Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"As a small tribute to my friend who died of breast cancer, I'm offering a free copy of Dina's wonderful book to the first three readers who email me with name and address," Lee wrote on May 10. "There is a stipulation, however: you have to agree to blog about the book (with link and cover image) and spread the good word.I feel perfectly justified in attaching this condition, because proceeds from the book will go to Mount Vernon Cancer Hospital's cancer trials research."
Joining me in the virtual world will be Minx of The Inner Minx and RJ of Real Reader Reviews-The 3 R's .....
But what about the actual world? Would any of my fellow West Texas bloggers like to borrow my copy when I'm done, read the book, and blog about it? Please let me know.
Monday, May 28, 2007
For me, at least, it came at a funny time ..... just the day before, I had been visiting with an old friend of mine, currently the head of operations at KWES-TV/NewsWest 9, but once a member of the engineering staff at Big 2 ..... and a reminder of the day when their engineers were on the cutting edge, bringing new technology and applications to the Permian Basin ..... before - and better than - anyone else in the market.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Every weekend, look for 'Cemetery Blogging' at Skewed View ..... you're right Spookyrach, "What a Name" .....
Okay, where is Wallace going? ..... I think, guessing what might be 'Shangri La' (scroll down to "Summer Plans") for the proprietor of Streams has the makings for a good contest .....
Mortar-boards are flying at Sticky Doorknobs ..... head over there and congratulate Jimmy, proud papa of a graduate, another great member of the Patterson clan .....
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Actually, I think it was both ..... and plenty more, besides ....
For example, it was a great decade for folk songs and ballads, too, as I was reminded this morning, when I heard Joan Baez sing "Diamonds and Rust" on XM's "70s on 7" ..... Here's that song, courtesy of Webcruiser .....
Baez was not alone ..... back then, there were plenty during that decade, who took some really fine poetry, and set it to music ..... they included Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Seeger, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, Gordon Lightfoot and - my personal favorite - Harry Chapin .....
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The online series begins with the story of SPC4 John P. Baca, United States Army, who served in a heavy-weapons platoon with the 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam, near the Cambodian border, in 1970.
Still, I plan on going to see the new, feature-length, live-action Transformers movie set to debut next month. So is Jim, at serotoninrain ..... at least, I think he is ..... judge for yourself .....
I have to agree with Jim ..... director Michael Bay - who is no stranger to fantasy and science fiction - really hasn't lit up the silver screen with past projects. On the other hand, though, I have a very low seduction level when it comes to special effects, and the effects displayed in the trailer for this film look great!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
The cause for that celebration can be found here, and makes for a wonderful read.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Today, it's The Horse Soldiers (1959), in which a Union cavalry regiment is sent behind Confederate lines to disrupt and destroy rebel resources, communications and supply centers. The film was directed by John Ford, who has always earned high marks with me when it comes to the attention paid to authentic details in his films.
But that doesn't mean he wasn't ready to engage in a little artistic license, in order to tell a good story. The bulk of the film is inspired by Grierson's Raid, part of General U.S. Grant's Vicksburg Campaign.
But, a particularly moving part of the film is taken from another, little known battle, the Battle of New Market ..... you know the scene, in a desperate attempt to hold off the Union forces, the rebel commander drafts the corps of cadets from a nearby military academy ..... it really happened ..... just ask anyone from the Virginia Military Institute.
In the movie, it's an occasion for high spirits, even some laughs, as the cadets seek to close with the seasoned Union troops, voices that have not yet been touched by puberty raising their rebel yells to especially high levels. One of them is even captured, and spanked before the Union troopers retreat, yielding the field and the day's glory to the gallant youngsters.
If only .....
After a four-day, eighty-mile march, VMI's Corps of Cadets did indeed close with the enemy at the Battle of New Market, enduring rifle and artillery fire from the Union positions, meeting and repelling a Union charge, then launching a charge of their own, capturing prisoners and artillery pieces, and spurring a Union retreat.
The field, and the glory was theirs' .... but not at the cost of just a spanking. Ten of the cadets were killed outright, or died later from their wounds. Another 45 cadets were wounded in the action. The boys ranged in age from fifteen- to seventeen-years, though some accounts claim some of the cadets were as young as twelve-years. You can visit the battlefield - virtually - at its website. If you get a chance, though, I recommend actually visiting the site ..... for depth of history, culture and natural beauty, it's hard to beat a tour of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
By the way, I said earlier that I always appreciated Ford's attention to authentic detail. In the movie, the school has been renamed the Jefferson Military Academy. Among those cadets killed at the Battle of New Market was Thomas Garland Jefferson (a descendant of President Thomas Jefferson) ..... not a coincidence, I think.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
So, now, I turn my attention to another show 'on the bubble' ... this one, The Dresden Files at SciFi Channel. It's a small-screen adaptation of the novels by Jim Butcher about Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne), an ordinary guy with extraordinary abilities. He's a wizard (listed in the Yellow Pages, and everything) who is called upon to help police investigating crimes and criminals that seem to have left the earthly pale far behind.
