Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paper Towns

This movie made me think of my high school years.  I was not a social "Chance-taking" guy. I was cautious if not a little timid. I was part of the "in-crowd type kids" that were seen as leaders, but I was always reluctant to stray from my comfort zone and in to the unknown. I didn't hurt me but it made me different.  But then I always saw the kids that pushed to envelope.  They tried everything! They bothered me because they always seemed to get away with things.  I would have been caught!

"Paper Towns" is about that. Two kids that grew up in Orlando across the street from each other (Boy and Girl). When they rode bikes, only he wore a helmet. She would climb up to his second floor window to talk at night and to suggest going out to play after night!  You know the type.

As the movie develops they grow apart during High School, their Senior year, He is a band nerd who is headed for Medical School and she is a wild child traveling with the fat crowd.  Until one night when she comes again to enlist his help.

This movie is about the people also that do not see their future because they aren't comfortable with their present.  Paper Towns is the term for a fake town that appears on maps as a copyright. One map maker will show a "Paper Town name" along a road and know that if any other map maker shows it, they are copying.   Well acted and well told!

Looking for a place that doesn't exist.

This is not a deep movie for there is much humor and high school things that we all remember (no matter the generation).  It is PG13 so it is more like Ferris or 16 Candles and less the current R-rated fare.  I Liked it.  It is being compared to "Fault in Our Stars" which was also written by John Green.

I give it ****stars  2015 Movie 35

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Talks with my Mother 1

I have been having some great talks with my Mother. She is 94 and wants to live to 100 years old.  She probably will make it and I could only wish for her health at that age.  She has been very misunderstood for a long time. Some of the family thinks that she is too judgmental and too much of saying anything on her mind. But consider this:

Her process for seeing the world has been locked in, say, 1958!  Religion in her world is 1958, Social Changes are based on 1958, etc.

She doesn't have good reference points to discuss Gay marriage or even interracial marriage.  Liberal to her means changing from the norms of her early adulthood when life was simple.

A discussion of spending money either for food, clothes or gifts, starts with remembering the Depression. Doing without WAS life. She lived in a time that you "Made do" and did not dream about things out of her sphere.

She has an intellectual side where she understands today's changes, but she wants to live simple.  She wants the Church to remain the same always and in every way. She wants women to stay out of politics.  She wants the Ozzie and Harriet days that never existed.

I used to argue with her but I am of a different time.  She really does love her grandkids that are gay and those that have intermarried and those that have different religions than her, but she still does not understand their need for changing.

The more that I am with my Mother the more I need t give her a pass. 

She is my Mother.  I wouldn't want to change that!

Ant Man

Ok, I've almost sworn off super hero movies. I'm talking about the ones where someone is trying to destroy the world and always starts with New York City.  The "HERO" comes to the rescue but only after a prolonged fight scene that destroys the city and kills several hundred thousand people and then at the close everyone smiles, hugs and cracks one last joke. Killing was all good fun and after all the computer geeks that made this possible JUST HAD to show the late effect.  Not looking forward to Superman versus Batman, etc.

Then along comes the preview for "Ant Man".  What?  That must have been invented long after I stopped reading comics at the Drug Store.  However it stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. Instant Cred.  The preview had comedy similar to Iron Man and so I gave it shot.  SCORE!

Ant Man is good summer fun. No Cities destroyed and only a toy railroad is taken out.  Ant Man was cool.  "Let's get Small."   Like Iron Man he is a human with a great suit full of tricks.  I won'y dwell on the story but recommend for relief from the heat for two hours with popcorn.

I give it ***1/2 stars.  2015 Movie 34

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What is OLD 2

What is OLD?

Recently, I had a little fun on FACEBOOK.  I had met one of my favorite singers, Paul Thorn, and during the short time we were together he said that I looked like Ed Asner. He is just one of the latest in a long, long line of people that tell me that. It happens all the time. My first thoughts about this was, He is much older than I. I checked. He is like 86 years old! He is close to my mother's age!
Then I occurred to me that no one ever says that I look like my dad. If they did I would like that, but no one ever does.

