On a lazy fall afternoon here's a peek at one of my favorite sites, the Old Faithful webcam.
This might mean something. Then again it might not.
Opinion polls suggest that the Presidential race could be close. However, those people who are willing to place real money on the race seem to be favoring Bush. According to This is London:
Tradesports chief executive John Delaney said digital odds offered by his firm's customers imply that Bush has a 54.2% to 56% probability of winning. 'We are seeing some of the largest individual trades we have ever seen on this exchange, including $100,000 from one client as an initial trade,' he said.
It's possible that those big single bets may have been placed for the purpose of swinging the odds or drawing some U.S. news media attention to the bettor's favorite. Be that as it may, at the time of this writing Tradesports.com has Bush bid at 55.3 and Kerry at 44.1.
This is a story about George W. Bush, and it's about character. No, it's not about serving in the Texas Air National Guard. This happened long before that.
George Bush spent his childhood years in Midland, Texas, before moving with his family to another Texas city. And, there's a fellow who grew up with him in Midland who tells a very interesting story from those early days.
They were both elementary students at the same school, and in those days the kids spent recess outside on the playground. The kids were free to do just about anything they wanted so long as they didn't leave the playground, and it was a chance for the teachers to chat with one another. A lot of things went on out there that the teachers never knew about. And, the incident I'm about to relay is something that happened one day on the playground at Sam Houston Elementary School.
Pete Hogue is the fellow who tells the story, and he was a nonathletic skinny little kid, just the type of kid that a bully might like to pick on. And sure enough, on that particular day there was a bully on the playground looking for someone to pick on. He picked out Pete and started whipping up on him without any provocation. He knocked Pete to the ground and was just whaling away on him. Then suddenly it stopped. George Bush was standing over them; he grabbed the bully and pulled him off of Pete saying "that's enough!"
Well, that ended the fight. And to hear that skinny kid tell it - he's now a grown adult - he was sore for weeks.
There were kids standing on the sidelines doing nothing, and one has to wonder if watching from the sidelines is the norm in that type situation. It's a rare person who will step into a situation and do what's right when there's a lot of risk and no reward. And, George Bush certainly deserves credit for stepping forward and doing the right thing.
Let's fast forward to today. We saw some of this same character on display when Saddam Hussein was a threat. Okay, they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction, but does anyone seriously doubt that Saddam was a big threat? George Bush recognized that, and instead of watching from the sidelines and waiting for something to happen, he took action.
That's what this election is really all about - whether we want someone who is going to take action when it's necessary to protect us, or whether we want someone who is going to go stand on the sidelines and watch.
I voted early in this election, and in case there should be any doubt, I voted for George W. Bush.
Pegjovi emailed to alert us to an Ebay auction of items supposedly used in the making of the movie Friday Night Lights. (Link is to the full FNL coverage at this weblog.)
Among the items listed are Panther cheerleader outfits, Permian High School letter jackets (without the letter), and MOJO sleeveless shirts. If you are interested, check it out at this E-bay link.
As a Midland blogger on occasion I'll receive an email from someone purporting to be a reporter or writer from out-of-state or out-of-country seeking interviews or information about some aspect of Midland; their primary interest being George Bush or his early days here. The other local bloggers have, no doubt, received similar entreaties.
Some longtime Midland residents simply don't want anything to do with those reporters. They say they have been burned before and don't want it happening again. One of those long time residents complained about a visit from a foreign tv crew saying that the resulting show put Midland in a bad light, and by the way, the resident didn't get much face time on the show. (It's a little like the old joke about the bad restaurant: "The food there is absolutely inedible. And the servings are too small.")
But, I can see their point. You just know that European and Canadian networks, particularly the government run ones, don't like George Bush. And, there's that sneaking suspicion that they've already written the story, but they just need some local color to make it seem authentic.
A couple of weeks ago when a reporter from Dutch public television was looking for locals to interview it took someone courageous to step up to the microphone. And, two local bloggers did it. Hats off to Wallace at Streams and Julie at Yellow Bug News who accepted the challenge and put a bright forward looking face on Midland. Someone had to do it. It must have been a tough, thankless job, and they were the right people at the right time. So thanks, y'all!
Every so often the Midland Police Department sponsors a Citizens' Police Academy consisting of a 36 hour course in which police officers in the various departments explain what they do. I took the cuorse in early 2003, and it was an excellent program.
