So pretty much everybody and their mama was using this phrase to describe this latest passing. It's just too easy not too. It seems so appropriate in more ways than one. Plus, when it comes to George Jefferson you can never have too much of a good thing.
Renown actor Sherman Hemsley was found dead in his home in El Paso Tuesday. Cause of death has not yet been made public. He was 74-years-old.
Although Hemsley caught a big break as a recurring role on "All in the Family", his career really took off once they spun off his character into "The Jeffersons". For a while it held the record as the longest running sitcom in television history. And for good reason too. The Jeffersons were easily one of the funniest television families in sitcom history. Not sure there could have even been a Huxtables if it wasn't for the Jeffersons first.
I personally always loved the George Jefferson character because he reminded me of my Grandpa Turner (RIP). Not so much with how outspoken he was though. Although Grandpa was outspoken, just not to the extreme that George was. But his mannerisms were Grandpa to a T. Even his appearance a little. That could have played a part in why I tuned in every episode. That and the fact that the show was just flat out hilarious.
I tried to follow Hemsley to his next vehicle when he went on to star in the series "Amen". It was okay for a little bit but it got old real quick. Being raised in a Baptist church, I wasn't feeling how they made too much of a mockery of it. Not that that was Hemsley's fault though. Because let's face it, no matter what role he played he was still pretty much always George Jefferson.
I just found out recently Hemsley had a singing career? No clue how I could have missed that back in the day. But apparently he had an album out and even performed on "Soul Train". Found the video of the performance online and it had me ROLLIN'. I'm fairly certain that he meant for it to be serious and that's what made it that much funnier. I'm so glad that we have gifts like that and syndication of "The Jeffersons" to remind us of what a treat Hemlsey was for us.
Chalk up another one for the "already thought he was dead" category. And the thing is that I thought that long ago before I saw him pop up in some random morning show interview. Then I didn't hear from him again so again thought he was dead. But he kept hanging on. Until now.
Film and television actor Ernest Borgnine passed away this past Sunday after suffering kidney failure. He was 95-years-old.
I didn't realize until just yesterday that I had been pronouncing his name wrong all these years. I kept saying it "Bor-ga-nine". I guess that 'g' is silent. Not to mention that there's not even another vowel in there where I was putting it. It just seemed to always have a better flow to it. Although I guess the correct pronunciation certainly makes much more sense.
Although I do have an affinity for the old tv shows, I don't recall Borgnine from the tv series that he was most known for. As a matter of fact, my first recognition of "McHale's Navy" was when Steve Martin played in the movie rendition. I had no idea it was once a show. I tried watching it when it was TVLand the other day and just wasn't feeling it.
What I do remember him for is his role in "The Poseidon Adventure". That was my earliest recollection of who he was. That movie stuck with me forever. Probably because I had thought for the longest time that it was based on the story of the Titanic. Or at least that it actually happened. It wouldn't be until years later that I realized it was just another movie released during the midst of the disaster film craze that Hollywood had trended at that time.
I was trying to remember what the other movies were that I knew Borgnine best for. To do so I went to IMDB to assist. Dude has had TONS of acting roles. He apparently never stopped acting since he first started clear back in the 1950s. That's mad impressive. Looks like he was about due for a rest.
Of course I have been to this chain restaurant before. I may have even posted about it years ago when I went to it for the first time. However, my experience at the new location that just opened in Ames definitely warranted its own separate post. I seriously didn't think it would be something that was worthy of its own entry when I made the decision to go there, but little did I know what I was in for.
The Texas Roadhouse here made its grand opening yesterday. No way was I going to it opening night. Everyone in this town hits a new restaurant like it's the best thing since sliced bread. The wait would be as if folks were going to see the latest blockbuster at the midnite showing. I wasn't trying to go thru that for a chain restaurant. So I went the following day instead. As if that was going to be any better. But G and I got there at 5:30 just slightly before the dinner rush so our wait was only 10 minutes. Maybe less. I will give them props for that.
What I didn't understand was why it was so doggone hot in there. I was feeling the heat all the way to our table. I thought it was just the short walk. Then we sat down and I noticed there wasn't much reprieve. Now granted, it wasn't anywhere NEAR the 100 degrees that it was outside. It wasn't very comfortable though. They really should have had the air conditioning up higher considering the place was packed to capacity and the temp outside was hell degrees. It would have been nice to have some ice cold water to quickly counteract the effects. Instead, we had some fresh hot rolls to snack on. Although very tasty, they don't do much for combating heat.
I couldn't tell you how vast and/or limited their menu is if you've never been there. I wasn't looking for variety. I had a taste for some New York strip after having flashbacks of the grilled steak parties me and my boy Erik used to have back in the day (thank you WWE Raw 1,000th episode for jogging my memory). My steak was on point. Not everyone can get medium rare right. Some tend to undercook it. Texas Roadhouse nailed it on the head so that every bite was succulent.
