Monday, December 31, 2012

Daily Grind

Wow... I've been away from the keyboard for a few days.  More days than ever since I started writing this blog.

But the holidays are always a busy time.  Oddly, I had some free time because of some "use it or lose it" vacation days at work.

Last Wednesday, I ran around doing errands and other necessary things, including trying to find a replacement rim for the one that was bent on my Ford Fusion.

Thursday morning a friend and I headed to Toronto for a few days.

It was cold and snowy when we left, but the weather improved as we moved further east.

This trip wasn't the best I've ever had and I was kind of thankful to be headed back to Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

Frustration hit when my the data on my phone wasn't working and I had to find a WiFi connection here and there to stay connected to the world as we made our way to Detroit.

Saturday evening, we saw "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" at the Detroit Opera House.  It was a fun, whimsical production of the Dr. Seuss book by the same name.

After the show, I made my way to Bay City to spend the night with friends.

Sunday (yesterday), I finally made my way home to simply veg on the couch. By late afternoon I was bored and ended up back in Bay City to hang with friends.

This morning, I again tried to get that rim for the car and dealt with the data issue on my phone. Both have made me a little crazy in the head.

I feel out of sorts, dazed and confused.

I know I do better when I have a routine in my life.  The daily grind, as they say.

So, I'm looking forward to Wednesday, January 2, when I'll be back at my desk with a cup of coffee and my regular routine.

A good daily grind isn't always a bad thing.

BareNakedBill.Blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

No more hustle and bustle for most of us. Christmas is past and today many people head to stores to exchange or return gifts.

It's Boxing Day!

No, it's not a day to put on the gloves and punch someone in the face.


Despite its name, Boxing Day (celebrated on December 26 in Great Britain) has nothing to do with a fight in the ring. Nor is it a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents.

While the exact origins of the holiday are obscure, it is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the Middle Ages. Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off.

As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Today, Boxing Day is just one of the British bank holidays recognized since 1871 that are observed by banks, government offices, and the post office.

For me, Boxing Day is traditionally another day off work (vacation time!).

This year I'll be celebrating the day by running errands and seeing a long-awaited movie.

Whether you celebrate Boxing Day or not, enjoy the day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Luke 2: 1-20 (NIV)


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Day Before Christmas


Twas the day before Christmas, when all through my head
I was hustling and bustling, my face turning red.
The stockings were flung on the floor without care,
In hopes that the laundry would no longer be there.

I worked in the morning, then right after lunch
I hurried home to get ready for the afternoon crunch.
Munching on goodies, stop by after three
Then off to church service, what time can that be?

Oh just for a moment, my eyes did I close
When a noise from my cell phone suddenly arose.
A question, an answer, a text, two or three
Is it really so necessary to keep bugging me?

To heck with the nap, I just had to say
It's time to get ready and be on my way.
Some games we will play and food we will dine
I'm sure my consumption will cross over some line.

During the worship the candles will flicker and glow
While the winds of the winter, outside will blow.
The songs of the season, the choirs with hymms
Will help us all feel much love from within.

Off to our homes at the end of the night
Wrapping the last presents, ah, the end is in sight.
Christmas Eve is upon us, there's no turning back
Our gifts are abundant, there's nothing we lack.

As we snuggle in bed, awaiting the big day
There is really just one more thing I must say.
This season is not about Santa and sleigh,
But about God's blessing, day after day.

Christmas is about the birth of the Son
The Savior, Redeemer, God's number One.
That is the reason, the season is bright
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Okay, so the world didn't end on Friday like the Mayans had predicted. But honestly, did they really predict it or just end their calendar there because they didn't see the point of creating a calendar they would never us.

Honestly, December 21 -- the winter solstice is one of my favor days of the year.  Light is returning to my world!

I don't mind winter so much, when there's a little snow that creates the beauty like that in this photo I found recently.

A wintery barnyard in an unknown location.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thanks for Reading. Goodbye!

I'm sure you've heard that, according to the Mayan Calendar, today will be the end of time.

If that's the case, then you probably won't be reading this blog anyway.

If today is the end of time, I really have more important things to do that try to entertain you.

If you believe today is your last day on earth, I really urge you to get off your computer and go tell someone how much you love them.

If you and the Mayans were right, I'm sorry to tell you that you won't be able to say, "I told you so!"  However, if you and the Mayans were wrong, I will be able to say, "I told you so!"

Sadly, Michigan schools have once again made national news by closing due to the distractions of the impending apocalypse as well as apocalyptic-fear threats of copy cat attacks like that in Connecticut last week.

As for me, I'm here and headed off to work.

If the Mayans were wrong, I guess it won't be the end of the world. (Matthew 24:36)



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Movie Critique: Hitchcock

When you think of Alfred Hitchcock, you probably think of some of his more memorable movies: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954),  Vertigo (1958)North by Northwest (1959), Pyscho (1960), The Birds (1963). All of them filled with shocking (for their time) twists and events that unnerve us all.

Hitchcock, the 2012 movie, is actually a love story between filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959.

Shedding light on Hitchcock's own neurosis, we get a glimpse into the mastermind of suspense film-making.

We also learn that Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, worked as an assistant director, a screenwriter and an editor on a number of films. According to the movie, she also directed some scenes in Pyscho (and presumably other Hitchcock hits as well) while Hitchcock was ill with the flu.

She also contributed her screenwriting and editing skills to Hitchcock's success.

While I loved the movie, it was a bit short (98 minutes) and shallow. Perhaps the movie should have been called "Hitchcock makes Pyscho."

It's worth seeing, but if there are other shows on your list, see them first.


