Thursday, April 23, 2015

Family Histories and Ben Affleck

I haven't read anything on Ben Affleck's embarrassment about an ancestory being a slaveholder.  I did catch a bit on the evening news last night, and I think I have the gist:  He found out an ancestor was a slaveholder, and he's embarrassed about it.  Correct me if I'm wrong.

Well, Ben, Congratulations!  Welcome to the melting pot that is the gene pool that led up to you.

Look, you go five generations back, you're looking at 32 different people, who coupled and ended up producing you.  You go back six, and you've got 64 people.

Here's the the thing.  Look at your family now.  Can you do anything about what Cousin Butch does?  Maybe, if you're name is Cousin Luke, and you're a WWE Hall of Famer, but I'm guessing not.

Now, what about those people who are dead?  Can you go back in time and talk to them?  Maybe teach them the folly of their ways?  I'd like to ask that of Ben Affleck specifically, because I still feel like there's some weird shit going on with his being cast as Batman, and I think traveling through time, altering events so that happenstance lines up according his design might be an answer to many of my questions.

Anyway, here's my point.  If you go back 6 generations in my own family tree?  You have slaveholders.  We've found the proof.  One ancestor in Georgia owned about 30, at one count.

Also in my family tree?  A preacher who fought for abolition, who served in the Union Army.

There's everything in your family tree, Ben.  You can't help what's there.  I know.  I've got a butt-ton of cousins procreating in Grainger County, Tennessee, between the years 1800 and 1900.  And that number of 64 people when you go back 6 generations?  I've only got 62 individuals, owing to the same person occupying two different spots in the tree.  So if anybody should be embarrassed, it's me, for my love of applesauce.

None of this even mentions the 19 cousins on both sides of my family that are still alive today that I couldn't force to go an any direction but the one they decide is right.

We're an obstinate bunch, that way.

My point is this:  you can't pick your family.  Even less can you pick your ancestors.  And if you're embarrassed by what's there, then you're not the guy who should be playing Batman....

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tweets and Twisters

This morning's read from NPR, about Social Media and Weather and News Reporting....

Makes me think of the tornado outbreak that blew through this neck of the woods about four years ago.  I worked a longass day that day.  Followed news on TV and Twitter that night.  One particular set of tweets, about the storm that ran through Ringgold, with tweets about one of the sister stores of the company I work for being completely destroyed.  That set of tweets, retweeted by news twitter feeds as well as individuals, was incorrect.

Food for thought, for yours truly, especially since the bulk of my news comes from social media, anymore....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Three minor things I do not shy away from, when confronted, though I tend to omit them in polite conversation with complete strangers.

  • I do not think much of the movie The Sandlot.  I don't dislike it.  It's not a bad movie.  It just never made any particular impression on me.  I've never really understood the fervor with which its adherents stand by.  I'm not knocking it, because I have my own sacred cows, for sure.  I'd long held that maybe I was just the wrong age when the movie came out.  My sister loves this movie.  LOVES THIS MOVIE.  Probably more than she loves me.  She was of an age with the kids in the movie, at the time the movie came out.  I tend to think Goonies and Explorers hit the same sort of note for me, a few years earlier, for a lot of the same reasons.
  • I am uncomfortable with the use of the adjective "savory," when describing a dish.  I am even less comfortable with other folks using the adjective, wielding it like a kid who's found a sword and waves it wildly because they've seen it on tv.  It seems too many things go into the word.  Sweet, sour, salty, I'm right with you.  Savory just doesn't work for me.  Seems too subjective.  Also seems like a word people hear on cooking shows and then use themselves to seem smart.  But then, maybe they do understand, and I don't, and this fact is what I am most uncomfortable with.
  • Over the course of several conventions, I made it my mission to get a picture of myself and Gary Coleman, without paying the exorbitant Gary Coleman fee.  I was never successful.  I got a good picture of Coleman, while trying to catch my mug in the shot, too.  If you look at it a certain way, it looks like Gary Coleman is peering into a giant ear.  (A certain way might involve lots of alcohol).  I am not proud of my quest.  Gary's been dead 5 years, this year.  Time flies, don't it?

