Sunday, May 2, 2010

"So Falls the Shadow"

A couple of months ago I auditioned for an independent film being made in the Tidewater area and directed by Joshua Overbay, a dedicated young film maker. Two short weeks later, we were in a church in Norfolk with a committed and enthusiastic crew and cast.

This wasn't your "Spanky and Our Gang" let's make a movie kind of project. They had wardrobe people (even though they were using our wardrobe), makeup, director of photography, lighting people, even craft services with decent food! They were very serious, but they were also fun. I was impressed.

They shot for several days, but I was there for a very short time into the wee hours of a Friday night/Saturday morning. A long night, but I believe it was rewarding.

So, how did it all turn out? Well, here is the trailer. It's being shown to some "money" people. I hope Joshua gets the funding and can finish it... with or without me.

So Falls the Shadow Trailer from Joshua Overbay on Vimeo.

Just my thoughts…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Graphic Look Through My Window

This is a truly realistic and frightening look at my situation and the situation of millions of other former taxpaying patriotic American citizens. It is not the direction our country should be heading in.

It's a shame our government would let the business and banking world put us in this position...
Just my thoughts…

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Virginia Elections - Somebody’s Lying

As we get closer to the 2009 Virginia Elections, I want to thank the inventor of the Digital Video Recorder, the DVR. We record all the TV programs we like so we don’t have to watch all the political commercials. We became sick of them back this Summer when the mud, charges and counter-charges began to fly.

It started with the race for Governor and, as we’ve gotten closer to Election Day, has now filtered over to all the other races.
If you believed the ads, the candidates are the worst in Virginia history… or, somebody’s lying.

How could anyone vote for these candidates?
They hate women and want them to stay at home, hate rednecks, hate big corporations, hate working men and women, stutter their way through explaining campaign platforms, are slick talking politicians, want to take away our gun rights, are rural boobs, are city slickers, do stupid things that let criminals go free, spend money like drunken lottery winners, raise taxes, screw up the economy, back the failed economic policies of Barack Obama, back the failed economic policies of George Bush, and in general are really bad for the Commonwealth.

The way I look at this is that national political consults have interjected their
“take no prisoners – win at all costs – bend the truth” style in our Virginia campaigns so their party’s candidates can win. I think most Virginians, I being one of them, are sick of all this.

On the upside, all the political money being spent has truly helped the state’s financially strapped media, TV, radio and newspapers.

But will it all make any difference?
Since the mid 1970’s, Virginia has had a tradition of electing a Governor from the opposite party of the winner of the Presidential election the year before. That could be the case this time around as well with Republican Bob McDonnell being elected or will Democrat Creigh Deeds break this “modern tradition”?

1976 – Carter – Democrat

1977 – Dalton - Republican

1980 – Reagan – Republican

1981 – Robb - Democrat

1984 – Reagan – Republican

1985 – Baliles - Democrat

1988 – Bush, Sr. – Republican

1989 – Wilder - Democrat

1992 – Clinton – Democrat

1993 – Allen - Republican

1996 – Clinton – Democrat

1997 – Gilmore - Republican

2000 – Bush, Jr. – Republican

2001 – Warner - Democrat

2004 – Bush, Jr. – Republican

2005 – Kaine - Democrat

2008 – Obama – Democrat

2009 – ?????

I guess it’s all up to you! Vote Tuesday, November 3rd!

In the words of comedian Craig Ferguson, "If you don't vote, you're a moron! I know what you’re saying—‘well, not voting is a vote.’ No, it isn’t. Not voting is just being stupid. Voting is not sexy, voting is not hep, it’s not fashionable, it’s not a movie, it’s not a video game, all the kids ain’t doin’ it. Frankly, voting is a pain in the ass, but here’s a word, look it up, it is your DUTY to vote. The foundation in this democracy is based on free people making free choices, so, young people, if you can’t take your hand out of your Cheetos bag long enough to fill out a form, then you can’t complain when we end up with President Sanjaya."

Just my thoughts…

Friday, July 31, 2009

Race, Beer & Who I Am

There has been a lot of commentary and reaction to the ‘beer summit’ and the events that led to it. Most of the comments I have seen expressed have been of disappointment. So this will be mainly a post about comments.

My friend Donna posted on Facebook, “Disappointed about the 'Race Teaching Lesson' we were supposed to learn about yesterday - ala Obama/Crowley/Gates-gate.” To which my friend Liz replied, "I, too, wish we had gotten more substantive details."