TWO POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 at AMC Great Lakes, Auburn Hills, MI


Monday, December 17, 2012

It's tragic.


No words can describe the horror that took place last week at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Innocent lives were taken. The pain is compounded by the age of the victims.

Our hearts ache. We weep for the families. We grieve as a nation.

Sadly, I see a national debate in the making.

Gun control has been simmering on the political burner for a while now.

And, as usual, it’s left against right. Red against blue.

Let me say here and now. I’m all about limiting who can own guns and the type of guns that can be owned.

There is no need for civilian to possess an automatic weapon. But simple handguns, rifles and shotguns are another story.

So many people sit back and use the “hunting” excuse for gun ownership.  That is the biggest pile of horse crap in this debate.

When the founding fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution and subsequent Amendments known as the Bill of Rights, they included the “Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

But for what purpose?  For no other reason that self-defense.

I, for one, strongly believe in our Constitution AS WRITTEN. I also believe we need to keep our hands off the foundation of our democracy.

I own one gun. It’s a rifle that belonged to my uncle. I’ve never shot it and probably never will.

I never felt the need to own a gun.

Until now.

Now that there is a potential threat to this guaranteed Right, I am driven to go and buy guns before that right is taken away.

It’s tragic that the news media, politicians and fanatics of both political parties will use this, and other incidents, to fuel what will become a very heated – and very ugly – debate.

I grieve for the loss of life. I grieve for the loss of Rights.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Weekend

I have Sunday on the brain.

I was off work yesterday, spending most of the day at St. Mary's Outpatient Surgery Center in Saginaw with my dad (and brothers). Dad had some skin cancer on his nose that was pretty aggressive and the doc wanted it off ASAP.

All went well.

But having a day off, toward the end of the week, puts my internal calendar out of sync.  I kept thinking it was Saturday. That was especially true when I was watching "The Toys Take Over Christmas" at the Port Austin Community Playhouse last night.

It was a fun, one-act play with my friend James Childs playing the Captain of the Toy Solders. There was audience participation with kids being able to join Santa on stage a the end of the show.

After the show, I hung out with another friend and ended up spending the night in Bay City (Michigan).

Finally, with Sunday on the brain, I picked up a few groceries this morning, then headed home.

Since I have a day more than my brain is telling me, I think this may be a movie weekend.

Great Lakes Crossing 25, the huge theater complex at Great Lakes Crossing Mall, has three movies on my "must see" list: Anna Karenia, Perks of Being a Wallflower and Hitchcock.

I should be able to get my Christmas shopping done as well.

So that's pretty much my plans for the weekend... or at least this Saturday that seems like Sunday.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Do you hear what I hear?

When you're having a conversation with someone, are you good at listening?

It seems more and more that people are in such a hurry to share their viewpoint or answer a question that they never really hear what is being said.

Then there are those people, most often when there's a group, who have to talk all the time.  They will change the subject of a conversation, speak more loudly and just keep the spotlight on themselves.

On my job as a Customer Service Manager, I'm often on the phone with people who do not what to hear what I have to say.  They really just want me to listen to what they have to say.

And that is the easiest part of my job! They will start out with a angry tone in their voice as soon as I pick up the call.  I often tell them that I'm reviewing the notes from our support staff, but please, tell me what is going on.

They're happy to have someone -- a manager -- listen to what they have to say.

I just sit there, making some notes and injecting an "uh huh," "right," okay," or "yes, I understand," into the conversation.

Once I've listened to what they have to say, all I need to do is acknowledge their concerns and I become the king of listeners.

How easy is that?  JUST LISTEN!

Sometimes a friend may need a shoulder to cry on.  They don't want to be told what you would do. They just need someone to listen.  Sometimes talking through an issue brings the solution to light for the talker.

So next time someone is speaking to you, or in a group, just listen!

You might just learn something.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Days before Christmas

There's only 12 days until Christmas... It's coming fast, as usual.

And, as usual, I'm feeling the pressures of the holidays.

I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.  I often feel pulled in several directions and there is never enough time to do all the things I want to do.

I have vacation time planned, but I also have commitments that will not allow me to vacate out of the hustle and bustle.

Happily I'm pretty much finished with the shopping.  A couple more gifts to pick up, but I'm pretty sure what and where to get them.

I'll keep pushing forward and soon I can whine about the boredom of January.

Cheers all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 12:12:12

Does the headline above mean anything to you?

It represents a date and time.  Today, December 12, 2012 at 12 minutes and 12 seconds after 12 noon.

That very moment in time will be 12-12-12 12:12:12. (Some will argue that it actually happened just after midnight. But using a 24-clock, 12 after midnight is actually written as: 00:12. So there!)

Who cares right?

Perhaps no one. But I do.  I want to remember where I was at that moment in time because a date and time with all the same number will not occur again for a very long time.

For those of you trying to calculate that date, I'll do it for you. It will happen again on January 1, 2101 at one minute and one second after 1:00 am. That's actually 88 years, 19 days, 12 hours, 48 minutes, 49 seconds after the 12-12-12 12:12:12 moment.

So, unless you think you'll be around on 01-01-01 01:01:01, you might want to make note of where you're at, who you're with and what you're doing at this once-in-a-lifetime moment in time.



Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7: "A day..."


"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

This quote, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt tells the American people that Japan has attacked them, is well known as part of history. It allows me to easily recall the date when Pearl Harbor happened.

It was a turning point in World War II.

A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.


Just a year-and-a-half earlier, FDR had ordered the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a deterrent to Japanese aggression  The Japanese military, engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials.

In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines.

Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8 AM on December 7.

Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purpose-driven unity. and resolve.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies.

