Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fury

The setting is Germany, April of 1945, the final closing weeks of WWII.  S/Sgt "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) leads his tank crew on the final push toward Berlin. Having just lost their  driver to a sniper, another soldier (Norman Ellison) is assigned to the crew.

He's green, a fresh arrival who hasn't seen the inside of a tank before... nor a single combat action. Plus/and... he doesn't know how to fire a machine gun, or anything else he's going to be expected to do at this point. He is certainly not prepared to kill.

Needless to say, he's having a bad day and getting badly treated by his new comrades, who do not trust him because they know they cannot rely on him.
He will eventually prove his worth to this unfeeling, battle-calloused group of men who fight and bicker constantly amongst themselves.

Much has already been said about this film: It's dirty, gritty and grimy. The violence and battle sequences are extreme (and extremely personal). It makes too much note of American atrocities. Yadda, yadda, yadda... go ahead and 'Wiki' the title of the film. It's there.
No, seriously...  Do it, then come back to me... I'll wait.

Yes, I caught on to the brutality, the soulessness, the lack of virtue among the American fighting man when placed in the most uncivilized of circumstances while charged with a fucked up list of shit to live through.
Short story:
-War sucks. We been told that already through lot's of other movies.
-Americans were the good guys. Yeah, same thing... we know that already... (next!)
It's refreshing (dare I say 'Brilliant') for somebody to make a war movie that doesn't ground itself to either of those topics?

As one reviewer put it: ""Fury" is a brutal film that too easily celebrates rage and bloodshed to no clear end beyond ugly spectacle."

He is wrong, just as wrong as everybody else.
All of it, the 'celebration of rage and bloodshed for ugly spectacle' was leading up the true depth of meaning of a man's love and desire for his own center (the meaning of life, as you will),  fully showcased in the intro to, and within, the final battle scene...

Sent on a mission to defend a vital crossing, and losing 75% of their combat strength along the way,  the crew of Fury (the name of their tank) finds itself stranded at that very crossing due to a land mine.
With 300 SS infantry approaching, Wardaddy advises his men to escape, hide in the distant tree line until the enemy passes,...
and then begins to get back into the tank himself, claiming 'This is my home'.
He can't bring himself leave his tank to save his own ass, and prepares an ambush for the approaching Nazi's.
The other four refuse to leave.
Unspoken, yet upon their faces, they feel it too...
and stay to fight it out...
as a family...

a family of demonically possessed animals, for sure, but they are a family, all that bitching and bickering aside...
Fury is their home, too.

Called out from the only homes they knew (as young men, teenagers actually), required to expend their lives for a cause not of their choosing (or may not have understood), while held to a code with more grey lines than black and white ones... they found their own tangible sense of purpose, a home, the center of their being, in the best way they could (maybe the only way offered/allowed?)
Everything they are: what they've become, and all they can hope to be, is right there, within and through, that tank.
It's some seriously sacramental shit:
 -They are One with Fury.
 -Without Fury, they are none.
They are home.
Fighting savagely, they demonstrate their nobility; their purpose; they kill; they survive; they kill some more; they survive some more;  they are who they are; they kill and survive for Fury; they kill and survive as Fury...
they kill and survive because they are one...
One with Fury...
All sins to be redeemed through their passionate commitment for the one thing that unites them, bestowing  them with purpose, identity... and Life.
Dare anybody judge them now?

This is what I saw.
Everything, the entire film, all of it, was building to this moment.
Everybody else missed it.
Yet, it's right there, on the freakin poster, for Christ's sake!!!!
Even in the title, yo!
How much of a freakin clue do you need?
All the artistic license, the extreme depictions, the larger-than-life assholeness of the characters had a reason, ok?
This film is not a lesson in history about the good guys on the righteous side of a horrible war, so put that 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Band Of Brothers' and 'Sands Of Iwo Jima' stuff on a shelf for a while and see this for what it is.
This is a tale of purpose and redemption that just so happens to be set in a time of war.
In addition...
This IS a good, epic war flick, if not like the others.
It belongs with the rest of them, on the same shelf, maybe next to 'Kelly's Heroes"?

Purpose and Redemption. How did all these reviewers not see it?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shaving Win

I'm not a fan of these multi-bladed razors The Suits keep selling us.
Most of my life I've been skeptical of their claims, but for the past several year I've been convinced for that all we need is one blade to shave with and that all these extra blades are just gimmick: offering  nothing of value to a closer shave, and serve more as a  hinderance to what should be  personal grooming ruled through practicality and simplicity.

