Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Leadership thoughts

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on." Walter Lippmann

"Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they didn't want to and like it."  Harry Truman

Another Bird Movie: Mockingjay

Finally made it the see "Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1". As Harry Potter did, they divided the last book into two movies.  This way they can explore deeper (into my pockets).  This is a good movie and does a good visual job showing the war that comes after the games.  The book so gave such rich mental images that the movies can only get close. But very entertaining.

Not much more to say.  I give it ***stars. 2014 Movie 49.

P.S. Sad to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman's last movie.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Worlds Collide: Birdman

Ok, so I wrote the post below about parenting and then went to the movies.  We went to see "Birdman" in the Big City (it's an independent film). The movie stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifanakas, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and more.

My first collision was the dialogue between Keaton (Birdman) and his daughter played by Emma Stone.  He admits to being a bad Father  for always being away working in the movies and she agrees.  They must have read my blog!

The second crazy thing needs set-up:  I rant a lot about how everyone wants to see super hero movies and great dramas  and black comedies (Birdman) get little notice. Dialogue movies loose to action flicks. This is why I go to Tulsa to see the movies I like.  "Birdman" is about an actor, Keaton, who has starred in 3 blockbuster movies, Birdman, Birdman 2 and Birdman 3, that made billions.  He refused to make a 4th version and instead the story starts with him directing and starring in a Broadway play.  He is only know for the superhero and NO one takes him for a serious actor.

This is a complex movie told in an unusual way with scene cuts and fades that keep the story moving.  There are many plots going on and the play being made is extremely similar to the main story.  His alter-ego, Birdman, haunts his thoughts and he is faced with little support except from his best friend and attorney, Galifanakas.

Extremely well written and acted.  You may not see it but it will be in all the oscar talk. Possible many awards here.

It is ***** stars but probably PG50 (younger people won't see it). It is really R for profanity.  Keaton and Norton wear "tight-whiteys" more than the guy on "Breaking Bad".

2014 Movie # 48

Parenting 2014

I am constantly amazed with the people that I see on FACEBOOK, at church and in the community give comments about how Baby Boomers were/are bad parents. A FACEBOOK post by a Christian that I respect had this post:  "How baby boomers ruined parenting forever: "A good parent is said to "provide" for children. It is no longer enough to simply love them. Love is the sidebar to achievement, an insufficient defense against an unyielding future. That is the cruelest legacy of the helicopter parent, one that will endure long after the smoke has cleared."

I sent a response as follows: "If you think we Baby Boomers were bad parents, you should have witnessed our parents. It would put things in perspective to have parents from the depression era!"

NOTE: I have never and don't plan to start telling others how to parent.  I never thought I was very good at it because one of the things I was taught early that messed me up was that: MY JOB WAS TO WORK AND PROVIDE.


We were taught it by our parents generation who had survived a Depression, World War II, and the Korean War.  As for my situation, my parents had 10th grade educations. My dad worked 2 jobs his whole life and found time to be Mayor and an Elder.  My Mother worked most of her life and also worked on the Election Board and found time to help with Cub Scouting.

The other day  after telling my Mother about our day going to the Grandson's football games, she commented that her and dad never came to my little league baseball games.  I commented that I would ride my bike across town to the ball field and get in the back of a pick-up with 10 others kids and go 20 miles to a game at night.  (That started at 8 years old.)  They did watch me play football in high school but did not come to basketball or baseball games. 

Kids like me did not have a lot of training about the future or families. We were taught to work. I started mowing lawns as soon as I could handle a mower. By ten years old I mowed about 4 yards a week. At 14 I was working summers at the local Canning Company loading trucks!  I also had a paper route and worked for the Chamber collecting tickets from local businesses for the weekly drawing downtown.

When college came, it was up to me.  As was most things.  Sure, I knew I was loved, but I was raised where the words not said and kisses and hugs were not witnessed.

I might also add that being in the first TV generation was a major factor. It was my parent's generation that showed us and told us kids all the things that "we could not live without."  AND when we asked for them our parents said, "Go to work."

Naturally when time came to have kids, we wanted  them to have it easier!

So when people accuse our group of being bad parents, I won't disagree. WE didn't have a chance.

P.S. This is especially on my mind today since my first child died on this date in 1979. 
She would 41

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Quote

"Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will."      Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


 Just finished reading the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I have always respected him and his great writings about his beliefs and teachings. But this book gave me the big picture of his life. I even learned how to pronounce his name. His story is amazing in that it shows German Christianity during its darkest hours of Hitler and World War 2.  I discovered things that shocked me all over again. I also followed the life of a man who stood for his GOD, his Family, His beliefs and what is right.

I recommend this work.


Okay, Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors.  He did "Inception" and "Memento" and so he does challenge me. You cannot take his stories for granted, Even his Batman trilogy was not ordinary super hero stuff.

"interstellar" is a modern day version of the dust bowl.  America is a large dust bowl. Everyone is in survival mode. NASA has gone underground.  So we slowly meet a diverse cast of small town farmers, space scientists and former astronauts.   The movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Michael Cain, and John Lithgow. WOW!

Lets go save the planet or maybe life in general!

Watch closely because Mr. Nolan has tricks up his sleeve.  Fun movie. Wild Graphics. Surprise end.

See it in IMAX. I wish I had.

I give it ***1/2 stars. 2014 movie #47

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quick Prayer

Sounds crazy, but one of my pet peeves is to be with a group of Christians and one person says: "Lets say a quick prayer." What? Does that mean a short prayer or a something fast to get it done?  Why quick?  There is no regulation length for prayers. As a matter of Fact, Jesus' Prayer (Lord's Prayer) is fairly lean- about 56 words (if I counted right!).

Why don't we just pray?

I wouldn't want someone to say to me: Let me give you a quick statement, quick blessing or quick answer. 

Who is in the hurry?  Not GOD!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

St, Vincent

St. Vincent: I have wanted to see this movie since the trailer was first shown. It looked like a fun movie. I got way more than I expected though and found the movie very emotional.  It is advertised as a comedy and with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. It has a lot of humor but it is about survival. Murray's character, Vincent, seems to be deadbeat guy who doesn't like people in general, stays drunk, plays the ponies, and has a standing Tuesday with a prostitute (Naomi Watts). Melissa is a single mother dealing with starting over and in a messy divorce. She is Vincent's new neighbor and soon Vincent becomes her baby sitter to her 10 year old son who is the glue for the story.

Everyone in the movie is trying to survive and deal with what is before them.  Melissa McCarthy's role is very straight (no humor but good acting).  This story deals with coping in a new place, dementia, strokes, and bad choices.  And yes there is comedy.

The story gets wrapped up in a great ending with a strong message: All saints don't look like saints.

The saddest thing about the movie was that only baby boomers were watching.  This is a good movie and Mr. Murray should be up for an Oscar.

This is up there:  ****1/2 stars.  2014 movie #46