Sunday, November 30, 2008

Telephone Poles, Bravo Coach Leach, Why 4th Thursday for Thanksgiving? Movie Review

For the past few months I have spent considerable time traveling by land in my Explorer. As a matter of fact with trips to Alabama, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico I have logged over 6,000 miles. No, this is not going to be a boring travelogue or anything like that, but I did make a few observations while I was cruise controlling along the Interstate and State highways that I found myself on. As I was leaving Arizona, some where between Willcox, AZ and Lordsburg, NM I noticed these these very rigid telephone poles standing next to the highway were very straight and narrow, heading due East. This got me to thinking, what forest did these dudes come from, and how long did it take them to grow that tall. They were at least 50 foot tall and were so straight they looked almost pre-fabricated by man, and not nature. So, I figured they cut them down, took them to a saw mill and then shaved them off to get the real straight look. But I was amazed at how perfect they had made them look. The other thing I made note of is that the term telephone pole is really not accurate since they carry more electrical lines on them than telephone lines. I think that this is just a term that someone started using to describe them and it stuck. It then dawned on me that these poles are carrying lots of juice to other parts of the country and work on a 24/7 basis. No time off for them and they also do it just standing out there in the daylight and dark, through bad weather and sunny weather. What really got me was how straight they looked as you got a look at them from behind(this visual happened when they made their move South as opposed to East, the direction I was traveling). They looked like very tall soldiers standing at attention; however, it was hard to figure out who the general was since they were all standing in a row. But, someone has to be in charge and I figure that the general or colonel was standing some where at an intersection barking out the orders. It also came to my inquisitive mind that everything we see and come in contact with has to start from some where and has origination. Before these guys were shipped to New Mexico to carry telephone and electrical lines they had to be grown in a forest somewhere, so they were now many miles from their original home since there are no forests in this part of the state. After they were nurtured and fed they were harvested and processed, then shipped to their new home. Then after being put into service they carried communication and power to the vast population of their area. My conclusion here is that as we travel always observe everything around you and be appreciative of all those things that we take for granted. After all what happens when we don't have electricity or telephone capabilities? Yep, it gets very frustrating, so stop and hug a pole the next time you are on the road, they deserve it.

Generally football coaches are expected to win at all costs and in the large university programs are paid very well to do just that. Since major college football has gotten to big money oriented most football coaches of the major programs are paid in excess of $1 million per year, with the highest being around $3.5 million. Here in Lubbock we happen to have a major college football team that is a member of the Big 12 Athletic Conference. This team has captured the hearts of the football world and after beating arch rival Texas Longhorns, and number one at the time, Texas Tech University, captured the hearts and minds of the college football world. Along the way they have done what they are supposed to do, they have won 11 games and lost 1 game. Not bad at all for the tough conference they play. But the dilemma they have found themselves in now is that they are tied with Texas and Oklahoma for number one in the South section of the Big 12 Conference. So, there is the question of who should represent the South part of the Conference in the Championship game with the Northern half Champion, Missouri, and how should it be determined who the representative is. When Coach Leach, the Head Football Coach of Texas Tech was ask this question he provided a very unique and thought provoking solution. His novel solution was to pick the team with the highest graduation rates(of course Tech would win it hands down by that standard). He said, "The Big 12 Conference should have an executive session tonight, and just say, 'Are we about the student-athlete? Are we trying to edify America and make this a better place? Are we actually doing the proper thing and balancing the dual role of both being an athlete and being a student?" When they do that, I think they will find that no one's more deserving that the Red Raiders to win the Big 12 South." Since I am a product of a big college football program I must say that I really commend what Coach Leach as said here, and I can assure you that many coaches have academics as the last priority on their list for their athletes. While he was not a big favorite of the fan base in Lubbock upon his arrival I feel he has won the respect of the local population, not just for winning, but for having a great attitude towards the student athlete and teaching them to be responsible citizens in the future. The sad part about the selection of the team to represent the Big 12 South will be some goofy computer stats and/or the power of past winning traditions no matter the results of this year.

