Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"A man in Kentucky sure is lucky..."

Special thanks to Neko Case for the title.

I have been in Kentucky visiting my grandfather for the last week; and it went swimmingly. I got to do plenty of stuff that I grew up doing, gun clubs, greasy fried food, drives in the country and almost an entire evening on the porch swing. There is something really pleasant about living out in the country.

Russell Springs, which is the town my grandfather lives in, is about 20,000 people, most of them are family, if not immediately than distantly. There is a reservoir lake which when filled up draws a pretty great crowd of boaters, fishers and miscellaneous watersports (not in the gross XXX way either) enthusiasts. It is also a gastronomic wasteland. Unless you like fried food or white gravy you are epically screwed.

I will post more on the later (kiss of death, which to followers of this blog means that is the last you will hear of it).

I am at the airport in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby and the Superman Tower ride that has been in the news lately. The airport here is small -- two terminals, maybe thirty gates -- but they have a nice and cheap internet pass which has an hour left on it so I figured I would get something up here quick.

The highlight of the trip for me was a couple of things I learned while I was here:

1. Family is really important. I reconnected with some of my cousins, whom I have been out of touch with for far too long, and it was great to see them. I really hope that I can be more committed to seeing them more than I have been in the past.

2. July 4th is not in the Bible. No kidding? The thing that tickled about this tidbit isn't the fact itself. I think anybody who knows anything about America, or the bible, knows that July 4th has very little biblical significance. What surprised was the length of the conversation to ascertain that truth. It was really only about four minutes, but it was four minutes that shouldn't have happened. The funny thing about it was that it ended with this quote, "No, Jerry, July 4th is a man holiday. The Good Lord didn't even know that the United States was going to be a country back then."

This is funny for a couple of reasons. The first is that the conversation that preceded it was one about the inevitability of armageddon (which was funny because while I was there I was reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett), which quoted an awful lot of text from the Book of St. John's Revelations. Now if you are going to talk about the book of bible that deals with the PREDICTION OF ARMAGEDDON how could then turn and say that The Good Lord possibly couldn't know something. The second thing was that the people that were talking had trouble distinguishing the authors of the bible. I will concede divine inspiration to a degree and I have learned, the hard way, to argue with people who have a lot of a faith (in anything, one way or the other). But come on; this whole argument was so filled with fallacious reasoning that it defies logic. If you are going to say that G-d wrote the bible, and that he is all knowing how can you ridicule someone for asking if July 4th is in the bible? If you are going to say that TGL "didn't even know..." about July 4th, then you have just invalidated your entire argument for the relevance of the bible at all.

3. Russell Springs is having a Soul Harvest. Which is a Young Peoples Christian Round up. Luckily I escaped with my heathenistic values firmly in place. I think the name Soul Harvest was what I found funny.

4. Last thing I learned Guthries Float Shop in Jamestown, Kentucky is a gem of Russell County and might have the best milk shake I have ever had. It was a vanilla shake made with iced coffee and honey. And, doctor, was it good.

5. I really ought to listen to NPR, and their affiliate stations, more. Great news coverage, great music and generally just a nice experience.

6. The people in the MLS are geniuses. I had three conversations with people who were talking about "That David Becksham" (sic, or the typo is intentional). They don't know who he is, or what it means, but they are talking about Becks and Posh (to a much smaller extent) and they know that he plays soccer and that it is called Footsball (again intentional typo) in England.

Personally I think it is going to be the first coffin nail, in a series of many, for the MLS. But they have people in a town that is dominated by gunsports, fishing and American football talking about soccer. Kudos to that, NOW DO SOMETHING WITH IT!

7. The folks at Art and Crafts Records are positively my favorite right now. Pre-releasing the the new Stars album to try and beat the pirates was brilliant and get this: IT IS A GREAT ALBUM TO BOOT!

So last thing I will mention here. Lovely Wife and I got to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before I left for Kentucky and it was great. Better than Transformers and I am not sure what the buzz of the rest of the world is, but I really liked it. There were some things that I thought could have been added, but you are dealing with a novel that was about 800 pages and that is tough to do succinctly and I thought they did a great job. Five out of Five summer movie stars. (4.5 out of 5 winter movie stars and, yes, in both cases the stars will cast a Patronum Charm that looks like a movie reel).

Hope everybody is having a great summer.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"Transformers, more than meets the eye..."

I saw Transformers last night. Because I am whore to The Man, because I like it when stuff explodes, and because my favorite part of the summer is mindless fun action movies.

It was the best movie I have seen in six months. It completely and utterly rocked. I haven't seen a movie that good (by summer movie standards) since I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean. It had everything, amazing special effects, hot girls, dopey guys that win in the end, weird parents, and ROBOTS THAT TURN INTO CARS.

The movie, which I have described as a shameless commoditization of my youth, did a great job of recognizing the audience and threw in several nods to the TV show and comic where possible. It was spectacular.

On the sumer movie scale I give it 5 out of 5 stars (but they turn into little pyramid dancing robots, too.)

If you like to turn your mind off and just be entertained for two hours, then you might consider missing it. Or at least paying matinee prices.