Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Movies

Seen
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Incredibles 2
Deadpool 2
Ant Man and The Wasp
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Smallfoot
BlacKkKlansman
Sherlock Gnomes
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Paul, Apostle of Christ
RBG


Want to See
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald
Ralph Breaks the Internet
The House With a Clock in the Walls
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
First Man
Paddington 2
Widows
The Commuter
Isle of Dogs
Teen Titans Go To the Movies
Green Book
Bad Times at El Royale
Girl in a Spiders Web
Eighth Grade
Old Man and The Gun
Early Man
Mary Poppins Returns
Mortal Engines
Into the Spiderverse
Aquaman
Stan and Ollie
Vice
On the Basis of Sex

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Movies

Here are the movies I have seen in 2017 so far...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Beauty and the Beast
Wonder Woman
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Spider Man Homecoming
Despicable Me 3
Dunkirk
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
LEGO Batman Movie
The Boss Baby
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Cars 3
Baby Driver
Daddy's Home 2
Murder on the Orient Express
Blade Runner 2049
The Emoji Movie
The Mummy
Atomic Blonde
American Made
The Dark Tower
Smurfs: The Lost Village
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
American Assassin
The Foreigner
Wind River
Geostorm
The Mountain Between Us
Logan Lucky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Downsizing
mother!
The Glass Castle
Detroit
Roman J. Israel Esq.
The Beguiled
The Snowman
Just Getting Started

Update:
The Shape of Water
Coco
Get Out
Thor: Ragnorak
Justice League
John Wick 2
The Post
Battle of the Sexes

And a few movies I still need to see....


Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Victoria and Abdul
The Darkest Hour
The Disaster Artist
Marshall
Beatriz at Dinner
Suburbicon
The Florida Project
LBJ


Friday, February 17, 2017

News clipping found and scanned


2016 Movies

I saw a lot of movies this past year, quite a few more than in the recent past. But I still didn't see a single Academy Award Best Picture nominee.

Rouge One: A Star Wars Story
Finding Dory
Captain America: Civil War
Secret Life of Pets
The Jungle Book
Deadpool
Zootopia
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Moana
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Doctor Strange
Jason Bourne
Star Trek Beyond
X-Men Apocalypse
Trolls
Kung Fu Panda 3
The Angry Birds Movie
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Storks
Ice Age: Collision Course
Kubo and The Two Strings
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years

And here are the ones that I still intend to see at some point...

Sing
Suicide Squad
Hidden Figures
LaLa Land
Central Intelligence
Sully
Arrival
Magnificent Seven
Miss Peregrine's School for Unusual Children
Pete's Dragon
Hacksaw Ridge
Jack Reacher 2
The BFG
Hail, Cesar
Silence

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Republican "Anything Goes" Ethos

The other day on his 'victory' tour, President-Elect Trump noted how vicious his fans were during the campaign, screaming "Lock Her Up" and "Build the Wall" at his campaign rallies. But now that they have 'won' they can be mellow again.
The clear implication of Trump's words were two-fold, first that if they had not won  there would have been no mellowing, and second that being vicious was a key to their victory.
At the same time that Trump was saying this, the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature was meeting in a special session to pass a bunch of laws stripping power away from the newly-elected Democratic governor before he assumes office (and signed by the out-going Republican governor).
As outrageous as all of this is, it pales in comparison to the recent revelations that the Russian autocracy was meddling in our elections with the express intent of helping to elect Donald Trump. That news was met with shock and dismay by about half of the electorate. But the other half seems indifferent at best and, at worst, seem absolutely delighted... more apt to give Vladimir Putin a high-five than to support imposing more sanctions.
This is due, I believe, to the new Republican "Anything Goes" ethos. That is, anything is OK as long as it helps your side achieve its ultimate goal of attaining or maintaining power. It does not matter if you lie, cheat or steal. In fact, lying, cheating and stealing while at the same time accusing your opponent of lying, cheating and stealing is a very successful campaign tactic as we have just witnessed.
And don't stop with calling your opponent a liar and a cheat. Accuse them of murder, rape, child molestation, treason and the worst possible things you can think of. Anything goes. The only thing that matters is winning. And once you win, do everything you can to jack the system in your favor so that you keep on winning. Pack the courts, gerrymander the districts, change laws so that it benefits your constituents and shortchanges others. Suppress turnout in areas that vote for your opponent and scream about non-existent election fraud anytime that you lose.
Machiavelli would have been embarrassed and appalled by the political tactics of the modern Republican Party.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goodnight sweet Prince

