Sunday, August 31, 2008

Golf, Motorcycle Rally, Renunion(again), Funeral, Movie Reviews

Golf is a sport this is easy to love and hate, sometimes it is just like bowling in that it truly sucks. In bowling you can hit a strike or have an open frame all with a few minutes of each other. The same for golf, you can have a straight down the fairway tee shot that goes over 200 yards(300 if you are a pro) or you can lose the ball in the rough within a few minutes. On Friday I was invited to play golf with some friends of mine from my high school senior class(yes it is reunion time again and that will be covered later in this post) of 1957. Yea, I know before you think it, a bunch of old men puttering around the golf course gulping heart medicine and not letting the Flomax get out of our site, while having a big grin on our face every time we took a leak. Our team was made up of five members from the class of 1957 playing against five members of the class of 1959, so they had us by 2 years in age. They average 67 years and we average 69 years of age and were determined not to let these youngsters beat us. When we looked at their team it was a little scary, since 4 of their team were retired and played golf everyday, while we only had one real golfer(not me) on our team and the rest of us rarely play(my last time was two years ago). So, we had all of kinds of reason why we should try hard and beat these guys. When this match got started I was sure we had a chance to make a better than average showing. After all we were members of the Championship football team some 50 years ago and we just don't throw in the towel, no matter the sport. Funny thing how this length of time has not diminished the desire to win nor the competitive attitude of this reunion golf team. Our football team was called a Cinderella team since we were not picked to win anything, we were small and not as talented as the other teams in our conference. But, we had that one thing that will always enable a team to win more than they lose and that was a strong desire to win. Now that I have laid out the ole win one for the Gipper let's get back to the golf match. The rules of the match were simple and is called a scramble match. Each player hits a ball and then the best ball is played throughout the hole. So, you have 5 chances to hit the best shot possible and of course the other team was playing by the same rules. We finished the front nine in even par 36 and our younger dudes had a one under 35, so we were in the hunt. On the front nine we were attacked by a bunch of mosquito's throughout the round that reminded me of Japanese kama-kazee pilots, as they dove to any place on our body to draw some blood and then were swatted away with the flick of the finger. Never the less we ended up with a great round and look eager for the back nine. After taking a Flomax break we were back on the course with fire in our eyes. Our youngster opponents quickly birdied the first hold and had us by two strokes, as we parred the hole. Then the rest of the round stayed close but they did get another birdie and now we were 3 strokes down. Going into the 18th we knew we couldn't make up the difference but we could birdie for a one under par round to put us one under for the day. Since I hadn't sunk a long putt all day I looked at my last putt of the day laying 25 feet from the hole and mentally I decided to sink it. Sure enough that dude went in and we finished the day one under for 18. While we lost to the youngsters we did at least play above our heads as the football team did 50 years ago. What I learned on this day was that no matter the age, once you have the desire to win you just never lose it. Golf doesn't suck after all and it is a great sport for all ages.

This past weekend we put on the first ever Giant Side of Texas motorcycle rally in Lubbock. While we didn't reach the registration numbers we had planned for, it was a very successful event. We are not satisfied with the venue that we used, so will be looking for a new site in 2009. We learned a lot this year and will apply what we learned for next year. What we do know is that it is similar to triathlon in that there are three things that spurs the interest of bikers(riding, eating and beer drinking). While triathlon calls for swimming, biking and running it also has its' share of beer drinking. So, we will take our lessons and use them for next year.

While I really don't know what this class of 1957 is thinking I will take a stab at it. The best I can remember we had a reunion of sorts at the 20 year mark, then the 30 year mark, then the 50 year mark. To me these intervals make all the sense in the world, but then lo and behold we have another one this year for the 51st year. On the 30 year mark I created a reunion triathlon and invited all my classmates to join me, but didn't have any takers. The same held true for the 50th and now the 51st. Don't know what their problem is other than they all concluded that I am crazy as hell and they have artificial hips, knees, heart, to testify to the fact that the class of '57 is too old to do these thing. After the golf match I noticed that during lunch the discussion turned to the number hips, knees and hearts had been worked on and when it came my turn I mentioned that I had had my tonsils out way back in 1945 just after turning 7. They rolled their eyes and proclaimed that didn't count of surgery or replacement activity. Oh well, after the triathlon day, we then went dancing at the Sting for a couple of hours making it a complete reunion celebration. Even though we invited the class to join us we had no takers. Didn't surprise me since dancing wasn't a big item in Littlefield during the 50's. Seems as though the Baptists ruled the roost and they claimed that dancing was sinful and the youth should not do it, and proclaimed it off limits. Fact is their revivals would spell out that there would be no alcohol, dancing, or sex, period. The only flaw in the ointment was the fact that at least 2 or 3 of the young maidens would become pregnant after one of these revivals, so I guess they were right, dancing is a bad thing. For the next reunion I recommended 5 years and everyone said, "no way, we may all be dead by then!" My reply was simple, "well that should give everyone an incentive to live another 5 years, or we can die and go to heaven and then they can talk about how great we were after we die." Remember no one ever says anything bad about anyone at their funeral. Now I can't even remember what they decided but I do know it is not on for next year, but maybe 3 years.

