Tuesday, June 14, 2016

32 Plus 1: The Virginia Tech Massacre and Why He Snapped

It’s not evil. It’s not violent video games. It’s not the Iraq War. It’s not gun control. It’s not the Administration. It’s society. There is a rage that it cannot possibly relieve because of its narcissistic behavior and refusal to empathize. Virginia Tech isn’t the first place to have taken this reality to heart, nor is it the last, so why does it surprise so many people that this happened?

Things like Youtube and Myspace make a mockery of what’s considered to be ‘life’, presenting people’s feelings and private lives for general perusal, showing how fickle friendships can be with the notorious ‘Top 8’, and in turn, causing younger generations to take relationships for granted…and to take life for granted.

Several VT students gave the typical post-trauma statement of “I knew it would happen, but I never thought it would happen to me!” How is that even rational? It happens everyday to everybody. There is no exception to that rule if you’re a member of society. The kid that sits alone at lunch, the disgruntled janitor, and the ticked-off fry cook. These are all results of the same apathy which plagued Virginia Tech, just to different degrees; so why is everyone in awe? Because a gun was involved? Sure, but there’s no wonder as to why this guy snapped. The gunman’s classmates read his behavior and did nothing about it, which caused something that ‘wasn’t their problem’ to plunge deeply into something that is clearly ‘very much their problem’. A four-year-olds high-pitched scream pales in comparison to the effectiveness of listening.

Responsibility for this massacre lies in the hands of Apathy and her legions of suburbanite slobs, who called in sick that morning, turned on the television, watched the overweight officers raid Virginia Tech, read the headlines, and said “I’d kill myself too, if I was such an evil bastard.” These are the same people who shirk off outsiders such as our lone gunman, failing to see the huge implications of their minuscule actions.

Being an outsider doesn’t make someone go insane, but if you’re an unwilling misfit who would much rather be with the in-crowd, then there’s an issue. Society hates outcasts, yet there wouldn’t be any outcasts if there weren’t someone doing the casting in the first place.

The Virginia Tech Massacre was an inside job, fueled by ignorance, hate, and desperation; so there is no one person to blame. There are no evils, no laws (or the lack thereof), no wars, no public officials, or mental illnesses that can take the blame. Just society. This is why it’s better on the outside, looking inward, but apparently it’s not suited to everyone’s taste. Times like these give outsiders a bad reputation, and on top of that, earn them dirty looks and suspicious glances…but never a simple and possibly life-saving ‘hello’.

Tags:32 Plus 1: The Virginia Tech Massacre and Why He Snapped

3/13 Hoop Talk: East Still Far Behind West

Take a look at your standings. A .415 team, whether it be the Pacers or Bobcats, could actually make the playoffs. Yes, a team with no defensive effort and a team in rebuilding mode might actually get there. The disparity between good and bad in the Eastern Conference is so great that the Bulls have already clinched their division- which has the Pacers in it. Three teams have clinched the playoffs in the East, compared to just one- San Antonio- in the West. The Memphis Grizzlies have the 8th seed in the West, and they are a pretty good basketball team. The East is definitely playing better basketball than it has in the past couple of years collectively, but I still think that they are far behind the West. Depth Matters.

I love how Matt Bonner has the highest 3 point percentage this season. Yes, a power forward is the best three point shooter in the NBA this year. Who knew? Well, Bonner is like Nowtizki in that he is great at spreading the floor- Channing Frye is another one of those guys. They are becoming a little more used in the NBA these days, and that’s a good thing for offenses. Best free throw percentage? Yeah, that’s Stephen Curry. He’s going to be great one day. I love that guy. He should have been rookie of the year last year. All the box score idiots looked at the stats and didn’t watch how great Curry was when he played. Curry is a natural shooter- his father is Del- and he plays D, passes, attacks the rim, and can lead already at this age.

Turnovers per game is the most overrated statistic ever, because the top 12 people with the most turnovers are the guys that play over 30 minutes per game and are the focal points of their offense. They are the ones handling the ball and passing it the most. I just hate that stat. It’s like, Steve Nash isn’t really the 6th most turnover prone player in the league. That’s why I love advanced stats. They actually make sense.

