The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Justified



FX is promoting a new series coming in March. Justified is an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel and stars Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens who returns to his hometown in Kentucky and takes care of business in his own special way.

I've been a fan of Timothy for quite some time, but he really hit his stride in Deadwood. This series looks to be just as good/addicting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rick "Big Brother" Perry Strikes Again


http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/02/texas-supplied-newborn-blood-sam.html

Dogged investigation by a non-profit online media organization in Texas has revealed that between 2003 and 2007, the state quietly gave hundreds of newborn blood samples to a U.S. Armed Forces laboratory for use in a forensics database.

Chargers Cut LT


From The AP:

The San Diego Chargers released LaDainian Tomlinson yesterday, ending a brilliant nine-year run in which he became one of the NFL's greatest running backs.The move had been expected. Tomlinson, 30, was injured early last season and finished with 730 yards on 223 carries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry, all career lows.
Tomlinson was due to be paid a $2 million roster bonus in early March, which all but guaranteed that he would be cut.
Team president Dean Spanos personally told Tomlinson he would be released.
"I told him that in the 26 years that I've been in this business, it was probably the hardest thing I've had to do," Spanos said. "I'm not close to a lot of the players, but there's a handful that I've been close with, and he's probably the closest. It was really difficult to tell him. But out of respect, I wanted to tell him earlier rather than later."
Tomlinson was not immediately available for comment. He ranks eighth on the all-time rushing list with 12,490 yards. His 138 career rushing touchdowns rank second (Emmitt Smith had 164), and his 153 total touchdowns rank third (behind Jerry Rice's 208 and Smith's 175).


LaDainian Tomlinson has always been a favorite of mine going back to his days at TCU. Once in a great while you will find a truly good man with a serious work ethic that's more interested with his performance for the team than his paycheck. LaDainian is one of those guys.


Unfortunately for him, in the NFL running back is a "what have you done for me lately" position. Despite all the outstanding performances he's given San Diego, there's a younger guy standing there to take his place with out all the injuries. Much like Emmitt Smith at the end of his career, he's been made a free agent and is on the open market. Some team hurting for ticket sales will sign him purely for the draw, but he deserves better. He's earned a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl.


It really hurts to know that he's not a fit in Dallas' scheme. They already have 3 outstanding running backs. Maybe the Texans can make fit him into their gameplan. Gary Kubiak has built a team that might well make a legitimate shot at the title.  LT deserves to finish his career with a Texas team and a ring. He ain't as good as he once was, but he's as good once as he ever was.


I do want to say I hope he doesn't wind up like Earl Campbell or Tony Dorsett. I've met both and it was very sad. Earl is confined to a wheelchair and Tony can barely walk.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bloggus Interruptus

Holy cow. I didn't realize it's been so long since the last post, but I have been crazy busy. We are majorly short handed at work and I've been transfered to Jackistan  Jacksboro to fill the gap. You know most of the time I feel like The Little Dutch Boy running around putting my finger in the dike. (If you're a fan of Showtime's Californication, there's a funny joke there.) It's been several years since I worked at that location but luckily I found several of my favorite co-workers are still there. That really eases the pain since I know I'm helping them out by being there.

One of the downsides is trying to get up to speed on how they do things and where everything is. If you ask me where something is in our Bridgeport location I can tell you exactly where it's at. I've long forgotten how it's laid out in Jacksboro. Every location operates differently, contrary to corporate opinion, and paperwork is no exception. There's also different codes, passwords, schedules, ect, that I have to know. That didn't use to be a problem because I had it all stored in my PDA. But when I upgraded it's OS a while back all that was wiped out. So now I'm back to re-entering it all over again. Yea... (Yes, I do have it backed up now.)

Another downside is the commute. Besides being twice as far, there's no good way to get there from here. My only option is FM1810, a narrow winding road thru the country with some steep drop offs sans guardrails. The scenery is beautiful, but the hazards don't give you much opportunity to enjoy it. The last time I worked there I wrecked my Explorer when I slammed into a deer... twice in one week. Yesterday I had a coyote with a death wish that I nearly plowed into on wet pavement. That's a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when the anti-lock brakes kick in.

When the supervisor told me I was being transfered he said it was temporary. I asked him how long was temporary? A week, a month, 2 months? All he could tell me is it was temporary.

Sigh...

OK, enough doom and gloom. How 'bout a quick review or two?

I've found a new DVR worthy series on Starz, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. It's from a favorite Producer/Director/Actor of mine, Sam Raimi (Hercules, Xena, Spiderman, Army of Darkness). It's the story of a warrior that breaks allegiance with Rome when he finds out his land and village are being sacrificed to invaders so the Roman army can move to fight a lesser, more political, battle. He is captured, thrown into slavery and forced to fight in the arena for sport. His only hope is the promise from his owner that he will be reunited with his wife who was also thrown into slavery. Spartacus is shot in an over the top (very) graphic novel style. Think "300" with all the slowmo battle, animated background and blood splatter. There's a lot of CGI. Altho I think they need to dial back the blood splatter. It's a bit too far over the top.

The cast is excellent, but mostly unknown to American audiences, with the exception of Lucy Lawless who is as hot as ever. The series is definitely for adult audiences with lots of graphic violence and very graphic sex. You can catch it Friday nights with an encore Sunday nights on Starz. If you liked 300, Gladiator or Rome, you'll like Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

HBO films has hit another one out of the park with their latest offering. Temple Grandin is the true story of an autistic girl from New England that overcame mountains of adversity to become a very successful writer and designer of livestock handling facilities. She also earned a Masters degree and is now a college professor. Clare Danes plays the title role and gives a stellar performance. You'll be seeing her at The Emmys, mark my words.