In the summer of 1984, I was home from my freshman year at Texas A&M when I got to spend a weekend at South Padre Island with some of my friends. It was a fun trip, nobody did anything terribly stupid and no one got into trouble.
The one thing I remember the most from that weekend was the music. We had a second floor room overlooking the pool and one of my friends had a jam box that he would set out on the balcony blaring music. We had each brought our latest musical discoveries which included Van Halen's "1984," Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" and Billy Squier's "Signs of Life." My contribution was the latest Prince album "Purple Rain."
Oddly enough, the music we ended up listening to the most during the trip was "Signs of Life," which I still think is a greatly underrated album and one of my all-time favorites. However, the other three albums clearly had the more lasting influence with the general public. I felt a special attachment to Prince's music since I was the one who had "discovered" it among my group of friends and I continued to follow Prince for years after. And while I liked much of his later music, nothing ever equaled or surpassed the perfection of Purple Rain. Every song on the album was fantastic from the epic "When Doves Cry" and the infectious "Let's Go Crazy" to the hypnotic title track "Purple Rain." No one else could mix sex and religion the way Prince did and come up with a funky number like "I Would Die 4 U." Incredible.
I'm still in shock right now contemplating Prince's untimely death. Like with so many other musical talents who died too young we are left wondering what he might have produced had he lived longer. But at least with Prince, he left an enormous musical legacy and I am sure there are boatloads of posthumous musical releases yet to come.

The World is NOT Broken

“We live in a broken world,” said a gentleman in my Bible Study class the other night as all the others nodded in agreement. According to the religious customs of most Christian churches, the World has been a ‘broken’ or ‘fallen’ place ever since Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and “sin” entered the world. That “original sin,” as conceived by the Apostle Paul and elaborated by St. Augustine, infected all of humanity and is the source of our “sinful nature.” It is the reason why Jesus had to be sacrificed on the cross as an atonement to satisfy God’s righteous wrath and judgement, according to church doctrine.
But hold on a minute, because I’m not buying all of this. This idea of an angry, wrathful God who must be appeased by blood sacrifices may have made sense to the ancient Hebrews, but it does not fit with my conception of a loving God full of grace and compassion. The ancient Hebrews who wrote the Old Testament believed that God was punishing them every time something bad happened (famines, wars, pestilence) and likewise blessing them whenever something good happened. Their conception of God was of an all-powerful monarch who demanded absolute fealty and servitude. The Bible is kind of vague on what actually constitutes a ‘sin,’ but one thing that was almost certain to raise God’s ire was idolatry. Command No. 1 on Moses’ tablets was “Thou Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me.” The God of Moses was a ‘jealous god,’ quick to anger with a frightening temper. And whenever anything bad happened, the Hebrews were quick to blame it on someone who was worshipping a false idol and not showing the proper reverence and respect to the one, true God.
But God was not always angry in the Old Testament. There are plenty of stories that speak of a loving God that was happy with his creation and watched over all the people like his children. This is the conception of God that Jesus brought to the fore and was at the heart of his ministry. I believe the difference between the Old Testament conception of God as wrathful and jealous versus the New Testament God of grace and forgiveness is one of spiritual maturity. Jesus represented a level of spiritual maturity that has not since been equalled. Unfortunately, I believe the Christian leaders in the years following Jesus fell back in to the old attitudes of seeing God as jealous and vengeful most of the time. Jesus’ message was undercut by these Christian leaders still looking for a champion who would slay their enemies and punish all the people they felt needed punishing. Jesus’ radical message of loving one’s enemies and forgiving those who persecute you was pushed aside in favor of apocalyptic fantasies of an avenging crusader who would mete our justice in a righteous show of force and strength.
So where does that leave us today? If God is truly all about love and forgiveness and mercy and grace and compassion, then what accounts for all the evil in the world? Where does evil come from if not from God? My answer is simple. Evil is the absence of love. Think about evil like darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light. Or cold, which is just the absence of heat. Or silence, which is just the absence of sound. Love can manifest itself in many ways, but so can evil. One of the most common forms of evil is indifference. It may not seem like you are doing anything bad, but your indifference to someone else’s plight is often what allows evil to come into the world. It is not God making bad things happen. It is people choosing not to love - covering up their light and hiding it under a bushel. God is not going to force anyone to love because then it would lose its real power. It is our ability to choose to love of our own free will that makes us in the image of God. And that is why I do not believe that the World is ‘broken.’ The world is working just fine, thank you. It is up to us to get our act together and be like our creator. Our task while we are here is to make a heaven on earth and we do that by spreading love willfully and joyfully. Don’t worry so much about what comes after. Take every opportunity now to spread love. If you see dark places in the world, then you need to shine your light even more. If the world seems cold, then share your own warmth. If the world is silent, then it’s time that you made a joyful noise.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Movies List