I really wish Kevin Martin was recognized as a star. He is one of the best scorers in the game that is very efficient, he shoots impeccably, and he doesn’t get much recognition from fans. People don’t think of Martin as a star player, but they should. He’s better than Tyreke Evans- who isn’t a star, I would take him over Andrew Bynum, and I think he is at least as good as LaMarcus Aldridge.

Tags:3/13 Hoop Talk: East Still Far Behind West

3/11 NCAAB Team Talk: Don't Sleep on Pitt and Texas

Kemba Walker put up a crazy and amazing shot, as he has done all year, to win it for UConn. They beat my favorite team, Pittsburgh, but the Big East Player of the Year’s team’s victory doesn’t make Pittsburgh any worse. Buzzer beaters are really unlucky for the opposing team, and I thought Pitt outplayed Connecticut during that game. Ashton Gibbs had 27, and he is an incredible scorer especially when you factor in his team’s style and his conference’s style.

Pittsburgh is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, and they are the toughest. If people start to sleep on Pitt just because of this loss and the Louisville loss- and St. John’s too, although that was due to more horrible officiating- they must be reminded that those teams are extremely difficult conference teams that barely survived right at the wire. Pitt isn’t going to lose those kinds of games all the time, and they will definitely step it up in the tournament. Nasir Robinson is solid, Brad Wanamaker is the team’s heart, Gary McGhee can defend, Gilbert Brown is a nice scoring option, and Dante Taylor is solid too. This is a deep team that is the third best team behind OSU and KU respectively.

Michigan State really needs to make it to the semifinals at least in the Big 10 tournament. If not, my second favorite team must take a seat in tournament time. That won’t bode too well with Izzo. Players like Kalin Lucas really need to step up. They won without him last year, but that was last year. Michigan State- mostly another guy that needs to step-up, Durrell Summers- looked like they were stepping up yesterday to the public eye in their narrow 66-61 win over Iowa. But we have to remember, this is Iowa guys! They’re a poor team. Winning against them by 5 points because somebody played well down the wire isn’t good enough. They aren’t figuring themselves out. They desperately need to scrap some games together to get to the semis.

Texas is a team that nobody has been talking about recently. I find them eerily similar to Kansas, and I would ignore their last season “collapse”. Texas is a really good team that boards, scores, and has Tristan Thompson to defend like mad. They have him and Jordan Hamilton for goodness sakes! Four of their players are averaging double-digit points this season. Their three losses in the “collapse” where to a hot Kansas State team riding on the beastliness of Jacob Pullen. K State is no slouch having been one of the top ranked teams heading into the preseason.

Colorado was the other loss, and that was an away game by 2 points that came right at the very end because of Alec Burks. They lost by three in an away game that was in their conference against Nebraska. They were the best team in the country in terms of the average margin of defeat, and they were 2nd in their conference to only Kansas. Yeah, the 2nd best team in the nation. Texas is fine.

Tags:3/11 NCAAB Team Talk: Don’t Sleep on Pitt and Texas

31 Things I Learned on Summer Vacation with My Grandparents

Growing up, I spent every summer with my grandparents. After ten hours in the car on the drive to Missouri, I would first run to the berry patch. Granny would join me with two baskets and as she filled hers with red marble sized fruit, I ignored my basket and sat on the ground to begin the ritual of stuffing my mouth with fresh strawberries or raspberries.

This is how my vacation always began although, in retrospect, it is somewhat embarrassing to think I still did this when I was 17. I simply could not help it.

Those summer days were spent working in the gardens with my Grandfather (Pappa) or in the kitchen with my sweet Granny. The evenings were passed playing games while we hulled peas. Thursdays were for pot luck lunches with the church’s quilting club, Sundays for church and then some good old fashioned “visiting”. Day-old donuts cooked up nicely in the toaster oven and when coupled with a bowl of fresh raspberries made a royal breakfast. BLTs were the best lunch. In addition to the occasional trips to the river for some swimming, often with some inevitable water snakes, there were evenings Pappa would take me fishing until 5:00 in the morning. Although by today’s standard my grandparents’ lifestyle would be considered Spartan and thrifty, I never lacked for anything. In fact, what they gave me has no price.