No word, yet, from SciFi on whether Dresden will return for a second season. However, fans are doing what they can to raise the alarm, and that includes the web, which is a medium Star Trek fans didn't have in their efforts to save that show, back in the 60s and 70s).
Friday, May 18, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Here's the top ten .....
1. Animal House
4. There's Something About Mary
5. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
7. The Wedding Singer
8. Blazing Saddles
9. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
A complete list can be found here, at "Rotten Tomatoes" ..... sorry, I couldn't find Bravo's official page for the series. I would have liked to find that page, to get some sense of what criteria are used to rate "South Park" at #5, while relegating "Young Frankenstein" to #56 ... to rate "The Wedding Singer" at #7 while "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" languishes at #40.
And I have to wonder about the 'All Time' part of the title, since only two of the movies - "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) and "The Producers" (1968) - were produced before 1970, which seems to me leaves out an awful lot of contenders for the list ..... "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" . "School of Rock" and "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" are all funnier than anything the Marx Brothers ever produced?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I think it went pretty well ..... I found myself being interviewed by no less than four members of a local newspaper's news department, regarding a position that would draw upon the expertise I have gained in both my print and online work over the years ..... The interview concluded with them heading out to a meeting, and me set-up at one of their work stations, drafting some copy for their review .....
I think it went pretty well ..... but the proof of the pudding is in the reading ..... I'll keep you posted on what I hear back from them .....
Sunday, May 13, 2007
For me, it was a toss-up ..... Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche - "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." ..... and Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Now, with that behind me, let me move on to a rant ..... what is it with the programs they hand out to us at MCT? I can't recall a time, ever, when I - as a member of the audience - have been so poorly served by my copy of the Prompter.
It's embarrassing to admit, that it took me some time to figure out what the heck was happening, and who the people were on stage. And we're not talking about some little-known work of an obscure playwright, someone who never got closer to the New York stage than Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
This was Edward Albee, for crying out loud, and the play, "Three Tall Women," that earned Albee his third Pulitzer Prize. Heck, I even performed Albee in high school, playing the role of Daddy in "The Sandbox" - which, considering the subject matter, should have given me some insight into TTW.
My Prompter was certainly no help ..... no mention of the setting, no mention of who - or what - the characters are (just the names and past roles of the performers), and not even the briefest discussion of what we'll see this evening ..... just an overlong essay by the director about how much this production meant to him and his relationship with his 'Nana.'
Would it be too low-brow of me to offer this plea from We, the Unlettered ..... that we get just a little help to better enjoy the show?
Fortunately, I stuck with it ..... though not everyone did, with several heading out the door during intermission. I say 'fortunately' because, after a very rough first act, the performers finally seemed to find their stride in the second, and the brilliance of Albee's words - sometimes sharp, sometimes poignant - came through.
I'm glad I went, if just for the closing minutes, as A, B and C each deliver their soliloquy, and come together at last for the final heart-rending moment of the show.
Friday, May 11, 2007
At the time of that post, I worried about the show's future ..... and I may have been right to worry. NBC says it will air all seven episodes of the series this summer - but there's no word on its future after that. The consensus I've gained from TV writers around the country - at least, among those posted on the Internet - is that the show will not make the cut for NBC's fall lineup, set to be announced shortly.
That's a shame, really.
In the meantime, you can watch all seven episodes on line at NBC's website ..... here is the link for the first, pilot episode ..... enjoy!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I already knew that, thanks to this post from Jim at Serotoninrain, who is himself a letter carrier. Jim's post also serves to remind us that, just as we show our generosity to the needy, with the food we donate, we might also show some consideration to participating letter carriers. In our family's case, we try to meet our carrier at the corner where he parks his truck each day ..... in his case, our carrier walks each block door-to-door, and those groceries can get heavy in the course of a round-trip back to his truck.
I picked out a novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, "The Queen of the South."
According to the author's website, the book "spans continents, from the dusty streets of Mexico to the sparkling waters off the coast of Morocco, to Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar. A sweeping story set to the irresistible beat of the drug smugglers' ballads, it encompasses sensuality and cruelty, love and betrayal, as its heroine's story unfolds."