History was written and December 7, 1941 is a date that will live in infamy.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ahead of myself

Somehow my internal calendar has gotten screwed up. I'm not sure how it happened, but I think it involves an earlier than usual Thanksgiving day coupled with some unseasonably warm weather.

All this week I've been thinking the date was one day ahead of the actual date on the calendar.  You know, I was thinking today was December 7th rather than 6th.

I think the Thanksgiving / Christmas / New Year season is so filled with things to do that people meet themselves coming and going. I know I do.

And it just about puts me over the edge.

But I keep pushing on knowing I'll be bored and wishing I had things to do come January 2. (January 1 is still part of that holiday madness!)

So, here I am rushing to blog a quick note to my friends who read this nonsense as part of my hectic daily routine.

That's my whine for the day.  Someone remind me about this blog when I'm crying about being bored on a cold winter weekend in January.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lead to believe

Not-Brewed Iced Tea in my book.
Have you ever been lead to believe something that turns out to not be as it appears? It can happen when you have an expectation based on previous experiences or maybe current implications.

Something that rubs me the wrong way is the iced tea dispenser at my local convenience store.  It clearly says "Brewed Iced Tea." But in reality, the dispenser is a mixer for water and an iced tea concentrate from a box under the counter.

Is that really brewed?

Technically, I suspect, the concentrate is brewed at the factory. But in my world, I expect freshly brewed iced tea. By the mere shape of the dispenser, I'm lead to believe that is what I'm getting.

Maybe I'm too literal with words.

This past weekend I picked up a few dozen cookies at a church bazaar. The ladies of this congregation were always known for their homemade treats.  I especially enjoy the delicious cutout sour cream cookies like my mother would make at Christmas.

Imagine my disappointment when I got home and realized that about half a dozen of the beautifully decorated cookies were actually frozen precut cookies from the food supply company.

Silly me. I was lead to believe by my previous experiences that all the cookies would be homemade. But I might have known that times have changed. Those great cooks are long gone and a new generation of working women, with jobs outside the home, are baking cookies for the bazaar.

Another example is when a group of men don football uniforms and call themselves the Detroit Lions. We expect them to play football and maybe even win a game now and then.

I guess it's all just an illusion for the mind.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent


This wooden advent calendar is
shaped like a festive Christmas tree.
The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning an (awaited) arrival or coming. When the word is capitalized, meaning is changed to the arrival of Jesus Christ.

The season of Advent is the beginning of the Christian year as a prelude to Christmas Day. The Advent wreath is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.

It's the time when we prepare for the return arrival of Christ.

Churches are often dressed with Advent wreathes and the addition of the traditional Advent color of purple. Advent calenders, with little doors/windows containing chocolate or small toy, are often given as gifts to increase the joy and excitement of Christmas coming.

Some people enjoy the practice of offering Advent prayers for the needy, peace, health and other blessings.

With the arrival of Advent, we know Christmas is near.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1, 2012, is World AIDS Day. A day set aside to for awareness of preventing new HIV infection and living with HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS first became knows in the early 1980's. It was called a gay cancer because of the number of gay men, mostly in San Francisco, who were dying of a strange and unknown disease.

Since then, we're learned HIV/AIDS is not a gay health issue. It is a HUMAN health issue.

(Red) is an organization which has brought together the power of companies and people to fight AIDS. Their goal is to deliver an AIDS-free generation by 2015.

You can join their fight at: JoinRed.

If you have never been touched by the devastation of AIDS, feel blessed.

If you want to find out what you don't know, you can take this quiz.  If you learn something, share it with others.

You can make a difference in a generation that speaks of AIDS like past generations speak of polio.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Angels around us

Sorry, I published this earlier today, then edited it and forgot to republish... so here it sits.  GRRR.

Have you seen this photo?  It's gone viral (that means shared/spreading rapidly) on Facebook and other places on the internet.

Jennifer Foster, of Florence, Arizona, snapped the photo while visiting New York City earlier this month when she saw a man without shoes asking for change near Times Square.

"Right when I was about to approach," Foster recalls, "one of [the NYPD] officers came up behind him. The officer said, 'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you.' The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man."

What a touching story!  We so often see the media portray police in a negative light. This story is a welcomed example of what we ALL should be doing for those in need.

The officer in this photo is Lawrence DePrimo. If the photo and story keeps being shared on Facebook, there will soon be millions of people wanting to give me an "atta-boy" for his selfless act of kindness.

"Angels are everywhere," wrote Helen Hoglund, adding her comment to the posting. "We just have to see!!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Movie Critique: Wreck-It Ralph


Wreck-It Ralph tells is the story of Ralph, an arcade game villain who rebels against his game-role and dreams of becoming a hero. He travels between games in the arcade creating a threat that in the end he must eliminate or the entire arcade could be at risk.

Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wreck-It Ralph is presented in both normal and 3D format.

Character voices are provided by John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch.

True to most Disney movies, there is something for all ages. Kids will love the main storyline while the older kids, such as myself, will hopefully catch the salute to old-time arcade games like Pacman, Frogger and Qbert.

I generally will opt to see a movie in 3D -- even with the $2.00 surcharge for the glasses that I return.

Overall, it was a fun way to kill a couple hours on Black Friday.

While it's not an over the top winner, it is worthy of seeing especially with kids during the holidays.


TWO-AND-A-HALF POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, Bay City 8, Bay City, MI


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sleep aint cheap

Lately I find myself doing a lot of tossing and turning during the night. I seem to wake up achy and unrested. My solution, for longer than it should be happening, has been sleeping on the couch.

I need a new mattress.

You might tell me, "go buy one!" But a purchase that involves nearly one-third of my lifetime should not be made in hast.