What I learned during summer vacations as a child:

1. Sometimes raspberries taste like stink bugs.

Who doesn’t love fresh berries? Especially those which transfer from vine to hand to mouth in less than one second? Even if one tastes like a stinkbug or has been pecked by a bird, enjoy it nevertheless but do wash it down with a non-tainted one.

Take the good along with the bad because that’s life.

2. Frogs make a squeaking noise when they are gigged.

But if you’re lucky, after you’ve “gigged” the frogs and pulled them in, your grandmother or great aunt will clean them right then and there at the park, only to take them home and make you eat their amphibious legs.

Waste not, want not.

3. How to clean and filet fresh fish is a necessary life skill.

This only happens after an all-nighter on the lake. At 6:30 the next morning and after a lesson in how to properly clean your catch, you suddenly find yourself covered in scales and bits of fish guts. Somehow you still look forward to the fried fish lunch.

Wash your hands and face before sitting down at the table.

4. When riding in a car, don’t confuse your can of Coke with your grandfather’s can of masticated snuff.

Pappa had that wonderfully minty habit of chewing tobacco. When driving, he would spit the chewy glob into an old Coke can. That was about the time I quit drinking Coke.

Look before you leap.

5. Hanging bed sheets to dry on a line outdoors enhances their fresh smell

Nature is more aromatic than any store bought product. That’s a no-brainer.

Choose nature.

6. Tire swings can fill with water and then when you swing, your butt gets wet.

This particular lesson is more poignant today when you consider the headlines about our politicians.

Something may be fun at the time but, if you’re not careful, it can come back to haunt you.

7. “Hogan’s Heroes” was entertaining; “The Waltons” were boring.

That is self explanatory.

Television is an escape and can dull your social skills.

8. Who would have thought you could eat crawdads?

An elderly neighbor named Mrs. Morrisey was a notorious child hater. However, when cousin Cale and I caught some crayfish/crawdads/mudbugs in a river, she wanted them. From Louisiana originally, Mrs. Morrisey showed us how to cook and eat them. Frightened as we were when she ripped their dead heads off and sucked out whatever remained inside, we continued to catch these river bottom dwellers and bring them to Mrs. Morrisey. Eventually I ate one.

Don’t be afraid to try new foods.

9. Never try to adjust an oscillating fan in the middle of the night in complete darkness.

Granny’s sister, Aunt Ruth, lost part of her finger one night while Cale and I were staying at her house. After being mauled by a fan blade (and I experienced an onset of severe nausea), Aunt Ruth simply said, “Oops”.

Always stay calm in an emergency and never let them see you sweat.

10. The elderly love casseroles.

Casseroles must be easier on the teeth/dentures than steak.

Go with the flow.

11. I cannot sew.

Granny tried to teach me how to darn socks, how to quilt and how to make a very nice dress. It just didn’t work. For some reason Scotch tape always worked better for me.

Everyone is different.

12. One can, in fact, make a pancake with a potato and a pizza with rhubarb.

Send me an email and I’ll send you the recipes.

Make do with what you have and be thankful.

13. Water moccasins love river water.

Swimming in the Ozark rivers and surrounded by snakes (with their little heads sticking out above the water) scared the heck out of me. But if I wanted to cool off, I had no choice.

Don’t be afraid to swim with sharks; just make sure they don’t bite you.

14. Never leave a plastic wrapped loaf of bread on top of the toaster oven.

Although the melted colored plastic tends to have a rather pretty stained glass looking effect on the toaster, the bread will be ruined.

Common sense trumps everything.

15. Dull knives can cut you; sharp ones cut what they’re supposed to cut.

Pappa sharpened his knives religiously each Saturday morning. It was simply impossible to find a dull knife in his house and, as a result, we never ran out of bandaids.

Never be the dullest knife in the drawer; stay sharp and keep learning.

16. There is no such thing as a bad strawberry.

Okra? Yes. Strawberry? No.

Reality is that thing staring you in the face.

17. The only time you should chew gum is during church.

Going to church, Granny packed her purse with Luden’s Wild Cherry throat lozenges (in case the sermon was too dry), money (for the offering), tissues (for emotions as well as used gum) and Chiclets. She was prepared for anything.

If you can’t really sing and don’t know the words to the hymn, just chew gum.

