Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lubbock, we have a problem, Movie Reviews

Remember the saying from space, "Houston, we have a problem!" Well Lubbock, we have a problem and these problems are on two separate ends of the priority scale. First, I mentioned the vicious attacks of stray pit bulls on goats, horses, and children. Sounds a little dramatic but it is apparently a very serious problem and seems to be centered around this species of dog. Remember Michael Vick, the forgettable pro football player who was convicted of, and put in prison, for breeding pit bulls to engage in the illegal dog fighting arena. Well our pit bulls are being abandoned by their so called owners out on country roads, left to die or survive on their own. It is my understanding that these species are not born to fight, but they do have a strong tendency to get vicious if trained for that line of business or they go into survival mode just to get food. It is also my understanding that in the animal kingdom, when left alone by humans, animals actually service off of each other. The biggest, meanest, fastest, animal chases down the smaller, docile, slowest animal and then has a delicious breakfast of that little critter. But, in our urban society today we are not usually in that mode. Well, welcome to Lubbock, because we are!! Now to keep these critters off of the triathlon course and we will!! Promise!! While city officials are working over time to submit some kind of new ordinances, etc., something must be done to the owners, period.

In a recent social gathering I ask the simply question, "how is it that a major university in our city can pay their football coach, $1.65 million, escalating to $2.1 million in 2010, hire a Hall of Fame basketball coach, win a National ladies basketball title, build a $65 million basketball arena, make an addition to the rec center of $20 million, be listed in the top 10 of party universities in the USA, have a statue of Will Rogers on his horse(legend has it that if a virgin co-ed ever walks by this statue, he will get off the horse, of course this has never happened), make $40 million additions to the football stadium, and on and on, CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO RETAIN ACADEMIC ACCREDITATION? Yes folks our proud Texas Tech University can do all of these wondrous thing, and many more, but they seemed to have failed in one area of accreditation. This morning in the AJ there was an article about the Chancellor, who has done a great job in raising money for the university, and he said the high side of his tenure has been the raising of record numbers of dollars, but the low point was in the accreditation problem that has surfaced in the past few months. So, they are working post haste to get this problem solved. Funny thing is they give the excuse that the university has gotten to big it is hard to keep up with the many accreditation demands. Duh, wonder what THE University of Texas-Austin, or Texas A & M University does to keep up their accreditation credentials? They are twice the size of Tech and have been in business a 100 years longer. No excuse here Tech, get your act together. You have enough Vice Presidents out there that you could hang one for this stupid mistake and never miss him/her, or better still send them on a journey to clean up the pit bull problem in North Lubbock County(Buffalo Springs is in South East Lubbock County for you triathletes).

Movie Reviews: "Fool's Gold", *, Very weak movie exploiting Matthew McConaughey's curly hair and perfectly toned body. He is a good actor, but just wasted in this mess, about treasure hunting. Even the suspenseful scenes were a waste. My local critic gave it a one star and we usually never agree, but this is an exception. Rated PG-13(does anyone pay attention to these ratings?), for mature thematic material, sexual content and language.

"Jumper", *, This movie was well done except the script left a lot of the details out, i.e. where did this guy get the ability to jump through walls and across the universe, just by thinking of the place he wanted to go, and why was there a group of people set up to destroy these jumpers, also why did the mother of this jumper end up on the opposite team(against her son) and which of these two groups were the good guys or bad guys, also what was the whole point of the movie? The jumper just became a useless piece of humanity that robbed banks without getting caught and doing nothing good for society. At least Spider man became a local hero fighting crime, but not the Jumper. Possibly the sequel will answer these questions. I may go just to find out. You won't recognize any of the actors except for Samuel L. Jackson(he is on the team that kills the Jumpers), but I don't know if he is a villain or a good guy. Rated-PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality. Go see at your own risk.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Front Page Headlines,Cost of Super Bowl attendance, Alter Ego, JD's Bar and Grill wisdom,Movie Reviews

If the front page news headlines are an indicator as to the values and attitudes and/or quirks of a city, I must take the time to wonder about the hub of the plains. For the past few days the headlines on the front page of the Lubbock Avalance Journal read like this, "Two Pit Bulls Attack, Kill 10 Goats", "Dogs Kill Therapy Horse", "City's First All-Girl School Offer Another Option," "Opportunities Drying Up For Cotton in '08." Now remember these are actual headlines from the local wipe, not something I have fabricated to accomodate the morning post. With so much stuff like this actually going on why would anyone want to create some fiction for a story anyway? It seems as though we have a pit bull problem in the city, or so it seems from the massive headlines. At any rate these bad happenings did happen and these dogs have been captured and "laid down" as they say in animal executions. Two of the dogs that attacked the goats were actually run down by an automobile, so that saved the county some money. Was it a coincedence, accident, or what? Guess we will find out when the next headline is, "A Suspect Has Been Arrested in the Killing of Two Dangerous Pit Bulls, that Killed 10 Goats." Kind of a long headline but just couldn't stop without getting it all in. In the cities first All-Girl school headline I am amazed that this kind of thing is going on now in our society, with "diversity" being the theme word in our world. The article mentioned that these girls would receive a well rounded education with no distractions that generally go on in the public schools. Now I get it, no interaction with the opposite sex, no experience with the rest of the population that they will be engaging with after they graduate, and no experience with what life will really be like after they enter the grown up world, that involves the opposite sex. So, these parents pay astronomical fees for their little girls to be taught a well rounded school program but have no idea what is going to confront them after graduation. Doesn't make any sense to me, and I am glad that I saw all 6(mine and hers) of my kids graduate from the public school system in Lubbock. The remaining headline reminded us that it has not rained for quite some time(like we didn't know it??) and the '08 cotton crop is looking very bad. Well it was like this last year to and they made a bumper crop. The only difference is that we have not had much rain during harvest that usually gives the area the much needed deep moisture for planting in May. The good news is that there have been record bumper crops for the past 5 years, so the cycle usually calls for a bad year after that. Not only that, the ground hog saw his/her shadow yesterday so 6 more weeks of winter, which could mean moisture. Last but not least in the ole AJ, I found hidden on the back pages the top tourist draws to Lubbock and their economic impact to the city. The article pointed out that Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3 ranked 2nd in economic impact in a ranking with 10 athletic events that are annually brought in to Lubbock(mostly youth events). While the article did not reveal how much the Sports Authority paid for these events to come to Lubbock, it is a known fact that the triathlon was the least costly and produced the most return on investment. Way to go tri-geeks, see you all June 29th.

