Movies at home or the theater

Since this is the weekend of the Grammy’s and we are in movie mode here, I would like to discuss a topic that many people wrestle with, especially on the weekends. If you had a choice, would you rather watch a movie in the comforts of your home or at the movie theater. That hot new movie is coming out next Friday; do you venture out to the theater and catch it immediately, or do you wait until it comes out on Netflix and watch it at home? Opinions vary greatly on this topic, but I would like to share some of my thoughts.

I find that going to my local theater is a great experience that cannot be beat by staying at home. The aroma of the theater with the freshly made butter popcorn is the first thing that I notice when I first step in. The theater  I usually attend has reclinable seats so I feel very comfortable for the few hours that I’m there. The screen is large with an awesome high def picture and the sound effects are second to none. The television I have at home has a nice picture, but the sound effects do not even come close to matching what you have at a movie theater. The atmosphere really puts me in the mood to watch a movie. The way I feel is similar to when I attend a live sporting event. It is great to watch on television, but going to a live event is much better because of some of the little things that you experience in person. So in that respect, movies are better to view in a theater.

On the flip side, there are several drawbacks. The price of a ticket is not really that bad compared with other forms of entertainment such as going to a concert or professional game, but the concession prices are usually unreasonable. You can make your own popcorn at home at about a fraction of the cost at a theater. And of course, you have other people to deal with who seem to think that they are the only people in the theater enjoying the movie. I find it very annoying when people insist on chatting during the film. Just be quiet for a few hours! Other things that I do not enjoy are the previews that seem to take forever before the show starts and of course, you never know when nature calls and you are forced to miss parts of the movie.

In a perfect world, I would have the same picture and sound effects at home, but my medium-sized high-definition television is good enough. I can take breaks whenever I want and the food is definitely much cheaper! It is just a more peaceful atmosphere as well. No crowds, traffic or people to deal with. There is just something about the tranquility of watching a good movie at home.

I do prefer watching a movie at a theater though for the reasons that I mentioned above. There is just something about going to the theater that brings out a lot of happiness in me. It is a time to get away from the normal routine and get out a little. It is a great way to get together with friends or your lover for a night out. I tend to forget all of my problems when I am at a theater enjoying a great movie. Sitting at home sometimes can be too addictive. We all need to get out more often and going to a movie theater is a great way to escape the everyday routine of home life.

 

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Hollywood needs to practice what they preach

So are you ready for the Oscars tonight? I will join millions in watching this star-studded event with one major request to all the award winners; please do not lecture us with constant reminders about the dangers of climate change or how we should bring in thousands of refugees, because after all, that is who we are! No I don’t want some actor or actress telling me that President Trump is an evil leader who must change his ways of hate. If those little lectures start to happen, I might just have to find my remote and turn to something else. Sadly, this possibility seems to be almost imminent. What would an Oscars ceremony be without a little liberal propaganda?

If you look up the word hypocrite in the dictionary, one of the first lines says see Hollywood. Well actually it does not but the word and Hollywood goes hand in hand. I find that  Hollywood elites are among the most hypocritical people in the world. They like to speak out on certain issues, yet their actions tell a completely different story. For example, many have spoken on climate change and how we must change our evil ways before we wreck the planet. The minute the lights are off, these frauds are off jetting around the planet in their private jets. Also how many have solar panels are in their expensive mansions? I would like to see some report on how much energy one of those mansions really uses.

The issue of the refugees and the poor really shows what type of hypocrites these folks are too. How many of these actors and actresses have actually gone out of their way to help refugees in various counties? My guess is that only a handful have. If they are so concerned about the plight of these people, why not open up their mansions to them? You would think they have plenty of room and space to do so. They can feed them as well. I am still waiting to hear if and how many members of the Hollywood elite are willing to take on that task. The same reasoning applies to the poor people of this country. How many actually spend significant time trying to help those in need around the country?