18. A root beer float is God’s food.

Ah — Two scoops of Big Dip brand vanilla ice cream in a glass with A&W rootbeer, a tall spoon and a straw. Heaven.

God created all. Like root beer floats, for example.

19. Turtles don’t really like lettuce.

Turtles don’t like anything but the freedom of the highway and that is exactly where they mess up.

Look twice before you cross the street.

20. Hot soup is not summer food

Well, it’s not.

Learn from your mistakes.

21. Who needs peers when you’ve got extraordinary grandparents?

I rarely missed my friends those summers. On the other hand, they all wanted to come to Missouri and hang out with the ol’ grandparents.

The grass is always greener —

22. When playing card games, make it a point to be the score keeper and you’ll always win.

Playing Uno, Crazy Eight or some other game each night, Pappa always insisted on keeping score. Funny thing is he always won.

It’s not what you do each day as much as it is the tally at the end of your life.

23. Denture adhesive doesn’t really work

Pappa didn’t like to wear his dentures. He absolutely refused to wear them unless it was a big feast like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Saying the prayer on such occasions, Pappa always noticed the little kids not closing their eyes. Mid-sentence, he would thrust out his teeth with a bit of a clacking noise, quickly pull them in and resume his prayer. The kids, inevitably, would burst into laughter and/or screams, only to be chastised by their parents who knew absolutely nothing about what had just happened.

Never buy something from an infomercial.

24. Smoking a pipe is almost as much fun as making one from a corn cob.

My uncle taught me how to make a pipe from corn cobs. Then he taught me to smoke.

Smoking is bad.

25. Always make sure the brakes work before riding a bicycle.

My grandparents bought two bicycles from a garage sale one summer. One red, one blue ‘” they gave my brother the first choice. He chose the red ‘” which, I might add, was a girl’s bike. I got the blue, a boy’s bike. “Let’s go up the gravel hill and I’ll race you down!” big brother said. Never one to back down from a challenge, eight year old me said, “OK!” Fifteen minutes later when my Mom was using tweezers to pull gravel out of my nose and navel, I realized I had been duped. The brakes didn’t work on the blue bike.

Never trust a con-artist.

26. Whenever possible, use ½ of a dead minnow in order to catch the biggest fish.

One time, Pappa complained when I baited his hook with half of a dead minnow. (I didn’t really want to put a hook through a live minnow.) The next twenty minutes were spent with Pappa standing in the boat and an 18 pound bass pulling the fishing line under the boat, spinning it around at least 4 times. When my grandfather finally landed the fish, it was the biggest one he’d caught in decades.

Quality is more important than quantity.

27. Naps are not only a necessity but also a blessing.

After lunch, my grandparents always took a nap: Pappa on the floor with a stack of throw pillows, Granny on her bed with no pillow. I would follow suit and relax on a bed which was covered with a comforter that had a cottage cheese sort of pattern. Waking with puncture like dots all over my face and legs, I would go outside to shuck some corn.

Even God rested on the Seventh Day.

28. Milking a goat is a hoot but goat’s milk is gross.

Spending the night with some friends of my grandparents, at 4:30 in the morning I had to milk eight goats. It was an experience which I have not forgotten. What I would like to forget is my subsequent bowl of Cheerios doused with goat’s milk. That so ruined it for me.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

29. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself off.

My grandparents never had any air conditioning in their house. Did it bother me? Yes, a bit, but mostly because of my hair. Did it matter? Not really because I was with my grandparents.

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you’ll find you get what you need.

30. Never, EVER, follow the guy in front of you because you think “he looks like he knows where he is going”.

Unless the guy is your next door neighbor, you will inevitably end up lost or maybe 120 miles away from home. You might even end up in Arkansas instead of Missouri.

Follow your dreams but not necessarily the guy in front of you.

31. Grandparents and the elderly have so much to teach, if we only would listen.

I was blessed to have had such phenomenal grandparents.

There is not much more to say other than that.

Tags:31 Things I Learned on Summer Vacation with My Grandparents

30th Annual Douglasville, Georgia, Moonlight Run

Lace up your shoes, bring your ghoulish attitude, and join the races, pre and post race parties and fun that await participants in the 30th Annual Douglasville Moonlight Run.