Have you shopped for or purchased a mattress lately? It's been 20 years since I bought the mattress I currently call my bed.  Before that I was sleeping on a waterbed. Do you remember when those were all the rage?

This past weekend, on Black Friday nonetheless, I stopped by Art Van Furniture to get a price. I figured I'd slip in, get a price and be back out the door.

Silly me.  I forgot about the salesvultures that circle their prey in that store. Add in his pandering to me and I began feeling nauseous.

Somehow in convinced me to lay on their "sleep analyzer." He asked me a few person questions about my sleep habits and then instructed me to lay still and watch the computer monitor mounted over the bed.  I'm pretty sure the results were calculated from the questions asked and the instructions to lay still and watch the monitor was a ploy to get me to watch a video about how we sleep and what (Art Van thinks) we need to know about buying a mattress.

In the end, I found out I'm a "borderline red" which equates into a firm or a medium-firm mattress.

"Of course," the salesvulture told me, "it's really all about personal preference."

That comment cinched up my feeling about the sleep analyzer.

After trying four different mattresses, I found that I liked the foam mattress best. This is when the push-for-the-immediate-sale rambling began by the salesvulture.

Why can't salesvultures give me a price when I ask, "How much?"

Oh no!  Salesvulture need to go get the expert sleep-vulturemanager.  I'm sure he was given that title after an eight-hour seminar called "Clicking the computer keys and scratching on scrap paper to make it look like you're working at giving the customer the best price possible."

After hearing that I would be a nearly $300 matrress cover with a super-duper leakproof guarantee as well as not one but two really weird feeling $200 each foam pillows if and only if, I made my purchase by store closing the next day, I found out my mattress choice would be $1600.

Sleep aint cheap.

Needless to say, I need to do some shopping and research.

There's no doubt I need a new mattress. For now, I'm pretty comfortable on the couch.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movie Critique: Lincoln


Lincoln is a 2012 Steven Speilberg historical drama film based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln. The movie covers the final four months of Lincoln's life, focusing on Lincoln's efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution pass the United States House of Representatives.

Concerned that his Emancipation Proclamation may be discarded once the Civil War has ended. Lincoln feels it is imperative to pass the amendment and remove any possibility that slaves who have already been freed may be re-enslaved.

The movie, if it is based on any fact, gives a look at the backroom deals and lobbying that goes on today.

Beyond the story line, Daniel Day-Lewis runs away with the role and the movie. As a history buff, I loved this movie. It helps that I personally believe that Lincoln was one of the country's best presidents.

It was must-see movie for me, I'd recommend it for anyone else as well.


FOUR-AND-A-HALF POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 at AMC-Great Lakes Crossing, Auburn Hills, MI


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankfulness 2

Well Thanksgiving Day is past, but as I said yesterday, we should be thankful every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

My Thanksgiving Day was spent first at the home of my brother and sister-in-law along with a nephew, his family and my dad.

I consumed far too much food, but what can you do when there is so much and it's all sooo delicious?  Even a taste of this and a little of that adds up to far too much.

The afternoon included visiting, checking the Black Friday flyers and a quick game of Qwirkle before I moved onto my niece Gina's home.

She always has a crowd, including my brother Chuck and his family, less my nephew Erik.

While I was there, I enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day tradition: watching the Detroit Lions lose their holiday game. (I don't know why they bother.)

Of course there was more food. I enjoyed a small taste of a molded salad like my mom used to make.

We also checked out the Black Friday ads and played a quick game of a dice game called L-C-R. Congrats on the win Tommy!

Then I moved onto nephew Matt to spend some time with his family.  He had entertained his in-laws earlier in the day. My dad, brother and sister-in-law from earlier in the day also stopped by.

Of course, more food... some snacks and then the leftovers.  I'm such a sucker for mashed potatoes and gravy I had to have some.  Migrating to the dining room table, we played nine holes of the card game "Golf." Great-nephew Justin was the big winner there.

I finally made it back home around 9 pm.  I had plans to see a movie with a friend, but exhaustion from the day put that off for another time.

Today is a new day, Black Friday.  I have a couple items I'd like to pick up, but nothing that must be gotten during the wee hours of the morning.  I have until noon to save 20% on everything at Bed Bath and Beyond and until 1 pm to make my purchases at Kohl's.

I'm thankful we have this holiday under our belts, even though I know my gut is hanging over mine a little bit more.

It was a great day with family, and that's what the holidays should be all about.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness

Contrary to appearances, today is not just the day before Black Friday.  It's actually Thanksgiving Day. The one day a year that we should take a moment and be thankful not for possessions, but for all things.

I have so much for which to be thankful, I don't know where to begin. I guess my cup runneth over as I'm thankful for...

My parents. I'm so fortunate to have had two parents who loved each other and who loved me unconditionally.  I am rocked and saddened when some friends tell me about their childhood.

Family. Beyond my parents are my brothers and their families, my neices and nephews with their kids, and quite a cousins.

A family of friends.  I have lots of friends far and wide. Many of them are as close to me as my family.  They are there for me when I need them.

Employment. This is a golden standard that so many of us, especially in our current economy, include on our list of thankfuls. I'm thankful for more than a paycheck. I'm bless with a job that I enjoy and co-workers who are friends.

Support. I am blessed with people in my life who support me emotionally and spiritually. You don't find that very often.

Facebook. Yes, I am thankful for Facebook.  It has allowed me to reconnect with friends from my past and grow closer to family I really didn't know very well.  I've made friends of my friends friends and thankful for all of them.

Health. As I grow older, there are aches and pains. But overall, I have good health.

