Monday, December 31, 2012

The Key, Movie Reviews, Football

Since keys are used for only one thing, to operate a lock, I think it would be a natural instinct to try and find another use for them as opposed to just throwing them away.  Possibly you could take it to a locksmith and have it re-tooled to fit another lock, or maybe to give it sharp edges to cut something or maybe even jagged edges so you could scale fish.  If nothing else you could have sharp points on the end of it and clean your finger nails out with it or use it for a weapon if attacked in the city park.  But then someone suggested that maybe you could use it as a symbol of the end of something since the key was never used and just seemed to rest on its’ laurels that it could be used if necessary but in fact wasn’t.  It was also suggested that a good way to dispose of this uselessness would be to take it to a lake and dispose of it by throwing it in the deep end.  Well since there are only two lakes close by the key could be thrown in the more shallow lake at about 10 feet deep or bigger lake with a much deeper depth of 60 feet.  So, since I have a season pass to the deeper lake my cost to get in is nothing, I decided on the 60’ plunge for my useless, never used, key to nothing, to symbolize that the year(this all took place on December 26th) was coming to a close and there was no space on my key ring for this piece of junk.  So, I found me a place close to the 60’ lake depth and threw the key as far as I could and watched it sink completely out of sight into the depths only inhabited by, I am told, 40 lb. catfish and maybe some smaller bass.  While I am not sure that this will move out the old happenings or memories and usher in the new, it just seems to make some kind of sense.  Now, my only hope is that that key didn’t fit something else around here that needs to be unlocked.  Oh well, that is what locksmiths are for or hack saws!!

Movie Reviews:  

“Django Unchained”, ***,  The story line is set in the South two years before the Civil War.  Django(the D is silent) played by Jamie Foxx is a slave whose brutal history finds him meeting bounty hunter King Schultz(played by Christopher Waltz).  They team up to secure more bounties and find Django’s enslaved wife.  They make a good team and are not afraid to defend themselves from sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candle(played by Leonardo DiCaprio).  Lots of brutallity, blood, killing and even some bondage.  The ending bloody battle goes beyond that is not for the week stomach viewer.  The director, Quentin Tarantino, is well known for his blood bath films.  It is actually a good movie but does push the envelope on killing and mutalization.  Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity(the tamest part of the movie).  BE WARNED THIS IS BLOODY AS HELL WITH BRAINS AND GUTS BEING BLOWN EVERY WHERE, WITH BLOODY BODIES STACKED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! (WOW, what I do for my readers)!

“The Guilt Trip”, ***, This is a cute movie but not beyond 3 stars.  Andy Brewster(played by Seth Rogen) is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime and who better to accompany him in this comedy than his overbearing and controlling mother played by Barbra Streisand.  It is an 8  day road trip in a compact automobile and these two really get to know each other during the trip.  It starts out very slow but starts picking it up after about a quarter of a way through. Be patient since it has a good ending!  Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material.
“The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey”, ****, This is a good movie but too long.  This adventure finds Bilbo(Martin Freeman) joining a quest by 13 dwarfs to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, their homeland having been conquered in violent fashion by the now sleeping dragon, Smaug.  Lots of great visual effects, cinematography and music. Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.  

Football Bowl Games:  While there are entirely too many bowl games(in the old days there were a grand total of 4 and now there are over 30) the win by the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Meineke Car Care(what ever happened to names like the Cotton, Sugar, Orange, etc?) Bowl in Houston.  Like the key story above this game was symbolic of something old and something new.  With the former head coach Tuberville happily situated in his new gigs “up North” he is a thing of the past; however, there is a new theme in town with the new head football coach, Kliff Kingsbury and it is simple, “The King is Back!”  So, the win is symbolic of the new winning atmosphere that will inhabit the Raider spring training and the 2013 football season.  When Tuberville was ask by Sports Illustrated if leaving Texas Tech to be head football coach at Cincinnati was an upgrade to a better job, he remarked, “They’re all about the same,”Tuberville said.  “It’s what you make out of it.  This is a business.  You’re not going to retire, usually, like some coaches have over the years.  It doesn’t happen that way...(Response from Greer:  This is so Tuberville in that he never has figured out how to understand or answer a question.  Like when ask around here why the losing game for the Raiders ended that way he would say something like, “the other team scored more points than we did!”  But I guess that could also be labeled a stupid question, which is how he looked at most of us around here!  Now, no more of this stuff on this blog ever again!! The Tub is gone for good, for sure, and the King is ready to hold court!!

