Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stay Golden Pony Boy

In the world of Hollywood, this just might be the year of the re-make.

Well, we really can't count The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, because it wasn't originally made by Hollywood. The first on screen adaptation of this perennially favorite C.S. Lewis story was filmed by the BBC. although it is mildly entertaining if you are under ten, it is really hard for anyone older than that to watch.

But then again, the originals that these remakes are remaking are not always easy to sit still for.

The Clash of the Titans was first made in 1981 and based on effects and the hairdos of it's stars, that is no surprise. Highlights include watching Medusa turn people to stone and the Kraken, a big plastic sea monster thing, splashing around at Poseidon's behest. The remake throws in some major stars, including Sam Worthington that just starred in Avatar, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes (pronounced "Rafe"). Hopefully it will be better than the first. Well, it couldn't be worse, so hopefully it will be a good movie, if you decide you need to shell out your hard earned cash to go take it in.

The next one I see they have remade is Red Dawn. When I was younger, I really liked this movie. Russians invading, high schoolers rising up as a resistance force, Powers Booth as the downed pilot that teaches them how to fight. And, with Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell, it seemed like The Outsiders go to war with the Russians.

The remake looks like it might be even more cool, with more guns, more wild teens and another invasion, this time by the Chinese instead of the Russians.

Finally, Ridley Scott felt the need to remake the Robin Hood story, starring Russell Crowe. Sort of a Gladiator of not so merry old England.

I am sure I will end up going to see all of these. How can I resist? Although it would be nice if we could see some different stories depicted on the big screen from time to time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Prequel

I am about to head out the door to do some more celebrating of Ethan's Birthday, but I wanted to start out your journey with me to the down and dirty world of small town police work in the 80's by pointing put a couple of incidents. It will continue later with a glimpse at a totally random incident that happened during this time frame. This post is designed to merely give you a taste of the department as my Dad found it.

Although Chief Brunswick was the Chief of Police during most of this time period, when we first moved to town, the chief was a Crook. Literally, Chief Crook was the Chief of Police. The Town Doctor was Batty, The Mayor was Blank, the Sheriff was Short, Sheriff Short. Doctor Batty even did our school physicals and Mayor Blanks son was a year ahead of me in school. I wonder what happened to that guy?

My Dad shared with me numerous incidents that helped set the stage for what it was like in this town, from the suicides of consecutive owners of the house that was a converted funeral parlor to the murder of a couple of homeless guys with road signs and many incidents that garnered less notoriety. Here are a couple of those incidents. I think they will give you insight into how the department operated.

One poor old gal was found beaten, tied to a chair and burned to death. Obviously, the police decided, this was a suicide where the subject tied herself up, bruised herself while she was doing it and followed it up by lighting herself on fire.

Another suicide victim was found with the implement of his demise, a 22 caliber rifle, about one hundred yards from his body. As any good investigator would deduce from the evidence available, this person shot themselves in the head (conspicuously figuring out how to avoid powder burns, and flung the rifle in a reflex driven toss.

A little later:
A story of the woman, the hunting rifle and the donut shop.

Warriors Everywhere, Raise Your Hands Up in the Air

I don't usually put any cop stories on here because I don't want to put down anything that would compromise my job or cases or whatever. But, a little later today, I will have some cop stories from my hometown of McCook Nebraska.

Yes, some of the files have been recently declassified and I can share some sordid details of police work in a small town, where my Dad was a cop after he left the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for greener....and stranger...pastures.

Check my blog this afternoon to find out more.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Rainbow in the Clouds

Last night, Diane and I went to see the movie 2012. As you have heard, the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012. A more accurate interpretation of that would be that the Mayan calendar only goes through 2012. I guess you can only fit so many days on stone tablets. But who am I to judge. The calendar I am currently using only goes through December of this year.

In the movie, the sun does it's usual disaster-movie-thing and heats up the earth's core, causing the crust to crack up and start moving around. This triggers the whole of the crust to shift and all of humanity to get flooded out by massive tsunamis.

