The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Netflix of the Week

The Social Network

Director David Fincher's biographical drama chronicles the meteoric rise of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) from Harvard sophmore to Internet superstar, examining his relationships with co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). Winning Golden Globes for Best Picture and Best Director, the film also racked up Oscar nods in the same categories and for lead actor Eisenberg,.

PG-13 2Hrs 2010 Blu-ray

Let me say that I thought this film had a lot of good things going for it before I watched it. But 3 main ones. First, The subject is fresh. Outside of Tron, Lawnmower Man and The Net, you don't get many internet based movies, much less factual based ones 500 Million people have a personal interest in. Second, the screenplay is written by Aaron Sorkin. Nobody can jam more complex dialogue in a scene than him. Writing about a computer nerd with ADD is the script he was born to write. And third, Jesse Eisenberg. He was great in Zombieland and Adventureland. But in this film he plays a much darker and complex character like he did in Holy Rollers and he nails it. This film propels him into a solid lead actor.

I also have to throw credit to Justin Timberlake for his performance. This was an excellent role for him. A young, rich wild child/internet guru with a chip on his shoulder and a shot at redemption. Justin has had several successful smaller roles, but this is a substantial supporting role and he gives a solid performance.

I have to admit, as the first act plays out I follow and completely understand the computer/programming/hacking jargon word for word. Heh, not to brag... but I am a computer guru afterall. I felt particularly proud I was able to keep up with a Harvard computer major. Not to shabby for a fatboy from The South40!

That lasted about 5 minutes.

Suddenly we are talking coding algorithms, randomizing programs and some serious computer crap that I have absofreakinglutely no idea what they are talking about. Guess that why I was never accepted at Harvard.

From that point, programming gets moved to the back burner and the real story begins. Law suits and back stabbing. Megazillionairs and those left in their wake.

This is a very good film. It's well written, well directed and well acted. The script is complex and fast paced, just like the real thing was. The story intoxicating and the characters enthralling. It's not just for computer nerds. But then if you're reading this, you might just be a ...

Just in case you were wondering, nice guys DO finish last in the real world.

Add The Social Network to your queue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'd Eat a FORK if it were Deep Fried!

I think she'd eat anything, raw or cooked.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Scooby Snack, Anyone?

I already know the answer, but I'm opening this up to The South40 Nation.

In a recent discussion regarding dogs eating rabbits attacking a garden, a friend wrote :
The best of both worlds. Feed the dog in the process with no expense, then put the poop at each corner of the garden like i did. A win/win. I like it. Just goes to show ya that a great idea can always be improved on. LOL
Sounds great, right? Well maybe... if you've never studied biology or agriculture or any class in hygiene in my opinion. But what do I know, I'm a Liberal Weenie (and I stayed awake in biology and FFA).

Even if you aren't using the dog manure as a direct fertilizer on the crops, you have to be concerned about runoff contamination if it's anywhere near the garden. Putting a pile of dog poo at each corner of your garden might scare away some varmits, but it virtually guarantees the garden (and any area in the runoff) will become a breeding ground for parasites that can lay dormant for years.

For some reason, I can't get this guy to understand how badly he's screwing up. He thinks I'm nuts, apparently scientific studies aren't proof and only liberal weenies go to skool.

So I put the question to the South40 Nation. Would you pile dog poo around your garden to scare away pests?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fly The Friendly Skies

Reminds me of the scene from Apollo 13 where Tom Hanks asks "Are we on VOX?!?"
BTW, please put your seat and tray in the full upright and locked position. And thanks for flying Southwest!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

¡Ay, Caramba!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... I already told you it's a plane, DUCK!

In case you think that's fake, here's the cockpit view:

Jump to the 1:00 mark and watch 'em scatter! BTW, that's an Argentinian Air Force IA-63 Pampa pile-it. The IA-63 Pampa is a trainer, but all info about the pile-it or any disciplinary action has been blacked out since the video was leaked.

Edit: Glad I didn't say you'd never see American pile-its acting so irresponsibly, because someone was quick to point these out:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

# 6 On My Bucket List

I'm too fat (6'2", 210) to even consider piloting an ultralight without it plunging rapidly toward Mother Earth in an uncontrolled manner. But, I really want to do this.