The other day I noticed where the total cost for going to the Super Bowl was estimated at $5,000.00. Boy what a waste when you can watch it in your living room for a paltry sum. As much as I love football I can't imagine paying that much for a game. But on the other hand that is they way we help pay the multi-million dollar salaries to the coaches and players of these teams. Without us suckers there would be no pay day. Think of what $5,000.00 could pay for, a week or ten day in Hawaii, in some schools it could pay for a semester or maybe two for a college education, a nice addition to the home, a set of re-furbished teeth, a slightly used automobile, a slightly used motorcycle, a real nice triathlon bicycle, 50 Boston Terrier puppies, 1000 senior tickets to the movies, 128 annual memberships to USA Triathlon, 1700 gallons of gasoline for the motorcycle, 833 six packs of Coors Light, 28 4.5" brim, felt Stetson cowboy hats, 10 years of season tickets to the Texas Tech Red Raider football, basketball teams, 26 years of annual membership in the Texas Tech aquatic center, and on and on!! See my point, that one day of estacy in Arizona could go a long way in the other places.

Alter Ego--for some reason this has been on my mind for the past few months. I think part of it is because as you age you have a tendency to think back on what might have been or what you might have done differently in life. In pondering this subject I have found that I really have two alter egoes and if life gives me enough time I might play them out or just wait until the next life(yes I believe in re-incarnation to an advanced life--a topic that may come in a later post) to get it done. A good example of how the alter-ego can drive you is the movie with Kevin Costner, called Mr. Brooks. In this movie his alter ego was actually played by Willian Hurt and he was the driving force behind Mr. Brooks that made him a model citizen by day and a serial killer by night(go see the movie for more details, but I did review it here last year). I have two alter egos that are on my mind daily. I do get to play them out to some degree but not nearly like I would like to do. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a cowboy. I mean ride the range, herd the cattle, live under the stars, etc. Of course not much of that happens now like it use to but there still are working cowboy ranches and some day I will live this life. The other type of cowboy would be the rodeo cowboy, riding bulls. From what I can gather these two cowboys are different and are not necessarily the same. But, regardless I will do both at some point. My other alter ego is to ride the motorcycle for transportation over the entire USA, letting the beard and hair grow as it may, never using a cell phone, never consulting my e-mail, never missing a day on the hog. Probably making a living to support the travel costs through odd jobs where ever I decide to go. How long would this last? Who knows, I never tried it!

A sign on the wall at JD's bar and grill jumped out at me while I was enjoying a cold mug of Coors Light. Let's say some guy happens to be sitting at the bar with a woman he was not supposed to be with, and let's say that his significant other was looking for him, then let's say that a phone call comes in from that significant other. Well no fear, here is how to handle this little inconvenience. Just pay the bar tender the following and when he/she answers the phone here is what they say for each dollar left in the tip jar: $1.00--not here, $2.00--on his way out, $3.00--just left, $4.00--haven't seen him all day, $5.00--Who??? Hum, peace of mind is cheap in JD's!!

Movie Reviews: "Rambo", ***+, It was going to be interesting to see how ole Sly pulled this one off, since he is now 61. But he really did a great job and it is a very good movie with lots of action. There is a lot of bloodshed, etc., but generally it is the bad guys getting blown away. Rambo has decided to settle down in Thailand making a living catching and selling poisonous snakes. He is then sought after by some Christian missionaries to rescue some of their kind in Burma(a real bad place). He tells them to stick it in their left ear first, then tells them they can have one of his poisonous snakes in their skivvies if they don't get out of his face. But, of course he does the right and makes the rescues. Along the way many heads are blown off, etc. Go see, I like it!!

"There Will Be Blood", *****, A truly five star movie, and Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of our day. He will win an award for this and has been nominated. The story is based on the novel "Oil" and is the story of an early in history independent oil man. It turns out to be a very emotional story about family, greed, corruption and the pursuit of the American dream. A very different twist for the ending. Must see!!

"Cloverfield", 0, so bad I left in first 20 minutes and watched Rambo. Couldn't even figure out what it was supposed to be about. A waste of actors and film.

"Over Her Dead Body", 0, A really bad one about a good looking prissy, bitchy girl who gets killed the day before her wedding. Sounds sad but really isn't, since it is a comedy. Her fiancee grieves for her for over a year, then finds someone, so the bitchy girl comes back to haunt them and break up their relationship. Really a poorly done movie, had some potential but just never got there. I wasted my money, don't waste yours!

For today,