EA, SH.........:)


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Play It Again Sam, Movie Reviews

As I study the American Presidents I am always impressed with something in their lives that puts them in a category all by themselves.  As I seek information on them I find that no matter how good or bad they were or how they are rated they are special people given the opportunity to serve at a given time in history.  You can take one of the lowest rated Presidents such as James Buchanan and the plus he carried into the White House was that he had over 37 years of public service to offer(most of any president in history).  That was the good news, but the bad news was he really had no clue on how to use it in his service as the President. He failed miserably and when he handed over the presidency to Abraham Lincoln he muttered, “if you are as happy to be elected to this office as I am to leave it, you are one happy person!”  Then there is true “renaissance man” Thomas Jefferson the third President and man of many interests.  He studied Latin, Greek and French at age 9, studied classical literature and additional languages at 14 studied Law at 19, then to really stand out in the crowd he wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33.  After a more than full life he died at 83 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He was also an architect and inventor. 

So what is the big deal about all of this and are these presidents mentioned exceptions to the rule of the others.  Well the answer, in my opinion, to that is no and each man brought something different to the table, good or bad.  But let’s take Jefferson and as to the question, “where did all of this early life knowledge come from and why was it given to him?”  My belief is that it is all part of the reincarnation theory defined simply as the rebirth of the soul.  So, as we go through each life we accumulate vast amounts of knowledge that will be carried over to the next life.  That is why we have child prodigies that play concert piano at age 4, or speak foreign languages, in addition work  mathematical formulas others cannot do at any time in their life.  While I realize many theological authorities will say this is all a bunch of bull I have this feeling within my insides that it is not bull but very true.  One of the great military generals of World War II, General George Patton was a firm believer that he has fought in many battles in his previous lives and even had visions of these battles.  He used them to strategize against the great German military leaders such as General Rommel during WW II.  Bottom line here is that I believe we should learn everything we can and then as we enter the rebirth zone we will be armed with lots of knowledge to help mankind!

Movie Reviews:  

“Jack Reacher”, ****, Tom Cruise plays the title character, a former military policeman who returns to the United States and goes off the grid as he becomes a drifter.  After a sniper kills five people in Pittsburgh, police arrest a man named Barr.  He asks them to contact Reacher.  When this is done by the defense attorney the action really begins.  Cruise plays this part well and is very convincing.  Rated PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material.

“Life of Pi”, ****,  A highly nominated movie for honors at the Globe Awards and the Oscars.  This is about a zoo keepers son who is moving with his family and several animals from India to Canada.  A storm sinks their freighter, and Pi shares a life raft with the only other survivors: an injured zebra, a vicious hyena, a sad orangutan and a hungry, 450 pound Bengal tiger.  While he tells the story we know he survives, after 8 months at sea.  Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril. 

