Dawn of the Planet of the Lame
July 25, 2014
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is visually fun. Watching hundreds of “apes” swarm a city while shooting and blowing things up is a sight to see. The subtext of the film however is a bit hard to swallow.
This may be the conspiracy theorist in me, but hear me out. The film serves the typical liberal agenda by saying, “man is evil… man is destroying the world… man is the cause of his own destruction.” That self- hating “we suck” attitude is right out of their handbook.
But Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes things a bit farther. The entire film not only focuses on how we have created the problem, in showing that these apes too can be corrupt (thanks to their mishandling by humans,) but that there is no difference between ape and human.
I know, I know… it is fantasy. It is a movie. There has to be a suspension of disbelief for most films to work. Maybe I was just feeling defensive about another film ripping on humanity. Dang it though – we’ve done some pretty excellent things as a species. Where is the celebration of that? Why take the cheap, easy shot?
As a film it had some major plot holes. It was a typical Hollywood churn-out film with CGI apes in place of higher paid actors. The transition from hooting to talking over the course of a couple days was the most insulting. “GOOOOO!” became “Hey, thanks for bailing me out of the mess I was in. That dude Kobo is the one that shot me. He learned to shoot a gun two minutes ago. He’s got a chip on his shoulder about being experimented on. Oh by the way, how are my wife and kid? You take care, I’m heading out to have a dramatic battle against the super villain even though I’ve been mostly dead all day.” I may exaggerate a bit there
Watch it for the CGI. Don’t waste your time on the storyline. Don’t waste your time on the logic. Don’t waste your time trying to resolve the holes.
On second thought… just don’t waste your time.
RATING 4 out of 10
Book Review: America Imagine a World Without Her
July 24, 2014
2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 46 (91% non-fiction)
America Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza is another one of those books that I am embarrassed to list among non-fiction titles. It is straight up neocon propaganda. Keep in mind, I am very conservative. This book however, is an embarrassment to true conservatives. It is rah-rah hype and frankly just simple. Anyone with a brain in their head will see through this attempt to justify America’s actions with an argument equal to, “Bobby would just beat on Sue if I didn’t beat on him.”
It starts with typical fear-mongering about how America is doomed to destroy itself largely by the actions of liberals. Don’t get me wrong, I think the agenda of the liberal leaders is absolutely wrong. I just know that blaming them for everything is what has gotten us into trouble as a country. Both “sides” get us hating and fighting each other so we don’t pay attention to how both are screwing us.
Sorry, its hard to ignore politics when reading a political book. D’Souza’s book is just that. It is not an analysis of what the world would be without America. It is not a look at the effect the US has had on the world stage. It is simple grandstanding political hyperbole – nothing more.
I only noticed the book because I saw it was already out as a film. I was intrigued by the title and hoped so much for an adventure in intellectual experimentation. I was hoping some realistic look at this “what if” scenario. Last I saw, the Rotten Tomatoes rating for the film was hovering around 7%. That made me feel good about the movie-going public.
Sure, he makes some great points about what is wrong with liberalism and the “progressive” movement, but D’Souza isn’t going to win any converts with this book. Those who agree with him will cheer along. Those who disagree will denounce it as right-wing hate mongering.
There is nothing to be gained from this book. It adds nothing to the conversation. It says nothing original. It just adds more noise to the arguing. Don’t waste your time with this book. I am not going to waste my time linking to it.
15 Seconds of Real – a big thank you to all my friends. #keepitreal
July 21, 2014
Google Calendar, I love you… but you’re killing me!
July 18, 2014
Okay, Google Calendar is not exactly killing me. Some of the weirdness I have experienced with it recently have however, peeved me a bit.
Okay, so not a lot of weirdness… but I am peeved nonetheless.
It all started when we took a family vacation last month. In our travels, we swapped time zones a couple of times and all of the sudden every one of my appointments moved to one hour later. Ie. if I was scheduled to meet someone at 7am, Google Calendar showed it at 8am.
I figured it would all straighten out once I returned to Texas but nope. Not only did it not correct anything, it continues to happen.
I setup an appointment just a couple days ago and when I logged in this morning, it had moved to one hour later.
I love Google Calendar and organize my business, kids, church, football, and personal life with this amazing tool. It has to work though!
Have you have any problems like this with your Google Calendar? Know of a fix?
Book Review: Bob Dylan In America
July 16, 2014
2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 45 (91% non-fiction)
Sean Wilentz’s, Bob Dylan in America, was not what I expected. I expected some history on Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) and some rah-rah about what a great songwriter he was. Sure, the book included that, but it also had some rather strange stuff.
Wilentz is a noted historian and grew up in Greenwich Village, New York when Dylan was coming up. Surely, he is qualified to write this book. And yes, he does a great job of the storytelling. Where he failed is in trying to make too big of a deal out of Dylan.
I’m sure the Dylan devotees are up in arms about that comment, but hey – he wasn’t all that revolutionary to me. He was a master marketer who rode a wave of musical style and political commentary to the bank. In later years, he changed his tune (literally) and rode other waves in an attempt to cash in, albeit less successfully.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some song by Dylan that I love. The Hurricane (the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter‘s imprisonment for murder) is my favorite but despite many attempts before and after, he never captured that same feel, I still listen to that song regularly. I am just not a fanboy.
