Tag Archives: Entertainment

How Can I Be Useful To You?

Last week I was honored to have Chris Brogan stop by this blog for the first time and leave a comment. Of course, I’d been talking about his post regarding ways to write multiple posts in a day. He stated something interesting in the comment: “The qualifier might be USEFUL posts a day”.


Young “ME”
being real useful

It got me to thinking about how often I’ve been “useful” to those who visit this blog. I know that my business blog is useful, if tough for some people to get into, but what about this blog? Is it supposed to be useful or entertaining? Can it be both?

As I get close to post #900 I decided that I would take just a quick look at topics I’ve written on over the past 3 years, but I’m going in a different direction. For instance, I’ve written around 55 posts on entertainment topics. Out of all those posts, only one could be considered as useful, that being when I spoke on how to create playlists on Windows Media Player. Certainly a post like Saturday’s top 20 sports movies isn’t useful, but it’s fun and, in my opinion, is the type of thing where some folks might enjoy comparing their favorites to mine; an outlet for expression that anyone who likes movies can comment and know that there are no wrong responses (that is, unless someone actually thinks The Fish That Ate Pittsburgh is a top 20 film).

I then looked at personal posts, where I get to talk about anything I want to, sometimes things that have nothing to do with my norm here (do I even have a norm?). I’ve written around 50 of those, and I have to admit that determining what’s useful or not is a little bit harder. For instance, my update post on my gym workouts might not be useful to a majority of people, but if there’s someone who’s been thinking about joining a gym to lose weight and reads my post on my travails, have I given them something useful to think about, since I mention it also takes changing one’s diet? Personally I’d have found something like that useful before I joined the gym, but what about anyone else? Anyway, based on my own criteria, I think at least 7 of those posts were fairly useful; the others, well, at least half are subject to interpretation.

And of course there’s the Sunday Question, which may or may not be useful to people. Its intention is to get people thinking most of the time, and to me, that’s useful. However, I’m not sure people learn anything from it, unless they’re learning something about themselves that they never thought of before.

Anyway, based on the quick review, it would seem that I’m useful at least 80% of the time on this blog; I really hadn’t expected that at all. I’ve talked about blogging, writing, software, plugins, product review, health, social media, motivation and posted some interviews. There are more topics, of course, but you get the drift. For me, it’s been an interesting mix of things over time, and I hope to continue it.

Still, I figure it’s time to ask this question; how can I be of more use to you? Are there topics I haven’t covered that you might want to see me tackle, if I’m able? I’m not going to ask what you don’t want me to talk about because, well, I’m going to write what I want to write about, even when it’s a tough topic to discuss like issues of race. And I will tell a story or two here and there, like my story about The Keys. But I figure why not ask, as it’s the holiday season, I’m on the cusp of 900 posts, and who knows, there might be other posts in your questions as well.

Go ahead; let’s see what I do and don’t know as far as helping you out. But if you ask me how to build a car; ain’t gonna happen! 😀
 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

100 Greatest Sports Movies?

Y’all know that I like list posts; truthfully, who doesn’t? Many of them leave us having great debates, although I’ll admit that I wasn’t really expecting much debate when I wrote my opera post. Be that as it may, when we know what the topic is, we love debating it, and I think there should be a few people around ready to talk about this one.


Baseball Night In America
by J. Ryan Wall

Only it’s not my list. I got this list from a site called the Bleacher Report, which writes only about sports stuff, and they got together and put out what they called The 100 Greatest Sports Movies Of All Time. It’s an interesting list, especially because some of the movies aren’t sports related at all; what the hey? Still, they’ve got a list, and it was pretty ambitious. Way more ambitious than I’m ready to be, so I’m only going to comment on their top ten; this isn’t going to be pretty.

No. 10: Slapshot – this is a movie about a rogue minor league hockey team, and you’d think I would like it more because it was filmed right here in Syracuse. But it was filmed before I got here, and even with Paul Newman it just got on my nerves.