When this first started happening, I was in my early 30s. It really pissed me off.  At first I would respond and say, "I thought I looked like Paul Newman."  No one ever got the joke.  They would just frown and say, "I don't think so."

There are worst comparisons like Hitler or Barry Switzer.  Glad I don't look like Obama! Someone would have taken me out by now.

But being old is new to me. I may be 68 but my Mother is almost 95.  I think 95 is old. She gets around better than some people I know in there 40s. She drives, still lives by herself and is self sufficient. I still drive down the street and see a building project and think, "I want to do a project like that someday." (I have been saying those words since I was 20. I think as though everything is still ahead.

In my world it is.

In my church I am an Elder (meaning Old) and this fall I have to be re-affirmed.  When I was younger (30) I thought people after 65 should probably get out of the way.  I don't think that anymore, but I can't help but wonder what the 30-somethings are saying about me, "Mike looks like Ed Asner and he's old!"
Maybe I'll just grow a beard!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Since I have a "Minions" ring tone on my phone, I am not objective concerning the "Minions". I knew I would like it before seeing the movie. Let's just say though that I would have liked more silliness and less story. That said,all I can add is "Kumbaya!"  Which is their term for good.

I give it ***stars   2015 movie #33

Saturday, July 11, 2015


The title of this movie and "/" between the words tells much.  You have to see it to know why.

I was curious about this story when I saw the preview. I must have been the only one because when we went to see it on Thursday night, we had the place to ourselves.

Quick:  Ben Kinsley plays a Manhattan developer (like Trump with no hair).  He is dying of cancer and hears of a way to extend his life by a process that exchanges his body for another younger one and also retain all your thoughts, etc.  Sounds Great!

His new body is that of a guy (Ryan Reynolds). There are side effects though and he has to regularly take a red pill to keep his mind in check and not have weird thoughts.  He is also told that his new body was created in a lab.

Then as in any good sic-fi he begins to find out OTHER things.

This is a great "What If?' story that will give you much to think about.

I liked it. It has a great cast besides the two main characters and a well conceived plot.

Summer Fun. PG13  I give it ***stars. 2015 Movie 32

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finding Paul Thorn

Music has been important to me since I was a kid.  There was a time when I was about 8 that I listened to the radio in my parent's room at night and made list of the KAKC top forty songs. I was first an Elvis fan and then Buddy Holly and then and then...  I couldn't sing but when I got to the tenth grade I wanted to learn how to play the Bass Guitar. I couldn't get any friends to join me taking lessons in Tulsa so I gave up such ideas for Sports.

Advance a few years and several hundred albums, cassettes, CDs and downloads later I am still hooked on music. While I like several kinds of music, the artists who don't take themselves too serious are who I lean towards. I like Brad Paisley, Jimmy Buffet, Todd Snider, Billy Currington, Jerrod Neiman types of singer songwriters. 

One day I was driving in my car listening to the Bob Edwards show on XM when he interviewed a song writer from Mississippi named Paul Thorn. The next hour (I have it on my iPod) was a joy. Paul is a tremendous story-teller with a great wit, but most of all a genuine person. I liked his music, his background, his view of life and the fun he could bring to a simple interview.  I quickly ordered all his CDs and by now have them all.  I started telling people about him even playing songs for them on my phone.  Finally he came to Fort Smith and about four couples of us went to the show. Quickly the circle of fans increased.

One day on a lark, I emailed the Cain's Ballroom and asked if they would consider booking Paul Thorn telling them to check YOUTUBE if they didn't recognize the name.  Three days later they booked him for three months later.  At that show I found that he had more followers and as our group spread I have seen him at Cain's twice, AllSoul's Unitarian Church, Tulsa May Fest and Just this week IN MY TOWN.  Slowly people listened to him around here and the Music Hall of Fame got him for the summer concert series.

I hear that he will be back next summer for our music festival.

The highlight of these happenings is that my wife and I got to host him and his band during their recent stop. I was great fun and I found his band to be as down to earth as Paul.

This was a music highlight of my life!

It still is true that if you like something and show enough people and they also like it, BIG THINGS CAN HAPPEN. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK!

Who is Paul Thorn?  Go to YOUTUBE and see.