Wilentz also goes off into strange places with French artists and Dylan’s search for “art” in what felt like more marketing. He was a decent songwriter, a decent singer, a below average performer with a totally unique sound. He was not the greatest living embodiment of art and truth, which is the undertone I felt reading this book.
If you love Bob Dylan, you will love this book. If you, like me, like parts of Bob Dylan’s story and discography, you will like parts of this book.
Proof that persistence pays off! #txhsfb
July 15, 2014
It has been ten years since I started Lone Star Gridiron with my good friend, Mike Wright. In that time, we have seen a lot of great Texas high school football!
It began when we played together for the (then) Class 2A Industrial Cobras. From those days in the early 80′s until now, we have both had great love for the sport we call “the greatest sport in the greatest state.”
Ten years ago as the podcasting thing was starting, I created the Lone Star Gridiron show to prove a regional series would work. The idea was to see what worked in the world of new media and see if I could build an audience. From the first few diehards that listened to the show to the tens of thousands that visit on a daily basis now, it has really taken off!
In the decade since I first called Mike and had to beg him to sit down in front of a microphone and talk football, we have not only gained millions of fans around the world, but transformed ourselves from the biggest fans of the sport to a couple of the biggest experts. It has taken us all around the state to the Meccas of Texas gridiron history. It has put us in front of great kids, amazing coaches, wonderful parents and devoted media personalities. It has been a great decade and this ride is just getting started.
This relaunch is the first redesign of the site in over three years and what an improvement! Thanks to the help of another partner – Cody Marx Bailey - we have been able to take advantage of a lot of technological improvements that have come along in that time.
We have completed a large part of transferring over a collection of the most extensive historical data covering high school football in Texas and have made that available on a subscription basis. We are talking more than 100 years worth of data on more than 1,500 school!
We have also begun integration of The Brotherhood of Texas High School Football with the site. The Brotherhood is a non-profit we have put together to honor the folks that played a role in making this sport we love so much. The idea is to honor anyone who ever played the game in Texas. We send people to a signup page where they let us know when they played, what position, who their coach was, teammates – you name it. The coolest thing we have gotten out of this data are the amazing stories when we ask them to share their favorite thing about Texas high school football. This stuff is pure gold!
The plan for integration will be to eventually list anyone who ever played and continue share their stories. Eventually, we would love to be able to provide scholarships as well.
If you have been a part of this journey with us – thank you! If this is all new to you – check it out… we are having fun so I know you will too!
I’ll stay in Texas and you stay out of my pants!
July 11, 2014
When traveling across the US, there are always a few “little” things that are different. On a family trip this summer, we interacted with the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. And you know what? They’re weird!
We actually had a very good time in each of the states, but sometimes things were just a bit off. Of course, the rudeness of Park City, Utah jumps to mind right away, but mostly it was just minor things.
New Mexico is probably the winner of the most “off.” The road signage was absolutely baffling. Had I known after seeing the first one that it was going to be a trend, I would have taken photos…. but alas, I didn’t. There were signs like “Right Turn Only” with an arrow pointing left. Another curious sign came up in construction area and said something like “stop ahead for construction – no slowing down.” ????? Huh??? I am so cornfuzzled by that one.
Also, New Mexico’s constant overuse of passing zone signage got me thinking that this was some political payola scam. Seriously, every single curve in the road had a “no passing zone” sign on one end and an end no passing zone” sign at the other. In Texas, we don’t need all those signs – just a simple dotted center line on our side when passing is allowed and a solid yellow line when it is not allowed. Those signs must have cost a fortune – surely, there is some better use for that money.
Okay, so it was mainly New Mexico that freaked me out – the weird signage across a state that appears to be filled with nothing… well nothing that isn’t dry, hot and incredibly dusty. But there were other tales worth telling from the trip.
Utah has to be the home of the nicest highway patrolmen – albeit a bit weird there too. I was flying pretty fast (like 83 in a 70) north of Moab and marveling at all the amazing scenery, when I cop spun around, hit the lights and pulled me over.
I’m a pretty charmed person so very often get let off with only a warning. He did let me slide, but what he said was funny.
“I have you doing 83 mph and just wanted to let you know that we have just started Utah’s “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” when most the traffic deaths in our state occur. I am letting you off with a warning to slow down. Now, I have you in the system so if anyone stops you, they will see you’ve been warned and then you’ll get it in the pants,” he explained in the kindest way I have ever seen from a police officer.
We thanked him and headed out before nearly rolling on the floor that a UHP officer had… sorta threatened to stick something in my pants if I drove fast in his state. Needless to say, I stayed within the posted limits until I left Utah.
Book Review: The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath
July 10, 2014
2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 44 (91% non-fiction)
The book, The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath by Philip Carlo is a shocking book. Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan of true crime writing for years but this one was disturbing.
Carlo chronicles the life, rise and fall of Tommy “Karate” Pitera – a psychopath that found a perfect life fit as a mafia hit man. This is the story of what a serial killer can become if given the backing of La Cosa Nostra ( Italian for either “This thing of ours” or “Our Thing” depending on who’s translating. Another way of saying the Italian mafia.)
For some reason, this was more unsettling than the books I have read about other serial killers. I don’t know if it’s Carlo’s ability to tell a story or I am at a time in my life when it bothers me more, but it actually caused some strange dreams.
If you are a fan of the true crime genre – you will love this one. I don’t know if I enjoyed it so much as just being unable to put it down.