In the movie, you get to see realistic looking depictions of all sorts of cool stuff, like California cracking up and falling into the sea, Las Vegas disappearing into the earth's core, Yellowstone turning into a massive volcano and massive cruise liners and aircraft carriers tossed about by enormous waves. You also get to see the heroes escape time after time in cars, rv's, airplanes, etc. from collapsing buildings, huge fissures, volcano bombs (if you think volcano bombs are fanciful, try to remember the movie Dante's Peak where Remington Steele's, I mean Pierce Brosnan's, wife is killed by a volcano bomb in the beginning of the movie), and oceans (literally, Oceans) of water while most everyone else, including the Dali Lama-like character (massive amounts of water rushing over his mountain hideout) and Danny Glover (as the President getting a carrier washed onto him in Washington D.C.), are wiped right out.

This movie is very exciting visually, but it gets a bit silly after a while. Too many narrow escapes for the main characters. Kudos to them for working so hard to survive, but how much of that can we watch. Especially considering that the movie runs well over two hours. I think it is closer to two and a half. I think they were trying a little too hard to make an epic.

Besides, I have it on good authority that the world will not again be destroyed by worldwide flooding. Even if it is precipitated by a shifting of the crust of the earth.

Next I want to see the Book Of Eli, so I can find out what happens after the destruction of civilization as we know it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dead Animals

I think their is some connection, but I am not sure what it is. - Oh, that sentence should have been my title -

I recently read a story about a doctor at a nursing home that was told by his staff about a cat they kept on the premises. The doctor was not a fan of cats, but a few were kept at this facility because it helped make the place feel more homey for the patients, many of whom were suffering from advanced Alzheimer's disease.

The nurses began to tell him about one of the cats that would good to the bedside of the patients who were about to die and spend the final hours with them. The doctor, at first very sceptical, then began to notice that this really was a trend with this particular cat. He didn't know why the cat did it, but it seemed to be a comfort to both the family and the to the deceased as they left this life.

When my Grandfather passed away, two deer were running around in the yard. Yes, we lived in a town that had deer in the area, but they rarely ran into town. And no-one had ever seen them running around in Uncle Cliff's yard.

I went to a funeral this summer of a young girl that had been murdered. Sitting on a fence post watching the gathering mourners were two small birds. Were they there for the funeral too, or just wondering about the passing crowd.

Anyways, it could all be coincidence. Or......

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The Supreme Court today overturned parts of the McCain-Feingold legislation which made it a crime for a corporation to pay for political ads near an election. This was brought to the Supreme Court via a Wisconsin Right To Life Organization that was shut down from paying for a movie because some of the movie was financed by corporations.

The President, along with others, expressed his displeasure with this ruling, concerned about how corporations will now throw money into the political arena. In his view, you can only exercise free speech if no corporation has agreed to back your play. The majority argument for the ruling was basically this: They didn't think we were constitutionally allowed to limit speech based on who financed it.

In related news, the President today has declared he will fight Wall Street, intending on punishing all the banks in the country because some of them were bailed out by our finances. President Obama stated that the industry would be responsible for the bailout funds given to the industry. No, the businesses that actually received the funds are not going to be responsible for repaying them, but the industry itself.

It appears that the administrations zeitgeist is against corporations. Maybe the banks should call themselves something other than corporations, so they could be safe.

Oh, and what of the auto industry. Shouldn't Toyota have to pitch in and help pay for our bailout of GM. If banks that didn't get bailout funds and banks that have already repaid what was loaned to them have to pay, why shouldn't auto makers that didn't get any funds have to pay for those that did.

Oy Vay.