The Hollywood liberals also like to lecture us on racial issues yet they are just as guilty on that topic as anyone else. Last year, not a single black person was nominated for an Oscar. How could that be in such a community that preaches such diversity and togetherness? Minorities are often shut out of major roles in motion pictures. If these hypocrites were so worried about racial diversity, they would include more minorities in their films and productions. It is a well-known fact that many do not do so.

Whenever I hear a lecture about gun control and school violence from the Hollywood clan, my eyes roll in total disbelief! The same goes with hate issues. A typical film contains tons of violence, especially gun violence. It is what pads these elite’s pockets. Violence and hateful controversy in a film sells tickets. Funny how these folks like to lecture us about gun violence, then turn around and produce a film with people getting shot and killed. Talk about hypocrisy!

In closing, when some Hollywood celebrity starts talking about social issues and how we need to change, I think to myself “You are the guys who need to change” Those motion pictures do play a role in some of the social problems that we are facing today. The films only glorify many of the problems. I challenge those Hollywood stars to put their money were their mouths are and back up those lectures. And by the way, it is not always Donald Trump’s fault. Sometimes the real problem is looking back at you in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

A few ways to make the NBA a better league

The NBA has been at the center of the sporting world’s attention this weekend with its annual all-star game taking place tonight. I know I am a little biased in saying this, but I believe the league is one of the best, if not best, run major professional league in this country. The NBA markets their players like no other sport does. The league will soon overtake major league baseball as the second most popular professional sports league. The leagues popularity is also growing in other countries. Yes, the NBA is a good product, but I believe there are a few things that could help make the league even more enjoyable to watch and follow. Here are some concerns that I think the big shots of the league should address.

1) Parity.  There is an extremely good chance that Cleveland and the Golden State Warriors will play in the championship series for the 3rd straight year. Outside of those 2 teams and maybe San Antonio, what other teams really have a legitimate chance of winning the title? I believe a league is much stronger when more teams have a shot at winning the title. There is so much more suspense come playoff time.

2) Eliminate half of the playoff seeds. Instead of having 16 teams make the playoffs, only have 8 teams qualify (4 in each conference). There will probably be a few teams making the playoffs this spring with losing records. That is not right! 8 teams instead of 16 seems to be the right number in my view.

3) A 3 game per week maximum. In an effort to cram an 82 game schedule in, the NBA often schedules teams to play 4 games in 5 nights or several back to back games during the course of a season. That not a wise idea for several reasons. Why not start the season earlier so there are more off days? Is it any wonder why teams rest certain players during the season. The schedule is too heavy and needs to be spread out.

4) Speed up the last few minutes. Generally speaking, I think the rules are pretty good, but something has to be done about the ridiculously length of the final minutes of games. For example, last week, I saw a game where the final 90 seconds took 15 minutes to play. There were about 6 time outs called in that span of time. Nothing turns me off more in watching basketball than this very ugly part of the game.

5) International expansion. I know this would cause travel nightmares for several teams, but wouldn’t it be great to have new expansion teams in Mexico City and London? Or maybe have a sister league overseas? As I mentioned earlier, the game is growing around the world and I can see a day when the NBA becomes a global league.

I know there are several other ways to improve the league and the league certainly seems to be flexible and willing to improve its product. Whether you like the league or not, you have to admit that the NBA has a bright future and the sky is the limit for it to grow.

 

President Trump vs. the media

One of the more entertaining aspects of the Trump presidency in my mind is the constant war that he is having with the media. We saw a great example of that last Thursday during a rather lengthy press conference. It was unprecedented to see a President go after members of the press like Trump did. Calling a news organization like CNN a fake organization is something that I have never seen before. Most presidents are oblivious to the press and just accept that they are out to get them without fighting back. Trump is one of those rare leaders who is willing to fight back and call them out for their work. Is that really a wise strategy to take if you are the president though?