Funny thing happened on my trip to Alabama for Thanksgiving. As I was sitting in the trusty Explorer driving over 2200 miles for a slab of turkey and canned cranberry slices, I tried to remember why we celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November each year. While I couldn't cough this little bit of trivia up I noticed an old newspaper from a little town outside of Lubbock, called Slaton, Texas and the newspaper was the Slatonite. When turning to page two I noticed the article, "George Washington Proclaimed First Official Thanksgiving." Well okay that is well and good but why the 4th Thursday? After reading the article it turns out that he really didn't proclaim the 4th Thursday. The story goes that after leaving the September 28, 1789 Congress for recess President Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as the day of Thanksgiving, but not necessarily the 4th Thursday. Subsequent Presidents would then declare a new proclamation each year for Thanksgiving. It wasn't until Honest Abe Lincoln came along that Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November. Now the plot really thickens and money starts to surface concerning Turkey day. In 1939 the last Thursday ended up on the last day of the month and there was concern that it would cut into the Christmas holiday spending(with the country coming out of the Great Depression as the time it could pose a problem to economic recovery), so FDR issued a Presidential proclamation that moved Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. But being we are in a democracy that didn't set well with 16 states who refused to accept that proclamation within their states. They still wanted the last Thursday of November, so for two years the US actually had two Thursday in November that served as the official Turkey day. Now the Congress of the US had to step in and a formal resolution established the 4th Thursday of November to be the official Thanksgiving day and that still stands. In fact it is a National Holiday. Now I wonder, have all holidays taken on that kind of confusion before being established? Also, we have to be proud that the Congress was able to do something good without spending billions to get it done.

Movie Review: "Quantum of Solace", ****, A very good movie and I really like Daniel Craig. Following in the footsteps of the other Bonds is not an easy thing, but Craig does it well. Of course this is a story of good versus evil and evil wanting to take over the world. A lot of action and unbelievable action scenes. There are two good looking Bond girls and of course he scores, at least once. Action fans will not be disappointed. Go see!! Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cell phone observations, The middle seat, Bigger is better omission, Is the Presidency Just Another Thing That Money Can Buy?, Movie Reviews

This cell phone culture that we now live is somewhere between disgusting and stupid, no in-between definition can describe it any better. Now I realize that it is supposed to have made our life easier but I beg to differ with anyone on that. It has only made our life more stressful and has created a whole knew venue for narcissism. On my recent trip to Florida for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship I made some notes concerning the actions of our society when it comes to the cell phone. Please note: 1. Cell phone users cannot walk in a straight line. I noticed that when a person has a cell phone stuck in their ear while walking they pull to the opposite direction of the ear they have it in. Well so what? Here's what, they tend to walk into the on coming foot traffic with no regard or care! 2. Cell phone users are basically very rude, since they carry on a private conversation with a voice so loud they wake up the inhabitants on Mars while they are talking. They act like they are talking to me and my hearing deficiency. To me this is very rude and invades my private space, just for their conversation. 3. The cell phone users rudeness is further exemplified when they go to a movie and can't sit through the entire movie without checking their beloved cell phone. Can't it wait the 2 hours you are in a movie? I find it very disturbing to spend $6.00(senior rate) for a ticket, $8.00 for a small coke and small popcorn, then take my seat to enjoy a good movie but have to contend with some clown who has to expose that bright light to my eyes during the movie. If they are close to me I ask them to turn it off, then they look at me like I have slit their wrist. 4. Cell phone users have become multi-task robots. I have actually watched a dude stand at a urinal taking a leak, talking on the phone, and get this, eating a hamburger with a coke and french fries(I swear on my mothers grave I saw this happen in the Honolulu airport last year) and talking all at the same time. 5. Cell phone users add another lesson in rudeness when they take calls during meetings or make calls. Yes I know you are the most important person on the planet, but give me a break and turn the damn thing off so we can get this thing over with. My rant on cell phones for the week, but stay turned!!

This past week we attended the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida and enjoyed our participation in the 2008 addition(not as athletes but as vendors for the Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3), and helpers on the bike route for the female pros. The event went great, weather was Florida vintage, and the times were fast. Congrats to all who competed and we enjoyed watching you. On the flight back I was bless with receiving the middle seat assignment on a completely filled flight. Then to add to my bonus day I had two sumo wrestlers seating on each side of me. Then to add insult to injury they both went to sleep before we left the run way, so you know the drill with heads rocking back and forth into my space. Between the excess lard rolling back and forth with every movement of the plane and the nodding heading leaning against me I felt like the Steve Martin/John Candy scene in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles, where they were sleeping with each other on a double bed. I could tell this was going to persist until we hit the ground in DFW some two and half hours later. So, I decided to dish out a little of my own misery to these sleeping beauties. I just put my seat back, took control of the arm rests, rested my head back and gave them a lesson in head nodding and snoring!! Yea, take it guys, now I am in control. Funny thing is the flight was over before I knew it and these guys never said a word. Now I will be accused of sleeping with two men!! Oh well you never win, but I did make my point and did recover some space. In the future I will make sure that I make my reservations sooner and not get stuck in the middle ground again.