In the latter part of the week we attended the funeral of the young man who was killed on a motorcycle during the weekend of the rally. While it had nothing to do with the rally and happened way after closing time at the rally headquarters, we all felt that he should be honored with a last ride. So someone organized a ride in honor of him and about a 100 motorcycle riders did a funeral parade for him throughout the city, to the church for the funeral. While I like a good funeral I don't like long ones. And now a days funerals and weddings have started to resemble each other. There are the big dual screens up on the front wall that covers from birth to death, with music in the background, then there is the ever present camera getting all of the live/dead action. The country and western band was great and the readings(the ones I could hear) were very good and this young man was laid to rest in a manner that he would have enjoyed. He had written many poems about death, etc., so the service had a macabre flavor to it. Regardless of the length of the service he was honored by everyone there and he was laid to rest in a fine biker atmosphere. He will be missed.

Movie Reviews: "Death Race", *, A stupid movie about prison convicts made to race to the death, and/or if they win 5 races they get a pardon. Of course that never happens but is a fairly good carrot if they did win. These are most hardened criminals of the time and society really wants them dead anyway so it is no big loss. Jason Statham plays an ex-professional race care driver who is framed of a murder(of his wife no less) and sent to this prison to actually race. You see the warden, a blood thirsty hard driving bitch, also has a TV program that shows the races to the death. So with a racer of Statham's ability her ratings will go up. Did I say stupid movie or what? Go see out of curiosity only, that is what I did. Rated R for strong violence(understatement) and language(understatement).

"Pineapple Express", **, Our local critic gives this mess 3 stars. He must have been smoking the weed that this movie is all about. The lead actor(Rogen) is a weed smoking process server who witnesses a mob killing. Of course now they try to find him to kill him to. Lots of stupid dialogue and some part of humor. Go see only with this warning, "should be done on matinee prices or the $2 movie house." Rated R for pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and violence(have I left anything out?)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ego, part II, Movie Reviews

Since posting my last literary masterpiece concerning the definition of ego I decided to really put my mind to this deep subject. In my quest to do this I have always enjoyed cross culturing. You know that thing where you go some where you are not use to or you mingle with people that have interests different than yours. Now I am asked, "what the hell does this have to do with the definition of ego?" Well it has everything to do with ego and the influence this three letter word has over our lives. You have to remember that in my library I have books by the greatest authors of all time, i.e. Kinky Friedman, "What Would Kinky Do?", The Zig Ziglar Difference, Montel Williams, "Living Well", Elizabeth Brown's, "Living Successfully with Screwed Up People", George Carlin's, "Napalm and Silly Putty," so I am obviously well read and eager to enlighten the world with my ego theories. For the past two days I have competed in the senior games held here in Lubbock every year. The minimum age for this group of competitors is starts at 50 and goes to infinity(one guy was in the 85-89 age group) and did I see some different ego's here. One guy came with two $10,000.00 bicycles for each race, with the comment "this is the best speed money can buy." Well at least he wasn't on steroids, I don't think any way. Then there was another guy who had a basic mountain bike with no speed essentials on it. Of course the two bike guy won it all and was definitely driven by a strong ego. For the most part these guys and gals have a more somber attitude towards competing but I can say the fire is still there and they will go as fast as the aging human body will let them go. The age groups start at 50 and go up every five years, plus you compete in the age group you will be in on 12.31, so I was in the 70-74 age group. Well my real strong competitor in my age group was a guy I had competed against for years. While he was a supreme duathlete(run, bike, run) he always waxed me good, but since he couldn't swim very well(actually terrible)so I would whup up on him in triathlon. So, on this day we were competing on a time trial bicycle race course(going against time not the individual) and I glided home exactly 35 seconds ahead of him. We shook hands as they handed me the gold medal and we drifted off into the West Texas sunset. Both of our egos were satisfied and we knew we went as fast as the 70 year old legs would go. Like all sports there are those that just stand out in the crowd and we had a couple of those in the 50 year old age groups. Man these guys were fast and we couldn't hold their jock if we wanted to, but 20 years may make a difference. To top this day off we watched Phelps gather up that 8th gold medal, while we stuffed on Mexican food at On the Border, then we headed to the Wild West country and western bar. There was a famous live band (we never heard of playing) but we paid a $10.00 cover charge anyway and commence to watch some real strange egos. What we didn't know is that this is where the Texas Tech kids(yes, they are still kids) hang out and pretend to two step dance. Since I was by far the oldest in the crowd, fact is I was much older than the building and plumbing in what is one of the original buildings in Lubbock, it was interesting to watch to youthful egos tromping around the dance floor in what was supposed to be a two step. The other thing I noticed were the young ladies dancing with each other. While I find this strange that they can dance together and no one thinks anything about it, if two guys danced together they would be labeled as gay and sent back to Brokeback Mountain in a New York minute. I watched one guy dancing(with a girl) that had such a big ego it actually affected his rhythm and as he swung the girl around he almost pulled both arms off, and he had such a smug on his face it dripped testosterone all over the dance floor. Regardless, my cross culture ego study was interesting for the past two days(with the young and the old), and now I am back nurturing my own ego. I deserve it!!