Monday, March 23, 2015

In which our hero responds to a Buzzfeed list about food

Just minor thoughts of response to a Buzzfeed list about the 31 Weirdest Foods in America

This list, and my responses.

1.  Olive Loaf

I have tried.  I don't dislike, though I couldn't tell you the last time I had any.

2.  Jell-O Salad

It's not a pot luck in Tennessee unless somebody brings a Jell-O salad.  I think it's state law.  And that being the case, it means it's time to overthrow the current goverment, and violently.

3.  Koolickles

I have heard of these, but I have not tried.  I find myself intrigued.

4.  Chicken and Waffles

A combination that has grown on me.  Yes.

5.  Scrapple

I have tried.  It's not my thing, though if you're eating a sausage patty, you're only eating a differently spiced cousin of Scrapple.  Incidentally, my pilot for Cousin of Scrapple starts shooting next week.  We got Richard Moll, you guys!

6.  Grits

You're not allowed to vote in Tennessee unless you eat a bowl of grits, first.  Seriously, we need to look at the rulebook in this state.

7.  Deep Fried Butter

Though it may surprise you, I have never tried such a thing, nor am I in much of a rush, too.  I'm a little curious, sure.  Who isn't when you're young and out on your own?  But the time for such experimentation is in my past....

8.  Chitterlings

I have tried.  They didn't taste bad, I will admit.  Still, knowledge of what part of the anatomy they are, combined with the troubling texture make these things not something your old pal Tommy hungers for.

9.  Kraft Singles

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that they're good, or good for you.  But I have bought them.  I will buy them again.  Probably in bulk.

10.  Ambrosia Salad

Again, something of a potluck staple on those Sundays after church.  I have eaten.  I would hesitate, given the severe distaste for marshmallows I've developed in the past decade.

11.  Sloppy Joe.

Hells yes I've eaten a sloppy joe.  I've eaten a sloppy joe made out of goat meat.  This last phrase is on my business card.

12.  Pop Tarts

Hells yes I've eaten a Pop Tart, though I didn't get them as a kid.  I think this was due to my mother's severe phobia for the number 11, thus preventing our owning a toaster.

13.  Chicken Fried Steak

Again, Tennessee.  If Tennessee had it's own currency, it would have Chicken Fried Steak on the 5 note.

14.  Tater Tot Casserole

Yes.  I would eat a baking dish full of it now.  You think I won't?  Winner gets the other's car title.  We're doing this.  (No we're not).

15.  Red-Eye Gravy

The lady who took care of me when I was little would feed us Red-Eye Gravy.  In our bottles.

16.  Gumbo

It is the only way I will take my okra.  I realize this bars me from holding office in Tennessee,  We really need to change the Constitution, guys, though I'm really for putting Chicken Fried Steak on the money.  Or perhaps using it as money.

17.  Fry Sauce

Nope.  Not rushing out to find any, but I would try some.

18.  Twinkies

Come on now.  You think I look like I do without eating a Twinkie or three?  I'm not a great fan of the Twinkie, though.  If you're going Hostess, you should go with a Zinger.  Although naming a snack "Ding Dong" is tremendous fun, especially at family gatherings.  Which I don't get invited to, anymore.

19.  Sweet Potato and Marshmallow

Yep.  And what the fuck, America?  Stop it with the marshmallows.  It's like a nation full of gummy joes wandering around needing to mush their foods and enjoy the texture as it plops off your soft palate.

20.  Burgoo

Never even heard of such a mess.  I wouldn't turn it down, though, if somebody were to offer me a spoonful.

21.  Green Bean Casserole

Guys, the State of Tennessee keeps the Hanover Bean Company afloat with how many giant cans of Hanover Green Beans they buy each holiday.  Have I mentioned how much one of those big cans hurts when it falls onto your foot?  I'd have guessed as much, but these things happen when you're building a display of the things.  Note to Hanover:  Round the bottoms of your cans, assholes.

22.  Peeps

Dammit, America.  What is your obsession with peeps?  What folly.  Easter candy in general is firmly planted  in the gutter, what with its emphasis on Peeps, Cadbury Snot Eggs and the broken promise that is the hollow chocolate bunny.  Still, there's some props to be given.  I'd never have thought a marshmallow could be much more disgusting, but then they've decided to add sugary grit to that gooey garbage.

