Sunday, February 20, 2011

On the Rode Again, Movie Review, Book Review

For the past 45 years I have been traveling the highways of Texas by automobile and there is very little of the state’s 261,797 square miles of land mass that I haven’t seen. To illustrate how much land mass that is, Rhode Island has a grand total of 1,045 square miles and you can fit it in the Houston ship channel if you wanted to. It is so small you can burp on one side of it and here it on the other side of the state. In my atlas that I carry with me on road trips and is always in my brief case pages 12-13 have three states, Connecticut/Massachusetts/Rhode Island on it and between them there is a grand whopping total of 13,730 square miles. So, bottom line here is that Texas is one big piece of geography and if you expect to drive in it any time soon you must get ready for some long open roads and lots of road kill. One time my son and I drove a cotton module truck from Lubbock to the lower valley of Texas, over 700 miles and we still talk about that trip. When we drive to Florida or Alabama we find that it takes us longer to get through and out of Texas than it does to cross 3 states, so lots of real estate is involved in driving the Lone Star state. My suggestion is that if anyone is going to driving in this state any time soon they should have some good entertainment electronics in their automobile. I have never been too big on that and have always enjoyed my am/fm radio and that has gotten me by over the years. I also like to spend about the first 200 miles of the trip in total silence except for the bumping of road kill, rain, or trucks honking their air horns. But for the past 3 years I have been subscribing to the Sirus satellite radio and have found it to be very entertaining while I drive. It has nearly 200 stations, but I have found I really only listen to one(Country & Western music, Channel 61) most of the time and then possibly “The Boss” on Channel 10, or Channel 110POTUS(politics of the people for the people). It has a bunch of nasty channels like the Playboy, Stern channels etc., but I have found them to be totally stupid and worthless. Due to the bad weather the past few weeks and many flights being canceled I found myself traveling to San Antonio from Lubbock, a 6 hr 20 min drive, so I made sure my Channel 61 was warmed up and ready to put out those true life stories that only C & W music can give you. Toby Keith started with his record where he confesses, “I may not be as good as I once was, but I am good once as I ever was!!!” and then it really got even better after that. Fact is I had to be really inspired with the wisdom that he passed on to me in good C & W tradition. Then as I pulled into that little town to the South called Colorado City the song “Sexy Tractor” played in harmony with the farmer ahead of me as he blocked the road with his green and yellow John Deere tractor. He just happened to have a straw hat on, overalls and was picking his teeth with an oversized tooth pick. To play out this highway drama I also had a pickup doing the ride my bumper gig, as we tried to work our way around this sexy tractor and of all things “Pick Up Man” started playing on Channel 61. Man was I relieved when this guy passed me and I swear his was lip synching the words to “Pick Up Man” and was chewing a big wad of tobacco. Funny thing though is being a pick up man with a big wad in his mouth, didn’t keep him from having a blonde babe with nice cleavage, sitting real close to him and of all things she was lip synching “Get Her Man” to the next tune on the voice box. Now as I am tooling on down the road after getting by these little moving road blocks what comes on the box but, yep you guessed it, “Blame It On Texas!!!” Wow what classics to keep my mind on the road and hearing this great C & W stuff. I even did a little lip synching myself, especially to the Toby Keith master piece. As I listen to this music it passes the time away and I can also practice my two stepping of the mind. On my return trip I also enjoyed more of the same and look forward to the 4 hour trip up North into the Texas Panhandle on Monday morning. Guess I’ll be lip synching “Amarillo By Morning” as I pass through Happy, Texas(the town without a frown). Hope to see all my readers “On the Road Again!!!”

Movie Review: “I Am Number Four”, ***, This is a good sci-fi flick with real human beings in it, so kind of has some human interest so to speak. The actors are young, fresh and relatively unknown but do a great job. Alex Pettyfer, plays an alien fugitive with many supper powers, on the run from enemies sent from another planet to destroy him. Changing his identity and trying to be as normal as possible, he moves from town to town with his guardian(Timothy Olyphant) and masks his true identity to pass as a typical student. Three like him have already been killed and he is guess what, yep you got it, number four or next to be killed. But after moving to a small town in Ohio the fugitive falls in love(they all do this) and wants to stop running. Hard to do when these monster type guys with super powers are determined to kill their prey. Lots of action and not a bad movie. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language.

Book Review: “Extraordinary Relationships”, Roberta M. Gilbert, M.D., *, This book was recommended to me by a friend and was really done so to make me aware of the theory originated and taught by Murray Bowen, M.D., called the “Bowen theory” concerning human behavior or the family systems theory. All of his champions felt that his theories had the potential to replace most of Freudian theories concerning the same and would alter the way treatment approaches through out all medical practices. He had an idea that the basic unit of emotional functioning might not be the individual, as previously thought, but the nuclear family. My thoughts: Not to be overly critical of this theory my common sense had always told me that if a person came from a traditional family group the whole group would have to be considered part of the emotional expressions or actions of all in the group. While one family member might have more influence over another all of the emotions expressed in a given family will have an affect on everyone concerned. So, excuse me loyal followers of Dr. Bowen, the Bowen theory is not news to me. Also, in the case of the non-traditional family, whatever that make up might be, all involved will have an affect on the other. This is the sum total jest of this book so please don’t waste your money on it.

