Saturday 10 December 2016
Thursday 8 December 2016
I have been accused of being overzealous in my crusade to save humanity from its cervidae would-be conquerors. To paraphrase a quote from America's inspirational president-elect, I would rather live one day as a lion than 100 years as a deer. It turns out that I'm not the only one.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a homeowners' association in neighboring Fayette County has a plan to deal with its "dangerous" deer problem. Instead of pussyfooting around with traps or sterilization, the Whitewater Creek Country Club Homeowners Association is planning to call in a team of federal sharpshooters. I assume they're talking about SEAL Team 6.
Naturally, any plan this bold will have its detractors. In this case, the bleeding heart residents have formed an opposition group they've named Concerned Citizens Against Deer Eradication. It's pretty clear they don't know what they're doing. CCADE is a terrible acronym.
The newspaper completely omits just how CCADE is planning to stop the WCCCHOA from executing its plan. It says they have hired "a Washington DC law firm," but I'm not sure how that's going to help. This is America. If there's anything we have more of than lawyers, it's bullets.
When will liberal, country club dwelling people learn? When it comes to remorseless deer marauding across your drought resistant Zoysia lawn or eating your organically fertilized, gluten free cucumbers, there's only one solution. Build a wall. And if you can get your neighbors to pay for it, all the better.
Tuesday 6 December 2016
Spotted at Kroger: The Christmas Tree Funnel.
Because even Christmas trees want to do keg stands at frat parties.
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Sunday 4 December 2016
Movies, November, part 2 of 2:
99. (1037.) First Family (1980)
Perhaps because I expected more from screenwriter Buck Henry, I spent most of the second and third acts of this political satire screaming, "But that's unconstitutional!" Perhaps, it's worth remembering that this film was made in the years just after Nixon's "If the president does it, it's not illegal" claim. So much of comedy is context that I'm reluctant to be too hard on this film.
100. (1038.) Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
I felt this Prince and the Pauper-inspired farce makes a few comedic missteps early (slapstick that lasts too long, a voiceover gag played too early — in comedy, timing really is everything), but it recovers well thanks to a broad performance by Gene Wilder and the more subtle style of Donald Southerland. Not great, but not bad.
101. (1039.) The Sea Wolf (1941)
I haven't read the Jack London book this movie was based on, but the film really is pretty good until you reach an ending that feels a bit contrived. Was London responsible for that, or did Hollywood just force another one of its famous endings on me?
102. (1040.) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
This was the movie Mom chose to watch for Thanksgiving. I found it disappointing. Both the script and the animation felt under developed and clumsy. That was never a problem for the Jay Ward cartoons it was based on.
103. (1041.) Ender's Game (2013)
I have read the Orson Scott Card book this movie was based on. I've read it multiple times. And while the movie managed to capture the "Gee Whiz" sci-fi elements, it moves too quickly to do anything but hint at the deeper conflicts of the subject matter. Simultaneously too simple and too complex, I understand why this flopped at the box office.
104. (1042.) Punk Vacation (1990)
Years ago on this blog, I called Armageddon the worst movie ever made. My brother called me out and said that I hadn't seen enough movies. His Exhibit A should have been Punk Vacation. The cinematographer wasn't incompetent, and the editor looks to have been trying to do the best he could with what he was given. However, these actors wouldn't have passed auditions in a community theater, and the director, well, I don't know what the director was thinking. There are some unintentionally funny moments here — I think there was supposed to be dark comedy — but not enough to make it worth watching. By anyone. Ever.
More to come.
Friday 2 December 2016
Last week, the Athens Banner-Herald ran a news story about deer/vehicle collisions on state roads, including my favorite road, US Highway 29. The story ended with this line:
"In three instances, deputies had to shoot the badly injured deer."
Think about that. Imagine a scenario in which a police officer "had to" shoot a deer. What do you see? Does it look something like this?
It should. Those collisions weren't accidents. They were yet another offensive in deer's eternal war against humanity.
What if, instead of shooting them, the officers had given the "badly injured" deer medical attention and let them go free? How many days do you think would pass before that deer attacked another car? What if next time, it was your wife's car? Or your daughter's? Can you really afford to take that chance?