In one session we got to visit the police firing range, and that was a blast, literally. We got to shoot a police handgun - a Sig 9mm semi-automatic. And, those who wanted could shoot an MP-5 set at two shot bursts. For those of us who had never shot a fully automatic weapon, that was a real thrill. Also, we got to witness some amazing shots by one of the police snipers dressed in a Gilly suit that had him so perfectly camouflaged against the west Texas terrain that he was practically invisible.
On another occasion, we got to do CSI Midland involving a dead body; actually it was someone pretending to be dead, but she did a very convincing job. We were divided into teams, and each team got to visit the scene, collect clues, then workup a presentation for the others. Everyone had a great time.
The program is put on by the Community Relations group headed by Sgt. Kimberly Martinez and Officer Ron Sartor. And, the purpose of the program is to familiarize citizens with the police department, so there's no test or grade. It's just for informational purposes. And, here's the good news. Another class will start at 7:00 PM on October 26, 2004, which is next Tuesday. They will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours at a time, and the class will end on December 9.
It's a great program, and residents of Midland, Texas, interested in attending should make arrangements to do so by getting an application from the Citizens' Police Academy website or by calling 685-7582 or 685-7131. It's well worth the time, and you'll be glad you did.
This has got to be one the most amusing clarifications to hit the pages of a newspaper in ages. From the Midland Reporter-Telegram print edition:
On Wednesday's front page, the Reporter-Telegram published a sports "teaser" - which was used to guide readers to a story in the sports section - that said: Midland High assistant coach says F-word."
The story in question was about Midland High's five "fumbles" in the 42-34 victory over Odessa Permian last Friday ... thus the "F-word."
It was never the newspaper's intention to offend anyone. To those who were, we apologize."
Oh my. It must be tough avoiding stepping on a toe every once in a while when there are so many of them out there.
Check out this new blog sending forth excellent movie reviews from Odessa, Texas. In particular, Bull Durham's Hot Corner has a wonderful review of Friday Night Lights relating lots of first hand experiences.
He says, "This story is so realistic it brings back personal nightmares. Friday Night Lights is genuine, gut wrenching, and most of all, heart-felt." Permalink.
Glad you liked it. So did I.
In an article updated 10/10/2004 11:14 PM, USA Today's preliminary report says that Friday Night Lights grossed $20.6 million over the weekend placing it second behind Shark Tale. Here's what they said:
Timing was on the side of Friday Night Lights, the high school football film that was the surprise of the weekend.
The drama, based on the 1988 Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas, stunned analysts by bringing in $20.6 million. The haul was $5 million more than analysts expected, good for second.
Lights flourished by luring moviegoers who are not typical fans of sports films: 44% of the audience was female. [Emphasis added.]
"We knew that women would be drawn to the story of the relationships and the community," Universal distribution chief Nikki Rocco says. "So we advertised as much on the morning news shows as we did on ESPN."
Final numbers are due today.
It's interesting that the audience was 44% female. By the way, the USA Today movie review gave the movie three and one half stars out of four.
Anonymous Houston Extra has seen the movie Friday Night Lights and has logged in with his take:
Well I hate to be the negative one but I just think the movie could have been so much better. The performance of each and every actor was clearly superb but the directing and screenplay were lacking in the eyes of many of the extras who participated in the Houston filming. Peter Berg chose a few personalities to go deep rather than give us a better flavor of the community as a whole. I mean, unlike "The Rookie" or "Hoosiers" where we got a real sense of the community culture, FNL gave us a couple boosters and a guy at the burger stand. I guess all the people in the stands were suppose to give us a feeling of life in Odessa along with "gone to the game" signs in store windows.
Berg totally weakened the storylines with excessive time spent on shoulder pad crunching rather than the interesting vignettes of dialog that were playing out among fans, boosters in the suite, recruiters, announcers, cheerleaders and students, faculty and alumni. Somehow that all got left on the cutting room floor and turned a potentially great movie into a docu-drama. In my opinion the best part of the movie was when the dads and alumni in the stands were conversing on opening day practice. After that it was all weak dialog or Billy Bob monologues.
And as far as crunching tackles... enough already. Did they have to take us through every blessed game of the season. Maybe it's just my taste but movies like "Rudy" with a great story behind it are so much more enjoyable. Of course those movies like most are meant to be positive, uplifting and project optimism. Berg also separates the audience from the characters in game action sequences. Unlike Tom Cruise in "All the Right Moves" where you see the actors making plays on the field you feel the absence of the actors in the action.