No. 9: Hoop Dreams – this was actually a documentary that followed two kids for many years that had dreams of becoming professional basketball players; no, they didn’t make it. Roger Ebert really loved this movie; once again, I didn’t get into it.

No. 8: Caddyshack – one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, even if it was surrounding golf, a sport I don’t like all that much except for Tiger Woods (now don’t start with me). It had Rodney Dangerfield in one of his best performances and Chevy Chase and Bill Murray at a time when not only were both at the top of their game, but they had to bury the hatchet to make this movie together. And it had the gopher; ’nuff said.

No. 7: The Natural – one of my favorite movies of all time; if I’m turning the channels and it’s on I stop what I’m doing and watch it until it’s over. It’s a baseball movie about a guy who gets derailed as a young player and comes back many years later and shows everyone he’s a star, only because they didn’t have 24/7 access to TV or sports back then no one remembers who he was. This is a beautiful movie, start Robert Redford, and you’ll love it whether you like sports or not.

No. 6: Rocky – I’m actually surprised this was so low on their list. Like everyone else, I had no idea who Sylvester Stallone was, but I knew who Burgess Meredith was, though I only knew him as the Penguin from Batman; now that’s a shame! There can’t be anyone who has no clue who Rocky is, so I’ll just leave it with this: “Adrian!!!”

No. 5: Bull Durham – I liked this movie, but for the life of me I really can’t figure out why so many sports guys think it’s so great. Sure, it had Kevin Costner before he started irritating all of us, along with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (who hooked up and lived 19 years or so with each other), but as a baseball movie I keep thinking there were better performances, or at least other movies that touched or entertained me more.

No. 4: Rudy – never saw this one, and I haven’t been compelled either. I just know it’s the supposedly true story of a team manager for Notre Dame that got to play in a game; maybe someone else can enlighten me and tell me why I need to see this.

No. 3: Raging Bull – now this is what I’m talking about. A movie about the one time middleweight champion of the world Jake LaMotta, it was one of the best performances by any actor in history, and in this case it was Robert DeNiro. He had to first get into great shape for the boxing scenes, then gain more than 60 pounds to play the same character as an older guy; it was the first time any actor did that. And it was filmed in black and white; great stuff. The funny thing is that the real Vicki LaMotta was prettier than the actress who played her; that rarely happens.

No. 2: Field Of Dreams – another baseball movie, and once again one that has never really captured me; my favorite baseball movie, very apparent now, is The Natural. But almost everyone knows this line, even if they don’t remember it came from this movie: “If you build it, they will come.” Another Kevin Costner movie.

No. 1: Hoosiers – Gene Hackman won an Oscar for this movie as best actor, and that’s about the only thing I know about it because I never saw it. It’s about a small town high school basketball team in Indiana that ends up winning the state title. That’s all I’ve got.

Anyway, that’s my commentary on someone else’s list. Of course you know that within the next couple of months I’ll be putting together my own list of top whatever number of sports movies I determine I need. And you can bet my top 10 list will have some “real” football movies on it; yeah I said it!

The Natural



Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Skyline – The Review

Last weekend I mentioned that I couldn’t wait for Friday night because I was going to see the movie Skyline. Well, my friend Scott and I did go see this movie last night, and I decided to write a review of it without giving any of the plot away… I hope.

Truthfully, we knew we were in trouble when it took almost a minute to get through all those notifications of producers and studioes before anything got going. What we didn’t know is that the movie would only last about 90 minutes and never really go anywhere; well, at least I had some candy.

The basic premise of Skyline is that one morning at 4:37AM these blue streams of light start dropping out of the sky. Next thing you know, anyone who’s looking at these lights has the veins in their body start popping and they’re drawn to the light, with the next thing occurring is their being sucked into one of tens of alien ships that are hovering around somewhere.