After all, we are men. It's in our nature to keep grooming simple and easy. So, why all these blades? and why do we keep buying them (why? I'll tell you why... because it's all they sell, dammit!)

I'm happy to see that there is a movement to get back to the simple one-bladed shave, like my father and grandfather before me, but you gotta get your gear through the mail. Gillette and The Boys have too much cash at stake in the status quo.

That being said...
I've never enjoyed keeping myself freshly groomed in the facial department, therefore, I've spent most of my adult life sporting a two to four day stubble (by day five, its itchy and annoying, so I gotta fix it...)

I was blessed with a thick beard growth, much in keeping with the Mediterranean blood line I've inherited from my father.
Unlike my mom's side of the family, shaving is not child's play for me. Some razors work well, other designs just didn't cut it.
There was one cheap disposable style (single-blade) that worked really well that hasn't been on the shelves for 20 yrs. (gee, I wonder why?)
You can still find them (what stock is left of them) on Ebay, and they are expensive.

Here's a link to that!

Further compounding my shaving woes are the results of several surgeries that have rendered the landscape of my neck a less than desirable place to drag a blade.
It's not just the visible crevices from outward scars, either.
There is also scar tissue below the surface. An attempt to pull the skin tight/smooth resembles the feel of a lumpy mattress: It looks fine, til you put some pressure on it... or a blade.
Getting a clean and even shave on the right side (the surgery side) is a chore, a difficult one, requiring several passes at several angles and two (or three) changes in blade style.

Then, along comes the Gillette Flexball, or as it's properly known the Gillette Fusion ProGlide with Flexball Handle...
I decided to give this new thing a try.

It's been three weeks now...
I must say that I am quite pleased.
I use one razor, and get everything I need to get on the first pass... no going over, no missed spots, no more getting a different style cartridge for a different angle.

Despite what it claims far as being a closer shave and what not, I suspect the opposite is true. I receive little to nothing in the way of small cuts and nicks that were usually par for a typical shave. Maybe this blade cuts  whiskers microscopically less-close than the competition, and that is why. I don't know. Don't much care when I can get the job done as comfortably as this device allows.

Consider this my full endorsement of this product.



Friday, September 26, 2014

???

Is this really a Thing? Seriously?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Time For War

So, what this I'm hearing about now?
We are not sending troops to fight ISIL, but we really are, maybe... with a coalition that hasn't coalesced yet.. or something like that?

Just leave these people alone to be dealt with by their own, and let's stop playing their videos and maybe they'll stop beheading people and go back to gassing children in Syria, instead... See? That way nobody gets worked up over the latest recasting of the World's longest running theater act.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Defense Of Ray Rice

We all saw the video of Ray Rice knocking out his lady and dragging her out of the elevator. That wasn't a very nice thing to see.
What we did not see was what occurred up to that point that led to this, but we do have a clue that his lady was already in shrew mode by the way she turned on him in the elevator, where he responded with a sharp strike of the hand. A single strike. Not a beating. What Chris Brown did to Rihanna was a beating.

No, I'm not going to defend a man striking his lady,...  yet at the same time we need to call a lady out when she's in full psycho-mode and 'pushing all the buttons'.
Can we all agree that both participants are wrong here?  Both are being disrespectful and abusive of their domestic partner.

So, yeah... In this situation, it's politically incorrect to say that she's 'asking for it'... so I'll just go ahead and say that she is definitely inviting a harsh reaction from a man she's is treating harshly.

There are abusive men out there, truly abusive men (and women), but I'm not seeing that here. I'm seeing a young couple who have communication issues and need to do better with conflict resolution.

To call Ray Rice a domestic abuser/wife beater is to downplay the really abusive assholes, who use violence (or threat of) to control their relationship. I've known a few women who were beaten because dinner wasn't tasty enough, the house wasn't clean enough, or the laundry not ironed properly.

I want to know how many NFL owners, ESPN writers, or TMZ reporters have ever reacted harshly to harsh treatment by their lady, and those that have, and I KNOW some indeed have, by what right do you continue to earn a living in your profession while Ray Rice is denied his?

The pontificating, hypocritical double standard is appalling, if you ask me...