23.  The Doughnut Burger

You know, this gives me pause.  I have not tried.  I like burgers.  I like doughnuts.  I'm just not sure I'd like them together.   I'd try it.  I just don't think I'd like it.

24.  Mayonnaise

What's wrong with mayonnaise?  I mean, it's not like I eat more than a jar of it a week.  Ever meet somebody who made their own mayonnaise?  And I'm not talking about some sick joke, though my mind went there almost immediately.  Seriously, though.  Made their own?  Those people are heroes, guys.  And they're what makes America great.

25.  Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

I dislike this item's inclusion in the list.  Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches are awesome.  I have tried them fried, but I prefer them plain.  It's the only time I like white bread, too. Though I feel it's as good as time as any to mention that bananas should be sliced like poker chips, on the sandwich.  There is no alternative.   None.

26.  Rocky Mountain Oysters

Yes.  And I knew what they were.  They weren't horrible, though if something's breaded and deep fried, it's almost always good (excepting Okra).  I don't rush out to get them.  I don't order them.  But I've tried.

27.  Cincinnati Chili

Yep.  It's not bad, though I certainly wish the people of Cincinnati weren't so proud of it.

28.  Chicken Gizzards

I have tried them.  I luckily did not inherit my Dad's gene that makes him eat these like he's going to win a prize for it.  If I had a dollar for every time I saw him sharing these treats with the family dog, while I, my sister and Mom looked on, wondering why he'd spent his entire paycheck on chicken gizzards?  He'd probably knock me on my ass, and take that dollar to go buy chicken gizzards.

29.  Pickled Pigs Feet

They're not deplorable, but they're not worth the mess you make of your tuxedo when eating them.

30.  Meat Loaf

I enjoy this food, though not nearly as much as I enjoy the musical stylings of Marvin Aday.  And this is perhaps the truest statement I have made in the 13+ year history of this blogamathing.

31.  The KFC Double Down

I tried it.  It wasn't bad, though the two chicken patties are somewhat unwieldy.  I had to fashion a more adequate handhold by placing the sandwich in between two patties from a Hardee's Monster Burger, and then tying the whole thing together using beef and cheddar from an Arby's Beef and Cheddar.  My heart leapt out of my chest and helped me eat this thing, that's how much I loved it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Big Stupid Tommy Fast Food Review: The Cheddar Bo

After weeks of seeing the insipid commercial for the Cheddar Bo for weeks now, I decided to try one.

I cannot dissuade stringently enough from trying this.

The theory itself is sound.  Cheese.  Bread in biscuit form.  Both things I enjoy.

The practice is an exercise in overkill, however.  There is too much cheese to make the thing an enjoyable breakfast food.

I ordered through the drive-thru.  This is an important factor.  If I get a breakfast food from a fast food place, it is through the drive-thru.  I'm a busy man.  Places to go.  People to see.  I'm that guy you see trying to jam a steak and egg biscuit down his gullet at the red light in Calhoun, chasing it with coffee blacker than the night he's driving to work in.

The Cheddar Bo is not a good food to eat in your car.  The cheese skirt (which is so delightfully and not condescendingly at all described in the spot above) welds the cheese to the foil it is wrapped in, if you do not get to the food soon enough after it is removed from the oven.  Bojangles biscuits are crumbly, in my experience, and prone to disintegration if the correct biscuit keystone is removed during eating.  There is not a solid enough medium in the biscuit to maintain structural integrity, when trying to remove cheese and biscuit from the foil.

I very likely broke several traffic laws in the midst of trying to remove biscuit from foil.

I ended up driving up Highway 11 eating crumbles of biscuit, and chasing it with a wad of melted and re-solidified mild cheddar cheese.

The cheese is a quandary.  I suggest this to the fine folks at Bojangles:  find a sharper cheddar, for more taste, and then use less.  Otherwise, you've got something people will either have to use two hands to eat, or use a fork and knife.  For a convenient breakfast food, it sucks....

