Another Oscar ceremony is now history. I find that I have seen fewer and fewer of the featured films with each passing year. With the many means of watching the movies for far less than the cost of attending a performance at a theater I tend to wait until the films are available for rental. So it was with this year’s contenders, some of which are not yet showing on Netflix, Apple TV or On Demand.
Even though I am loathe to spend my money on first run movies at my local cinema I am still a great fan of the arts and I tend to watch films through the lens of a reviewer. From that perspective I have to say that there was no really breathtaking movie in this year’s offerings, at least from those that I have seen. I loved Game of Spies not just for its story but for the acting. I wonder if there is ever really a time that Tom Hanks doesn’t light up the screen with nuanced brilliance. He has a way of brining out the best in his co-stars as well. It didn’t surprise me at all that Mark Rylance, who played a Russian spy during the Cold War, walked away with this year’s gold in the Best Supporting Actor category. Tom and Mark managed to make their on screen relationship not just believable but relatable. Still the movie itself was far from being in the same league as Best Pictures of the past. Continue reading “The Best of the Best” →
Pasadena, Texas (not to be confused with Pasadena, California) borders on southeast Houston. It has always been a working man’s town with much of the population employed by the refineries located along the Houston Ship Channel. Contrary to popular belief most of the lucrative places of business actually reside within the boundaries of Houston, Deer Park and Laporte, leaving Pasadena with very little of the chemical industry income that fills the coffers of those other cities and towns. It is in many ways a kind of hard luck place that somehow never quite made it to the big time enjoyed by its neighbors in spite of efforts to do so. Continue reading “Karma?” →
I have often visited Dallas. I’ve been to weddings, parties, and on shopping excursions to that city to the North of my home. Each of my daughters even resided there for a time. Never once have I been inclined to explore a location in the Big D for which it is quite possibly the most famous, the site of President John Kennedy’s assassination. After well over fifty years of avoidance I finally decided this week that it was time for me to make a pilgrimage to that terrible place. Thus Mike and I reserved tickets this past Monday for the one o’clock tour of the old Texas School Book Depository. Continue reading “A Day in November” →
Often quite unrelated posts on social media seem to come seamlessly together. Today I noticed an article that featured Donald Trump’s comments after winning the Nevada caucus yesterday. He was bragging about the diversity of his voters and noted, “I love the poorly educated.” In a more personal note a young mother complained that her daughter has been having severe headaches from clenching and unclenching her teeth at night as a result of the tremendous stress that she feels in today’s school environment. Finally, a professor from the University of Houston opined that his students are capable of taking standardized tests but they rarely know how to read and write well. I propose that all of these posts are indicators of a kind of sickness in our society. Continue reading “Things Go Together” →
I often gave my students mini character lessons in between teaching them about linear equations and the quadratic formula. Among my tried and true suggestions was that they work hard when young so that they might enjoy a less stressful future. I’m not sure that many of them understood what I was attempting to tell them but a few here and there got the gist of my idea. I had learned that it is far easier to get the degrees and certifications necessary for marketable job skills when one is young, energetic and mostly free from major responsibilities than when older. As the years tick by and adult duties proliferate it becomes quite difficult, though not impossible, to change the trajectory of life caused by the choices made along the way. Hard lifting performed in one’s youth usually pays big dividends later in life. I suppose that when I waxed eloquently on such topics most of my students found refuge inside their own thoughts. I most likely sounded like the infamous teacher in the Peanuts films, sound and fury signifying nothing. Nonetheless I had benefited from my own experiences and I hoped to reach at least one soul with my mutterings. Continue reading “The Golden Snitch” →