My iPod Has Issues – We Are The Trivia Champions

27 Feb

Today, the History Club played Trivial Pursuit. It was students against teachers with the students having about ten people and we teachers only having three. In other words, the students were at a severe disadvantage.Trivia

The students streaked out to an early lead, but, by the end, we had pulled ahead and barely won. Some of the students were crushed. Some did not care. I think I can speak for each of the teachers by saying that we were relieved. A loss would have never been lived down.

To celebrate our victory, I decided to dig into the iPod and let it play. After all, it is party time for the history faculty. We were able to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

“Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones

“Groove’s Groove” by Richard “Groove” Holmes

“Who’s To Bless And Who’s To Blame” by Kris Kristofferson

“Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

“Les Flammes D’en Fer” by The Jambalaya Cajun Band

“Ode To Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry

“Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2

“Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf

“In The Air Tonight” by Nonpoint

“Truck Drivin’ Man” by Jimmy Martin

“Let It Be” by The Beatles

“Surrender” by Cheap Trick

“Orange Blossom Special” by Benny Martin

“Here Comes The Sun” by Richie Havens

“An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night

“I Sang Dixie” by Dwight Yoakam

“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

“I Never Loved A Man” by Aretha Franklin

“All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix

A victory in Trivial Pursuit? That must mean that the teacher team is the GOAT!

As Memories of Houston’s Fade

24 Feb

During our time in Arizona, we found Houston’s, a restaurant that can be described as upscale and casual. This caught our attention because Nashville was home to the first Houston’s. It was founded by people who had worked at other restaurants in the city and was one of the most popular places in town. It was a great place to go on a date or to hang out with friends in the bar.

The success of the Nashville location led to an expansion into other cities, and, before long, there was a chain. At some point, the ownership moved the headquarters to Beverly Hills and decided to close the original location. A lot of people believed that the owners had come to the conclusion that Houston’s was too good for Nashville. After all, hanging out with movie stars must be better than hanging out with country music stars.

For old times sake, we decided to have dinner at the Houston’s in Scottsdale. The atmosphere was similar to what we remembered, and I ordered my old favorite.Menu

However, we were disappointed in the food. It was not as good as we remembered, and, frankly, there are a bunch of restaurants in Nashville that are better.

It has been ten years since Houston’s left Nashville, and the city has changed considerably during that time. It has grown into a truly cosmopolitan city with a diverse population. That diverse population has differing tastes, and there are restaurants for everyone. In fact, Nashville has become a foodie destination, and some of the nation’s more prominent chefs have created restaurants within its borders.

I have no idea how long this restaurant trend will last, but, after revisiting Houston’s, I have come to a conclusion. The owners had it backwards. Houston’s is not too good for Nashville. Instead, Nashville is too good for Houston’s.

The Difference Between Sitting on a Horse and Standing on a Rock

22 Feb

The arrival of the latest Cowboys and Indians magazine is always a highlight at our house. It is filled with all things Western – art, history, movies, fashion, decor. It is a must read for anyone who likes the stuff that can be found in the West.

With that in mind, I was surprised to find an article that bothered me. On top of that, it is dumb to let it bother me. After all, it is not about some controversial subject that leads to great debates. It is about the 50th anniversary of The Sons of Katie Elder, a movie starring John Wayne.

The entire thing started off bad with the first few sentences. It goes a follows:

“The first time we see John Wayne in The Sons of Katie Elder, the image is appropriately iconic. After his character, errant gunfighter John Elder, is frequently and sometimes fearfully discussed by blood relatives and mortal enemies for the first several minutes of the movie, he finally appears on horseback on a hilltop, silently gazing down at the graveside gathering for his recently departed, dearly beloved mother.”

What was bad about that? This is my favorite scene from the entire movie, and John Wayne is not sitting on a horse. He is standing on a rock.Katie Elder

Bottom line, if you are charged with writing an article about a movie, then you should watch the movie. Heck, this is one of the first scenes. How can Joe Leydon, the writer, get that wrong?

Anyway, those first sentences got the article on the wrong track, but there is another problem. This movie is not good enough to deserve a 50th anniversary commemoration. It is written with the theme that this was John Wayne’s first movie after surgery to remove cancerous tumors. That is a noble subject and deserves to be written. However, a better article would be about his fight through the years and not focused on this film.

I am a huge fan of John Wayne and will read anything about him. I also understand that other people will do the same. That is why this magazine and others like it do all that can to put him in their pages. I just think that something better could have been written.

What is my problem with The Sons of Katie Elder? The entire thing is filled with bad casting. The age difference between John Wayne and Michael Anderson, Jr. makes the entire thing unbelievable. In fact, one was 36 years older than the other.Katie Sons

I guess that is possible, but Katie Elder must have been one heck of a woman.