Pajama Jeans

Ass too fat or simply too lazy to squeeze into a pair a jeans for that trip to Walmart?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Netflix of the Week

Adapt, improvise, overcome. Wait, that's a completely different movie.

But it accurately describes what's happening to our favorite seldom used feature "Movie of the Week". Not like I've been burning up the blog with movie reviews lately, but hopefully this rebranding will bring it back as a regular feature and favorite of the discerning South 40 fan.

To kick things off, I signed up for Netflix and the first movie I chose was True Grit. The film was written, produced and directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen. The Cohen Brothers rarely fail to deliver, but taking on a John Wayne classic is one tall order, even for them. To their credit, I don't think anyone else could have done it justice. But if you are expecting an exact duplicate of the original, you are in for a surprise. This screenplay sticks closer to the Charles Portis novel.

The casting is superb. Jeff Bridges gives a marvelous performance as Rooster Cogburn. Some have criticized his dialogue as a forced John Wayne impersonation. But if you look at his performance in Crazy Heart the voice is very similar. Hailee Steinfeld is outstanding as Mattie Ross. Stubborn, outspoken and smart as a whip. It's also easier to believe she's 14 than it was with Kim Darby. Matt Damon breathes new life into the role of Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. But outacting Glenn Campbell by an Academy Award winner is to be expected.

I rented the BluRay and it was worth it. The cinematography is breathtaking. The Cohen's have a knack for capturing the stark beauty of nature. The Texas and New Mexico landscape paint a hard and rugged backdrop that fit the story perfectly.

As I said it's not an exact duplicate and the Cohen's leave their mark all over the film. The one flaw, if you could call it that, is the ending. The Cohen's seem to have trouble with the epilogue. It was the same way with No Country For Old Men. It's not bad, just not quite what you were expecting. Perhaps that's done on purpose.

Bottom line, add True Grit to you queue.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

All But One Man Died, There At Bitter Creek

Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 
  156 episodes, Dude.


  The bulk of the series.


  Not exactly a lightweight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WTF Was That?!?

Wow, I thought a tornado was about to come tearing thru The South 40! It was sprinkling lightly when I got home and I thought that was strange since my Weather Bug app didn't say anything about rain. Hey, take what you can get in June and be thankful for it.

I just sat down and flipped on the TV. Next thing I know the wind really kicks up enough for me to notice it over the TV. I start hearing stuff hit the house and then a loud thump when a tree limb hit the roof. That really got my attention and things kicked into high gear. The house starts shaking, the roof and walls are flexing and I'm headed for the exit on the far side of the house when the power goes out.

Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency. I have my floor plan memorized by steps and keep flashlights stashed everywhere. I decided to ride it out in the house until the house went for a ride and that thank God that wasn't a call I had to make. The storm was just a microburst and passed fairly quick with no major damage. But, it did get my undivided attention for a few minutes.

I really need to dig a cellar. Brother In Law, can I borrow that backhoe next weekend?

More Amazing Military Video or 101 Uses For A Bottle Jack

So you're just flyin' around Iraq in your Chinook when one of your landing gear decides to collapse on touchdown. What do you do?

You hope these guys are the ground crew, that's what! Huge tip o' the hat to the pilot and flight crew. (He might make a Coastie pilot someday if he keeps practicing!) That was some precise flying and they didn't do any further damage the aircraft. This on the spot ingenuity wound up becoming a training film.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

World Champion Dallas Mavericks

Mavs win it in 6, Dirk named MVP!

In a very classy move Mark Cuban requested the trophy be presented to Don and Linda Jo Carter.

How sweet it is!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Guardians

Cool video of my old cutter USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) in action during a WESTPAC patrol thru Russia, Japan and China in 2007. Boutwell also led Task Force Tarawa into Iraq in 2003 and back in the day she carried one redneck rebel without a cause into the Arctic Circle for 90 consecutive days. Blue Nosed Polar Bear, Baby!

These guys became shellbacks.  Shallow water sailors my ass, Coasties rule the seas! Who do you think shows up when you call SOS?