Movie Reviews: "Tropic Thunder", ** This is for sure a Ben Stiller ego driven movie, since he produced it and starred in it. It was basically one of the crudest, worthless movies I have seen in a while. The crudeness was beyond reproach, even made me cringe at times. Ben Stiller plays a pampered movie star that is cast in the most expensive war movie ever produced. He sets out to Southeast Asia with celebrity co-stars Kirk Lazurus(played by Robert Downey Jr.-still out of re-hab), who is a three time Oscar winner who insists on playing a black character who dyes his skin black, and Jack Black, previous star of gross out comedies. After they get to SE Asia it all turns out real, but even that doesn't save it as a movie. Tom Cruise makes a cameo appearance as the producer of the expensive movie. Not worth paying matinee fee. Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.

"Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2", ***, Since I didn't see Traveling Pants 1, I didn't have any real reference point here, but it was for sure a girlie movie. It is about four young women continuing a journey toward adulthood that began with the original movie in 2005. It is a very well done movie and good taste. The good news for these actresses is that they have a life time job as they go through each phase of their lives. It is called job security. Rated PG-13 for mature material and sensuality.

"Step Brothers", **, This movie is one crude dude also. The F-bombs are dropped like water pouring in the Titantic. Beneath this crude language is an amusing story about two 40 year old men who consistently dodge adulthood. Ferrell and John C. Reilly, so good together in "Talladega Nights," make another great team as lazy, middle-aged simpletons who becme step brothers when Ferrell's mother and Reilly's dad get married. The fun then begins, and of course there is a sensible ending, unlike the rest of the story. Rated R for crude and sexual content and pervasive language.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ego, Movie Review

Contrary to popular belief the word "ego" is not a dirty word and I can prove it with some Kinky common sense(yes that same Kinky that ran for Governor and sent his newest book "What Would Kinky Do?"). For some reason during the past few days the word just keeps coming to my mind and even last night I had an interesting conversation about egos. If you look at the definition of ego you will see that it is defined as the "conscious" self, which is not a bad thing. Then you drop on down to egocentric and it gets more interesting, meaning "self centered," while dropping even further on the totem pole of definition you find "egoism" and the plot begins to thicken with excessive concern with one's self; conceit; belief in self-interest as a primary goal. Now we come to some strong words with "egomania" which is also excessive concentration on one's self, and the icing on the cake is the real "egotist" which is the worst of all since it is one with an overblown sense of self-importance. So, why would this word and topic be of interest to me and why did it come up in a conversation last night, with a dear friend? Well it beats the hell out of me and that could be answered by the influence of the wine, as served in the local girlie wine bar located in the depot district. Since I was told a number of years ago by another dear friend that I had a big ego I decided to really look in to that statement and see why anyone would say that to some one. What I found is that I do have an ego, as everyone on this planet has, and that is not a bad thing. As this person accused me of this terrible thing I ask her a few questions like what kind of car do you drive, her response was Lexus, then I ask about where she lived, which is Tech Terrace, then I ask about where she bought her clothes and she mentioned the most expensive place in Lubbock, then I ask about where she vacations and that happened to be trendy Sante Fe. Then of all things I ask about her most recent enhancement and cosmetic surgery. Then I said let's back up here and talk about my ego since at the time I drove a 5 year old Ford Bronco with 100,000 miles on it, lived in a common condo on 74th St., bought my clothes through mail order, never take a vacation, and for sure I have never had a penis enlargement surgery. Bottom line is I proved my point that this person had accused me of having a large ego but my questioning led to the fact that her ego must have been a tad bit larger, again looking at the definitions as presented by Webster. But, I contend this is not a bad thing at all and I believe that for people to move forward in life and accomplish the things that they wish for they must allow their ego to be a positive influence and good things will happen I promise. I promise that all of the people who achieve the success they desire ride that ole ego home like a champion race horse. The key is not to take it to egoism or egomania proportions.