This film gives you insight into how autistic people see the world and how their minds work. Temple's skill in    turning her disability into an advantage is astounding. Her mind works in pictures where ours works in words. She can see things that ordinary people can't or simply overlook. She see's things the same way a prey animal like a cow or horse does and uses that to design more humane and efficient feedlots and slaughter houses. "Nature is cruel, we don't have to be." She also has the ability to store even the most minute detail in her mind and recall it when needed. A sort of photographic memory, if you will.

The film is inspiring, informative and very entertaining. I highly recommend the whole family watch Temple Grandin.
Currently running on HBO.

TCM is celebrating it's annual "31 Days of Oscar", showing only films that have received an Academy Award. Some of this weeks offerings include: Sunset Boulevard, It Happened One Night, 42nd Street, My Favorite Wife, Topper, An American in Paris, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Duel in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank, A Day at the Races, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Dirty Dozen, Serpico, The Reivers, The Manchurian Candidate, From Here to Eternity, Titanic and many, many more. All of them are shown uncut and commercial free.

Must see stuff for the serious movie buff or anyone that just wants to watch a really good movie. My only criticism is that TCM is still broadcast in Standard Def.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Next Challenge For Liberally Lean

Shot Down In Flames!



In 2007 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation challenged inventors to design a new system to fight malaria. The big brains at Intellectual Ventures stepped up to the challenge and created the ultimate bug zapper. A laser powered mosquito fryer! Here you see it in action at 6,000 frames per second.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard!

OK, so it's not a blizzard. But it is the second time we've had over 6 inches of snow in 1 year. OK, technically it wasn't twice in the same year (Dec '09/ Feb '10)  but you know where I'm coming from.

I was going to take a poor cell phone pic of the conditions outside, but I decided to use this one instead. Remember kids, it's all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Let's be careful out there!

(edit: Apparently a certain barrister failed to heed my warning.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RIP "Goodtime" Charlie Wilson

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson, the swashbuckling Texan chronicled in film for helping secure billions of dollars to fund covert U.S. operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, died on Wednesday of cardiac arrest. He was 76.


Wilson, a Democrat, was portrayed in the 2007 movie "Charlie Wilson's War" by actor Tom Hanks as a boozy womanizer who found his life's cause in helping mujahedeen freedom fighters in Afghanistan fight and eventually repel occupying Soviet forces.




Wilson served 12 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, and was known as the "Liberal from Lufkin," the town in mostly conservative east Texas where he lived.




He had complained of chest pains on Wednesday and was pronounced dead when he arrived at Memorial Health System of East Texas in Lufkin, the hospital said in a statement.




As a long-time member of the House Appropriations Committee, Wilson quietly helped steer billions of dollars to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which distributed the funds to buy Afghan fighters high-tech weapons like Stinger missiles used to shoot down Soviet helicopter gunships.




"I just saw the opportunity to grab the sons o'bitches by the throat," the fiercely anti-communist Wilson told the Dallas Morning News in a 2007 interview.




After the Soviet withdrawal, Wilson expressed reservations about U.S. lawmakers' decisions to cut funds to Afghanistan, blamed for creating a void that led to the rising influence of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, the Islamic militant group accused of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
---
I never met Charlie Wilson, but I wish I had, just so I could shake his hand and say thank you. It's too bad more politicians don't share his dedication to this country. If Congress had just listened to him and followed through with funding for schools and infrastructure after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan the world might be a much different place today.


"These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world... and then we fucked up the endgame." - Charlie Wilson

RIP Captain Phil Harris

 "It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad -- Captain Phil Harris. Dad has always been a fighter and continued to be until the end. For us and the crew, he was someone who never backed down. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. -- Jake and Josh Harris"


Full story

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Houston Crazyfest

Rick Perry, Sarah Palin AND Ted Nugent all in the same place. The crazy level was off the charts!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh Yeahhhhhh, That's the stuffffff...


The 2010 NASCAR season has officially kicked off with coverage from Daytona. SPEED has some great racing in store for the NASCAR junkie this week. Today we got a sweet, sweet taste of what is in store for the 2010 NASCAR season. Bigger plates, looser rules and exciting fewer holds barred racing!

Did you know the average price of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car is $200,000? I saw over $1,000,000 get wrecked in practice today!

SPEED aired it's first coverage of the season with 2 practice sessions and the Bud Shootout Selection Show.

I feel like a dope fiend that got a freebie taste of the new stuff that just rolled into town after a long, long dry spell. That or Homer Simpson with the secret password to the Krispy Kreme R&D facility.


My favorite quote from the Bud Shootout selection show came from Kenny Schrader: "When you start from the middle you will definitely be involved in whatever the hell happens!"

Give me more!!!


SPEED's Daytona schedule.

Why Wait For 2012?

Interesting article by Cliff Kuang over at Fast Company.  What crises could crush us is 2010? The map is very cool...

Last weekend, the World Economic Forum held its annual meeting at Davos, and the theme this time was "Improve the State of the World." Which naturally meant coming to terms with the risks out there. Their economists came up with a comprehensive list and assigned probabilities to each--and also mapped the linkages between each one. Then they summarized all those findings in a handy dandy interactive map that's sure to delight paranoid conspiracy theorists everywhere:



Monday, February 1, 2010

Generation Gap

I often discuss movies with coworkers. I seem to have stumbled upon the Grand Canyon of generation gaps, it's the movie "Airplane!". I was stunned that almost everyone under 25 had not seen or even heard of the Zucker/Abrahms/Zucker classic from 1980. Surely you can't be serious.



Kids these days... sheesh! (And don't call me Shirley)