Category Archives: Entertainment

Yet Another Damn Near Perfect Movie

“Parenthood”

Ron Howard’s a genius. That ensemble cast is stellar. From scene to scene I can’t even decide who’s more perfect.

Jason Robards? The only movie I like more of his is “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Mary Steenburgen? Perfection.

Dianne Wiest? There’s a reason she got an Oscar nomination for this film.

Keanu Reeves? The scene where he explains to Dianne Wiest why her son is upset and depressed is freaking brilliant.

Tom Hulse? Just wanna slap his stupid punk ass up one side and down the other. Only his role in “Amadeus” is better.

Not a single bad scene in the entire film.

Agree with me or resign yourself to being wrong.

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Movies

Epic Fantasies

So, after four straight weeks of binging through Seasons 5, 6, 7, and the start of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, we’re now up to date and ready to watch the last two episodes with the rest of the world.

I won’t say much about GOT except to say that they have the most villainous villains I have ever even conceived of. And I love Arya Stark more than I think any fictional character that I’ve ever seen. Except for possibly Ripley. Possibly.

While “processing” the latest from GOT 8-4 tonight and heading to my office to get some work done, I found “The Princess Bride” on one of the premium cable channels. I’m pretty sure somewhere along the line in the last few years here I’ve described it as one of those movies that I’ll watch any time at the drop of  a hat. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it recently.

Again, watching it tonight, I’m struck by just how perfect it is. As many times as I’ve seen it, I can’t find a single scene or line of dialogue that isn’t pristine.

More significantly, to see it just after seeing the last couple of GOT episodes… Similar themes and settings, knights, castles, swords, horses, bad guys who are really bad, good guys who are really good, and so on. But what radically different worlds!

Finally, in the category of “You See Something New Every Time You Watch It,” (for $2,000, Alex!), I just noticed that the music was done by Mark Knopfler.

Wait, what?

THAT, Mark Knopfler? Dire Straights’ Mark Knopfler? “Sultans of Swing” Mark Knopfler?

Yep.

Gobsmacked.

2 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Movies

I Had Almost Forgotten

…how wonderful “American Gods” is.

The second season of the television version of Neil Gaiman’s classic starts next month and it appears that they’re replaying the first season on channel 352,526,233 of the local cable system tonight.

Damn, is it wonderful!

So NSFW that it’s not even funny, but wonderful!

I had also almost forgotten what it was like to sit on my ass and just watch some wonderful television for a few hours.

1 Comment

Filed under Entertainment

No Context For You – February 10th

There are places that we need to have ready if we should need them – but we really don’t want to ever need them.

There are places that don’t exist that we desperately need to have, but we go on every day knowing that they’ll never exist.

This reality thing is really weird sometimes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Family, Photography

No Context For You – February 01st

No matter what you think this might be, it’s not. I’m pretty sure of that.

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day. While that’s one of my all-time favorite films, I don’t think there are any days in the last couple of weeks that I would want to live over and over and over. While we’ve come out the other end in pretty good shape, the journey to get here has sort of sucked.

But February’s going to be better!

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Family, Photography

Mission Secondary Objective #9 Achieved!

Kansas City.

We moved there in 1960, left in 1967, over fifty years ago. But those are some formative years.

This was my third time back, all in the last twelve years. Last year we were there for a couple of days, but while we did some sightseeing, the focus was on the total solar eclipse. This time we had almost a whole week with the focus being the football game on Sunday, so we got to get much more familiar with the city as it exists today.

I really liked what I found. Aside from the museums, the art, the BBQ, and the hotel, I got time to wander a bit.

Downtown, near the Power & Light District, is full of construction on new, modern skyscrapers, mixed with block after block of restored historic buildings. For example, the Hotel President (another of the Hilton Curio Collection) was built in 1926 and was the site of the 1928 Republican National Convention.

All over the place are these monuments of Art Deco brickwork, right next to fancy glass & steel. I love the juxtaposition.

The Convention Center is huge and a cornerstone of Downtown. Just beyond it on the right a block or two is the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts, a world-class concert venue.

The city was decked out in its finest for the holidays.

In that vein, some of what I remember most are things I wasn’t able to take pictures of at the time. Shocking, I know – the very concept of me seeing something really neat and not taking a picture is horrifying, but in this case I was always driving so I chose the safe course. (Even more shocking!)

In this case, one thing that stood out was a large shopping area near the art museum. It was lit up for the holiday for blocks and blocks and seemed familiar. It was only after I got home that I stumbled across a series of photos from the early 1960s when the holiday lighting of the area was first started. Seeing the pictures from over 55 years ago, I recognized many of the buildings that I had seen last week. Since we were living in the area at the time I’m sure that we would have come down there as a family to look at the lights.

The city lights up beautifully at night and you can still see that dichotomy between the old and the new architecture. From our room at the Hotel Phillips we also had a great view of the downtown airport (seen here between the skyscrapers). When I was a kid this was the main airport and I remember many trips down there to pick up or drop off my dad when he was traveling for work.

On “Red Friday” through game day on Sunday, almost every flagpole in town was carrying a “Chiefs Kingdom” flag, just like the one we fly in our living room.

Another thing I saw but didn’t get to photograph was the way the city and skyscrapers lit up with red spotlights at night prior to the Chiefs game. Union Station, below the WWI Museum (which we saw last year) was lit up all in crimson. As you cross back the tracks and climb back toward Downtown, many of the big buildings, both old and new, are similarly lit.

I felt at home, a part of the community, in a way I’ve never felt in Los Angeles.

Finally, in weather I haven’t experienced in a long time (25°F with a 25 knot wind gusting to 35) I went and found “The Scout” statue, an iconic symbol of the city.

Needless to say, I had the park to myself. The locals are smart enough to be someplace warm. I was glad to be wearing more than a loincloth…

With Downtown in the distance, the Convention Center and Kaufmann Center clearly visible, the WWI museum nearby, this must be a wonderful park to hang out in during the warm summer months.

Maybe if this is where we pick to retire to we’ll find out. I could see that happening.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Entertainment, Photography, Travel

Mission Secondary Objective #8 Achieved!

Kansas City has many great old buildings downtown that have been restored to fantastic condition, so I made a conscious decision to look for someplace unique. We’ve stayed at plenty of Marriotts and Sheratons and Crown Plazas and so on, and there’s a lovely Marriott right next to the convention center and next to where we stayed. But we went for unique and stayed at the Hotel Phillips, a 20-story hotel build in 1931 and recently restored by Hilton.

It’s freaking gorgeous!

From the outside, the brickwork is exquisite.

Plenty of big glass skyscrapers around, but also plenty of stunning old brick buildings. (Don’t these people ever worry about earthquakes?)

The lobby is marble and polished wood and brass, all decked out for Christmas.

There’s a second-story mezzanine that’s full of more comfy chairs and quiet spots.

The double staircase is Art Deco made of wrought iron and dark wood and nickel filigree.

Then there’s that statue overlooking it all. (By the way, the building is on the National Historic Register.)

When I win the lottery and design my own 20,000 square foot mansion, I want THIS in the main foyer!

“The Goddess of The Dawn” was created in 1931 by Kansas City sculptor Jorgen Dryer.

If you get a chance to stay at the Phillips in KC, take it!!

2 Comments

Filed under Art, Entertainment, Photography, Travel