Oh, and if you are still reading, what will change with campaign financing? Absolutely nothing. Corporations have been giving large contributions to attempt to influence elections all during the era of McCain-Fiengold, including donations from huge donors, unions and *gasp* corporations giving to both McCain and Obama, all they way up to election day. They merely did it through alternative (527) organizations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In over my head

When I was going to school, I spent two semesters participating in a V.A. work study program at the Dallas V.A hospital. The first semester I spent mainly filing documents and learning why government run health care really is a mess. But, the second semester I was assigned to the Recreational Therapy Department of the Nursing Home Care Unit (NHCU) at the hospital.

The N.H.C.U. was where patients were sent for long term care and included people with a variety of conditions, from having terminal cancer to working on recovering from old age related fractures. It really was a good experience. I got to take field trips to art museums with Smithsonian level security, meet characters that dropped A-bombs on Japan, fought Japanese (and other service members) in hand to hand combat, commanded tanks against the Germans and had numerous other exploits. One of my coworkers who was doing an internship was married to the lady who was the first female to be ordained by Southwestern Theological Seminary. We even got to attend her ordination ceremony.

In spite of all the fun, I think I was in over my head. They had me attend joint care meetings with other department heads and give my recommendation for the patients care. They didn't like it when I recommended the terminally ill come play dominoes with the rest of us, or we bring the dominoes to them. And speaking of that, some of the patients went to regional dominoes tournaments whilst I was still learning that dominoes weren't just for lining up and knocking over.

And maybe it wasn't the best idea to design a soccer-like game where you can use your hands, but all the play is done from wheelchairs with a kick ball. Some of those old guys were pretty aggressive. No wonder they had broken bones. None, thankfully, were from the game.

After the first year of school, I figured out that the money from the work study wasn't adequate to pay all the bills and what not, so I had to take another job But, I still have some good memories of those guys at the Dallas V.A. N.H.C.U.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What ya gonna do when they.....

I am no fan of criminals. Criminals are those who prey on the rest of us, using up our time, money, resources, etc. to finance their lives. Some of them, in past times, did attain a notoriety that was enough to make them historically significant. Among these is John Dillinger.

The picture above depicts the arraignment of Russell Clark, Charles Makley, Harry Pierpont , John Dillinger, Opal Long and Mary Kinder after their capture in Tucson in January of 1934. Tucson celebrates this with the annual Dillinger Days, held this year on January 24th at the Hotel Congress and surrounding environs. the events include re-enactments, lectures, a tour of the courthouse where Dillinger was arraigned (and where I have sat for court on more than one occasion) and some outdoor entertainment.

The Fox Theater is even getting into the act, playing the new Public Enemies movie.

In any case, based on the previous times I have been, it is a fun way to spend your Saturday. Here are more details.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Take Your Pick

After the earthquake in Haiti, the response of our citizenry has been great, with many of us donating to organizations ready to help out and that already are helping out the people of this impoverished and now devastated area.

Some have even speculated on the reasons why this has occurred. Pat Robertson, famous for making statements that are easily ridiculed, has dived in with another one. He said that Haiti, long ago, signed a pact with the devil to get their freedom and have had nothing but trouble since then. This seemed to imply that the pact they signed with the devil caused the recent earthquake.

Danny Glover, famous for being in movies, was given some time to share his views with the media. He said that these sort of things will happen since we do things that are bad for the climate, such as not making in real progress at the recent Copenhagen climate change conference. So, if we would have made some sort of treaty, maybe the quake wouldn't have happened.

Here is CBN's response to all the hullabaloo about Pat Robertson.

Here is a clip entitled:

Danny Glover Blames Haiti Quake on Failure of Copenhagen Climate Summit

Here is part of the reason the quake was soo bad:

We live in a broken world that is full of hurt, heartache, pain and problems. And yes, even the Bible agrees that this came about because of man. But, it doesn't teach that people can fix it all.

The structures, to include the buildings and infrastructure, were woefully unprepared for anything of this magnitude.

And our response? Instead of assigning blame to a pact with the devil or to Mother Nature getting back at us, do what you can to help them out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Small Irritants

Recently, we were at a friends house when he told his wife in frustration, "You'd think by now you would have figured out the things I don't like and would not do them."

