Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Load of Horse Manure: Environmental Slang of Old West

Attempting to contain my use of a vulgar saying, I sometimes say it in my head.  The old saying, "That's a load of horse 'manure'" came to mind the other day while I was outside running and saw several piles of the stuff in somebody's yard.  I wondered at the origins of this saying and thought back to the bygone days when horses were the method of travel.  Horses smell, as does their manure.  Imagine your busiest highway clogged with horses instead of cars.  Now imagine what that highway would smell and look like.  Thank God for cars.

And I'm sure in the days of the west, there also existed a group of people that would use the environment as a means of affecting life.  Perhaps the environmentalist of the day coined the phrase as a means of demeaning the prevalent mode of travel for the day.  So now let's fast forward to today.  Since most of us are no where near horses or their manure, shouldn't we retire this phrase and take up one that is more relevant.  Perhaps we should be saying, "That's a ton of car exhaust."   Or maybe, "What a load of CO2".   Next time you find yourself needing to use an expletive, try a new one out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

True Grit (2010) Movie Review

This is a departure from the Coen Brother's genre movie that they have become famous for since Raising Arizona.   The formula for this movie is quite simple.  Take great dialogue, mix it with good acting and directing, and you have True Grit.  I never saw the original and I've never read the book, but judging by the casting of the original alone, with a 22 year old playing the young girl and Glenn Campbell playing Leboef, I don't think I will ever care to watch it.  I am also not a fan of the western, which, while this movie is set during that period, does not feel like a western.  I put this in the category of an "Unforgiven".  As a whole, I give this movie two thumbs up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Winter's Bone Movie Review

For starters, Winter's Bone is the lowest grossing movie to ever be nominated for an oscar for best picture.  It is a shame, because there is some real craftsmanship on display.   The best compliment I can give this movie is to say that it was more like a frontline drama on life in the Ozarks without the people knowing they were being followed around by cameras.  The setting and acting were very real and convincing.  The story follows a 17 year old girl, Ree, that is struggling to "bring up" her little brother and sister on behalf of her mentally blank mother and her absentee crank cooking father.  All they have to keep them together is their house and their "hundred year old timber land".  But that is put in jeopardy by their father that puts the property up for his bond.  Ree must now find her missing father to ensure that he shows up for court so they don't lose their home.  Ree confronts some very scary Ozark types that are all related in one way or another.  She does so with courage and determination to provide for her family.  Their is a morbidly touching scene as Ree is reunited with her father, full of symbolism.  I give this movie two thumbs up.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Audie Murphy: A class of his own.

Today is the birthday of the late Audie Murphy.  Murphy was the most decorated veteran of World War 2.  When you read a little bit about his bio, you can see why.  War is a strange thing.  No matter how good a soldier you may be, a well placed artillery shell can end your life.  Murphy is a rare example of continued courage and brazen disregard for his own life in defense of his men that managed to survive.  I was reading his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and this phrase struck me as interesting "For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy".  This is something you only see in movies right.   I have listed his entire citation below.

Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

President Obama Gets New Air Force One To Create Jobs

Since ATMs and airport Kiosks are the cause of a loss of jobs, Obama has come up with a way to replace Airforce One with a green friendly version, one that promotes green shovel ready jobs.  Inspired by my friend, below is the first picture of Obama's green Airforce One.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

If Not For the Vanity of The Rich, There Would Be No Professional Sports

How many people do you know that have no idea who their congressman is or what legislation is currently before congress, but can tell you the starting line-up of a team half way across the country.  How many of these same people complain about their rich boss, or just the rich in general.  Truly, the extent of their political commentary often centers around the inequities of the economic system, with no solutions.  Arguing with these people is infuriating because they are as whiny as an Obama rally attendee. 
These same people will complain about how the ownership of their favorite team is not spending enough on payroll to get the type of talent needed to win the big game.  In their view, it is almost like a form of economic redistribution, stealing money from the rich owner to give to the rich player for the enjoyment of the poor fan.  Suppose the ownership shrugged and said forget the headaches and complaints, choosing instead to fold up the franchise.  Where would that leave the fans.
What these fans don't realize is that it is only the vanity of the very rich they complain about that allows for the type of professional sports they enjoy.  Sure, many teams operate at a considerable profit.  Football does revenue sharing, allowing for poor teams to still compete.  But for so many teams, it is only the selfish (this is not a judgement) desire of an owner that allows them to tap into their vast wealth that they achieved through their own individual efforts to purchase a competitive team.  Some owners operate at a loss as a means of community outreach.  While not buying a championship, they at least buy their city a sports team to enjoy. 
The next time one of these complains to you about the rich, tell them that if they really want to punish the rich, they should stop watching sports.   Maybe then they can tune into reality.