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


I've been going through some old comic boxes that I haven't gone through, it would seem, in more than ten years.  Getting ready to get rid of some.  Ebay.  Give some to the nephew.  Some to young friends Shyam has at the fisheries.  Point is, I don't need a few hundred pounds of fire hazard sitting in the hall closet.

At the bottom of one of the boxes, I found a yellow legal pad.

I've got dozens of these things around the house.  I make lists.  I write longhand.  I doodle.  They're just handy.

On this particular one, in early 2004, I'd started keeping track of the movie I watched.

I'd forgotten completely about this little project.  2004 was an odd year.  I was working third shift.  I didn't have a roommate, for the first time.  Since I was paying rent without help, I didn't have a lot of extra dough, so very few of these were seen in a theater.  Most were what I had on hand at the house, or rented (most likely from Videoculture, may she rest in peace...)

In July of that year, I moved back over to East Tennessee.  It was in the course of packing that I through this pad into the comic box, where it remained covered for nearly 11 years.

So apropos of nothing else, here's a list of the movies I watched from January through the middle of June, 2004:

1/1     Cold Mountain
1/1     Big Trouble
1/2     Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1/4     Willard
1/5     Empire Records
1/6     Jeepers Creepers 2
1/9     American Wedding
1/13   The Twelve Chairs
1/14   Heroic Trio
1/14   Lost in Translation
1/17   Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
1/19   UHF
1/21   the Thirteenth Warrior
1/24   Johnny English
1/24   Open Range
1/25   Straw Dogs
1/25   the Killing
1/26   Cabin Fever
1/26   The Medallion
1/26    CQ
1/29   Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country
1/30   Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (w/ commentary)
2/5     Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2/6     Melvin Goes to Dinner
2/6     Buffalo Soldiers
2/6     Night on Earth
2/7     Mallrats
2/7     Animal House
2/10     Independence Day
2/12     Jurassic Park
2/13    Thirteen
2/15     American Splendor
2/21     Road to Perdition
2/21     Rear Window
2/22     Runaway Jury
2/23     Brother from Outer Space
2/23     the Secret Lives of Dentists
2/23     Transformers: the Movie
2/26     Karate Kid
2/28     8-Mile
2/29     Hard Trip
2/29     Swimming Pool
2/29     Casino
3/1      Apollo 13
3/1     Club Dread
3/3     National Lampoon's Vacation
3/6    Dream Team
3/6    Intolerable Cruelty
3/7    A Shot in the Dark
3/7    Whipped
3/8    School of Rock
3/8    Shadow of the Vampire
3/13    Mona Lisa Smile
3/15    Spaceballs
3/20    The Missing
3/21    Underworld
3/21    Matchstick Men
3/22   Gremlins
3/23    A Mighty Wind
3/27    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
3/28    O Brother Where Art Thou?
4/2     Hellboy
4/3    Clerks
4/4    Radio
4/5   St. Francisville Experiment
4/8      Batman Returns
4/9      the Alamo
4/10     It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
4/14    Ghostbusters
4/19    Looney Toons:  Back in Action
4/19    Timeline
4/20    the Shining
4/20    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4/23    Stand by Me
4/24    Rain Man
4/25    Kill Bill, volume 1
4/25    Veronica Guerin
5/1     Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home
5/2    Star Trek V: the Final Frontier
5/3    Signs
5/5    Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
5/8    the Big Empty
5/9    Star Wars
5/9    Big Fish
5/12    Super Troopers
5/14   Star Trek: First Contact
5/18    Miracle
5/19    The Cooler
5/21    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
5/25    Police Academy 2
5/27    The Day the Earth Stood Still
5/28    Day After Tomorrow
5/30    Weekend at Bernie's
6/2     Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
6/2     Empire Strikes Back
6/2     Return of the Jedi
6/4     Welcome to Mooseport
6/5     Deep Impact
6/6     Troy
6/12    Monster
6/13    Club Dread
6/14    Bubba Ho Tep
6/14    Near Dark

Monday, March 16, 2015


An all female reboot of Highlander with Rebecca Lobo as The Kurgan.

I don't mean that as an insult.  In the least.

Who wouldn't want to see a 6'4" woman swinging a broadsword?

Nobody.  That's who.