Movie Review: "Swing Vote", *****, Man this is a great movie, with everything you might want since most of the emotions of life are covered in it. Bud Johnson(played by Kevin Costner) is an apathetic, beer drinking, somewhat lovable loser coasting through life. His one bright spot is precocious, 12 year old daughter Molly(Madeline Carroll), who takes care of both of them. When she registers him to vote and urges him to do just that, neither expected a series of events to make Bud's vote one that will decide the American presidency. Great story, great acting and a great ending. Rated PG-13 for language.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

JD's visit on the Hog

Riding the Hog is just like sex(well not exactly like sex, but in desire it is), I can go so long without it, then bingo I have to ride. So, yesterday I decided to ride down off the Caprock to the infamous and very unique JD's Bar and Grill(you can get a view of it on While I have mentioned this joint before I still stand all amazed at how this place came about and why it stays popular among the local town folks and the moto riders who come to town to have a beer and a burger. The real story is the local town folks don't really go there for fear someone will see them there. It is across the tracks and still has its' first bullet hole in the front glass window. JD is normally sitting in the middle of the bar with his Crowne whiskey and very little ice and coke, hair down to his middle back, black hat, lots of facial hair, chain smoking and an attitude of "thank you" for being here. Yesterday I decided I needed to do a few things like, ride the motorcycle to JD's, order a Coors light draft with a burger(it takes 20 minutes to cook them, so you need to order immediately after arrival), no fries, mustard, tomatoes, and onions. The timing is such that you can easily quince your thirst with the first beer and then after the burger comes you can order the second one. But, what a minute, let me move back to my grand entrance to the bar. When you come in and happen to not be a local the eyes, ears and questions start from the get go. Now that I have been down there a few times(okay, a lot of times) the questions of where you from, what do you do, where are you going, where have you been, etc., are not ask anymore and I am kind of treated as a local. But one of my goals was to place the Giant Side Rally poster on the hallowed halls of JD's. So, the debate started among the bar patrons and bar maid of where the best place would be to put it. The front door made since but the glass was so dark and dirty you couldn't see it from the outside, so the poster hanging committee decided that it should face the bar area and then they could see it when they left. The only problem with that as one of the astute committee members pointed out was that most of them would be drunk on their ass and couldn't read it anyway. So then the bar maid decided that they should be put on the "shitter"(her words, I am only quoting) doors, that way they would always be seen. Long story short, I put them on both shitter doors, plus facing the inside of the bar on the front door. Now I know that they moto world as we all know it will see the posters and spend their valuable time in Lubbock for the Giant Side Rally and then venture into JD's for some cold beer, and great burgers.

Today I will mount the Hog again and ride to a triathlon planning meeting with the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce people. This ride will take about 2 hours and after this meeting I will visit the oldest Hog dealer in the state of Texas, to try and talk them into backing the Giant Side Rally, then back to Ransom Canyon.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Where have I been?, Groups, Movie Review

While it may seem like I haven't posted on this site in some time that is not just an assumption but really a fact. It has been over a month and there are many reasons for the lack of literary prose created by this mastermind. I just simply got myself overloaded with a thing called "life." When this happens there is just very little time left for creating great things to read and making points about the society as I see them. While my sense of humor never left me during this interim of writer block or just non-discipline behavior, I felt a complete overload in everything that I was doing. The 19th annual Buffalo Springs 70.3 left me with a complete fatigue let down, even more so than any other year, simply because of the potential weather disaster that never really happened. Yea, the cooler temperature, rain and wind, was enough to worry about, but the early morning potential of having one of those South Plains 20 minute storms that blows everything to hell in a hand basket just put a real strain on my worry glands and the question of "what do we do in this situation?" kept my butt squinched up like a vice for about 4 hours. Finally, the race got started and the athletes took over from there. Many thanks to all for that, and the race was a great success and now we are looking forward to number 20 in 2009.