For today, EA, SH,....and.....:)


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Best Friends, not! Movie Reviews

Standing in line for anything is not my cup of tea, fact is I hate standing in line for anything. Even if I won a zillion dollar lottery prize I would not want to stand in line to pickup the money. Well, I don’t think I would like to do this, but at any rate I got to the Houston Hobby airport today after a long weekend of working the Houston marathon expo and finish line and found they had a wait in the security line longer than the Great Wall of China. They even had the gall to post a starting sign that said, 45 minute wait from this point on. Funny that is the length of time it takes to fly to Dallas, and the time it takes to fly from Dallas to Lubbock. So, I line up like a good little trooper for this “wait in line ordeal.” What I have learned over the years while waiting in line is that if you are able to talk to the person in front of you on any subject it makes the time go by much faster. As I looked on the backpack of the guy in front of me I noticed his name was Cody and he worked for a hi-tech company out of Scottsdale, AZ. This gave me a definite advantage in starting up this conversation but I had to figure out how to start it. Hum, how about, “nice day isn’t it?” But, he reply might be, “hell no I hate long lines!” Or maybe, “while spying on you I noticed your business card said you were from Scottsdale, AZ, how is the weather these days?” Of course he is likely to say, “none of your business and quit looking at my personal belongs!” With these possible rejections in mind I took the high road and said, “this line is so long I can’t see the end, what is the deal?” My new friend Cody responded with an affirmitive and the discussion to pass time was on. You have to remember that these conversations very seldom ever result in becoming best friends or anything but they do serve a purpose for the time being. I remember a line I stood in for 45 mintues to pay a traffic ticket and not only did I not make best friends I couldn’t think of any thing to say to these fellow law breakers. It was a demographic experience that I wish not to repeat. Now back to Cody, after some senior rambling(I have a right to ramble you know), and we both agreed that this line was at least as long as the Denver Airport. We also determined that we both travel a lot and spend endless hours in lines and that the DIA is a very confusing airport to travel through. When the conversation started to drag I decided I had better throw in some real useless subject matter, so I got on the first time I traveled through this old airport(Hobby) and that Southwest only had 3 planes then(they now have something like 600) and flew to 3 cities in Texas. Wow!! What trivia he said while holding his breath that I would leave him be and mind my own business. But I didn’t stop at that I also mentioned that at that time the air fares from Dallas to Houston were $19.00, McDonalds hamburgers were 19 cents, and gasoline was also 19 cents. By now this guy was wondering if I also lived during the terms of the George Washington presidency, or what? But he was kind to me and said, “that is interesting!” By now, nearly 45 minutes, we were closing in on the final stage of the TSA check in and had reached that final phase where you take off a portion of your cloths, have your body felt and gropped to a degree, especially if you look suspicious, then re-dress and get the hell out of there heading directly to your departure gate. It almost feels like you have graduated from something when you reach this point of your trip. After this massive inspection, un-dressing and then dressing I lost contact forever with my friend Cody and I realized we did have a time consuming conversation but we certainly did not become best friends. Oh well, doesn’t matter there is always that next trip to the many destinations that my life takes me to. Good day fellow travelers, see you in the friendly skies of the TSA handlers and we can be gropped together, someday.

Movie Reviews: “The King’s Speech”, *****, This is truly a five star movie and for many reasons, first, it is a true story during a critical time in the world, second, the story line presentation is excellent, third, the acting is beyond reproach, from the lead actor, Colin Firth, to the supporting actor, Georffrey Rush. Sometimes it is difficult to remember who the star of the movie really is. The movie has been nominated as Best Picture for an Oscar and has already won many earlier awards for the same. Based on history, director Tom Hooper’s film is anchored by Firth’s magnificent performance as British Prince Albert, destined to be crowned King George VI no matter how much he would rather lead a secluded life. He has, since childhood, represented royalty with a stammer, or stutter, and now his fear is multiplied by fate. Indeed, time is running out while Adolph Hitler’s forces move across Europe. England is on the brink of war; her citizens need a new king, one whose speeches will inspire and, in effect help lead. His last chance lies with the unorthodox treatment of an Australian speech therapist, played by Rush, and even Albert is not sure he trusts him. What a strange coincidence that the Austrialian saves the future King from further embarrassment in his speaking, while an Austrian(Hitler) is on his way to conquering Europe. This movie is an epic! Rated R(for no known reason) for some language(the f... word was used in one scene for therapy purposes, and actually outnumbered the times it was used in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, which was 22 times).

“No Strings Attached”, ***, While this movie certainly is not an epic, it is enjoyable to watch and entertaining(isn’t that what movies are supposed to be about?) and deserves the three stars. Viewers may be surprised at how many crude sexual references are invented by the screenwriter. On to the bigger story is a couple of likeable people, played by Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, who agree to a sex-only relationship. No love allowed, no cuddling, not even breafasts together, just sexual relief anywhere the desire comes up. So, we have lots of inventive ways for the two stars of the movie to have loveless intercourse. The only exception is the first time and these scenes are just one notch above soft pornographic. While it is easy to second guess the final outcome of this strange love(yes it does creep in, whether invited or not) affair, it is fun to watch the journey. Portman and Kutcher are great together, go see to enjoy! Rated R for sexual content, language, and some drug material.

For today, EA, SH, and ....:)