Everybody wants to see that.

If they tell you they don't, they're lying.

That would be the most awesome thing that's wandered down the pike since that Krystal commercial I posted a post or two down the page.

I'm also stuck on The Kurgan.  You notice that?  I notice that.  It's my goto 80's movie reference for badass bad guy.

I'm just saying, though.

If I win Powerball, we're gonna do this.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Morning Random Thoughts

A few thoughts, as I let the coffee work its magic on my brain.

Your old pal Tommy is on vacation this week.  It had been one where we'd had designs on heading up to Washington, DC, to take in a few sights.  Real life and baby trout had their say (her family's business raises trout, and the eggs require constant care for a week and a half to two weeks, and during that time, she can't be spared).  It's just one of the fun parts of being a grownup, I suppose, especially when the both of us work non-traditional schedules.

No worries, though.  Supposed to be a beautiful week.  And? The NCAA basketball tournament starts this week, today being Selection Sunday.

The first two days of the tournament are my favorite sports days of the year.  Lots of games running at the same time that all matter.  A bit of chaos put into the ultimate organization of a bracket.

It's a sad truth.  My sister and brother-in-law finished their divorce a couple years ago, now (I think).  I spent a good amount of time mad at him on her behalf, and I suppose I still do.  This is one of the times I miss having him around in the family, though.  Few of my friends follow college basketball, even to the limited extent that I do.  If he could get the day off for one of the tourney days, we'd always plant someplace with multiple teevees and watch.

Couch Potato Dreams, y'all!

Still.  It was nice to have a companion, there.  I'll still get together with a couple of fellers I work with, so this isn't meant to be a woe is me screed.  Still, I do miss that particular camaraderie between him and me.

Now, he said, changing the subject somewhat, with basketball, I don't have the time to follow multiple teams over the course of the season.  I followed Tennessee, when I could.  They looked strong early on, but lost their way in February.  I, like most people, was endlessly impressed with Josh Richardson.  It pleases me to hear that his NBA draft stock is high.  I feel like he deserved better for his last year in Knoxville than what they got.  Still, they did better than what I'd expected.  And it should tell you something that finishing 10th in a 14-team league is still better than expected.  Made me interested enough to see what Donnie Tyndall can do with his own recruits, and own system completely in place.

I found myself rooting for Auburn yesterday against Kentucky.  Part of it was a bit of nostalgia for those Bruce Pearl-led Tennessee teams.  Pearl's Auburn had won three games in the SEC tournament, coming in as a 13-seed.  They played against Kentucky.  Truth be told, if you fashioned a team out of diarrhea, I'd root for Diarrhea against Kentucky.

It wasn't a contest, though, between those team.  Led to me flipping over to Wisconsin and Purdue.  Wisconsin, as luck has it, is one of the few teams outside of the SEC that I have managed to catch over the season.  They looked good.  And in my limited experience, they look to be one of the only teams that would match up well against Kentucky.  (There are others, I'm's going to be a shit show when I fill out my bracket this year....)

More sports?  More sports.

It was our anniversary last night.  And because she's the best girlfriend in the world, Shyam wanted to hit a hockey game up in Knoxville last night.

After spending most of the season at or near the top of the standings, Knoxville has struggled at the same time that Pensacola, Mississippi and Columbus have hit their strides.  Knoxville's fallen to fifth, though with last night's win over Louisiana, they did secure a spot in the playoffs.  There's still a lot of hockey left to play.  3 points separate second and fifth place.  There's a lot of shaking out left to do there.

Consistency, at this level, is difficult.  For various reasons (retirement, moving to another league, suspension, injury, whathaveyou) the Ice Bears were without Frankie Drolet, Brett Valliquette, Peter Neal, Berkley Scott and David Segal.  Each was a vital part of the early season's successes.  New faces (including Lou Educate, who just pronounces his name incorrectly, frankly) are on the ice.  The new lines haven't gelled.  The Ice Bears sucked on the power play last night.  Stringing two passes together was difficult.  Watching was difficult, considering out well the team played early in the season....

Sunday, March 08, 2015

True Facts About DST

Good morning, campers.  I hope this Sunday finds you all fairly rested, and recovered from the tumult of having an hour stolen from you.