As I said, my cup runneth over and I could go on all day listing my thankfuls.

But most of all, I'm thankful for life. My life and the ability to live it freely.

So be thankful. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Holiday Movies

Here's my Tuesday Tally of upcoming holiday movies I'd like to see. The number one top choice should be obvious to anyone who really knows me.

  1. Les Miserables.  My favorite stage musical has been made into a movie. Opening on Christmas Day, I hope to see it on an IMAX screen.
  2. Hyde Park on Hudson. Based on facts, this is the story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the England visited upstate New York. 
  3. Life of Pi. A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor ... a fearsome Bengal tiger.
  4. Jack Reacher. A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
  5. Anna Karenina. Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.
  6. 16 Acres. A documentary about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center is the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal project in American history.

Looks like I'll be busy during the holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Am I?

Recently I watched a movie where the main character, facing a turning point, was asked, "Who are you?" His reply was a pondering, "Yes. Who am I?"

During the stage play "Les Miserable," the lead character sings a very moving song asking "Who am I?" should he allow another person to be punished for his crime.

Have you ever asked yourself, "Who am I?"

It's really a question of your character more than your lineage.

So that's how you and I can start our week.  We can ask ourselves, "Who am I?"  What characteristics make me, me?

If there are things about us we don't like, we can change or improve.  If we have traits that we like, we can polish and improve.

"Who am I" is a chance to be a better person.

So say it, out loud: "Who am I?"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Movie Critique: Flight


After a night of sex, alcohol, and very little sleep, airline captain William "Whip'" Whitaker (played by Denzel Washington) uses cocaine to wake up, showers and head for the airport for a flight to Atlanta.

During takeoff the flight encounters intense turbulence until reaching cruising altitude where the co-pilot flies the plane while Whip secretly mixes himself a drink and then takes a nap. Minutes before final descent Whip is jolted awake by a mechanical noise as the plane goes into a steep dive/

Failing to achieve any pitch control, Whip rolls the plane upside down to bring it out of the dive and then maneuvers the plane right-side up just before crash-landing in a field. He loses consciousness upon impact.

During the remainder of the movie we learn of his life, his struggles and in the end, be a decent human being.

While this movie isn't one of Denzel Washington's best, it's still a good show. Other reviews have mentioned a "first for Washington" in this movie: a nude scene.  Don't get excited ladies, it's a butt shot of him being helped out of a hospital bed.

With all the other recent movie releases this time of year, you might want to choose another show. However, if you have the opportunity to see this show, it's not a waste of time.


THREE POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 at Bay City 8, Bay City, MI


Friday, November 16, 2012

This is not English


hav U wondered wot hz hapnd 2 d eng language?  Do U tink dat kds R not b educated?  wen U git email o txt messages 2 U L%k @ it & sA 2 yourself, "Huh?"

DIS craziness started w d advent of d internet & d nEd 4 shortnD messages.

Today's email doesn't reqiR us 2 K.I.S.S. (keep it sht stupid).  bt txtN cn b limited, & d 140 character limit on Twitter keeps things sht & 2 d point.

aL DIS short-hand iz causing our society 2 raise a culture of idiots.  Seriously, we hav a bunch of idiots actually bn handed diplomas frm hI schools Ech yr..

dEz students hav n spelling o grammar skills nor d ability 2 uz capitalization o punctuation.

nw I knO I'm not d best @ NE of DIS stuff eithR. f I didn't wrte n a hurry & tried 2 proofread b4 publishing, I'd b n BetA shAp.

I don't knO d answer, bt I thawt it wud b :) 2 point out d obvious 2day.

Cheers All!


* * * * * *

Have you wondered what has happened to the English language?  Do you think that kids are not be educated?  When you get email or text messages to you look at it and say to yourself, "Huh?"

This craziness started with the advent of the internet and the need for shortened messages.

Today's email doesn't require us to K.I.S.S. (keep it short stupid).  But texting can be limited, and the 140 character limit on Twitter keeps things short and to the point.

All this short-hand is causing our society to raise a culture of idiots.  Seriously, we have a bunch of idiots actually being handed diplomas from high schools each year.

These students have no spelling or grammar skills nor the ability to use capitalization or punctuation.

Now I know I'm not the best at any of this stuff either. If I didn't write in a hurry and tried to proofread before publishing, I'd be in better shape.

I don't know the answer, but I thought it would be fun to point out the obvious today.

Cheers All!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15

Here in Michigan when you say mention November 15, many people will get a rapid pulse and their eyes will glaze over. It's a date they look forward to all year long.  It's more exciting than Christmas or their own birthday.

It it: Opening Day of Deer Hunting Season.

By sheer estimates, Michigan has approximately 1.8 million whitetail deer roaming the woods and fields. In the northern counties, they forage mostly on leaves, berries and trees.  Here, where I live, they feast on corn, beans and various planting in home gardens.

Car-Deer accidents numbers in 2011 totaled nearly 56,000 with 11 deaths for those accidents.

I, personally, am not a hunter. But when I see hundreds of them grazing in the fields of crops on a warm summer's day I know someone has to thin the herd.

So today, I wish all you crazy deer hunter a safe and bountiful hunt.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Movie Critique: Cloud Atlas

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

BRAVO!

This movie is by far one of the best I've viewed in years.  It was enthralling, moving, thought-provoking and just plain interesting. The cast including Tom Hanks, Haley Berry, Hugo Weaving and Huge Grant, is awesome as they portray multiple character in the various stories along the timeline.

Cloud Atlas the movie intertwines six stories: The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, Letters from Zedelghem, Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, An Orison of Sonmi~451, Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After from the David Mitchell novel of the same name.