EA, SH........:),


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Final Bye Bye Tub, Me and Beethoven

Okay just to make sure that Coach Tub was completely out of Lubbock we had a nice 62 mph wind storm, with dust, blow through Friday from SW to NE.  Since the Tub didn’t like the wind, the dust, or Lubbock in general it was refreshing to know that the tail wind took his airplane up to Ohio much faster than a speeding bullet.  When coaches leave a city in an almost over night way I wonder who packs the bags, furniture, etc. Since his wife spends her time at the local pub and running red lights, I wouldn’t imagine she had the time.  Then he sneaks out of a free steak dinner with potential recruits at the 50 Yard LIne to never return.  The next thing we know he is giving the Bearcat salute and dancing on stage with some CU cheerleaders.  Oh well, happy days are in store for the city of Lubbock, Texas Tech and all associated with it.  Because, simply stated the “King” has returned as noted on the headlines of the local paper today.  Coach Kingsbury made it very clear at his press conference that he loves the wind, Texas Tech, Lubbock and the opportunity to be here.  Even though he hasn’t won a game on the field yet he has received the assurance that everyone is happy to have him here and you can feel “win, win” in the air.  For the first time that I know of he is the only coach to have a jersey with his name on it at local stores(usually that is for star players), his sunglasses and long sleeve shirt are fashion items, and his haircut/scruffy beard are very in with current fashions!  There was even note of his tailored suit, dress shirt and slim tie.  Have we got a winner or not??  Spring training football can’t get here fast enough!!

Now I would like to make some type of comments on December 16, 2012 since that happens to be my birthday along with Beethoven, Steve Locke(noted CEO of USA Field Hockey) and many other people I am sure.  Since this is number 74 I do find myself reflecting back over previous birthdays and find that just a few really stand out; however, the one that really sticks in my mind was my 16th.  My mother decided to make a big deal about it and invited my best friends over for a meal and drinks.  The meal was chicken fried steak and the drinks were full glasses of whole white milk.  For years I had a photo of that night but now I cannot find it.  Were sitting in our living room in Littlefield, Texas(home of the football Championship Wildcats) and the photo caught all of the party animals toasting a full glass of milk.  This was a great night and event that will never be forgotten.  Now that some of those guys have passed on to the big football field in the sky there is at least one still alive and kicking.  We communicate frequently and still remain good friends.  So, as I go about this day I look around me at a completely different world than when I was a kid.  There are some good things and some bad things but it is up to me to make as much good as possible for the remainder of my life.  When I had my 70th birthday I re-set my life goals for another 20 years.  So, I am four years into those new goals and doing good.  One thing I notice is that I get all these “Happy Birthday” greetings on Facebook and I really do not know what to do with them.  So, I attempt to answer them the best I can muster it out of this computer and hope they got the simple “Thank You” from me.  Well, got to get on with the day and get ready for competing in the 75-79(you age up to age on December 31at end of year, so I will be 75 by December, 2013, a weird rule by USA Triathlon) triathlon age group with a hard bike trainer workout, weights and sit-ups.  May even earn the right to one beer!

EA, SH........:

Monday, December 10, 2012

So Much for Eye Ball to Eye Ball Communication

The only thing that moves the National news out of the headlines of the the local newspaper would be something concerning “football.”  One of those happenings could be any of the following concerning the firing, hiring, retiring, dying or resigning of the head football coach at Texas Tech.  Well this happened faster than a speeding bullet this past weekend and for the most part the citizens that live and breath football are either mad, glad, sad, disappointed, or relieved that the Tub is gone for good.  On Friday of last week he met with his Athletic Director and looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I am committed to the Texas Tech football team for now and the future!”  At the same time his travel agent was sticking a one way ticket to scenic Cincinnati, Ohio in his hip pocket and whispering, your room at the Holiday Inn Express with a free breakfast, is also prepaid.  So, Tuberville is on that plane to the cold country to coach a team of a much lesser conference, much lesser facilities(the stadium seats a tad over 35,000 which is normally half full as opposed to the 60,000 seat stadium at Texas Tech which is usually sold out and stays packed all through the game, unless it is a blowout with a score of 66-20 like at the Oklahoma State game last year).  Now the caring fans of Tech feel rejected, tormented, embarrassed, and as Coach Tub looks at Lubbock in his rear view mirror most of the town is giving him the middle finger high five, with a slight wave to it.  His big goal, as stated in the newspaper article, would be to draw fans, since they seem to stay at home watching on TV or go to watch the losing Bengals play.   Good luck on that since he seemed to have a real lack of enthusiasm for that aspect of coaching and was Mr. Drab along those lines.  Listening to him talk was like watching paint dry or chewing on a big mouth full of black mud!