Semper Paratus.

Run, Fat Boy, Run!

Wow, I finally made it to the end of a long stretch at work. My schedule has been screwy for the last month with people taking vacation, inventory, and God knows what else. But, now I finally get the payoff. A 4 day weekend with some racing at TMS mixed in! Woohoo! (I've already stopped by Muggs & Juggs for survival supplies.)

Our strategy hasn't changed from previous years. I won't be camping this weekend, just driving in for the races. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race Friday night and the IRL will be in town Saturday. (Danica, I'll meet you behind the Infield Care Center after the race, k?) The crowds are much smaller for these races than they are for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends, but they are (or can be) interesting and fun races to watch and you can get a really great view because there's lots of empty PSL seats you can snag.

The rest of the time I'm going to spend playing Green Acres.

Brother In Law is bailing hay and his small tractor is sick. Mine runs fine, but my tires are shot so I'm going to haul it to T&W in Bridgeport tomorrow and get some new rubber for the Massey then let him use it. That Massey Ferguson 235 is the only good thing I got out of CrazyEx#3 (well... you know) and I bought it from her before we got married. She tried to claim it in the divorce but that backfired on her, HA!

Anyway, it is one stout old school M/F'n diesel tractor. It takes a lickin' and just keeps on tickin'. No frills, no extras, just one solid farm tractor. I wish I had one with a bucket, power steering, a cab and A/C. But then it would probably be in the shop with something wrong and I'd still have to call for the Massey when it's 4th and goal from the 1.

Granted, I'm a nice guy BUT I'm not doing this totally out of the kindness of my heart. BIL has a backhoe I wouldn't mind borrowing for a few chores around The South 40. I have a few ditches that need digging and me no habla shovel very well anymore. He'd let me borrow it anytime I asked, but I like being able to help him out when he's in a bind, too. That's what neighbors and family are about in my book.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Biostation Alpha?

Why does it remind me of this???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

World Shin Kicking Championship

Damn! I meant to sign up for this! Oh well, maybe next year...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Updated: Teen killed in three-vehicle crash near Denton | Crime and Safety | News from Fort Worth...

A Sunset teenager died Saturday night at a Fort Worth hospital from injuries he suffered in a three-vehicle wreck on 380 just west of Denton.
Two other people were injured and were in a Denton hospital in stable condition, according to Texas Department of Public Safety reports released Sunday.
The teen was identified as Tyler Kilcrease, 17.

Read more:

Unconfirmed reports are the boy was the son of the pastor of the church at the old Chico VFW (New Fellowship?). Condolences to the family.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Who Says Sarah Palin Is An Idiot?

Why just recently she gave a quick American History lesson while visiting Paul Revere's house.

Friday, June 3, 2011


No, I'm not talking about Roberto Monteban (altho he looked maaavelous) as an outerspace warlord. I'm talking about a free world class education for anyone, anywhere. The Khan Academy.

I hated math in school. I just didn't get numbers. I excelled in language classes, but math just gave me mega tiredhead. When I changed schools from Bridgeport to Chico I was given the gift of the world's greatest math teacher, Mr. Singleton and my grades skyrocketed from a C (it's my blog and I'll remember it how I want) to an A. Unfortunately, since I did so well with him I was put into the advanced group and was forced to take Algebra 1, Algebra 2 Trigonometry and Geometry. God hated me because none of those teachers were nearly as good as Mr. Singleton (thru no fault of their own) and I struggled with math all the way thru High School, except for Geometry. For some reason Geometry made sense when the others didn't (but I passed them all damn it!).

Anyway, my point is Salman Khan may just well be Mr. Singleton reincarnate. Don't let the name fool you, he's from Nawlins (New Orleans to you Yankees) born and raised.  He has 3 degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. The dude is one sharp cookie, yet he makes the subject (not just math) interesting and you want to learn more about it. 

It all started when he wanted to tutor his cousin over the internet. Now 2,300+ videos later it's blossomed into The Khan Academy and is educating people all across the planet.  Best of all it's 100% free. You won't get a diploma, but you will get a world class education at no cost. This is what the intertubesnet was ment to be.