Oh yeah, there is one other problem. Who decided to use the name Katie Elder? In the movie, she is described by everyone as the best woman who ever lived. They do not even have the words to describe her goodness. With that in mind, they should have come up with a better name because the real Kate Elder was not filled with goodness.

Big Nose Kate was a prostitute who hung around Doc Holliday. I will not go into the sordid details of her life, but I think about her whenever I watch this movie. Did she turn her life around and move to Clearwater, Texas? Was she such a good person in an attempt to make up for her past? I cannot separate the fictional Katie Elder from the real Kate Elder.

I write all of that to write this. If you are going to write an article about John Wayne then write about John Wayne. If you are going to write about John Wayne’s fight with cancer then write about John Wayne’s fight with cancer. However, if you are going to commemorate one of John Wayne’s movies, then make it one of the good ones.

On top of that, watch the movie first so you can describe the scenes accurately.

 

 

A Brief Description of Our Arizona Adventures

20 Feb

We just returned from a trip into the Arizona Territory, which was lucky in one regard. While we enjoyed sunny days in the 80s, our hometown was buried under an ice storm of Biblical proportions. At least, it was the biggest thing witnessed in these parts.

Instead of making a series of posts out of this excursion, I have decided to write about the best thing that we did each day.

Friday – We escaped the freezing blast, but that was not the best part. That came when had dinner on the patio at Scottsdale’s Old Town Tortilla Factory. Enchiladas covered in green chilies. You cannot get better than that.

Saturday – Highlight of the day? Heck, this could be the highlight of the trip. As we drove through Cave Creek, Arizona, I looked to my right and saw a big sign that read True West Magazine Headquarters. This is one of my favorites, and I could not believe that we just happened upon it. Obviously, I had to get a picture.image-22

Sunday – We looked at a lot of art. It is everywhere in the Scottsdale area. On this day, art was purchased. Joe Deru makes bowls, pots and all kinds of things out of wood. This is not just any woodcarving. This is some elaborate stuff. His operation is called Windfall Woods, and everyone should check it out.DSC00378

Monday – This was road trip day, and we made our way to the Red Rock country around Sedona. I delved into some history that needed to be dealt with, but the best thing happened on the way back. We stopped at the Rock Springs Cafe for some of their famous pie.FullSizeRender

My wife got chocolate cream, and I got pecan with a little vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday – Food has been mentioned twice. In other words, we ate quite a bit. That is why the best event of this day was important. We hiked the trail at Squaw Peak. It must be written that peak is the operative word in that sentence. This thing went straight up. Once we got to the top, we had a great accomplishment and a great view.IMG_0637

It was on the way down when we realized that one couple did it twice to our once. Of course, once was enough.

Wednesday – Food has returned. For our last dinner in Scottsdale, we chose Barrio Queen, and it turned out to be the best place of all. My burrito was excellent, and my wife’s choice was just as great. However, neither compared to the fresh guacamole to start things off.IMG_0654

Thursday – It is always good to go somewhere, but it is also always good to return home. We boarded the plane at 70 degrees and landed at 9 degrees. However, that was alright. We had a great time and made it home safely.

My iPod Has Issues – Sad Songs Say Everything

10 Feb

A sadness has come over me. There are reasons for the melancholy that has settled in, but I will not go into them. When I get into a mood such as this, I need to hear sad songs. I suppose many people would listen to happy music in an attempt to pull themselves out. However, sad music helps me focus on what is going through my mind and alleviate some of the feelings that have developed.Pier

With that in mind, I think it is a good time to look into the iPod and play some songs that I consider sad. Of course, that definition is in the ear of the beholder. One person’s sad song could be someone else’s happy song. Nevertheless, here we go.

“Kentucky Rain” by Elvis Presley

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Dave Alvin

“It Was A Very Good Year” by Frank Sinatra

“Love On The Rocks” by Neil Diamond

“The Pretender” by Jackson Browne

“Moment Of Surrender” by U2

“Pieces Of April” by Three Dog Night

“Just A Song Before I Go” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

“Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkel

“Girl From The North Country” by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

“November Rain” by Guns ‘N Roses

“Shenandoah” by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

“For The Good Times” by Ray Price

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by The Hollies

“Alone Again” by Dokken

“By The Time I Get To Phoenix” by Glen Campbell

“It Was Almost Like A Song” by Johnny Hartman

“Levon” by Elton John

“Everything Must Change” by Oleta Adams

“Badge” by Cream

Dang, I want to continue listening to sad songs. However, I will stop typing right here.

2-7-1 Contact

9 Feb

Over the weekend, I watched Contact, a movie that I have seen countless times. It is one of those films that I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. This could be for several reasons.

It is Science Fiction placed into the real world.

It portrays the conflict between science and religion.