So, as someone once said, “life goes on in the fast lane or the slow lane, but we will survive.”  My only advice to the athletic director is to stick with someone who likes West Texas and understands that the wind does blow(Tub complained about that all the time) and sometimes it has particles in it called “dust.”  Plus the summers can be a little toasty but for the most part our weather is just fine and enjoyable.  The sunsets are only challenged by the big Island of Hawaii and the city freeways and street systems are beyond reproach since they are built for a city of a million but we only have 230,000 to use them daily.  As I researched the former head coaches of Tech back to the original Coach Freeland who was hired in 1925, I found that all of the guys from the Southeast stayed an average of 3.2 years as the Head Coach, while the native Texans stayed nearly 9 years.  The winningest percentage among the Head Coaches all belong to the Texas bred coaches.  So, as the Athletic Director says, “we want a winner who understands West Texas and wants to be ingrained(sounds like a tattoo) with the fabric of Lubbock.  

A couple of concluding trivia points need to be aired out now.  Since I have been following Texas Tech athletics and academia since 1950 I have seen a lot of things happen that have been interesting to note.  For example, right now as I write this the school has three sports that do not have a head coach, 1. The football team, 2. The men’s basketball team(has an interim), 3.  The tennis team head coach resigned last Friday after 20 years and taking the program to high national rankings.  Then on the academia side the chess team won a National Championship last year only to have the head chess coach resign and move on to a more chess oriented school, some where up “North” amongst all those smarter yankees.   So, as far as I know the other sports are being led by head coaches and I am sure the cheerleaders and poms are being led with the best(since I watch them closely through my binoculars during all home games).   Of course the Head Football coach always gets the biggest headlines and as we watch this transition to another new coach let’s remember it is not the end of the world and since there have only been 15 coaches and 1 interim in the past 87 years that is not too earth shattering!

EA, SH......:)!


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Nothing Simple Nowadays, Movie Reviews

While I know it may seem strange, I actually  remember just a few days after December 16, 1953 a.d. so well it is like it was yesterday, and not 59 years ago.  That happened to be the day I got my Texas drivers license and sped away from the scene of the testing only to get a speeding ticket within a week.  Since I am always in a hurry it does not surprise me now that I did that then, but let my digress and get to the point of the day.  When I got my notice that I would have to renew my drivers license before December 16, 2012 I thought, well so what I have been doing this for a long time and surely it had not turned into some bureaucratic nightmare procedure!  Wrong!!  The new instruction page was single space front and back with about a third of it in Spanish.  Now nothing against the Spanish speaking folks; however, I don’t speak but one language and it happens to be the number one language of American called English.

 Anyway, getting back on the subject I found that just taking my old license, and my method of payment with me to the Texas Department of Safety drivers license office was not near enough to renew.  I was instructed to take the following: birth certificate, passport, military records of discharge and retirement, military retirement identification card, old drivers license, title to my vehicle, registration to my vehicle, social security card.  Now to add insult to injury the instructions said I could not renew online even though it was offered.  So, low and behold, not only do I have to dig up all records and verifications of who I am, I also have to walk in and wait in a line all the way back to the North pole to simply renew my Texas drivers license.  Can you imagine what it would be like to go to the moon under this same philosophy and procedure.  After I got myself registered and assigned a number to be posted on an electronic bulletin board in front of the waiting room, I resigned myself that is all part of not being a member of the “New Faces of America”, so I would just do the best I can, keep my cool, and get my valued drivers license that I have so proudly had since I was 14 years old.

