Friday, April 17, 2015

A tale of two trailers

Two tiny glimpses of future movies were released this week. One filled me hope, the other? Meh. I am passionately interested in both projects, so it’s interesting to me that the results should be so different.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer gave me chills. Taught, energetic, fascinating – I watched it several times, loving it more with each back-drag of the scroll bar.

Batman v Superman’s trailer is the anti-Star Wars. And it shouldn’t be. The trailer for Unfriended was brighter than this wet, drippy dive into the dark.

It shouldn’t be that way. I was worried that Disney might, you know, Disnefy my beloved franchise. So far, so wrong. I was also worried Warner Bros. would fail to learn the lessons of the last two Super movies and  make Kal El the Punisher in blue.

 I’m 50-50 on predictions, but I so wanted to be wrong.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The hidden power of our Iranian deal

I have not yet heard anyone talk about the underlying, but powerful ramification of the pending nuclear pact with Iran: Sanctions. Or, more precisely – sanction flux.

It is spring in Buffalo. The thaw reminds you that life is no longer going to be like it was for the last five months. The cruel oppression of bellow-zero temperatures and nine feet of snow is lifting. You can venture outside with exposed skin. A little anyway. If you want.

The fact is, people get used to conditions - environmental, political, physical. We, as a species, adapt. Which is why we’ve got to oscillate the system on occasion. Our restricted dealings with Iran began in November of 1979. They’ve been on an ever-tightening noose ever since, dragging the rest of the world along. That is a full generation of Iranians living without full trade, full exchange of scientific advancements or full participation in the world’s economic community.

The cheering in the streets of Tehran last night had nothing to do with centrifuge inspections. Iranians know they’ve been missing out on something and now they are going to see what they’ve gone without. It will give the threat of being cut off again - should their government abandon their end of the bargain - much more force. This is the kind of personalized force no military can ever muster. The impact of economic sanctions is at home, every day. So to the boon that comes with their lifting.

 Let the money flow. That really is what we do best.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brady Gets Air

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady jumps off a cliff and people in the greater Boston area freak out. He's supposed to be in cryogenic freeze until halfway through practice camp.  But they shouldn't have worried. Look closely. That waterfall is aerating the water. Making it bubbly. Ariel skiers use the same technique in pools when they're training. It makes the water softer.  

Brady made sure some air was added to the water to make his jump easier.  Which is nothing like taking air out of something to make it easier. 

And no, I will never let it go.  I ain't no Disney princess.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Effective Danger

I had to clear ice off my roof last Saturday. There must have been half a ton. Yes, I am highly prone to exaggeration. It is, in fact, both my vocation AND avocation, but this is the truth. My estimate put the ice at over 1,000 pounds. (450 kilos for my foreign friends.)

The first monstrous chunk I dislodged landed in the snow pack and looked a lot like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. I told Max (the nine-year-old) to grab an action figure so I could take a picture. (Ex. 1). I returned to the roof to chip more.

Nina (the 14-year-old) saw me through the skylight and ran to get her mother. “He’s going to die,” she said. Sarah explained that the snow was five feet thick. I could, and probably would, fall off and survive.

Nina pointed to the ice sculpture I had position for better light. Right in my landing spot. Rock-hard, spear-tip ice. (Ex. 2)

“What a moron,” Sarah said as she returned to her business. Max and Nina sat staring through a window at the ice. Waiting for the whoosh, crunch and scream.

Which never came, I’m proud to say. Not despite the danger, but because of it. The spikes below made me better above. I think I’m going to start taking this approach with everything I do. Starting with my writing. If this piece is not well liked, I’m going to put a hole-punch to my left nostril.

There. That upped the ante. I’m going to put a shark in my pool before my next novel comes out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Accessorize like your heros

I need a utility belt. Like Batman’s, only not so yellow. I don’t have the cache to make this a big fashion movement, but necessity is nudging my sense of style. The fact is I’ve got to carry too much crap with me all the time. Like Batman. Hence, my gravitation to his innovation.

While I’d love to carry shark repellent, 300 feet of Kevlar line and a smoke bomb with me wherever I went. Sadly, my life requires a different set of tools: Chapstick, reading glasses, an iPhone and car keys. That last one is the straw the broke my pockets. My new car key is bigger than a Phaser 1. Starfleet Velcroed those things to a belt because they don’t fit in your freakin’ pockets. Again with the utility belt.

I’m thinking something tasteful. Black leather. Not some SWAT team web system. Something that almost looks like it belongs. For all the stuff that belongs.

Because I can’t carry a purse. I’ve had my eye on a Coach clutch for some time, but no. Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jacque Cousteau – they didn’t carry purses. Belts all the way. I’m starting my hunt now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I hate random acts of kindness

. . . week. Random acts of kindness are great. Let’s have more of them. It’s the nationally designated week I dislike almost as much as World Kindness Day (Nov. 13). My problem: we should be nice all the time, not loading it up on one day or one week. What, so we can be jerk-wads the rest of the year? So we can say, ‘hey, I was nice to you all back in February!’ Doesn’t work that way.

Not all designated time periods are stupid. It’s good to draw attention to breast cancer, fire safety or black history. But being nice doesn’t need any press. It’s a default position. Putting a spotlight on it creates the opposite effect – it makes niceness look unusual. Special. Like we’re not nice all the time when most of us are – at least more than 50%, if you don’t count your time in the car.

Kill kindness day and its random acts week. Kill them so we can let kindness live.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Superbowl Response

Whatever. A game that ends in a virtual coin toss - two crazy plays making the game a near toss up - features an embarrassing brawl. Seriously. This is how millionaires chose to end America’s premier sporting event.

Sport can create great stories, though. And this one has a moral. Cheaters win. Cheat often, without remorse and cheat whether you need to or not. Cheat for that feeling that you took something from someone else. That makes you feel extra clever. In end, to the winners go the spoils, or get spoiled, or simply spoil. Can’t remember. One of those is right.

 I liked the commercial with the girls running like girls.