What began as a small race featuring local Douglasville runners has grown into a race of approximately 2000 entrants. Divisions now include a tot trot and seeded, world-class runners have joined the race.

Don’t worry; there are still plenty of local runners, who run at a variety of paces from dashing to walking. So log in and register at active.com or print your registration and mail it in right away. You only have a few days left.

The Douglasville Annual Moonlight Run, formerly known as the Annual Halloween run is a night time run with races starting throughout the night:

• 8pm tot trot and Douglas County Road Runners 1 mile runners.

• 8:30pm – 1 mile Fun Run for those 12 and under who do not fit the tot trot division.

• 9:00pm – The highlighted 5K run.

New races this year include a $9.99 race package for those who are racking up points for Grand Prix Points -Chasers. $9.99 races begin at 11pm, 12am, and 1am.

Unless the weather breaks very cold, this is an outstanding event for the entire family to enjoy.

Vendors and booths at the 30th Annual Douglasville, Georgia, Moonlight Run include a health fair with vendors from local health facilities, health clubs, and restaurants.

Kids will find plenty to do as they play on extra-large inflatables.

The crowd will be entertained the entire time by 5th Element, a popular local band.

What’s in it for the Runners?

There are those of us who run for the thrill of it, to keep goals forecasted, and because we enjoy the camaraderie and friendliness of fellow runners and community members.

It is no secret, however, that Douglasville’s Moonlight Run is a draw for those who want to finish the race and receive the coveted glow-in-the-dark, long-sleeve t-shirt.

Competitive runners look forward to the opportunity to win prize money and medals.

Additional Runner Info for Douglasville Moonlight run 1 mile / 5K

Register early, you are running out of time, for the largest after-dark run in the Southeast. Race day registrants will receive t-shirts only as long as they last. If current t-shirts run out last year’s t-shirts may be given to race day entrants.

Race day registration is open 4pm to 7:30pm with no exceptions. Register at the Douglasville Conference Center

Race Day Packet Pick Up

Runner Packet pick-up is race day, beginning at 4pm and until 8pm. Packets may be picked up at the Douglasville Conference Center. You must pick up your packet to get your race number, which is your ticket to the coveted t-shirt at the end of the race.

Proceeds from the Douglasville Moonlight Run benefit Douglas County Boys and Girls Club, Arbor Station Elementary School Track Club and Friends of Sweetwater Creek State Park, which is still in need of significant repairs due to flooding.

Don’t miss the Moonlight run fun and entertainment this weekend in Douglasville.

Sources:
“Douglasville Moonlight Run 1 Mile / 5 K,” Douglas county Sentinel, Wed, Sept 30, 2009
Active.com
Personal participation

Tags:30th Annual Douglasville, Georgia, Moonlight Run

300 - a Movie Review

How do I tell you of 300?

Despite the apparent simplicity of the movie (come on, it is a gorefest), it is actually quite complicated. There are so many different ways this movie can be viewed, with all of them being valid. One can find in equal measure reasons to hate it or reasons to love it and anyone can argue all sides. For me, there are plenty of things I don’t like. Yet most of them were overwhelmed by the things that I came looking for.

I’ve never been a fan of comic books. Movies adapted from comic books, or graphic novels, have never really held any appeal to me. There are very few that I’ve enjoyed to any degree. I can’t really say why that is. I have friends who are into the comic book scene and they have shown me some really fine examples of visual artistry, if not reasonable storytelling. The media simply never took root in my experience.

My first exposure to 300, through trailers, brought me face-to-face with what appeared to be a visual feast. It spoke to me the way a graphic novel might speak to a comic book fan. The visuals were so compelling, so powerful, and so otherworldly, that each image appeared to be a still frame of artistry.

If nothing else, I went to this movie simply to view it as one would wander the galleries of the museum looking at the artwork.

But that is an enough to warrant recommending a movie. There’ve been plenty of beautiful movies that aren’t worth the celluloid they are filmed upon.