The town of Odessa is enthralled with high school football because they love it and enjoy it. It brings the community together it doesn't tear it apart. Berg could have made this movie more about a community that goes "Over the Top". That's real and it happens in towns all over the United States. Instead Berg would lead us to believe that high school football is the root of all evil for a small town in West Texas.
Thanks AHE. For my own take on the movie see the post just below this one or click "Friday Night Lights." Saw it. Loved it!. And to see all of the items at this web log about the making of the movie click "Friday Night Lights".
The Last Picture Show meets Any Given Sunday.
Last night at least 900 people paid $100 each for a ticket to see the Texas premiere of Friday Night Lights in Odessa. And, it was a real premiere with limos, a red carpet, tv crews, stars, the director. The only thing missing was Joan Rivers.
Author H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger apparently never really understood the intoxicating effect winning can have. And, in his book he treated the people of Odessa as some sort of curiosity. Forget the book. The movie was the book Buzz Bissinger should have written. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a football game will enjoy this movie. And what a powerful movie it was!
The camera work was tremendous. And, the well choreographed, Dolby amplified, hard slamming football action made me want to hide behind the seat in front of me. And some of the scenes were so climatic that it made the movie audience want to cheer. We had to remind ourselves, it's only a movie. It's only a movie.
Coach Gary Gaines can finally hold his head high again. Billy Bob Thornton did an excellent job of portraying him as competent and firm yet compassionate. The real Coach Gaines should be quite pleased with the movie.
There were some unlikeable characters in the movie. In particular, Tim McGraw played a drunken football-obsessed dad whose destructive tendencies were almost overwhelming. But, it was a great performance, and it must have been a tough part for McGraw to play.
Derek Luke was a smashing hit as Boobie Miles. Luke played Miles as a brash braggart with nothing but fabulous things in his future. The real Boobie Miles was in attendance, and his outgoing personality made him unmistakable as he held court at the post premiere party. But, in the movie, Miles sustains a knee injury, and the scene in which he sits with his uncle, L. V., in the parking lot of Ratliff Stadium and finally faces up to reality will just reach into your chest and rip out your heart. Take a handkerchief.
There were no scenes in which the stadium crowd cheered because a player got injured, so reason must have prevailed in the editing room.
Before Miles' knee injury Permian was on top of the world. "Expectations couldn't be any higher," the coach tells the players. "We will win state."
Following Miles' departure from the game, Permian went from the upper dog to the underdog which had to claw and fight its way back inch by bloody inch. And, with just the sheer luck of a coin toss Permian got the chance to play for the state championship in the movie.
The championship game in the movie was between Permian and Dallas Carter in the Astrodome. And, if anyone had come off as a villain before, that all fell to the wayside as we met Dallas Carter. From the first encounter with the Carter coaches as they played the race card in a preliminary meeting, to the last unpunished game violation, you could feel about as much compassion for Carter as for O. J. Simpson.
The championship game will really get your adrenalin going. You probably already know how it ends, so I won't dwell on it. But, I'll say that last night, regardless where we came from, we were all Permian Panthers.
Two thumbs way up! Go see it!
Updated 10/12/04: Welcome visitors from GruntDoc.com; Jessica's Well; Bull Durham's Hot Corner; BillyBobapaloosa; and Amerika Kiest. I have had a great time covering the making of the movie, and finally being able to see it on the big screen was a pleasure almost beyond words.
[To see all of the items at this web log about the movie and the making of the movie click "Friday Night Lights".]
Here are some photos taken in and around the red carpet runway at the Odessa, Texas, premiere of Friday Night Lights.
To see all of the items at this web log about the movie and the making of the movie click "Friday Night Lights".
Anyone who ordered a ticket should have it by now. The tickets mailed out by the ECISD Education Foundation will allow the ticket holder to get into the theater where Century Theater tickets will be issued with a specific theater assignment.
A portion of the Education Foundation ticket will allow admission to the post screening party at Graham's Central Station. And, upon admission, the ticket holder will be issued four (count 'em, FOUR) drink tickets! Hot dang! According to Ginger Pope of the Odessa American "Several television stations are planning a live broadcast from the event...". I hope the "Cops" tv crew isn't one of them!
[To see all of the items at this weblog about the movie, including photos, click "Friday Night Lights".]
I had the great privilege of attending one of Rodney Dangerfield's live performances, and it was everything one could hope for. He was such a prolific jokester that he kept the audience in stitches the whole time.