One of the things that my keen eyes, steady heart and half assed hearing has revealed to me in the past few months is the ever growing amount of "groups" that exist in our country today. It seems as though there is a group for all causes and then the groups become formal associations and then the associations become national movements for anything from, let's pick up the trash on the roads group, to the body art group, to the old car group, to the athletic group, to the breast/penis enlargement group, etc. The other day I went into one of the major hotels in Lubbock and noticed these very old looking guys in the lobby sitting around talking and slapping each other on the back having a good ole time sharing stories. I thought they were probably one of these WW II(you know, the real war thing) veterans sitting around sharing stories about how many of the enemy they had disposed of and how disgusting the current war is, since the enemy is really unknown and really plays by no rules. They just grab a glass bottle, fill it with gasoline, set it on fire and toss it into a crowd and watch the body parts fly. This is no war, it is just a disagreement between a "group" of people who have never liked each other from the beginning of time(yea Bush, when reading the scriptures venture along Genesis about Chapter 4 and you will see the first battle of all time, those two dudes named Abel and Cain go after it and only one survives. They are still fighting and we are spending billions, losing good lives, to make people like each other that is an impossible task). Whoops, there goes that senior ramble thing again but my mind just evolved into this thought process and will now return to the little ole men group that was in the hotel, when I began to ramble. Well these guys really looked like death warmed over and then I saw this sign that said, National Taxidermist Association. Couldn't believe my eyes that there was really an association for those people who stuff dead animals. So, now I know why they looked like death warmed over. Of all the things that I like to do in this life, having a dead animal stuffed is not one of those things. So, now I know there are groups for everything and they continue to grow. I have noticed in the sport of triathlon that there is a cause for everything that you can imagine. People are running across the USA for the association that represents people with bad body odor, or long finger nails or some dreaded disease that we never heard of and hope to never catch. But, most of these causes are good they just have to be investigated and chosen carefully. Since making the decision to put on the really "first" ever 3 day event motorcycle rally in Lubbock I have really run across a bunch of groups within this sporting community of 2/3 wheel vehicles. First, there are the Hog(Harley Davidson) riders and their group is very definitive in that they ride the vibrating, black, noisy motorcycles nicknamed Hogs. These guys and gals all wear black leather, have do-rags, have facial hair, have body art, and just generally come across as real bad asses(of course I ride a Hog so what can I say). The generally ride up in a group with the loud pipes, no smile, and the attitude that they moved the earth on the eighth day, and don't give us any you know what. They also wave with the hand pointed to the ground. Then there are the Goldwing guys and gals. Now this is the ultimate touring motorcycle, doesn't make any noise, just kind of goes along sounding like a bumble bee buzz. These folks appear to be of the older generation, are very clean cut, have a big smile on their face and generally make fun of Hog riders whenever they get a chance. They will wave(this a tradition among motorcycle riders basically saying, hey dude we are together in this two wheeler obsession) with the arm and hand pointed in the upper position, with a very comfortable look on their face, since it is a very comfortable ride. Next comes the BMW group and boy does it ever change from the Hog group. These guys(very seldom will you see a girl riding one of these things) are well dressed, clean cut, and love passing Hogs since their machines will cruise at 110 with the ease of a falling down Mt. Everest, with a minor buzz sound. Hog riders have told me they would not ride one of these things simply because they go too fast and sudden death is one of the many amenities that come with their warranty. Then to sum up these groups we have the crotch rocket riders who defy gravity and speed like a silver bullet and when they crash are not identifiable because of all the fire and destruction. Since they usually crash at such high speeds their suffering is over with very quick. In summary, you can put all of the other models in the last group category. Now with all of these groups goes a certain amount of attitude, gestures, profile, intelligence, which is a good thing since everyone has a place. So, go out and buy you a two wheeler and enjoy the fun of one of these groups.

One of my favorite groups that I get to spend some time with are the triathlete groups and competing in a triathlon or two every once in a while. We did that just this weekend in Midland, Texas, while doing the Tall City Triathlon. This is a very old sprint type triathlon that starts in a pool, then goes out on the loop on the bike, then finishes with a little cute run in one of the parks. This is a well done race and very safe. It was an interesting test for me since I wanted to beat my time from last year(seems to be an obsession with me right now) and since there were no 70 year olds(either actual or aged up) I was competing against the clock. Well I had a decent swim, a great bike and went into the run knowing I could beat the 1:30:34 I had last year, if I hustled. Turns out I did and came in with a 1:28:17 and I am one year older. Now the kicker, the only thing I have done different is take the wonder drink called Mona*Vie with the Acai berry in it plus 18 other fruits. This stuff is the same thing I took before the Bottomless Lake Triathlon and shaved 2:30 minutes off of my time and broke 1 hour for the first time on that course. It has helped my endurance and energy considerably. Now to train some more, drink the juice, and compete some more.

Movie Review: "Dark Knight", *****, Heath Ledger is a shoo in for an Oscar. This is a great movie. Will go see again soon, to see what I missed. This is way beyond any Batman movie that has ever been presented.