The other aspect of 300 that appeals to me most is the historical context of the Battle of Thermopylae. While I am not a classicist, certainly classical history of ancient Greece and Republican Rome figure strongly in my appreciation of world history and culture that we live within today. Thermopylae has always been a favorite of mine. While Herodotus and later historians of his era are certainly prone to exaggeration for the sake of storytelling, the heroism and importance of that battle are difficult to discount. I’m certain the actual events at the Battle of Thermopylae, if viewed in real time, might completely sap this stature. Consider any major historical event that has been inflated to the status of legend. Would we really want to see Washington shivering in his boat as he crossed the Delaware with runny nose and hacking cough?

Some events in history grow beyond realism.

There is no discounting the historical importance of accuracy. Facts must be known and understood. Reality must be respected. These facts are indispensable and inviolable.

However, at times it is appropriate to tell stories in a way that captures the feeling of the event augmented by the historical significance of the outcome and enhanced with the persona of the people involved in the event.

The ancient Greeks knew this. Shakespeare knew this. Modern storytellers know this.

Consider the stylized biography of any major historical figure. Events are compacted, enhanced, and synthesized in order to tell the tale of the essence of that person and what they accomplished. Is history harmed in these enhancements? There are times when the hook of entertainment becomes more important than precise accuracy. Historians are there to correct any minor misconceptions of the subject. Scholarly texts are there for those who are interested in digging deeper into the truth of a person or event. Sometimes, sparking interest in the subject is just as important as conveying the precise details.

Consider your own experience in school as a youth. Do you remember the dry, boring recitation of dates and events that seem to have little historical context or drama? The events being studied were tremendously important, yet they failed to engage the mind. No, I’m not arguing that accuracy needs to be sacrificed for an MTV attention span. I’m simply defending the concept of artistic license.

300 is not historically accurate. It is not meant to be. It is an adaptation of a visually stunning graphic novel inspired by a fantastically significant historical event of celebrated bravery. The details, both known and speculated, are available to anyone who wants to dig a little deeper. Go to the bookstore, or flip on the History Channel, sure to be awash in Spartan and Persian documentaries, very soon. You aren’t going to find in-depth explorations of motivation or background. This film is not intended to send you home with a complete understanding of every historical detail. This is not a substitute for an education. If you want that, you’ll never like this film, so don’t waste your time.

If you want to feel for a couple of hours, rather than think, this will serve.

300 is a great story, told in the spirit of Greek mythology, with larger-than-life characters, fantastic events, and the otherworldly aura appropriate for people who saw the gods as everyday participants in their world. There’s a reason for this. The story is actually a visual narration of a tale told by the fictional Diosos, a participant in the battle and a fellow Spartan. The story is presented the way a Greek would tell the story. The Spartans are full of valor, bravery, and heroic qualities, while the enemy is a force of decadence, misshapen beings, and monsters appropriate for an ancient Greek’s imagination.

The use of CGI and visual enhancement in this movie is simply better than I’ve seen in any other movie. I’m not a big fan of CGI. All too often it’s used in an exhibitionist fashion. “Look what we can do.” To me, proper CGI should enhance the story or serve the story and characters, not overwhelm the material. In 300, the CGI meshes with the topic in order to tell the story in this spirit of Greek mythology, and Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Sure, you know you’re seeing visual effects. You know, the film was shot in front of a blue screen. You know that nearly everything you see is being enhanced. However, if you immerse yourself into the spirit, and the tone of the storytelling, you begin to see 300 for what it is; a visual masterpiece.

Some critics have described this is war porn. It certainly is violent. Men are impaled, stabbed, beheaded, limbs are chopped off, and digital blood flies. However, these things happen within the context of a comic book or graphic novel – not a cartoon, but a more adult presentation. The truth is, I saw more unsettling consequence of violence in Saving Private Ryan, and I certainly saw more gratuitous blood in Kill Bill. The violence of ancient combat is unavoidable when telling this story. The raw carnage of Thermopylae is a very aspect that makes the stand of the 300 heroic. It HAS to be portrayed. In my opinion, if such a thing can be possible, the violence was tastefully portrayed while still maintaining the impact.

I truly believe this was a beautiful film. Even before I saw it, so many scenes and images viewed on the net could be frozen, framed, and hung on my wall. These were iconic images of something that already had legendary status in my mind. These were a tableaux, capturing the spirit of a very important event in the distant past. The slow-motion effects froze the scene, while maintaining a very slight sense of motion, just as you would see in a graphic novel with the motion lines surrounding a picturesque scene. These are larger-than-life images. And that’s what you’re paying to see when you go see 300.