I don't want you to think of it any other way.

Those bastards stole an hour from you. 

But you'll get your revenge.  We'll all get our revenge.

But first?  A few facts about the time change:
  • The official term is Daylight Saving Time.  Not Daylight Savings Time.  You need to know this the next time you're speaking in front of the local Rotary Club.  The last thing you want is to be beaten to a pulp by a bunch of local busybodies with enough time to beat somebody up over what amounts to a pedantic pronunciation argument.  I worry that this will happen to you.  A lot.  It keeps me up at night.
  • History will tell you Modern Daylight Saving Time was proposed by New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, in 1895.  But what if I told you it was invented by the first president of the United States?  Truth is, Hudson was an immortal, who lived under several names in his life.  Among those?  George Washington.  The clues are there.  Same first name.  Washington lived at Mt. Vernon.  And Washington understood the import of the strategic value of the Hudson during the American Revolution.  Hudson was but one of the identities of the immortal originally born Eustace Ironmonger in England in 1312.  He was ultimately destroyed by The Kurgan in the late 1960's.
  • Did you realize you traveled through time last night?  And as a time traveller, you are entitled to one down-filled vest like the one Michael J. Fox wears in Back to the Future.  Just walk into JCPenney and take it.  Only rule:  if stopped by security or store personnel, you are allowed only to speak in quotes from the Back to the Future Trilogy.
  • The hours taken from you are kept in an abandoned mall in Cleveland, Ohio, in what used to be a Lane Bryant clothing store.  They are kept under guard by former NBA superstar Manute Bol, and his squad of chihuahuas that have had their teeth replaced with razors and needles.  Watch out for the chihuahua named "Lou."  His teeth have been replaced with hypodermic needles.  We don't know for sure what he'll inject you with, but it's probably plague.
  • I hope you weren't farting at 2 AM.  There is an old Inuit saying that says "Whatever you do when the hour leaves, will come back to haunt you ninefold when the hour returns."  This saying is true, though the math is 9.267fold.
  • I don't sleep much.
  • A lot of this post was written while I was sitting on the commode.  I place the laptop on the vanity, which is rather poorly placed, in relation to the commode, but makes a handy table for blogging, should the need arise.
  • You know you don't actually save daylight, right?  You just move the clock around.  You get the same exact amount of daylight, you just experience it at different times.
  • Watch out Wednesday.  That's the first shift where I have to be at work at 6 after the time change.  I likely be a raging barbarian that morning.  Because my brain thinks we'll be waking up at 3:45 in the morning.  And my brain don't like that.
  • I'm just messing with you.  I'd likely be a raging barbarian in the morning no matter what.  It's kinda my thing, until I've had my fourteen cups of coffee and bowl full of Weetabix
  • My bowels are indifferent toward the time change, at the moment.  I'll keep you in the loop on that one.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Stupid Good

I don't know why I love this spot like I do.  It's perfect.  It won't make me go buy a Krystal.  That only happens once a year, when I get the taste for them, and have a day off afterward to deal with the gastrointestinal ramifications.

Still.  Good spot.  The kids, the dance the tank top kid does, the jump, the roll.  All good.

One thought, though.

The people who made this commercial understand silly.

Conversely, the people who made this Bojangle's spot, do not:

Except, they're not trying to be silly, necessarily.  It's like they're picking on the silly.  I'd kinda like to jump through the TV to the Dad who is incredulous at the "cheese skirt."

Based on that one spot?  That can't be a happy home.

She'll probably get grounded for getting B's.

Monday, February 23, 2015


This is my phone's ringtone, at present.  Last night, I was using the restroom at the restaurant we ate birthday dinner at last night.

The fellow in the next stall said "That's Awesome!"

I choose to think he was talking about the ringtone.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


In years past, I've done a big Oscar post, mainly getting my thoughts onto paper about the previous year's efforts in movies.  This year?  I haven't seen much of what's been nominated.  Among the Best Picture nominees?  I've seen only Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel, both of which I enjoyed immensely.  I'm inclined to root for the latter in the race, mostly because comedy doesn't get the respect it deserves.