He loved to play off of the audience. There must have been a repeat customer in the crowd, because a heckler yelled out "let's hear some new jokes!" Rodney shot back "You want a joke? Take off your clothes and look in a mirror!" The heckler shut up, and it's unknown whether or not he took Rodney's advice for new material.
A lady in the audience stood up during the show and inched her way down the row toward the aisle. "Hey! The show's not over. Where are you going?" Rodney shouted at her. There was no answer. "Hey! Where are you going?" Rodney asked again. The woman sheepishly replied that she was going to the restroom.
Then a few minutes later the lady returned and was inching her way back down her row. Rodney said "You weren't gone long enough. You didn't wash your hands." The audience loved it, and while the joke was at the lady's expense, she probably didn't mind.
It was a great show. We'll miss you Rodney.
David J. Lee has penned a review of Friday Night Lights in the October 3, 2004, Odessa American Online:
What many people hoped the book would be, the "Friday Night Lights" movie is — a feel-good sports story that will leave fans cheering in much the same way "Hoosiers" did.
The movie is suspenseful, and even though most Odessans know the story, some of them are bound to sit on the edge of their seats and hope Permian will win.
As one Midlander said at a recent screening of the film in Los Angeles: "I can't believe I'm a Lee graduate and found myself rooting for Permian." She couldn't help it and neither could the others in the audience. And that's because it's not Permian they're rooting for; it's the players Berg brought to life. By the end of the movie, the audience is pulling for players they feel they know so well.
Can't wait for the movie!
[To see all of the items at this weblog about the making of the movie, click Friday Night Lights.]
The rain didn't stop it. The CAF air show today was an abbreviated affair, but it was loads of fun nonetheless.
Your humble blogger served as a first time volunteer today assisting with the handicap parking. The day started at 6:30 a.m. with an artery clogging breakfast for the volunteers at the CAF hanger. (Hmmmm, artery cloggers!)
There was a steady but light drizzle early on, and there were periods during which there was no precipitation. But, the low ceiling put a big damper on things. The show was supposed to start at 11:00 am. Then it was Noon. Finally, they announced that they would have the air birds taxi around the runway so that those who had paid to get in could at least see the planes. There was no mention of refunds to ticket holders - the CAF expenses probably varied very little whether the planes flew or not.
So, it was a show without a script. A large window in the weather allowed some of the birds to get airborne, and some of the acrobats got to show their stuff. One attention getting act was the "Masters of Disaster" which consisted of three biplanes, one of which had a jet engine under its belly, and a jet powered Mack truck.
The sky ceiling was too low to see the jet powered biplane perform its best trick, so an imagination helps. A popular biplane act is to fly straight up until the plane stalls out and tumbles over into a nose dive. But, with a jet on the belly, instead of stalling the pilot can fire up the burner and just keep on going. Very impressive, even if it's obscured by the clouds. And, the Mack truck had flames spewing from three places, so it was a fiery affair.
And the bombs! Apparently, a pyro team can't dismantle the stuff once it's set up, so they had to shoot it all off. And, it was quite spectacular to see all of those bombs go off. We got to see lots of flames. It was pyromaniacal!
All in all, it was a good show and a lot of fun. The handicapped parkers got good close-in parking spots, and your humble blogger got a pair of sore feet, a wet head, and some great photos.
Nomination for most interesting tv scroll in the High School football scores category:
"Sudan 41; Iraan 22"
[Correction 10/3/04: It was Sudan 41: Iraan 20.]
Billy Bob Thornton was a guest on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" last night. They showed a clip from Friday Night Lights, and it was scene in which coach Gary Gaines gives a pep talk to his players in a locker room. Here's Billy Bob Thornton as coach Gaines in that scene:
You all have known me for a while, and for a long time now you've been hearing me talk about being perfect. Well, I want you to understand something. To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship to yourself and your family and your friends.
Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down. Because you told them the truth. And that truth is that you did everything you could. There wasn't one more thing that you could have done. Can you live in that moment? As best you can with clear eyes and love in your heart. With joy in your heart. If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect.
Then the scene ended with applause from the audience, a good bye handshake from Jay Leno, and a cut to a commercial. In all fairness I should probably point out that earlier in the interview Mr. Thornton said some things that, hmmmmm, how shall I say this, things that might be considered a little bit less than perfect. For example he said that he thought William Shakespeare was overrated. He also said that he wanted to name his illegitimate daughter after Barney Fife. So, I can only suppose that when someone gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame it makes them really, really smart.
[To see all of the items at this weblog about the movie, including photos, click "Friday Night Lights".]