Time for my annual list of movies I have seen during the previous year as well as the ones that I still want to see.

Have Seen

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Avengers: Age of Ultron
*Inside Out
*Minions
*Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
*Home
*Hotel Transylvania 2
*The Spongebob Movie
*Kingsman: The Secret Service
Spy
The Good Dinosaur
*Pixels
*Paddington
Fantastic Four

Want To See

*Jurassic World
*Furious 7
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
The Martian
*Cinderella
Spectre
Ant-Man
*Mad Max: Fury Road
The Peanuts Movie
Creed
Tomorrowland
Bridge of Spies
Black Mass
The Man From UNCLE
Pan
A Walk in the Woods
Ex Machina
In the Heart of the Sea
Joy
Shaun the Sheep Movie
*Monkey Kingdom

* Means I own a DVD or Digital copy of the movie.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mom's pie safe cabinet

Sugar & Creamer - violet (nested) - Erna Mae Thomas (Annabel Stocking - S.S. secret pal)
Sugar & Creamer - violets - Erna Mae
Butter dish lid - Grandma (Della) Johnson
Candle sticks - Louise Thomas (Jerry Thomas' cousin) from Czechoslovakia
Footed metal basket - Charlotte Gamison's mother (Erna Mae's neighbor)- England
Blue pottery vase - Made by Jerry Thomas 1964
Blue vase - Church rummage sale 1943 from Erna Mae
Blue ashtray - Red Thomas
Curved knife - Gene Thomas - Algeria WWII
Green cup and saucer - Jerry's from Jewel Bryan (Erna Mae's neighbor)
Gray Japanese miniature teapot and plate - Pearl Thomas Cole (Red Thomas' sister)
Blue salt and pepper shaker - Grandma (Lydia) Miller
Flowered plate - Erna Mae from Dorothy Gadbury (Sara Thomas' mother)
Footed cake plate - Grandma (Fannie) Elkins
Sugar bowl - Great Grandma (Mary Louella) Wynn
Glass tray with fruit - Grandma (Fannie) Elkins
White footed bowl - Betty Thomas made it 1970s

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

GenCon XVI



The summer before my freshman year in college, my friend Jimmy Miller invited me to go with him and his family to GenCon XVI, the major RolePlaying Gamers Convention in Wisconsin.
I was digging through some old boxes the other day and found my program for the event which I used to collect autographs while I was there. In the bottom left corner you can see that it was signed by the iconic Gary Gygax, creator of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game.