I am sorely tempted to go into a historical digression about the truth of the Battle of Thermopylae as known by historians. I fear I could prattle on for pages about the importance of this battle, the Greek civilization it preserved, the later efforts of Alexander the Great, and how all of this culminated in the Western civilization that dominates the world today.

I’m not going to do that to you.

Go see 300. Don’t look at it like the History Channel. Look at it as legend brought to the screen in a legendary fashion. Watch it for the visual aesthetic. Appreciate it as a film that skillfully translates the graphic novel experience to celluloid.

And then come home, boot up your computer, and read about the mother of all last stands. Find the facts of Sparta, the 300, and the Thespian allies and also died at their side.

Or, if you want a more historically grounded fictionalized account, go get Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield. It’s one of the best historical novels I’ve ever read.

Tags:300 - a Movie Review

39 Dating Tips to Conquer the Woman of Your Dreams

As a woman I know very well what’s inside a woman’s mind. Sometimes I see females outsmarting men and this is something I just can’t stand. I find it so unfair. This is why I like writing to help men attract women! In this article you will find not 1, not 2, but 39 mini dating tips to help you conquer the lady of your dreams. And here they are:

1. Smile frequently.
2. Stand tall. Have the right body position.
3. Prefer a shaved face.
4. Speak to her with a nice tone.
5. Be a clean nice smelling man.
6. Carefully select the subjects you talk about.
7. Say her name often (you do like her name right?).
8. If it’s Winter, wear fluffy clothes.
9. Use the right perfume to attract her.
10. Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol.
11. Carefully select the clothes you wear.
12. Exercise often. Engage in activities with her.
13. Impress her father, impress her…
14. Be serious. Know what you want. Seriously!
15. Ask to meet her parents and fascinate them.
16. Don’t talk loudly.
17. Have female friends.
18. Don’t talk about her past relationships.
19. Let her talk when she needs to.
20. First seek friendship with her but not for too long.
21. Don’t touch her unless you know what you are doing.
22. Women sometimes love mysterious men. Be one.
23. Offer her a palmistry session or read her palm yourself.
24. Learn her interests.
25. Be self-confident and show you know what you want.
26. Seek balance in your behavior towards her.
27. Be yourself but know who you are.
28. Introduce yourself to her with a professional business card.
29. Give her gifts frequently but don’t over do it.
30. Be careful not to scare her. You are more brave.
31. Dancing is powerful and a genuine heart-conqueror.
32. Learn her job and main source of income.
33. Use dialog to escape from difficult situations.
34. Compliment her often but genuinely.
35. Show that you are a goal achiever.
36. Avoid losers or people with a negative attitude.
37. Avoid hanging around with single men.
38. Show that you are ready to take risks for her.
39. Learn what a woman asks vs. what a woman wants.

Regarding the last tip you must know that a woman rarely asks what she wants. Here are some good examples:

  • What she says: “Maybe…”
    What she means: “No!”
  • What she says: “We need”
    What she means: “I want”
  • What she says: “Yes”
    What she means: “Maybe…!”

Would you like to conquer the heart of a true Lady or any woman you desire? Then consider educating yourself about women. For example you can join a dating club like this Pick-up Artist Academy. You will get a lot of tips and support there. Have a great day/night.

Tags:39 Dating Tips to Conquer the Woman of Your Dreams

3.6 Magnitude Quake Hits DC Area

People in the D.C. area received a wake up call at around 5 a.m. from a minor earthquake. Early reports claim that the quake was a 3.6 on the Richter scale and the epicenter was located near Germantown, MD. The effects were felt region wide with shakes in the D.C. area, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania. Californians may scoff at the idea of a 3.6 quake, but the USGS notes that this is the largest quake within 50 kilometers of D.C. since a database was created in 1947.

A 2.0 magnitude aftershock was felt a few minutes later in Boyds, MD. The USGS says that more aftershocks are possible.

Though not known for many quakes, the Maryland area does have a few of Mother Nature’s surprises under their belt. According to the Maryland Geological Survey, a 3.8 magnitude quake was felt in the area in 2008. Going even further back is the 2003 quake that was a 4.5 on the Richter scale.