It has a pre-Alright/Alright/Alright Matthew McConaughey playing the religious soul of the nation falling in love with Jodie Foster, the scientific mind of the nation.

It has one of the coolest Howard Hughes-type characters not named Howard Hughes.

It has a government cover-up.

The list could go on and on, but, in short, the movie has everything.

However, this post is not about any of that. It is about the closing scene.

Before the pictures fade to black and the credits roll, Jodie Foster is sitting on the rim of a canyon and contemplating all that has happened. As the camera scans, the radio antennas that picked up the transmission from space can be seen in the background.Jodie Foster Canyon

I always found the radio antennas fascinating and wanted to see them after my first viewing of the film. A few years ago, I got my wish and traveled to the Very Large Array, or VLA. It was cool to see the antennas stretch over the landscape. I took a bunch of pictures but could not find them. However, I did get a picture of the t-shirt that I bought.image-21

Oh yeah, one other thing was interesting. They bent over backwards to make sure we knew that SETI did not use the facility. I guess people go there thinking that Jodie Foster really got a message from space.

I write all of that to write this. There is not canyon at the VLA. When Jodie Foster sat at the rim of the canyon, she was somewhere else entirely, and I wanted to know where. With a short venture into the Internet Movie Database, I discovered that she was looking into Canyon de Chelly. As it turns out, I have also been there.West 2010 209

The VLA is in New Mexico.

Canyon de Chelly is in Arizona.

According to the GPS, they are 271 miles apart.

When people talk about Contact, they criticize her trip to the wormhole for being stupid. She traveled light years to run into her deceased dad. They are focusing on the wrong thing. The trip to Vega was amazing, but it was nowhere near as amazing as Jodie’s ability to be in two places at once.

Which Witch is Which

7 Feb

The other night, we, like a ton of other people, went to a Super Bowl party. It was a fun gathering with great food and great friends. As often happens, I learned a few things while I was there.

First, people at Super Bowl parties do not watch the Super Bowl. During the game, they eat, talk, mingle and all sorts of other things. I was guilty of this because I did not care who won the game. It was background music for what was happening within the room. However, the same people got quiet and paid attention to the halftime show.

In short, I learned that a lot of people watch a concert and a football game breaks out.

Secondly, I learned that Katy Perry, the halftime performer, is a witch. At least, this is what folks on social media were saying. Of course, that would be a pretty sharp turn for someone who used to be a Christian singer and likes to dance with Jabberjaw.Shark

A halftime show being performed by a witch follows a line of Super Bowl halftime shows that sent dark forces through our television screens.

Madonna’s performance was designed by the Illuminati and announced the arrival of the Antichrist. If you do not believe it, then look around the Internet. It is all right there.

Not to be outdone, Beyonce’s performance was also filled with Illuminati symbolism. I am not sure what message they were trying to get across, but Beyonce did all she could to get everyone’s attention. Heck, she even knocked out the lights, which allowed the field to be brought from the dark to the light. Illuminati was written all over it.

With all of the symbolism during these shows, I wonder if they used the symbol himself, Prince. That purple guitar has to mean something.

To honor Katy Perry’s witchiness and all of these performers for their service to the dark forces, here are a few of my favorite witches.

Samantha Stevens – She tried to hide her powers, but they always saved the day.Bewitched

However, I do not understand why someone with her skills did not notice when her husband turned into another person.

Stevie Nicks – My favorite witch of all time.Stevie

The dressed like a witch. She sang about witches. She is the coolest witch of all time.

The Bell Witch – I have to include some local lore. I will not go into the entire story, but she is the only witch to be officially recognized by the United States government.Bell Witch

Any kid who grows up in Tennessee knows that you never stand in front of a mirror and say her name three times.

Broom Hilda - We had a high school teacher that we called Broom Hilda.Broom Hilda

It was not nice, but she earned it.

Melisandre – Anyone who watches Game of Thrones knows all about her.Melisandre

She can convince kings to burn people at the stake, and she can give birth to smoke monsters.

Rhea of the Coos – There cannot be a list of witches without including one created by Stephen King.Rhea

The Dark Tower series is filled with dangerous characters, but Rhea of the Coos is one of the most dangerous.

The Witch – She does not need a name. She only needs her feminine ways to lure Conan the Barbarian into her lair.Conan

He threw her into a fire, but she came a lot closer to killing him than James Earl Jones ever did.

Marie Laveau – She was the Witch Queen of New Orleans and was said to remain forever young. Redbone recorded a great song about her, and people visit her grave.Marie

I have been there and drawn three X’s on her tomb. That is supposed to wake her up to offer some black magic help for anyone who needs it.

There are plenty of more witches out there casting spells and dancing in the woods. I wonder which one the Illuminati will get to perform at next year’s Super Bowl.

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