This will be my third book by Pérez-Reverte, having already read "The Club Dumas" and "The Flanders Panel." Based on those experiences, I am genuinely looking forward to this one, though its focus does seem a little different than the two I mentioned, both of which had an old artifact for their focus, and an equally-old mystery that seems to find new life - and death - in the modern world, with the discovery of that artifact.
I'll let you know what I think, sometime this summer.
BTW ..... If you want to read "The Club Dumas," don't be put-off by the sticker advising you that the movie, "The Ninth Gate," was adapted from this book ..... that was a perfectly-awful film adaptation of a perfectly-wonderful book!
ADDED NOTE ..... "When Bloggers Collide" ..... Also perusing the shelves at B&N was Jimmy of Sticky Doorknobs. He was picking up a copy of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegone Days." I'm a great fan of Keillor's spoken word - I want HIS voice when I grow up! - but I've never read Keillor. I'm looking forward to hearing what Jimmy has to say about the book.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Another good day for staying indoors and reading a good book, perhaps sitting in this chair, illustrated by Karen at PEN IN HAND.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The folks at 'Prairie Home Companion' - where I had first heard the quote, read by Garrison Keilor - sent me the following ..... "The reading was from 'The Edward Hoagland Reader,' edited and with an Introduction by Geoffrey Wolff. It is published by Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, New York. The section read on the APHC show on February 5th was found in 'Americana. ETC' and found on pages 77-78."
Hoagland may be one of the better writers you've never heard of ..... this interview with Hoagland, by Alden Mudge, offers some insight into why that may be the case .....
Monday, May 07, 2007
Yeah, well, Quentin Tarantino’s world doesn’t exist either, but it doesn’t keep people from using his films as a cultural reference.
Frank, at BOOKS, INQ., recommends you read the whole thing: "The Shack-up License" ..... I agree with him.
Perhaps ..... there DO seem to be a lot of tragic events such as these during a roughly two-month period, early in the year .....
Jonesboro School Shootings - March 24, 1998
Virginia Tech Shootings - April 16, 2007
Oklahoma City Bombing - April 19, 1995
Columbine School Shootings - April 20, 1999
MOVE/Philadelphia Siege - May 15, 1985
SLA/Los Angeles Siege - May 17, 1975
But, on the other hand .....
Stockton School Shooting - January 17, 1989
Branch Davidians/Waco Siege - February 28, 1993
UT Tower Shootings - August 1, 1966
Ruby Ridge - August 21, 1992
World Trade Center - September 11, 2001
Amish School Shooting - October 2, 2006
I suspect that a more thorough, systematic analysis of such events - and I've listed only a few, here - would probably NOT find a correlation to the calendar that is statistically significant .....
But I do have one to add to that first list, it began in the last month of April, and ended in the first week of May ..... and it took place, quite literally, in our own back yard - the standoff between the Republic of Texas, and State of Texas law enforcement, at the ROT 'compound' in the Davis Mountains Resort.
And it was all going on ten years ago, today. I pitched the idea at a news story meeting, a couple weeks back, at KWES-TV ..... nada.
However, Bob Campbell, at the Midland Reporter Telegram, did produce this fine article, well worth taking the time to read it. I also strongly recommend listening to the accompanying audio ..... it's not very good quality, but it does give some feel for interviewing someone like Richard McLaren - which can be a genuinely weird experience ..... I did it, myself, when I was editor of the Fort Stockton Pioneer, and Big Bend stringer for KWES-TV, and he was still an ROT Ambassador.
More on all this, later .....
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Well, that's it, I'm gone ..... this past Monday, April 30, was my last day with KWES-TV, NewsWest 9, bringing an end to seventeen years of work, in one capacity or another, full-time or part-time .....
The last few weeks were hectic ones, as a new person was moved into my spot, and brought up to speed, trying to make the transition from the outgoing Web Editor to the incoming Internet Content Director as smooth as possible .....
Actually, Ronnie Marley - who worked graveyard shift in the KWES tape room - was already working on the website, making sure overnight developments were posted on the site ..... between the two of us, we were able to make www.newswest9.com THE #1 online source for breaking and developing news .....
Two months ago, when I gave my 'two-weeks notice,' I had urged the powers-that-be at KWES to give Ronnie's application serious consideration ..... the job is now different from the one for which I was originally hired, in 2000 ..... but it's in good hands which are, in some respects, better suited to its new parameters and new vision .....