The rest of us thought this was the funniest thing we had heard all night, but he didn't understand the humor in it.

Diane and I will be celebrating our 18th year of marriage this year and we still seem to spend plenty of time not thinking of one another. At least I do. Here is one small example:

We keep both the olive oil and the honey on a high shelf in our kitchen cabinets. She can't reach either of them, which are both items that get somewhat frequent us, unless I they are put close to the front and the handle of the honey jar facing outwards. Since I have long old arms, I can shove them into the back, rearrange them, shift them around and whatever I need to. She has, on more then one occasional, had to remind me that I was not thinking of her.

I know it is a small thing, but small things can be reflections of larger things. And, if nothing else, they can irk someone off, making life a little less pleasant for all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bro Hugging???

I usually don't like to snitch stuff, especially from these guys, but I couldn't help myself this time. The latest (Feb 2010) issue of Reader's Digest includes a "bro-hugger" section to let you know when it is, and isn't, appropriate for a guy-to-guy embrace. Here is what they say:

HUG ME (when)
I return from combat
Someone Dies
I earn a degree
I go into surgery

Don't Hug Me (when)
I spring for lunch
I get a hit in softball
I get over a cold
I get blackjack

Hopefully this small guide will help you develop your bro hugging principles.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Treasure Hunters

I recently ran into some guys out in the boonies who were trying to find gold on some claim that was sold to them. They do it mostly as a hobby, but looked like they would be very pleased if they actually found enough gold to make some money.

Finding a good book can be like finding a treasure that more than pays for itself. And, I happen to have found not only one, but a series of books that I have enjoyed for some time now.

I first read the Chronicles of Prydain(pronounced pri-dane), by Lloyd Alexander, when I was young. I recently listened to these on audio book with the kids on a some trips and still find them thoroughly enjoyable.

The series, which starts with "The Book of Three", is based on welsh legends and includes a colorful cast of characters including The good guys such as Doli - the grumpy dwarf, Dalben - the wise sorcerer, Taran - the childish and moody hero, Flewdur Flam - the would be bard who has a kingdom of his own, Gurgi - some funny animal thing, Eilonwy - the princess and many more.

These days, it may sound like another Lord of the Rings sort of takeoff, with zombie like enemies, an evil powerful King, enchantments and the like, but it really is an excellent story that has been around and been popular since written in 1964. One of the books, "The Black Cauldron", was the subject of a not so great cartoon movie of the same name.

Lloyd Alexander has also written some other excellent and thoughtful books for young readers. Among our favorites:
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen
The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man
If you are inclined to read, or have young readers, consider the Chronicles of Prydain.

A bit ironic.

State Treasurer Dean Martin (yes, that is his name and no, he is not that Dean Martin), recently resubmitted some bills to the U.S. government. According to Martin and the bills, which amount to about one billion dollars, the Federal Government owes Arizona for costs associated with incarcerating illegal aliens, since it is a legal requirement.

Since the Federal government has yet to pay what the law requires for the incarceration of illegals, Martin is going to let the Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, know that these bills need to be paid.

The irony, these are the same bills that Napolitano repeatedly submitted to the Federal Government when she was governor.

If asking her doesn't help, I guess Arizona is going to have to take them to collections or something.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Something To Do

I decided on a spiritual exercise for the New Year. this year, I have chosen to pray for all my friends that I have on Facebook™. I figure, if I am going to be friends with all of them, I might as well treat them as such.

I have somewhere over 300 hundred friends, so if I say a prayer for a few a day, it will take me 3 or 4 months to work through the list.

Why am I telling you...because it is something you can do too. Go ahead, give it a try. And, if anyone wants me to pray for anything, you can tell me.

So, if you think my prayers might be useful (James 5:16) and you have anything specific that you would like me to pray for, let me know soon. Especially if your name starts with an A.