Thankfully, there have been no reports of injuries or damages in the area, only reports of people being woken up by rumbling noises and some shaking.

If you felt the quake, the USGS wants to hear from you. Click here to let them know and be sure to check out the responses of other witnesses. Scientists do not know what caused the quake, but by gathering some information they can learn for the future.

Tags:3.6 Magnitude Quake Hits DC Area

35 Years Ago..

Get the hell out of my store and don’t ever come back.”

I am white. In many ways because of that I am treated differently than blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, etc.

Some people just don’t get that. Somebody somewhere is reading this and saying it’s the white people who are looked down upon these days.

That’s baloney.

One time in my life I was discriminated against for the way I looked and because of that I was refused service. One time! By the way, that was during my motorcycle days of long hair, road trips, few showers, and no razor.

I can’t imagine feeling discriminated against every day, but some people do.

In the 1970s I was the new kid in Midwestern junior high school. I became very good friends with another kid who happened to be black. We hung out and walked home from school together about every day.

One day we stopped at a little mom and pop store to get some candy. The owner saw us and yelled at my friend, “Get the hell out of my store and don’t ever come back.” I think he threw a couple racial slurs his way, too. We hurried out of the store, and I asked my friend what happened. He said it was because he was black and the store owner hated black people.

Although I was young and it happened about 35-40 years ago, that store owner’s actions have stuck in my mind to this day.

President Obama spoke July 19 about the Trayvon Martin verdict. You can read his comments HERE. One paragraph grabbed my attention more than the others. The President said:

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me – at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

The President also said, “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

I thought, “Barack Obama could have been my friend 35 years ago.”

The President closed his remarks by saying:

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.

That progress the President talks about is slow to take hold in some places, and some people are taking a little longer to change their attitudes when it comes to race.

I could give some examples, but I will just close with this quote:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Tags:35 Years Ago..

34 Scriptures that Remind Us to Give God Thanks...

  • Everyday, we must remember to give God thanks. He helps us in the very simple things of life. Sometimes we do not realize that just waking up in the morning is a gift from God. Let us take time to say, “Thank you!”
  • 1. II Samuel 22:50

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

2. 1 Chronicles 16:8

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

3. 1 Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

4. 1 Chronicles 16:35
And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.

5. 2 Chronicles 31:2
And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.

6. Psalm 18:49
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

7. Psalm 30:4
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

8. Psalm 30:12
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

9. Psalm 35:18
I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

10. Psalm 75:1
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.

11. Psalm 79:13
So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.

12. Psalm 92:1
IT IS A GOOD THING TO GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD, AND TO SING PRAISES UNTO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH:

13. Psalm 97:12
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

14. Psalm 105:1
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

15. Psalm 106:1
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

16. Psalm 106:47
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

17. Psalm 107:1
O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

18. Psalm 118:1
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

19. Psalm 119:62
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

20. Psalm 136:1

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

21. Psalm 136:2
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

22. Psalm 136:3
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for

23. Psalm 136:26
O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

  • 24.Psalm 140:13
    Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
  • 25. Mark 14:23
    And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
  • 26. Luke 22:19
    And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in — —
  • 27. John 6:11
    And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
  • 28. Romans14:6
    He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
  • 29. 1Corinthians11:24
    And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
  • 30. I Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 31. Colossians1:3
    We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
  • 32. IThessalonians1:2
    We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
  • 33. IThessalonians5:18
    In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
  • 34. II Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Website- www.biblegateway.com- helps when you need to look up scriptures

Tags:34 Scriptures that Remind Us to Give God Thanks…

“33rd Annual Orpheum Auction” at Memphis Orpheum Theater

At 6:30 p.m on November 12th a special auction will be held. The “33rd Annual Orpheum Auction” will feature both silent and live auctions. The lots will be jewelry, antiques, a car, art, and more- the total value nearly being half a million dollars. The theater is looking for donations and scholarships for any interested. An open bar and cocktail buffet will be present.

Like the raffle event, Memphians that enjoy the movies and benefits of the theater should support this attempt to raise revenues. Future movies, plays, and other productions in the Memphis are counting on these events!

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