The movie starts out that way, no preamble… and then it goes into flashback mode, 15 hours before that. What the hey? Not only that, but the flashback doesn’t set anything up really, and it only lasts about 10 minutes before we’re back to the lights again, only this time with a mix of what we saw earlier and what was going on that we didn’t see, but now know what’s coming.

From this point on we have fear and we have aliens. There are big aliens, smaller aliens, small flying aliens and the super large alien ships. The two early heroes watch as thousands of bodies are sucked into the ships, and for whatever reason they’re able to look at the light from a distance and not turn into something that’s going to get sucked in.

Everything takes place in one building, although when the military starts fighting back, we get to see planes and helicopters trying to take on these things. Only they’re indestructible. I just have to throw this one out. A stealth fighter hits one of the large alien ships with a nuclear warhead missile. You know that because of the way everything around explodes upon impact. The ship actually goes down, and there’s this large shockwave coming… only it doesn’t break any windows, there’s no fallout, and no radiation. And the ship puts itself back together. Later a guy is able to knock the glass out of another window with his elbow. A nuclear explosion can’t break glass, but an elbow can? Oh yeah; the ship that got blown up… it puts itself back together again, as does every alien that gets creamed by a missile or machine guy or bazooka or… whatever.

The only thing left to talk about is the ending of the movie. I’m not going to give it away, but I will say it was one of the stupidest endings I’ve ever seen to a movie. Scott asked while we were leaving the movie what it was about; I honestly don’t know. It had no real purpose; I guess they figured if there was a real alien attack that there wouldn’t be any conversation at all. Then again, if there was a real alien attack with ships this large I’m betting the military would have known it, we’d have all been told to leave the big cities, and maybe so many people wouldn’t have been killed at all. I mean, as kids we had air raid warnings going all over the place and practiced hiding under tables, both day and night. Not a single warning that there’s an alien invasion coming? Nothing on TV? Please!

I do have to add this. The budget for this movie was only $10 million, and most of the money had to go into the aliens, some of which looked pretty cool. The writing was bad, the storyline was bad, and no one looked particularly great. And one of whom I thought was one of the stars of the movie gets killed early, and of course it’s the black guy, and he was the only person in the movie I knew. Oh yeah; early in the movie the people in the movie think the water is safe, so that’s why they try to get to the water. I was thinking Signs at this juncture, but at the end of the movie you see that anyone who was in the water was killed as well.

I was trying to think of the last time I eagerly wanted to see a movie that failed like this; I can’t. I guess my string of picking winners is over; have to start anew. Skip this one, or wait until it comes on TV; don’t even rent it. You’ll hate yourself if you do. But if you’re not going to listen to me and are thinking about purchasing it anyway, then buy
Skyline from me. 😉
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

We Are The World, Revisited

A couple of days ago I was walking on the track at the gym when a song came on the MP3 player that gave me chills. Even though the anniversary was in January, 25 years ago the song We Are The World came out, with the intention of helping to feed and take care of people in Africa who were going through one of the worst famines in history. Unfortunately, many of them are still going through it, but that doesn’t mean this effort was wasted.

As I listened to this song my mind went back to remembering the day that song was released, along with the video, and all the star power that got together to create that bad boy. There was something that was almost like it before, the Do They Know It’s Christmas song in the UK, but when it came to true music power, the second song couldn’t be touched. And Bob Geldof, who had started the UK movement, was there as well.

Of course it had to be written by my boy Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones. I remember watching the “making of” video also, where the proclamation “leave your egos at the door” was posted. And it would have been easy for many people in that room to assume they were the stars of the event, even Michael Jackson, but I’ve always believed that no one but Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones could have gotten all those people together after the American Music Awards, which I watched, not knowing these people were getting together later that evening and, for many hours, were putting this thing together.

Okay, here’s some stats for you to prove my point on just how special this gathering was:

Michael Jackson – Please!