There is no question that President Trump is one of the most thin-skinned politicians we have seen in many years. The man has a huge ego and does not take criticism lightly. He has demonstrated that trait several times in the past during the campaign. When a fellow Republican dared to disagree with him, Trump was quick to label him or her a loser and a failed politician. So to see him get all bent out of shape over a bunch of media reports is certainly not a surprise. We should come to expect this from the President. That is who he is. In fact, I believe he enjoys toying with the media members of this country. It is a huge game for him.

The majority of the press on the other hand absolutely hates the guy. They have since day one and Trump’s accusations against them will only add fuel to an already rocky relationship. I believe it will be the media’s mission in the next 4 years to totally destroy this guy at every chance. That is what they do to a Republican president. Many in the press cannot accept the fact that their hero Hillary Clinton lost and want to prove that this past election was a huge mistake.

Although I don’t agree totally with the way that Trump is handling the press, he does a very valid point about them. They certainly need to be called out for the way they mislead people with their reporting. Trump is exposing them like he should. The media bias in this country is getting totally out of control. A majority of media members in this country are very in bed with the Democratic party. That is becoming a very obvious fact. It is their duty to report the facts in a fair and balanced way to me and others in this country so we can form an opinion on a particular issue. What is happening now is far from being fair and balanced. Journalism has hit an all time low and only seems to be getting worse with their partisan reporting. I join many others in saying this. It is a disgrace and I’m glad that Trump is calling out those frauds. And of course, biases towards the Republican party have also taken place. Is there anyplace in America where I can pick up a newspaper these days and get some non-biased viewpoints or viewpoints from both sides? I am beginning to think not!

This game or should I say battle between Trump and the press media will not end anytime soon. Neither side will end up winning. The American people the ones who will lose. Fortunately, these allegations made by Trump is something that many of us have already known about today’s political journalists. They are becoming increasing partisan and that is not a good thing. Can anyone just give me the truth about an issue without misleading or lying to me? I guess in today’s world, that is impossible!

A simple but effective Valentine’s Day message

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past several weeks, you might be aware that this coming Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. There have been countless commercials and ads for gift ideas such as chocolate covered strawberries, flowers, jewelry or dinner at your sweetheart’s favorite restaurant. The main theme that I seem to hear is about showing your partner how much you care. These things are certainly helpful in showing him or her on how much you really care, but I would add another thing that really shows how much you are passionate about the relationship. Write a simple love letter. That letter might get a bigger response from any expensive jewelry that you may buy.

Several years ago, I was in a relationship with a young woman from a different state. Valentine’s Day fell in the middle of the work week so I could not travel to see her. Instead, I sent her flowers and a nice note attached to it from the florist. She in turn sent me this really nice card with a 3 page handwritten note inside. It was one of the best and nicest love letters that I have ever received from a woman. She went into great detail about how much I really meant to her and how lucky she was to have me in her life. I nearly melted when I read this letter. There were many tears in my eyes after I finished the letter. I would have given her the biggest hug in the world had she been next to me. I was overcome with emotion as I finished reading it. It was the best Valentine’s Day card ever!

Since then, we are no longer seeing each other and I have lost contact with her. I don’t know if I will ever see her again. But one thing is for certain, I will never forget the feeling I had when I opened that card and read her lengthy letter. Sometimes the simplest things can go a long ways in showing your partner how much you really appreciate them. I know hand writing a letter seems really old-fashioned but it really worked on me. When I hear words such as “I am the luckiest woman in the world to have met you” that is enough for me. I don’t need any fancy gifts. I just want a woman to say to me how special I am to her. That is what Valentine’s Day is all about. Chocolate candies are nice, but a meaningful love letter is even better!

 

An epic loss at the Super Bowl

Shortly after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots finished off the Atlanta Falcons in the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever, my thoughts were not on where Brady ranks among the greatest of all-time quarterbacks. Nor were my thoughts on the jubilant Patriot players and fans who just won their 5th Super Bowl title. My thoughts were of the many Atlanta Falcons fans and the organization who had their hearts ripped apart in dramatic fashion. Imagine for a second if your favorite team had blown that type of lead in the Super Bowl. Your team was cruising along with a huge lead and an almost certain chance of winning their first ever Super Bowl, then disaster strikes!  In all my years of watching sports, it might go down as the biggest collapse ever with so much at stake. The rumors that the psychiatrists in Georgia were probably overbooked with appointments last week is probably true.