Friday, September 5, 2014

Fantasy

Do any of you play Fantasy Football? This is my third year doing it and it's been a lot of fun. The league I'm in is pretty deep compared to other leagues I've seen, with 14 teams this year.
(Hat Tip: the league is managed by the  longtime commenter to this page, Robert. I don't think Robert blogs anymore.)

Due to it's depth, I think it pays to think outside the box to find talent at depth. There are only so many studs to go around at any position, after all.

Some different thinking that I've done:

The (Non) Receiver: Last year, I drafted Devin Hester at WR. I knew he wasn't going to catch any balls and was worthless as a receiver when all he did was return kicks... but return yards score the same as receiving yards. Hester was only played on 1% of the leagues last year (according to Yahoo), but he returned 1700 yards for me in fantasy, plus a TD. He produced better points than most top tier WRs.

Running Backs: There are only a few good, reliable, stud RB's in the top tier. After AP, Forte, Charles, McCoy and Lynch are off the boards, it doesn't really matter too much any more because whoever you choose is gonna get hurt anyway (Eddie Lacy!! LOL, who wasted a first round pick on that? see? now you know what I'm talking about...)
Better off finding that ace WR, or a second one, before pulling the lever on Lacy, or anybody else that was left. After the studs, the rest of the featured RBs are basically interchangeable in my opinion. Fill up your WR corps, or one of the less than six receiving TEs before going for your first RB (who you will have to replace due to injury anyway).

Defense/ST: I took one in the mid-rounds, locking up Seattle (guaranteed fantasy points every week), while others were looking for the next WR remnant that was going to suck anyway.

Kicker: I only carry one. On the bye week I'll plug the hole with a free agent. Same thing with D/ST.

Probably makes no sense, but I took a chance with Robert Woods. A WR with the Bills. He didn't land on anybody's radar and sits on less than 1% of the leagues (according to Yahoo). His rookie year caught for 500 yards or so, but he moves up the depth chart this season to be the #1 WR option for the Bills.
I'm thinkin he might be that 1000 yard/100 catch WR that nobody saw coming, and might provide some depth in case one of my leaders goes down in the stretch.
That... and he's from Gardena, CA.
A Homie!!!
Born and raised there, graduated from the very small (400 student) Catholic high school located in my old neighborhood, that my brother attended.
Gotta go with the homie, ya know?
Gotta go with the homie.





Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Are You Ready For Some Football???

Kyle Orton is.

Orton Sticks It To The Man

Kyle Orton beats the NFL system

IRVING, Texas – Kyle Orton has done something few players in the NFL get to do: beat the system.

The Cowboys cut Orton on July 15 not long after the veteran backup quarterback told the Cowboys he would be coming to training camp. On Friday, Orton agreed to a deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN’s James Walker.
Orton spent most of the offseason hoping to retire, except the Cowboys would have come after $3.4 million in signing-bonus money he received in 2012 and ’13 had he decided to give up the game. He skipped the voluntary offseason program, skipped a physical before the mandatory minicamp and failed to report to the minicamp altogether. The moves would have cost Orton roughly $150,000 in fines form the Cowboys if he returned.

When he was facing fines of $30,000 a day if he skipped training camp, Orton told the Cowboys he would be in Oxnard, California. And then the Cowboys cut him, giving the backup job to Brandon Weeden.

Now he is with the Buffalo Bills and will start the season as E.J. Manuel's backup. Perhaps he starts if Manuel struggles. And he did not have to go through a day of training camp.

There is nothing the Cowboys can do to recoup Orton’s bonus money since they cut him. They decided they did not want a player who was not fully committed around the team and didn’t want risk him getting hurt after not doing a thing in the offseason.

My belief was that Orton wanted to retire. From all accounts, he was doing next to nothing to get ready for the season.

Be mad at Orton all you want, but teams rarely, if ever, show loyalty to players. Remember, we did see DeMarcus Ware at AT&T Stadium the other night in a Denver Broncos uniform. Players don’t need to be loyal to anybody but themselves.

In the stalemate between Jerry Jones and Orton, Orton won.

I've been watching this dance over the past six months because I've always liked Kyle Orton.
He wasn't the flashiest Quarterback and he didn't have one of the larger arms, but he knew how to play tough football, and he played it well. ( I think he beat the Packers every time he met them while in a Bears uniform).

Good to see one of the working men of the NFL shove it up his owner's ass for a change.