Among the acting nominees?  Not much for me to comment.  Shyam and I saw Into the Woods, which was good, though it felt very much like Meryl Streep channeling Helena Bonham Carter for her part.

Beyond that?  Michael Keaton and Edward Norton were good in Birdman, but Emma Stone was amazing, in one of the best performances of her career.

And I can't recommend Big Hero Six enough, though it runs neck and neck for my favorite animated flick of 2014 with Lego Movie, which wasn't even nominated.

That's the extent of my 2014 movie commentary.  I hope you goofballs enjoy Oscar day.  I may not even watch the telecast....though the lure of Dead Movie Star Montage might be a little too strong to overcome....

Saturday, February 21, 2015


The Knoxville Ice Bears lost their tenth to the Peoria Rivermen last night up in Illinois.  Frustrating, because the Ice Bears have been particularly good this season.  The economic and logistical realities of bussing your team from, say, Lafayette, Louisiana to Fayetteville, North Carolina, doesn't always lead to a balanced schedule.

As such, Peoria (now in first by 8 points) has faced Knoxville (the second place team) some 12 times this season.  Even given the logistical realities, 12 times in a 56 game season is excessive.

Ideally, in a 56-game season, in an 8-team league, teams should play each other 8 times.

That's not grousing since the Ice Bears have lost 10 of those 12 contests against the Peoria, though it does seem worth noting that while the Rivermen seem to have the Ice Bears' number, Knoxville has lost 6 against the rest of the league.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thoughts from the Ass End of the Night: Local Movie Theater Edition

Spot of insomnia tonight.  Woke up around 2:45 or so, and haven't really wandered back to sleep.  Just a few thoughts that have been knocking around in my head:

We've had a theater reopen in my neck of the woods.  You can find its website here.  It's only opened here in the past few days (I think Monday was the official first day, but I may be wrong there...)  It's been an interesting process watching the renovation of the old Plaza Twin theater.  It's now a 5-screen theater without allegiance to Carmike, Regal or any of the other big theater companies.  I'll wander in some time soon, probably when something catches my fancy.

I'm rooting for them on a couple of accounts.  The first being, it's nice to have a theater where I don't have to drive a half-hour to see a movie on a big screen.  That's the simple one.  Time being what it is, I don't often have three or four hours to devote to a movie...two hours for a movie, an hour or two for a commute (two, if we've run to Knoxville or Chattanooga).

The second aspect is that I like that the folks who run the theater seem to love movies.  At least, the lady who's been running the social media aspect of the theater from its inception (and they've had a Facebook presence for more than a year before it opened) is trying to run a theater and give a theater experience that she's been looking for herself (if I may paraphrase).  That's cool.

That said?  I stay off the social media pages for the theater.  At least, I don't participate in commenting, anymore.  Got shouted down on their Facebook page for saying, when the theater folks asked the question, if documentaries or arthouse fare was of any interest.  The resounding opinion of the folks on that page was Oh Hell No, with a couple of voices like mine saying "Sure."  I like my home town, and I'll defend it, but guys?  You all looked like a bunch of raving hillbillies in that moment.

Momentary aside:  it's a personal peeve of mine between the big movie houses how rare it is to get some of the indie shit into the theaters.  Cleveland, the closest city with theaters prior to this, has something like 18 movie screens, each with an average of 4.5 showings a day.  One particular weekend last summer, those 18 screens were split between 7 movies.  That's about 80-90 showings....of the same 7 movies.  I forget what I was wanting to see (I either went to Knoxville to Downtown West to catch it, or simply waited until it was available streaming or on DVD).  A lot of people were quick to blame the booking people from the major distributors, and probably rightfully so.  Still, Carmike has no interest in taking a risk, despite being in the best position to do so.  It's not about love of movies for the big companies.  My hope is that the local theater is more willing to think outside the box, instead of having 19 showings of Paul Blart.

Anyway, back to the raving hillbillies thing.  There was a Facebook fan night recently, and while I don't wander into the comments, it did hit my attention that there were complaints about that night.  Some were concerned that it was a school night, or a church night (Wednesday, in the buckle of the Bible Belt, y'all), and there were myriad other complaints.  Which lead to the Facebook account saying that it was important to be a "good customer."