Deer. They'd do it to you.
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Wednesday 30 November 2016
Monday 28 November 2016
Power's out. No post today. (Hard to type in the dark.) Thanks, President Trump.
Saturday 26 November 2016
In 2014, Georgia Tech won in Sanford Stadium on a last second collapse by Georgia. Two years later, here we are again. Mark Richt was fired exactly a year after his mistake. Is Kirby Smart on the same path?
First of all, a word about Georgia Tech. The much maligned Paul Johnson brought crafty play calling and superior discipline to Athens and beat a team with superior talent 28-27. Congratulations. See that it never happens again.
Now back to Smart.
Before the season started, a friend asked me what I thought of Kirby Smart as the new head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. At the time, I wasn't nuts about some of the bad habits he brought over from his former employer (including hiding from the press, influencing the Georgia legislature to exempt his program from sunshine laws, and resisting the transfer of student athletes). However, I said I'd wait until the season ended to render an opinion. The season is now over, and I remain less than optimistic.
Fact: Despite playing all four of them most years for the better part of a century, Georgia has never lost football games to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Georgia Tech in the same season before. Not under Richt, not even under Donnan. Add in that we only squeaked by Auburn because they ran out of players and it gets worse. That's an incredibly inauspicious start to the Kirby Smart era.
All season, I've heard about how Georgia is losing because its talent is lacking. Somehow, that never came up while Richt was coach. Smart started the season with Heisman hopeful Nick Chubb, his talented roommate Sony Michel, and the most talked about quarterback recruit in the SEC. He ended the season ranked 12 of 14 SEC teams in total points per game. Maybe former Defensive Coordinator Smart needs time to adjust to learning to coach offense, but his defense still finished 7 out of 14 SEC teams in total points allowed. Maybe, as his defenders claim, Smart doesn't have the players with the skill sets necessary to play "The System" he brought over from Alabama, but that's not the fault of Richt or the kids he recruited. That's on the coach who chose a system and failed to adapt it to suit the talent he had available.
I hope that the problems of 2016 represented growing pains for a rookie head coach learning on the job. The good news for Smart is that it will be hard to do any worse in 2017. That is, unless he's determined to lose to Auburn, too.
Thursday 24 November 2016
If you're a Kindle reader looking for a way to kill some time this Thanksgiving, I've got a present for you.
Until November 26, you can download digital copies of my second and third books for free from Amazon.com.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Black Friday, everybody.
Tuesday 22 November 2016
With the foreknowledge that if there's anything more boring than hearing other people's dreams, it's hearing their reviews of the movies they've seen, I present my take on the first four movies I've watched this month:
95. (1033.) The Unknown (1927)
This is a silent horror film in which Lon Chaney plays a sideshow freak who has no arms who starts an affair with his assistant who hates men with arms. The Shyamalan twist here is that he really does have arms! Actually, it's pretty darn good, which you would have expected if I started by telling you this was a Tod Browning film. The man was the original Tim Burton.
96. (1034.) How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Golly, the plot of this sequel to a kid's movie felt awfully dark. It telegraphs loss and regret at every turn. Really, it wants to the the Empire Strikes Back of dragon training movies but with far less charismatic villains. Fittingly, I watched it on November 9, the First Day of the President Trump Era and felt it was thematically relevant.
97. (1035.) The Best Man (1964)
Henry Fonda made some of the best movies. Advise & Consent, Fail-Safe, The Ox-Bow Incident, 12 Angry Men, Once Upon a Time in the West, The Swarm, this. Loved it.
98. (1036.) The Great Gatsby (2013)
This is the Baz Luhrmann version. To his credit Leonardo DiCaprio makes a pretty good Gatsby, and Tobey Maguire a great Nick, but I can't say I loved the film. Luhrmann tries too hard to create a visual parallel to Fitzgerald's lyricism, and the visual effects get in the way of the story. I'm especially dissatisfied with the way the ending unfolds on the screen, which I feel saps some of the gut punch of the book's tragic finale. I recommend that you read the book instead.
More to come.