Lionel Richie – ASCAP award, 4 Grammys, an Oscar, Image Award, Gershwin Prize, 13 American Music Awards (AMA), Golden Globe, 4 People’s Choice Awards

Stevie Wonder – 3 ASCAP awards, an Oscar, BAFTA award, Golden Globe, TV Land award, 25 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Rock Hall of Fame, Billboard Century Award, Gershwin Prize

Paul Simon – 12 Grammys, 2 AMA’s, inducted twice into the Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honor, 39 BMI Awards

Kenny Rogers – 3 Grammys, 10 Country Music Association awards, 13 American Music Awards

Tina Turner – 8 Grammys, Hall of Fame

Billy Joel – 6 honorary doctorates, 5 Grammys, 1 Tony, 1 AMA, Hall of Fame

Diana Ross – 6 AMAs, 2 Grammys, 1 Golden Globe, 1 Tony, 1 NAACP award, Billboard female entertainer of century (twice!), Kennedy Center award, Hall of Fame

Dionne Warwick – 5 Grammys, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards (induction of songs performed by the artist), 1st People’s Choice Award for best female singer, NAACP Image Award, 1 AMA, 1 Billboard, ASCAP Lifetime Achievement and Heroes Award, Songwriters Hall of Fame

Willie Nelson – 12 Grammys, 7 Country Music Awards, 7 AMAs, 5 Academy of Country Music awards, TNN Music City News Minnie Pearl Award & Living Legend Award, Country Music Hall of Fame

Al Jarreau – 7 Grammys, 2 NAACP awards

Bruce Springsteen – 20 Grammys, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 1 Oscar, Hall of Fame, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honors

Kenny Loggins – 1 Grammy

Daryl Hall & John Oates – 3 AMA’s, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Huey Lewis – 5 AMAs, 2 Grammys

Cyndi Lauper – 2 AMA, 1 Grammy, 1 MTV Video Award

Kim Carnes – 2 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Bob Dylan – 11 Grammys, 6 Grammys, 2 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, Rock Hall of Fame, 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe, 2 honorary doctorates, Songwriter’s, Kennedy Honors, Pulitzer

Ray Charles – 17 Grammys, 6 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, R&B Foundation Hall of Fame, National Medal of Arts, Jazz Hall of Fame, Polar Music Prize

Harry Belafonte – 4 Grammy’s, Emmy, Kennedy Award, Hollywood Film Award, Tony, National Medal or Arts, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, BET Humanitarian Award, Impact Award

Bob GeldofKnighthood, Freeman of the Borough of Swale, Beacon Fellowship Prize, Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, North-South Prize, Free Your Mind Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards, Man of Peace Award, Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award by Holocaust Museum in Houston, Cinema for Peace Pioneer Award, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal from Vanderbilt University for his humanitarian efforts, Lifetime Achievement Award from ROTA.

Waylon Jennings – 4 CMAs, 2 Grammy’s, 1 ACM, Country Hall of Fame, ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award

Bette Midler – 4 Grammys, 3 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes, 9 American Comedy Awards, 2 People’s Choice, Ruby Award, Tony, Crystal Awards

Smokey Robinson – 3 Grammys, Soul Train Heritage Award for Career Achievement, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, National Medal of Arts

Man, it just doesn’t get any better than that, and I left people out who have won other awards. We Are The World was the top selling single in history with more than 20 million copies sold and it raised $63 million for famine relief, and it’s presently the 5th best selling single. It won 3 Grammys, an American Music Award and a People’s Choice award. The video for the song won a Grammy as well.

And now, We Are The World:


https://youtu.be/9AjkUyX0rVw

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2016 Mitch Mitchell

The Roller Derby

I tend to be a creature of habit. I don’t try a lot of new things because, well, life has been fairly good. I certainly don’t eat exotic things, and I don’t often go to things that I’m not accustomed to.

So, how is it that I found myself going to the roller derby? Because my friend Scott wanted to go after reading about it on Twitter through one of my friends there, Mel. I’d actually never met Mel, but sat behind her at a Christmas party last year while she was working this long gray dress; hotness all around. Anyway, she’s the public face of roller derby in the area, and she’s got the face for it. She believes in it so much that she actually got this tattoo on her side within the last few weeks; nope, wouldn’t be me, but she gave us a public viewing, which we get to show here.

