man" finding out that he was bigger than Elvis or the Rolling Stones in South Africa.

After listening to the radio show I went straightway and downloaded the Soundtrack on ITunes.  I have eagerly awaited this movie. Yesterday I bought the documentary on iTunes and just finished watching.

I see why it has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

The photo of him on the porch is young Sugar Man.  The one at the Mic is Sugar Man today.  He is touring again!
Great Music, Great Movie  It is ****star.  2013 Movie #4 (Yes I'm counting it)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reality - Really!

Everybody is in to "reality TV".  We like our people stupid!  If they are crazy enough we will elect them to Congress.  We also love "train wrecks".   Reality is  just not real any more. Webster says Reality means "the quality or state of being real; something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily."

Well, that no longer exists.  You let a TV camera and producer following you around all day and you don't have reality.  Whether it is the Duck Dynasty or Honey Boo Boo or College Football, cameras and money change what is real.

You offer a University enough money to televise their games and before you know it the pace and timing of the game is controlled.  The team has momentum and they are moving down the field, they need a short timeout to confer.  The network says, "Lets stretch to three minutes".

On Duck Dynasty the producer suggests putting up a Christmas tree in the warehouse. Wouldn't it be funny if you try the set the star on top of the tree and knock the tree over. Reality comes a plot from "I Love Lucy".

I don't even have a comment about Honey Boo Boo!  I'll just say no one in the southern U.S. can gripe about Big City people calling them backward, we love it. I guess?

It's no different if you think the east coast was accurately represented by "Jersey Shore".  Maybe that's why the Republicans would not support the Sandy victims?


That's why I go to movies.  I like my "reality" with better writers, directors and actors.  They aren't as ugly either.

Zero Dark Thirty

We after all this time "Zero Dark Thirty" has arrived.  It is already up for many awards including "Best Picture".  My summary of this movie is as follows. Realism at its best doesn't make it a "Fun Movie" but I deeply respect the telling of the story of "hunting for Ben Laden".  You KNOW your watching a good movie when (like "Lincoln") the outcome is known but you are tense just the same.

This is a long movie, but very intricate.  The technology is fascinating as is the commitment of all involved.  The character played by Jessica Chastain was being questioned by the head of the CIA,  "What have you done before this assignment?"  She responds,  "Nothing. I've only worked on this."
11 years!

Great cast, director, and visuals.  BTW:  When this movie was originally started, they were making a movie about hunting for Ben Laden.  They were well under way when he was killed and then scrambled to re-write the story.

It is ****star.  2013 Movie #3.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Promised Land the Movie

If you are a fellow Okie and saw the preview to "Promised Land", like me you were thinking: "Should I see this movie?  It looks like it may be taking on the state's cash cow, natural gas."  Is it going to be another tree hugger Hollywood hatchet job?  Answer: NO

When I was a kid, the first westerns were "cowboy and indian" movies. White men taming the west and pushing Native Americans aside (to be tame).  Later the movies switched to the Cattlemen versus the farmer who wanted to fence the land.  Every so many years the story has changed, but the overall theme is:  I want what you have and I'm bigger and more powerful than you. Oh, and I will pay you off.

This movie deals with Fracking and the large company coming to a community to buy leases to drill from farm people who really, really need the money.  It has a great cast.  From Matt Damon and Frances McDormand to Hal Holbrook and John Krasinski (Office).

It is a rare movie that can show a small town farming community with any degree of realism  and this works.  I will say that there is a major twist in this movie.  If you think this is Corporation versus the environment, it is much, much more.  Any of us who have worked for a major business or company has dealt with what is going on. Simple question:  Do you know what is taking place? or have you been hoodwinked?

This was a pleasant surprise. R for profanity.

I give it ***stars.  2013 Movie #2

The Lord's Prayer

In class at church today I discussed how almost all Christian groups including Catholic recite the "Lord's Prayer" every Sunday as part of worship or Mass.  The only ones that don't are the evangelistic and fundamentalists churches (including mine).   Even though Jesus said: "When you pray. say:  Our Father who is in Heaven.....

When I was a Kid,  we started every school day reciting the "Lord's Prayer" and the "Pledge of Allegiance."  But we NEVER recited it at church!

I posed the question:  So if our kids can't say it at school ( and we seem to think it important "in School") why can't they sat it at church.

My specific group has used arguments that:  
1. It doesn't end "in Jesus Name".
2. It says, "Thy Kingdom come". But its already here.

Yet we will sing the same praise songs week after week that pale when compared to Jesus' teaching on communing with God.

We are a troubled lot..........

Monster Jam

There is no better formula for a Grand Pa (actually Pa Pa) than to take you grandson to the Monster Jam.  Feed them on Sugar and hotdogs, fill them with loud, giant machines and watch the fun.  Avery and Addison have been before, but it was Asher's (3) first trip.  He was all smiles.

I was fortunate enough to receive 4 tickets from a work contact to set in a corporate suite during the event.  The Packers game was on the flat screen, but I spent the time with the boys and their appetites.

As we say, "A good time was had by all."  The I took them home and let their parents pull them off the ceiling.

Cowboy Town

The photo shows my Grandsons playing with an old western town.  It is like a doll house for boys.  I played with it when I was their age.  The metal three building town came with all the various townspeople, horses, hitching rails, furnishings for the Jail, Newspaper office and General store.  All the pieces have been lost over the years but the buildings have held up extremely well. Three generations of little boys have played with it when they visit my Mother's house.  I always called it "Cowboy Town".

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Les Miserables (I'm Miserable)

Disclaimer:  Years ago I saw "Les Mis", the broadway play on the stage at Tulsa's PAC and throughly enjoyed it!  I would recomend the stage play to anyone.  I have also seen many movie musicals from "Sound of Music" to "Paint Your Wagon" to "Chicago" to "Chorus Line".  I liked them all even Clint Eastwood's singing in Paint Your Wagon (It was a comedy).

That said I went to see "Les Miserables" today and make the following observations:

1. Jean Valjean was played by Wolverine against Inspector Javert, the Gladiator.  Could not shake that.

2. Having recently watched "Django", I noticed that the body count was the same, but in Les Mis it took along time to die (two songs and a prayer, like church).

3.  At almost three hours the title was appropriate.

4.  This version was like a staged play with wild special effects.  All that was missing was 3D.

5.  The movie (for me) would have been much better with dialogue.  Movies are not opera.  The     emotion gets lost in the muck, and rain, and giant scenes.

6. Singing every line of dialogue caused long stretches of monotone or light rapping.  "I dreamed a dream" suffers after recently hearing Susan Boyle's version.

I know many have FACEBOOKED about how life changing this was for them. I can only guess that this story was new to them.  That is Great. But for me give me the stage.

I give it **1/2 stars (proving that I am not trying to be a movie critic that likes it because people think I should. (Many critics did not like this version as well.)

2013 Movie #1