My son's ribs are another story altogether.
G took a bite and complained about them being too soft. I thought he was just being too picky at first. That maybe he had just bit into some gristle? Then he peeled off more of it and you could see that it clearly was not cooked through all the way. It looked like it hadn't been cooked at all. Except for the outside. So these folks were trying to give my son mad cow disease!
It was about that time that the owner came walking by. Which was rather fortuitous because our waitress did not seem rather efficient. Maybe it's just me, but when it's that hot outside AND inside, keeping the water glass filled should be top priority. Anyway, I told the owner and he promptly apologized. He promised that they would bring out a full slab of ribs to replace the kids order that was not cooked. What he should have done is taken the ribs off our bill altogether in addition to the replacement order.
So after all that we go to leave thinking that the worst was over. We thought wrong. As I drove toward the exit in their narrow driveway, I was struck by a minivan pulling out of its parking space. Some college kid in mom's car. Not looking behind him before he backed up. Just like that, Magnum O'Leary has damage to the passenger side rear corner. Technically, you can't put that one on Texas Roadhouse. The kid should have watched where he was backing. However, if they would have designed their parking lot a little more spaciously, it may not have happened. It was just the cherry on top to garnish an extremely sub-par dining experience.
I almost forgot that I had seen this movie. Let that be no reflection on the film itself though. Again, just been so busy that hadn't gotten around to getting the review out there. Yet not too busy to take the time out to actually watch the flick. Makes a lot of sense, huh? Hey...don't judge me.
"Savages" is the latest product from Oliver Stone that tells the story of three friends. One is peaceful Ben (Aaron Johnson) whose botany skills enable him to come up with one of the most potent marijuana strains ever known. One is former Navy Seal Chon (Taylor Kitsch) who is nearly the polar opposite of Ben but is the necessary evil to enforce the violent side of the weed dealing business when needed. The third is girlfriend Ophelia (Blake Lively) who is in love with both of them because of their two different personalities. Their lives as the happy drug dealing "family" seems to be going swimmingly until a Mexican drug cartel led by ruthless Elene (Salma Hayek) sets her sights on their business.
At first, I found it hard to believe that three individuals could even have the type of relationship that Ben, Chon (pronounced "Shawn") and O had. Two best friends sharing a girlfriend and she was okay with that? Not only that but they were okay with that too? Then I realized that this is California in 2012 that we're talking about. And these kids were in their 20s. I could totally see that happening.
What I couldn't comprehend was how these two guys were able to have a thriving weed business in spaces that looked like they were in plain sight. How were they never raided and/or investigated by the authorities? It was partially explained by how they had an FBI agent (John Travolta) on their payroll. But that would have just been the federal level. How were they never found out by local authorities and able to prosper for so long? I suppose if they had an FBI agent in their pocket then they had already figure out how to get the local authorities snowed as well and Stone didn't see the need to go into those minor details. I can buy that.
As violent as "Savages" was, they really could have made it much worse. I mean when you're dealing with drug cartels who are known for carnage, you would expect to see some graphic scenes. Did Stone tone it down to make sure it would get an "R" rating and not the dreaded "NC-17"? I guess we'll find out for sure when the "unrated director's cut" dvd hits shelves that time comes. However, what he did leave in was still good enough to live up to some classic Stone violence.
The best character by far was Benicio Del Toro's portrayal of Lado. He had the guy looking ROUGH. There was a collected cool about him to the point where he was intimidating without even having to get violent. His very appearance and demeanor showed that he was very capable of committing heinous acts. And he wasn't afraid to do them either. The only problem that causes with a storyline is then you wonder why someone of that nature wasn't the head of the cartel himself instead of sexy looking woman. That part may have been one of the only downfalls of the story.
The big surprise was Kitsch. This was the first movie I've seen him in where I didn't see him as dude from "Friday Night Lights". In fact, for a while there I had totally forgotten that he played that role. He is now getting to the point where his skills have matured enough to allow him to add some depth to his characters. However, I wouldn't go as far as saying that it was enough to make me want to see "John Carter".
"Savages" was quite the return to an old Stone style that I thought he had completely abandoned. Even better than the abstract "Natural Born Killers". I was getting worried for a minute that Stone didn't have a film like this left in him. I don't know what I was thinking. He was probably just waiting until the movie scene went stagnant enough to spring this one on us. Now if I could just have Spike Lee do the same thing by reincarnating his older style then that would be perfect.
I have been having a near insatiable craving for some caribbean jerk chicken wings ever since having some at a 4th of July party I attended a couple of weeks ago. It's all AJ Singleton's fault. Those wings were so good that it had me wanting to go to Buffalo Wild Wings just to get their version of them. I knew they wouldn't be near as good (which they weren't) but I thought at least the fact that it was unlimited wings from 11am - 2pm would make it somewhat worth it. I was wrong.