  And just think this is the same week that the Princess of England announced she is pregnant, Sandusky is asking for a more comfortable jail cell, The Big O says let’s all jump off the “Cliff” together, Donald Trump has to show his birth certificate to withdraw another Zillion out of his account, and Coach Tuberville of the football Texas Tech Red Raiders proclaims, “the secret to winning more football games is always scoring more points than the opposing team, by the end of the final whistle!”  So, I find myself in an exclusive group and feel honored to have successfully passed the eye exam, the paper verification of who I am, and I could speed off with a clear conscious that I had paid my dues, been a good boy in the waiting lounge, and can drive with a valid license for another 6 years, even though I cannot speak Spanish!!  Go figure!!

Movie Reviews:

“Pitch Perfect”, ***,  This is a very harmless but entertaining movie about mean/silly/good/talented/smart/good/ college girls who are trying to find their place in college.  This story revolves around Beca(played by Anna Kendrick) who would rather listen to music than sing it; however, she is very talented and finds herself in the college acoustic singing group.  Of course she has her set backs, and then surfaces as a very talented singer and leader.  It is a Rocky type story as they head off to the National acoustic competition.  Go see to find out the results!  Rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references.  

“Playing for Keeps”,  ***, This romantic comedy begins with a homecoming for George(played by Gerard Butler), a retired professional soccer player whose glory days are behind him.  After retirement from the sport and burned out with his playboy days he moves back to Virginia to re-connect with his ex-wife and young son.  This is a typical story line when he answers the invitation to coach his son’s soccer team.  He also has the opportunity to connect with sexy soccer moms and desperate housewives.  Co-stars include Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer(no kin) and Dennis Quaid.  A good movie to go to when you don’t want real serious drama or violence.  A matinee choice would be my recommendation.  Rated PG-13 for some sexual situations, language and a brief intense image.

EA, SH........:)!


Monday, December 03, 2012

Movie and Book Reviews

Movie Reviews:

“Flight”, ****, The is a very good movie while Denzel Washington plays the role of a commercial airline Captain with amazing piloting skills.  The movie offers a diversified list of action, drama, some romance, and surprising twists at the end.  When a commercial airliner with 106 people on board experiences mechanical failure at 30,000 ft of altitude, Captain Washington saves the day for 100 of them with very un-orthodox thinking.  He becomes a hero until the blood tests taken while he was in hospital reveal he had used alcohol and drugs prior to the flight. Turns out he had even bigger problems than that.  Go see to find out what they were.  Rated R for drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequences.

“Lincoln”, ***** +, This movie should get best movie, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, and best director.  Needless to say this is one great movie.  Daniel Day Lewis made you feel like Abraham Lincoln had been resurrected to play in this movie.  His acting is beyond reproach.  Sally Field does the same as Mary Todd, wife of the 16th President of the United States.  Tommy Lee Jones plays a Republican who knows how the Congressional games are played.  This is a tremendous movie with great scenes of excitement, drama, stress, between the members of Congress in the great debate of whether to present and vote on the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, that would eliminate slavery in the USA.  Go see, a must!!  Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language.

“Skyfall”,  *****,  By far the best James Bond movie of all time.  This version, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, gives us great action and directing.  The story line is a familiar subject of an evil villain, played by Javier Bardem, trying to destroy the secret service and take over the world.  From the initial scenes it appears that Bond is done and maybe in some form of retirement; however, his loyalty gets the best of him and he returns.  This version also shows Bond to be on the cutting edge of getting a little old for the job, but he does come through with flying colors and we also learn about his early years of life.  Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking. 

“The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn”, ***, NOTE:  Since I do not like Vampire movies I am using the rating and narrative from local critic William Kerns. It is basically a war between vampires with Native American werewolves.  Sounds kind of silly to me but if you like those sort of things go see.  This is supposingly the last version of this series. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity.