I was so amazed at this nearly three-hour show, that I actually want to see it a second time to catch what I missed the first time around.

Obviously I loved this movie.  It really is a must see!

FIVE POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012 at Carmike Theater, Saginaw, MI



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Time For Change

None of us really like change. Status quo become routine and we know what to expect.

Change for the sake of change isn't a good practice either.  It's said, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

I'm here to tell you, the Republican Party, as it operates today, is broken!

Last week's U.S. Presidential election was a good indicator of that fact. So are the numerous Op-Ed columns and old-guard Party member public interviews.

I have said this before, but it's worth repeating: "I am a voter without a party."  I'm often ashamed of the narrow-minded viewpoints of the current Republican party.  It's not the party I joined as a grassroots party delegate nearly thirty years ago.

That party died when the party took a hard right turn and never looked back.

Now before my Democratic family and friends start planning my welcome party let me point out that your party has major (negative) issues too!

But back to the Republicans... NOW is the time for change.  Please, reinvent yourself.  Become the party of inclusion and stop turning your back on people who want to belong.

It's time for you to understand that we can join your party and not agree with each and every plank in your platform.

More importantly, it's time for you to understand that minorities and woman and gays and lower-income and youth are coming out in droves to the voting booths.  If you want to win elections, you need to win their hearts and minds.

If you want a clue to the direction the Republican party must move, take a look at Facebook and the hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of groups telling you want to do.

Yesterday I read a post somewhere, I'm not sure where, that talked about two points the Republican's need to do before 2016: Disown Rush Limbaugh and stop talking to Fox News.

I couldn't agree more.  Rush Limbaugh's makes his money keeping people worked up and riding ultraconservative train.  Fox News screams "Fair and Balanced." But they're not.  They're trying to balance the scale by being as far to the right as CNN is to the left.  (I see a blog topic here!)

Those two points actions will start the Grand Old Party down a better path.  I'd like to add one more suggestion: Try some Red Bull and leave the Tea Party.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Out of sync

I've neglected this blog, again.

For some reason I'm not in the groove I was several months ago when I first started writing.

There's lots on my platter, much of it not getting done.  And what is getting done isn't completed with the quality I expect of myself.

I think that's part of my "out of the groove" issue.  I set my sights pretty high and miss the mark too often.

That's why I sometimes turn down requests to help with a committee or work on a project.  MY projects are going uncompleted.

Even this post has no real point. But I'll write it anyway.

A little whine in the morning to get your day started.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank those who serve


Today is Veterans Day, the official U.S. holiday honoring armed service veterans.

Observed each year on November 11th, it coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

So today I say THANK YOU to the men and women who serve or have served in the military around the world.

I pray for the safety of those in harm's way, so that I may be safe.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Off Broadway


Last night I made an hour-and-a-half journey to the campus of Central Michigan University to see the theater and music department's fall musical: The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Since I had never seen the show, AND a friend of mine was conducting the pit orchestra, I thought I'd check it out.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a play set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The story is the basis for many modern-day "masked superheros" stories such as Zorro and Batman.

How did I, in all my life, miss seeing this show in the past?  I simply loved it.

Many of the actors were exceptional with the leads having amazing voices. The sets were far minimal, but far beyond your standard school theater offering.  Of course the music was moving under the direction of my friend. (Congrats Evan!)

Last weekend I saw another college theater performance on the Ferris State University campus.

I love the theater and realized that I don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on touring Broadway productions. There are plenty of shows to see much more locally.

Pit and Balcony Theater in Saginaw will be presenting "Nuncrackers" in a few weeks. The show is a cross between Nunsense and Nutcracker.  It looks to be a hilarious holiday treat.

So in the coming weeks and months, I will be scanning websites from colleges and amateur theaters for shows to see.

The Scarlet Pimpernel was a surprise treat that I'm happy to have seen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moving On

Thankfully the U.S. Presidential elections are over for another three years.  The 2016 campaign shouldn't get going for a couple more hours.

This campaign was exhausting.  I couldn't stand listening to the bashing the various politicians gave each other and I hated the conflicting and confusing information presented to Michigan voters regarding the ballot proposals.

The results of this election are still being counted. Some voters in Florida were still in line to vote after the election outcome was announced.

Regardless of how you voted, it's over.

Now we move on. Ever forward.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Advice

It's Election Day here in the United States.  I have no great words of wisdom to share. No vote for him or turn down that proposal.

Just some advice on this important day for our country: VOTE! with your heart and VOTE! with conviction.

Nothing more to say. Please don't wait, go vote NOW!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spring Forward, Fall Back

This past weekend, many of us here in the United States experienced the annual ritual of changing our clocks from Daylight Savings time to standard time. Arizona and Hawaii are the only two States along with the American territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and America Samoa that don't observe Daylight Saving time.

I'm not sure how that one-hour swing in time affects you, but it screws with my internal clock in a bad way.

In the Spring, when we move the clocks ahead and lose an hour, I'm exhausted and disoriented for a few days. I often feel like I'm running behind.  All of this is understandable since I did actually lose an hour of my life.

In the Fall, like this past weekend, we turn back time (homage to Cher!) and regain that hour. Again, I'm exhausted and disoriented for a few days. Rather than feeling like I'm running behind, I feel like I have hours before nightfall.

Actually, being a little out of sorts is common during the time change.  While our brains are able to understand what we see on the clock, our body uses it's natural internal clock in tune with our surroundings and environment.  While time has changed on the outside, our body doesn't catch up so quickly.

It doesn't take long.  We quickly adapt and nudge our body-clock into a new time zone by the changes when we rise in the morning, eat our meals during the day and finally crawl back into bed at night.