Of course, anyone over 45 remembers roller derby because it used to be on TV all the time. Some of us remember the movie Kansas City Bomber with Raquel Welch; stunning, I must say, and pretty believable. Back in the day, we thought roller derby was fake, and I guess one has to own up to the fact that there was always a bit of entertainment mixed in with what some claimed was a sport. Many of the participants were acting like bad people, which made you wonder just how real it was.

These days, it’s quite real, and very little like it was back then. For one, it’s more of a woman’s movement than a mixed gender thing like in the past. At the event I went to, there was a men’s game, but it was a pick up game of local guys who just wanted to try it out. Truthfully, they weren’t very good en masse, but there was one guy really good on one team, and it showed as his team beat the other team by almost 100 points. Once they were done it was time for the home team, the Utica Clubbers.

What’s the idea overall? I had Mel explain it to me, which worked wonders. By the way, I’m not as large as this picture might make you think I am; it’s all about perspectives (although, after seeing it, I did join a gym; that story will be later).

You have two teams, of course, and the bulk of the team is supposed to stop one person on the other team. They are known as blockers. Their purpose is to try to keep the individual person on the other team, the one who scores all the points, from passing them. That person is known as a jammer, and you can tell that person because she’s got a star on her helmet. Most of the time each team has two jammers so that one can replace the other for a breather. The final piece is known as the pivot; I learned about this position later on. This person is the one whose job it is to keep an eye on where the jammer is and to let everyone know the jammer is coming and where, so they can try to block the person. I’m not going to get into much more of how the game is played, but if you’re interested you can check out this roller derby game link.

This was an interesting event for me. The crowd reminded me of the type that would show up at an independent wrestling circuit. The picture you see of the guys in big blue hats is indicative of a lot of what I saw, although most people just sat in the stands. There was a women dressed like a purple bee. There was one in a sequin top, tight short skirt with a tail. There was one I was intrigued with because she reminded me of a fantasy nurse with bright blonde hair that was indicative of what you might have seen in the 40’s, very stylish. There was a guy wearing a monkey around his neck.

There were a lot of kids there. There were signs pulling for both the team and their favorite players. Even the referees had fans; that doesn’t happen in any other sport I know. The team in pink in these pictures actually came to Rome, NY, where the event was held, from New Hampshire; that was stunning to me. It’s not really a league, as they don’t keep statistics; it’s more of a universal club. This club has 6 teams in multiple states, and sometimes they go to other states to both play and watch others play.

My friend Scott, who took all the pictures you see here, talked me into it by saying we’d go to the casino afterwards; I’m so easy to bribe. But I had a wonderful time, and met another Twitter friend I’d never met, Meghan, and one I did know, Frank; I’m giving their real names rather than their Twitter names, as that’ll be on them if they read this. I also met this guy who played in the men’s game named Jason, whom I saw a video of in the production Rocky Horror, as he played the main character and was very good in it. And after the initial band that was playing when we got in there, which was hurting both my ears and my feelings (angry rock/punk music; Mel said it was too loud also, as I was feeling like an old guy), this guy named Deaf Geoff, the DJ, was playing some music that was fantastic, and then I learned he’s actually legally deaf; think about that folks!

Of course Scott didn’t get all the shots I wanted, but I think there’s enough here overall to show some of what it was all about. Turns out Mel wasn’t skating that night in a match, but she was a referee for the guy’s game, which is why she’s in the outfit she’s in. We stayed for the first half, when the local team was ahead; they lost later, but I guess it’s not about winning or losing, just having fun and women showing that they’re not shrinking violets for anyone.

Hey, they had nachos, and I got to play poker later, though I was card dead so poker wasn’t as much fun as normal. Still, it all works for me; I may even go again some day.

Might, that is. 😉