Here's the thing.  I agree with that sentiment, 100%, though the business person in me wonders at the wisdom of publicly mentioning such a thought, let alone chastising your customer base when you've just opened.  Still, I'd like to take a minute to remind my neighbors that as much as we all want a theater in Athens? And as much as we've watched the growth and renovation of this business?  It's not our theater.  These folks invested their own money into renovating a structure that, frankly, I thought should have been condemned in its last days as The Plaza Twin.  They've put a shit-ton of money into running the beast.  As much as they've invited you in to watch the progress of the renovation, and the process of opening a brand new theater?  It's not your theater.  Even if you bought the Facebook t-shirt, and have been commenting on everything put on every social media platform.  It's not your theater.

I don't know.  It's early, and I'm grouchy.  But it really bugged me.  For the first time in the better part of a decade, we have a theater again in Athens.  You don't have to drive to Cleveland, or Knoxville, or Chattanooga.  You can hit a 7 PM show, and not expect to get home at 10:30 before you get up at 5 the next morning.  (Yeah, I'm that guy, by the way).  Stop complaining.

If you don't like how they're doing it?  Don't go.

If I go, and I don't care for the experience?  I'll eventually stop going.  But then, all I want when I go see a movie is a cleanish theater, a decent projection, and not to be distracted by the goofball in front of me texting the person they just saw 48 minutes ago.

I love movies.  I still love going to the theater.  But I'll be the first to tell you:  It ain't essential.  I've made it the past few years knowing that if I can't see it in the theater, all I have to do is wait a few months for it to pop up on Amazon or Netflix.  I can still do that.  If what the theater does doesn't suit me?  I won't patronize.

My fear is that the sense of entitlement that I'm seeing will burn the folks running the theater out.  That was my concern when they started their Facebook interactions.  Many will feel, right or wrong, that since they've been following so closely, that they're part of the family.  And they'll feel they're entitled.

Now, last couple of thoughts: with this post, I'm likely largely nodding at the lunatic fringe.  Because the only voices I'm seeing are the ones from left field, from the same group of folks, I might be making the mistake that they represent the largest view.  If politics in this country have taught me anything in the past twenty years, it's that the majority rarely yells the loudest, if only because they have the least amount of time to do so.

And?  Like I said.  I haven't visited the theater yet.  I want to.  I'm off this weekend, so maybe something will catch my eye.  Of what's playing now?  I might enjoy the Kingsman.  I've taken the wait until DVD or streaming approach with American Sniper, as much as I tend to appreciate Clint Eastwood's directing.  Nothing really jumps out at me, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 isn't really my speed, either.  Who knows, though?  We'll find something to go watch....

One last thought.  Really want to see the renovations.  A couple weeks back, my cousin Michelle put up a Trulia page from my grandparents' old house in New Jersey.  It was neat wandering through the pictures, seeing what folks had done with that space.  Curious in the same way to see what somebody's done with the old theater.  Like I said, the last few times I wandered in, it looked like it should have been condemned (I think the last movie I saw there was Ocean's 13, though don't hold me to that).  Interested to see what somebody else has done with the building....if it'll even be recognizable.  Given that I was afraid the ceiling might cave in on me prior to its closing?  I almost hope not....

Monday, February 09, 2015

A note from the ether....

You know, maybe there's something to the Clark Kent/Superman thing.

Shyam and I wandered out last night to see Project Almanac, a fair to middling time travel flick that I have a bad feeling won't hold up to the scrutiny of a second viewing.  In a lot of regards, it reminded me of Chronicle, which featured a bunch of teens finding something unexpected and trying to change the world and then fighting amongst themselves.  Anyway.  I write to say this.

I think I ended up enjoying the previews more than the actual flick itself.  Jurassic World got a cackle out of me.  Shyam won't go see Chappie with me.  And we both were pleased with the trailer for Terminator: Genisys.

Though at that moment, neither of us recognized Emilia Clarke.  It's funny what a new dye job an appropriately colored eyebrows will do for a person.  That, and current era clothing.

She remembered overnight.  I didn't until I wandered into IMDB this morning.....