I knew the minute I walked in that odds were high I would not have a pleasant experience. The place felt like an icebox. Yes, the temp outside was in the high 90s, but they didn't need to go to the other extreme. I didn't say anything though because of the crowd they had. It was less than 1/4 full. I just assumed that the air was on that high because they were expecting a bigger crowd so they wanted to be proactive. That was understandable so I didn't make a fuss.
I put in my first order of caribbean jerk wings then waited as they were prepared. Since I was alone I had nothing better to do than to watch the clock to see how long it was taking. Actually, the only reason I resorted to that was I noticed it was taking longer than normal. I've been in B2W before for lunch and got my food in about 15 minutes. Tops. With two people. This time around it took them nearly 30 minutes before the wings came out.
It would make perfect sense that after that first order came out that the waitress would ask what flavor I wanted next, right? I mean it was clear I ordered unlimited wings so of course one serving wasn't going to be the only one. So ideally, she could put the other order in so I'm not waiting another 30 minutes after I finish that first helping, right? Yeah...not so much. She never even asked. I got sidetracked with the wings and forgot to mention it. I shouldn't have had to though. She should have asked before I finished. She didn't. So when I finished that order I waited for another 30 minutes. For 6 wings.
Now what made this worse is I was sitting next to a table of 4 college kids. Looking like they were just fresh out the TKE frat house for lunch. All 4 of them looking like your WB pick-any-teen-show prototypes. They had the same waitress. I watched and listened as she asked them for their next wing order the minute their first order came in. I also noticed their wings didn't take as long to arrive. Probably because she got in their order right away.
I've been in restaurants with slow service before and there usually is a decent reason for it. Maybe it's their busiest time and they're understaffed. Maybe the restaurant is packed so the wait staff can't get to everyone as quickly as they would like to. As I mentioned before, this joint was less than 1/4 full if that. They couldn't have been understaffed because there were some of the wait staff standing around talking to one another doing nothing.
So either one of two things were at play in that joint. Neither of them good. One was they were scheming to make sure folks didn't spend much time in there from 11 - 2pm. Keeping the air on as low as possible would make someone uncomfortable enough to get out quick. Then you add to that the fact that the wing orders were taking 30 minutes a piece and the "unlimited wings" get limited real quick.
The other possibility was the good old race card. Was it just me getting treated like that because I was melanin-challenged? Afterall, it did seem like the cast of "One Tree Hill" were getting some pretty good treatment. But then again, they still had to contend with the same cold temps so I dismissed that possibility. Not only that but there were four of them so she just probably assumed that their tip would be better if she was more efficient with them.
Whatever the case may be, I was turned off enough that I will not be going back to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Ames over the lunch hour again. I may not go back in there again at all. That's probably the more likely scenario since prior to today I hadn't been in there in several months anyway. However, experiences like that have me seriously second-guessing my recent decision to start tipping. Back to my no-tip policy I go.
I am still not convinced that I will ever truly be a fan of reboots. It always seems to me as though it's nothing more than Hollywood continuing to be uncreative while simultaneously attempting to fleece us for more money. That being said, it must work because I'm sure I wasn't the only one stupid enough to buy into it for this latest Marvel reboot. Well played, Hollywood. Well played.
In this latest Spidey update 'The Amazing Spider-Man", Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is on a mission to discover why his parents mysteriously disappeared when he was younger. During the process, he uncovers some dangerous secrets at Oscorp that gives him more than he bargained for. Including the infamous spider bite that makes him Spider-Man and inadvertently helping Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans) turn into the Lizard. Oh yeah...meanwhile, Parker is struggling with how to win over his crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
Having never been a huge Spider-Man fan, I couldn't tell you how true to the story they were with this version. I do recall that Gwen Stacy was the original romantic interest before Mary Jane so that seemed pretty accurate. But I never recall Peter's dad being eluded to as being some type of spy? I had read somewhere that was an alternate storyline for Spider-Man. That's all fine and good but if they were going to go that route then the least they could have done is had it consistent with the rest of the movie instead of rehashing so much of the same plot from the first Spidey movie we saw a decade ago.
The problems I had with this one were numerous. Starting foremost with the casting. We might as well go in on Gwen first. I always hated that the other Spidey films had Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane. Dunst is just not a very good actress and was too stiff for that role. As much as I like Stone as an actress, she didn't fit the Stacy part. The comics (and even cartoons) depict Stacy as having a bit of a Cover Girl look to her but yet down-to-earth personality. Stone had the personality part right. The look? Not so much. There's just nothing glamorous about her. She always looks like a girl who was once a tomboy and is trying to reform but just can't make the breakthrough to full on girly girl.