Even though it's fall, I'm going to try to spring forward this morning and keep moving ahead.

And in case you were wondering, the first idea of having DST came in 1784 by Ben Franklin in an essay he authored titled "The Economical Project." Thanks Ben!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You can't go back

As much as we would sometimes like, we can't go back.  There are times in everyone's life, I'm sure, where we wish we could get a "do over" or a new beginning.  But the past is always there.

This weekend I made a trek to a land of my youth. To a magical place where life seemed very complicated, but was really very very easy.

It was, afterall, a time when I was much younger, I had my life ahead of me and I had the world by the tail.

It was my college year.  My time at (then) Ferris State College. It's now known as Ferris State University.

I had stopped by campus briefly, once, several years ago. But this trip was different.  I would also be visiting the past in the form of my former boss, Bette Hartig, when I worked for the college.  I also planned to attend a theater production with a friend (who is currently a student) at the theater on campus.

This crazy mix of past memories and the real and present world has been quite a whirlwind.

As I walked around the Rankin Student Center I hardly recognized the place.  Additions and renovations have made the old new(er).  I smiled when I turned a corner and caught a glimpse of early-eighties students who have long since graduated playing 25-cent video games that have long since been moved into the dumpster.

I took a drive around campus and realized that the roads had even been changed and the traffic moved in a totally different pattern from years ago.

Yet, I was flooded with memories of the hundreds of thousands of footsteps I had surely taken as I journeyed around campus over a four-plus year span in the early 80s.

Oh, it was a different time.  If I had only known then when I know now.

But we can't go back.

We we can, for a moment in time, forget where the years have taken us and relive the past through our memories.

For me, it was a happy time.  Maybe even a happier time.

This trek back into time has caused me to recall and reflect and look toward the future.

We can't have a new beginning, that chapter is written and the book is closed.

But the ending isn't written.  And what we do TODAY, is be the path we take toward that ending.

Make the most of it with no regrets.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Legally Blonde - The Musical

Attending a live theater performance is always fun.  Even bad theater is good in my book.  Performers on a stage deserve applause. Standing on a stage reciting lines of dialog -- or singing -- is not something I've done yet in my life.

I don't know that I ever will.

Last night I join a friend at the G. Mennen Williams Auditorium on the Ferris State University Campus to see the student production of Legally Blonde - the Musical.

The movie version -- which was not a musical -- is the love story of a ditzy blonde who is in love with a man headed to Harvard for a law degree and she decides to chase him all the way to becoming the valedictorian of her graduating class.

This stage version was rough at best, with many of performers giving it their best college try. Like I said, even bad theater is good.

It was a fun evening with a good friend which makes bad theater even better.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Significant Historical Event


November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 59 days remaining until the end of the year. Christmas is just around the corner.

Historic events on this day include:

  • 1895 – The first gasoline-powered race in the United States. First prize: $2,000
  • 1898 – Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota with Johnny Campbell leading the crowd in cheering on the football team.
  • 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose or H-4 The Hercules; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.
  • 1959 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
  • 1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

There are hundreds of other important and significant events took place on November 2.  But none of them are as important and significant in my life as the birth of my mother.

My mother, Freda Jane, was born 84 years ago today to Peter and Flora (Parker) Kivel.  She was the seventh of eight children.

If it wasn't for this historic event taking place, I would not be here. You would not be reading this blog. The world would be, for some, a little different.

Eight anniversaries of her birth have passed since she died, but today isn't a reminder that she's gone. It's a day to remember, more than usual, all the time that she was here.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing on the wall

I've never had good penmanship.  I can recall sitting in an elementary classroom, while my classmates were at recess, practicing my handwriting. It was never good.

My grandmother had beautiful handwriting.  I know many woman, and a few men, who do. My father has decent handwriting as well. He has talked about penmanship while he was in school -- spending hours practicing ovals and slashes, keeping your arm up off the desk.

It's fun to look at old handwritten documents from our past.  Many of them have fancy letters with loops and swirls.  Much more of what we now call calligraphy rather than handwriting.

I tend to print much more than I write anything. As a writer / blogger / emailer / computer user, my fingers are on a keyboard several hours a day.  And, I'm sure, all the typing I do has diminished my handwriting abilities.

Sadly, I'm probably a lost cause.

But what about future generations?  What about my young great-nieces & nephews? What about their cursive writing skills?

It appears that cursive writing will become a lost art.  With the ever increasing use of the keyboard and the need to teach more important subjects in the classroom, schools no longer see a need to teach kids penmanship.

It makes me wonder what communications will be like in the future.  How will kids of the future be after to read the information from the past?

Will everyone in the future need to have handwriting recognition software?

We can see the writing on the wall... it will be neatly printed on a piece of paper and pasted there for all to see.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frankenweenie (2012)

In honor of today, Halloween 2012, it is fitting that I give you a review of the movie Frankenweenie.

This Tim Burton creation is a recreation of his original 1984 which poke fun at and pays homage to the classic 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley's novel of the same name.

[Begin Spoiler Alert!]
Young Victor Frankenstein lives with his parents and dog Sparky in the town of New Holland. Concerned with his son's isolation and obsessive interest in science and film-making, Victor's father encourages him to take up baseball and make achievements outside of science. Victor hits a home run at his first game, but Sparky, pursuing the ball, is killed by a car.

Recalling his science teacher's experiment on the of the effect of electricity on dead frogs, Victor digs up Sparky's corpse and successfully reanimates him with lightning, ala Frankenstein's Monster.

While Victor tries to keep his accomplishment a secret, Sparky cannot stay contain in the attic laboratory and is discovered by Victor's school chum Edgar Gore, who promptly blackmails Victor into teaching him how to raise the dead.