While I haven’t done any book reviews in a while it doesn’t mean I have not been reading, so here goes:

“The Secret Race”, ****, Great tale tale book on doping at the highest levels of professional cycling as told by elite cyclist Tyler Hamilton.  While his main target may seem like it is against Lance Armstrong it really is against the overall rampant doping that existed during Hamilton’s days while competing in the Tour de France.  Since Armstrong won it 7 times(more than any rider in history) he was mentioned many times in the book.  This is a very well done book and interesting to see the other side of not-competing fairly.

“Finish Strong”, ****, Made up of stories of courage and inspiration.  A small book you have on your shelf to read when things look a little dreary in life.

“Life Without Limits”, *****, About three quarters done on this book about a young man who was born without arms or legs, and survived.  It is an amazing true story of how this young man took a real bad lemon and made some delicious lemonade.  He is 35 now and has a very successful motivational speaking profession.  Everyone on the planet should read this book, it has some of the most positive and motivational points I have ever seen.

“The Payoff-Why Wall St. Always Wins” *,this is a true story written by Wall Streeter and Senators aide on the inter workings of the Congress and politics.  Also, covers how Wall Street controls the economy.  Since the author, Jeff Connaughton worked for VP Joe Biden he also reveals a lot about the real man.  It is not as revealing as you might expect and basically became a story of Connaughton’s frustrations with not really getting to where he wanted to get because of the political games that are played.  Actually I would not recommend wasting your money on this book.

“Fifty Shades of Grey”, ****, This is a best seller three book series about the life of a young eccentric millionaire and his obsession with bondage sex.  He meets his match and ultimately the love of his life and the first book takes us through their early years and her reluctant acceptance of his sexual practices.  It is is quite graphic and could be a turn on for some and a bore for others.  

“Fifty Shades Darker”, ****.  More of above but now we are seeing the development of the real love affair, but the bondage aspect is still there.  Just an evolution of advancement of the two lovers.

“Fifty Shades Freed”, Since I didn’t actually read this I did find out that the magic couple did get married and lived happily ever after.  Yea I know, sounds boring after all that bondage stuff.  Oh well the author became rich and famous and many women in the world, I am told, had new fantasies in their sex life.  

EA, SH.......:)!


Sunday, December 02, 2012

What Bugs Me!

Some of the things that seem to bug me these days:

 When I go to the express line(10 items or less) at the grocery store and some little ole lady is checking her basket out with at least 20 items.  Not only that she is counting each one as she takes it out, plus she is dressed with polka dots and bow ribbons, with a flower in her hair.  (True story

 When checking out at the convenient store someone ahead of me is buying 5 money orders and each category of lottery tickets, plus a pack of Camels.  They should take the word out of convenient store.

 No matter what I do to keep up with my cell phone I still drop it, lose it, kick it, throw it , forget it or see it take a swan dive into to the bathroom bowl at least 3 times a week.

 After I have waited in line for something for quite a long time, the attendant taking care of my needs says, “thank you for your patience!”  Patience hell, I didn’t have any other choice if I wanted to get what I wanted.

 Some guy asks me why I wear my hair long, my reply is simple:  because I can.  What gets on my nerves is that someone would take the time out of the day just to ask me such a stupid question.  Bug off you baldy you!

 The other day at a road race someone ask me my finishing time and I casually mentioned that I finished on the same day I started.   

To get more detailed on that, I also mentioned that I am so slow now I use a calendar instead of a watch!  When a young person inquires as to how fast I am going to run a race I tell them it is none of their business. 

 I tell them that if I am their target they are really setting their goals too low.  I told a guy the other day he is racing against my personal best when I was 41, not now at my mature age of 73.  

 When all my football teams lose the same weekend which happened last weekend including high school, college and professional football teams.  

 It really bugs me to spend the Senior discount rate at a movie and get bad popcorn that costs more than the movie ticket.

 The other day this ghoulish company that buys insurance policies hoping you will die soon, turned me down.  They said I was way too healthy and would live too long making me a bad investment.  Go figure!

EA, SH......:)