Many readers have made comments about the "Bigger is Better" subject that was explored on the previous post. It was suggested that while I did cover the subjects well and did introduce some interesting correlations between similar words and expressions used in two very contrasting industries I left one concluding term out. After exploring my mind set on this subject and going over my very details notes taken while at the show I found that they were right. So, please go back and re-read the original post and you will find that after providing all of the necessary lubrication for the proper drilling tool, and doing everything that is possible to reach a climatic conclusion to drilling, there is a 50/50 chance that you will have a "dry hole." If this is the case then just withdraw your efforts, regroup your approach and go back in when the timing is right. For you purists on the subject of "drilling" I hope this concludes this subject for now.

It appears to me that the Presidency has turned into just another thing that money can buy. It really has nothing to do with who will be best for the country, but who can get elected. Case in point, in 2000 W. raised $160 million(a record at the time) and got elected, then repeated in 2004. In the most recent election our President Elect(O) raised $640 million, while the Maverick only raised a puny $81 million(what was he thinking since they won't even buy a 3 year contract for some useless, non-productive pro athlete). I would think that anyone could run a successful campaign with over a half billion dollars. WOW and the country is in a recession and thousands are out of work, with homes being re-possessed, let's buy the presidency and get it fixed. It will be interesting to see.

Movie Reviews: "Pride and Glory", **, Powerhouse actors Edward Norton and Colin Farrell star in this film that follows multi-generation New York City Policy Department family whose moral code is tested when one of two sons on the force must investigate an incendiary case involving his older brother and brother-in-law. The story was good, the acting was very good and the presentation was very good; however, I am tired of seeing how corrupt the NYPD is and if they didn't invent the F word I would be surprised. I mean enough is enough! Of course there are good guys on the force and bad guys are the force(without that we would have no story), so we see the corruptness of the bad guys being challenged by the good guys, who all happen to be related. Go see it if you like this setting! Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language and brief drug content.

"Role Models", **, This movie stars Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd, who happen to have a public relations job with a energy drink. They actually go to public schools to persuade the students not to take drugs and drink the (Red Bull type drink) energy drink instead. They get themselves in some minor legal trouble, so are given a community service mentoring assignments instead of jail time. The two kids that they mentor make the movie digestable but certainly not an award winner. Only go see this if you have nothing else to do for the matinee price(that is what I did). Rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Movie Reviews

"Sex Drive", *, This is the story(not a true story or even one that deserves serious note) of 18 year old Ian, who decides to follow his Internet nose to a hot babe some 500 miles from his home town all for the purpose of losing his virginity. There are some scenes I have never seen before in a movie and some sick humor, and of course some sex scenes. Only go see this if you have absolutely nothing else in life to do. Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, language, and some drug and alcohol use, all involving teenagers(what an up lifting journey to the movies!!)

"Eagle Eye", *, This is a fast paced, idiotic and loud pursuit film starring Shia LaBeaouf and Michelle Monaghan as Chicago nobodies ordered by a woman's voice on their cell phones to commit multiple felonies(for a reason of course, to save mankind or something like that). Expect more crashes than you have ever seen in a movie and a plot that makes little sense. Not a must see under any circumstances. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language.

"Changeling", *****, Yes this is a five star movie and one that will gain some serious recognition around Oscar time. This is a story, Directed by Clint Eastwood, of a true incident that happened in Los Angeles in 1928. Christine Collins(played by Angelina Jolie), reports her son missing to the LA police department. Months pass before the police bring him home. But Collins says it is not her son, and then learns that women have few rights in Prohibition-era LA; the police slander her as delusional and unfit. This is a great movie and very disturbing that things of this nature actually happened in our society. Rated R for some violent and disturbing content, and language.