I don’t know where to exactly place the blame on the collapse, but one series of events during the game pretty much defined the collapse. After the Patriots had cut the score to 28-20 with about 5 minutes left in the game, Atlanta got the ball back and promptly marched down the field. They had a first and 10 around the New England 20 yard line. All they had to do was run a few running plays and kick a fairly makeable field to go up 2 scores with probably about 2 minutes left in the game. A fairly reasonable plan, right? The Falcons have a good tandem of running backs and the Patriots did not show all during the game that they could stop any running plays. For some unknown reason, the offensive coordinator of the Falcons decided to run a couple of passing plays which resulted in a holding penalty and then a costly sack. Those plays pretty much backed the Falcons out of field goal range and gave the Patriots a chance to tie the game which they did. Now I am far from being a football genius and the offensive coordinator is far smarter in football then I am, but the rationale behind this particular offensive series has me scratching my head! I just don’t understand the logic behind it.

Winning the Super Bowl is a very difficult task and most teams are lucky to even reach the big game, let alone winning the game. This was a golden chance that the Falcons let slip away. They may never get another opportunity to win their first Super Bowl in years. This game will be a deep permanent black mark on the organization forever. And what about the poor fans?! Having your team win the Super Bowl makes you feel so good inside. Very few things make you prouder to be a fan of a particular team than having that team win the Super Bowl.

If you are a fan of the Falcons or a member of that organization, all is not doom and gloom for the future. I still rank them as one of the favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a nearly unstoppable offense to rely on. Their defense is very young and will get better. It would not surprise me at all to see them back in the Super Bowl next year. But for the time being, how can you even sleep at night if you are a Falcons fan? This game was the big one that got away! Ouch! That one has to hurt.

A few thoughts on the very controversial travel ban

It was just over a week ago when President Trump issued a travel ban for all people living in 7 countries. Since then, a judge ruled against the ban and how this very polarizing issue will end up is anyways guess. The ban has caused much anger among many folks and several have been protesting in the streets and airports of not only this country, but around the world. Like most hot button issues, this one really frustrates me at the level of ignorance and lack of understanding that many people have regarding this travel ban. Any effort to keep me or my family safe in this country is a great idea. Unfortunately, there are many people who feel differently and that has me very concerned to say the least. Do these people understand what is at stake here? Maybe they should look across the ocean to see how those refugee programs are working or not working in Europe.

First of all, this ban is not in anyways meant to discriminate against Muslims like some are saying. It is not a Muslim ban. Many Muslims have been free to come and leave this country. The 7 countries named were because the Obama administration determined citizens living in those countries posed the most danger to enter the United States. It is not in anyways based on President Trump’s business interests. If I had one criticism of the ban, it would be that more countries should have been on the list.

The ban is also not a permanent ban. It is a short time temporary ban so our national security personal can effectively come up with a better way of vetting people from other countries, especially the Middle East. If I were the president and members of my national security team informed me that they have no strong way of vetting people from these regions, I would be deeply concerned. Saying that President Trump is a racist for not allowing these people in is completely ridiculous! A temporary short-term ban to keep us safe is far from any type of racist activity.

I certainly understand the idea that we need to help the refugees over there especially in places such as Syria. People who are outraged over this ban are just looking at this issue in their own one-sided biased way. Wouldn’t it be nice to let every refugee in the world to our country? If you listen to them, we should do that. Do they even understand the consequences of doing so? Before we can even have a good discussion and debate about this very polarizing issue, we need to look at all sides of the equation and determine what is best for this country. Having some short-term ban to ensure our safety seems very reasonable to me. In the long run, everyone will be better off including those who very inconvenienced by the ban.