Word spreads and one dead pet after another is brought back to the hear and now with disastrous results.
[End Spoiler Alert!]


All-in-all Frankeweenie was a fun movie, especially for kids.  I did not see the 3D showing, but I'm sure the movie would be even better with that special effect.  In an interesting twist, the entire movie is shown in black and white, another homage to the classic horror films.

THREE AND A HALF POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at Saginaw 12, Saginaw, MI


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If you don't laugh...

Sandy becoming a hurricane.
As Hurricane Sandy made her way up the east coast and then moved inland and causing havoc over most of the northeast, we've heard plenty of references to "The Perfect Storm." Poor Sandy has even been called "Frankenstorm" because of her timing on the eve of Halloween.

This is no trick or treat party.

While this storm is serious and tens of thousands -- perhaps millions -- are affected, there have been plenty of jokes and funny comments about this disastrous situation.

It's said: "If you don't laugh, you'll cry."

While I sit here listening to the winds howling through the trees with the hope of the unraked piles of leaves be carried away, I'll share of few funny comments I've heard and read:


For all of those stuck waiting the storm our, here are the top 20 Sandy jokes and one-lines today that will hopefully lighten this dark day.

  • They should rename Sandy to Tigers, then it wouldn't hit anything. (Ouch)
  • They should rename Sandy to the Lions, then it would never Touchdown.
  • Nothing like Hurricane Sandy to make me realize what's really important in life, Internet access.
  • What do Snooki and Hurricane Sandy have in common? (Oops, censored answer. This is rated PG blog)
  • Romney has a binder full of Hurricane names.
  • About to watch the Day After Tomorrow, that should take my mind off the Hurricane.
  • Obama claims Hurricane Sandy is the result of a spontaneous butterfly flight.
  •  "Everyone in the Hurricane's path should immediately make their way to their second or third home".  I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message.
  • If you lose power, don't think of it as being caught in a blackout, think of it as temporarily falling to the dark side.
  • NJ weather alert. In the event of an emergency, find Gov. Chris Christie and hold on.
  • Hurricane Sandy, because God is tired of political ads too.
  • I'm sorry for my terrible Hurricane Sandy jokes, I know they blow.

Finally, one last comment, that's no joke...  I have to wonder how many babies will be named Sandy nine months from now.

Be safe everyone!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Winning when you lose

Our Detroit Tigers didn't become World Series Champions last night.  In my opinion, they barely showed up for the four game sweep by the San Fran Giants.

But even when in defeat, they're still champs.  After-the-game locker room interviews showed us a defeated time that was full of praise for the skills of their rivals. No sour grapes or bad karma.

They have plenty to be happy about, consider only two teams get to play in the World Series.  Getting to "the game" is an accomplishment in itself, as is the ALCS Championship Title.

Tiger fans can celebrate the winning feat of Miguel Cabrera becoming a triple crown winner this season. He is the first triple crown winner in 45 years for leading the AL with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs. Not since Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox in 1967 had any one player swept those categories.

It's said that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.  The game-winners never say that because it's really more words of comfort.  But they are true, nonetheless. The Tigers played with all they had, it just wasn't enough.

All Tiger fans are winners as we can finally get to bed at a decent time. At least for the next 155 days when we reach April 1, 2013 -- baseball's opening day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Movie Critique: SINISTER


Found footage helps a true-crime author realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

This movie immediately reminded me of the "SAW" franchise, with one gruesome death/murder after another.  At time, I actually looked away from the screen. However, some of the characters, didn't make sense. Maybe it was intentional, but the deputy reminded me of Deputy Dewey from Scream.

But with that said, I was riveted by the desire to see what was going to happen next.  At one point I was so creeped out that wondered if I would be able to spend the night alone in my own house.

As far as a script, it was a little weak in dialog and at times the action lagged.

If you like spooky movies, this one might fit the bill.  I enjoyed it, and would say it's worth seeing.

THREE POPCORN BUCKETS (0 to 5 Rating)
Screened on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012 at Bay City 8, Bay City, MI

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Here's a Proposition

Why do I become more and more annoyed as election day grows closer?  It's an annual frustration at it's worst during a Presidential election year.

Aside from all the rhetoric from the candidates -- and ever more rhetoric from their respective parties and supportive political action committees -- I'm sick and tired of hearing about the proposals here in my home state of Michigan.

This year, we have six statewide ballot proposals:

  • Proposal 1: Referendum on the Emergency Manager Law
  • Proposal 2: The 'Collective Bargaining' Amendment
  • Proposal 3: '25 x 25' Renewable Energy Standard
  • Proposal 4: The Unionization of Home-Based Caregivers
  • Proposal 5: The Two-Thirds Majority Tax Limitation
  • Proposal 6: The International Bridge/Tunnel Voting Requirement


Looking at the list above, the proposals may seem harmless. But they're not. Props 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are amendments to Michigan Constitution.

WHY?  Because it's the only way the proponents have any chance of accomplishing their goal. Once there is a change to the State Constitution, there it would take another majority vote of the people to repeal the amendment.

Personally, I'm against that.  I'm also against the interests that are pumping millions of dollars into the campaigns to get these proposals passed.

My biggest annoyance, regarding these proposals, is Prop 6.  Canadian Manuel "Matty" Moroun, owner the Detroit's Ambassador Bridge, has dumped over $31 million dollars into getting this initiative passed. He has a direct financial interest in stopping the construction of any additional international crossings which would, logically, be built in southwest Michigan.

So here's what I propose: more informed voters making wise decisions.  I know it's a lofty goal, but I can always hope, can't I?