Then there Dr. Connors. I still have no clue who Rhys Ifans is. They would have been much better to carry over Dr. Connors from the original series when Dylan Baker portrayed him in a cameo of sorts. At least that one was more charismatic. Ifans version had me rather ambivalent. And it certainly didn't help that the special effects on him once he became the Lizard just weren't very good at all. It looked like it was done by the folks that do the made for SyFy movies. There definitely should have been more time and effort invested in it.
And finally Spidey/Peter Parker himself. As far as build is concerned, Garfield was probably a closer fit than a buffed Tobey Maguire. Spidey always had more of the lanky frame that Garfield has. However, I just couldn't get past the fact that everytime I saw Garfield asll I could see was the co-creator of Facebook. It probably didn't help that I've seen "The Social Network" so many times that I can recite entire segments. So unfortunately for him he is more believable to me as a computer geek than he is as a superhero.
The pace of "Amazing Spider-Man" didn't work for me either. They took entirely too long to get to the point where he actually became Spider-Man. There was no need for all that build up either. After four Spidey movies, we get it. They could have found a way to get to that sooner. Then when they did, his transition from being awkward clumsy with his powers to being proficient with them wasn't near as interesting as it was in the first film. And this is coming from someone who wasn't particularly a fan of the first Spidey film.
The one thing I will give them credit for is the darker tone they tried to convey with this update. It's as though they were trying to appeal to an older audience. Like maybe they saw how successful "The Dark Knight" was with that type of mood and they wanted to emulate it while still staying somewhat true to the Spidey theme. They partially succeeded. But there was just too much else going wrong for it that turned me off.
If you're a diehard Spidey fan, you will probably find more redeeming qualities in "The Amazing Spider-Man" than I did. If you're just your standard superhero movie fan then this one will probably be just "eh". If you're an action film junkie and thinking this could be a good fit then you could easily do better. As far as I'm concerned "Spider-Man 2" clearly remains the best Spidey entry in the franchise hands down.
Yes, her birthday was technically July 9th, but I'm not late in wishing her happy birthday. I hit her up on The Book in the early AM. I guarantee you no matter when I would have posted this that she was much more apt to see that Facebook post. Not to mention that more people saw that then they will this entry so mission was accomplished.
Speaking of The Book, I used a photo of her there that I guess wasn't one of her favorites. It was one where she was wearing the pink XL-Images shirt I gave her. I personally thought she looked incredibly beautiful as she always does. Her smile was as radiant as ever. However, she wished I would have chosen a better photo so I made up for it here. Since this was one of her many self-portraits she had I figure this one meets her approval.
I just realized yesterday that Mariah shared her birthday with OJ Simpson. How bad does that suck? On the day she was born 21 years ago it would have been pretty cool. Now in 2012? Not so much. Heck even by the time she was a teenager it wouldn't have been cool to be sharing a birthday with him. But I digress...
The most important thing about her birthday is that my oldest child has just turned 21. She's old enough to drink. I certainly hope that she takes after her old man and doesn't though. It's not so much that as it is just the fact that I'm old enough to have a "child" that age. And no matter how old she gets, she will always be my child. There's no shaking that title.
I wish I could have been there to help her celebrate this momentous occasion. The move to Texas will occur almost a month too late to have that happen. So I may miss this one but at least I will be there for future ones. Like that magical 25th birthday. Yes, it's just a random number that I chose to acknowledge as an important age. And we will be kicking it on that day!
Maybe that title isn't totally accurate. The more I think about it, you could technically say that the whistling died the day they canceled "The Andy Griffith Show". But it was on in syndication for so long that that never truly seemed to be the case. However, it definitely now feels as though it has been silenced in a way forever.
Iconic actor Andy Griffith passed away last Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 86-years-old.
"The Andy Griffith" shows was one of the many of the classics I learned to appreciate when I was younger. I think I probably initially checked it out because I wanted to see the show that spawned the career of Richie Cunningham. "Happy Days" was still on in primetime when I was a kid so I knew him from that. Wow that's incredible to think that I'm so old that I remember "Happy Days" during primetime.
Anyway, I could never fully get into "The Andy Griffith Show". Contrary to what folks may think about Norwalk back then, it wasn't country and/or rural. It was just a smaller version of Des Moines so we all considered ourselves to be "city folk". I couldn't really relate to a show about smalltown country living. Nevertheless, I would still tune in every now and then to get a good laugh about how corny everything was.
Some younger folks are more familiar with Andy thanks to his work in "Matlock". That's another show that I could never get into. I didn't mind the whole courtroom drama aspect, but I just couldn't get past the fact that he would always be Sherriff Taylor to me. And his was the only whistle song that mattered.