Then there was this post from my buddy Rayhan, "Dear Police: Please arrest me, so I can call you racist and have beer with the President." To which someone named Andy replied, "I'll be the cop, because I'd like to have the Blue Moon."

That’s a small example of what’s being said about this situation. But, the most important comments didn’t even come from President Obama. They came from Professor Henry Gates and Sgt. James Crowley.

“Let me say that I thank God that I live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I’ve come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf.” “There's reason to hope that many people have emerged with greater sympathy for the daily perils of policing, on the one hand, and for the genuine fears about racial profiling, on the other hand. The national conversation over the past week about my arrest has been rowdy, not to say tumultuous and unruly. But we've learned that we can have our differences without demonizing one another.” - Henry Louis Gates Jr.

“What was accomplished was, this is a positive step in moving forward as opposed to reliving the events in the past couple of weeks, in an effort to move not just the city of Cambridge or two individuals past this event but the whole country to move beyond this and use this as a basis of maybe some meaningful discussions in the future.” “Well, I think what you had today was two gentlemen agree to disagree on a particular issue. I don't think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. We spent a lot of time discussing the future.” - James Crowley

What ever comes out of the future meetings between these two has the opportunity to advance race relations.

My favorite race is the human race. My opinion comes from a grandmother who preached respect for other races, but didn’t practice it (she was very racist) and from my father who never spoke about race except to once say about hiring his construction workers, “I don’t care what color they are. I just want them to do the job real good.”

My grandmother decided it was incumbent for her to trace back the lineage of her family, her daughter (my mother) and my father’s (her son-in-law). She found Jews, Muslims, Romans, Greeks, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Black Dutch (Jamaican), German, English, Scots, Irish and Cherokee in the direct lineage. However there was one family group she refused to discuss - the James family from Missouri, better known as the James boys, Frank and Jesse.

I guess this makes me a Hebrew-Arab-Italian-Greek-French-Portuguese-Dutch-Jamaican-German-English-Scotch-Irish-Native American-American. Whew! For the sake of time let’s just say I’m an American. Make that a proud American.

As far as the race issue is concerned, I like what Smokey Robinson said back in May 2003. It’s posted on You Tube and is about seven minutes long but worth the watch. You can click below to see it. Please watch it all.

Oh yea, I almost forgot. About the beer, I prefer Guinness.

Just my thoughts…

Friday, July 17, 2009

“And that’s the way it is…”

Walter Cronkite has died. He was 92. For nearly two decades he anchored the "CBS Evening News". He became known as "the most trusted man in America." And he was.

He was professional and honest, a journalist’s journalist and a great broadcaster. But most of all Walter Cronkite was a true gentleman. I remember he was very gracious to a chubby, bearded reporter. While autographing his book, he made that young journalist feel like he was the only person in the room, despite the hundreds of people around him.

That young journalist was me.

He asked me if I liked news. I told him I was a news junkie. He laughed and said I should get into the business. I told him I anchored the news at a TV station in Lynchburg, Virginia. “With a beard? Good for you!”

I heard Cronkite speak many times. Most of the time it was about journalistic ethics and what, at the time, was called “happy talk” news. Presenting the news was serious business to him. I remember when he told the country that President Kennedy was dead. I also remember that he had a wonderful sense of humor.

I was at the Radio & TV Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington the year Cronkite retired when he was “roasted.” I remember there was a lot of praise for him until Andy Rooney got up and said, “If this was really a roast I’d send it back to the kitchen as being under-done!!!” Cronkite laughed, the audience roared and the real roast began.

In his heyday, Cronkite averaged 18-million viewers watching him report the news each evening. Close to 36-million people watched his last broadcast in March of 1981. That compares to less than 10-million who watched Dan Rather’s departure. That speaks volumes to me.

Walter Cronkite was a shining example of both a journalist and a gentleman. I hope he’s not the last.

Just my thoughts…

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Only Thing We Have to Fear… Is Everything

The most famous line about fear came from President Franklin Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

I have come to the conclusion that we really thrive on fear. That’s why the media plays it up all the time. The latest news about tap water proves it:
  • Bottle Blues: The House Tackles Bottled Water
  • Tap water could be safer than bottled, Congress says
  • FDA Less Careful With Bottled Water Than EPA Is With Tap Water
  • Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink?
Now the federal government has stepped in to regulate bottled water (not to mention running the auto industry, banks and insurance companies, and trying to pass legislation run hospitals and doctors offices). I realize that lawmakers and bureaucrats have to think up stuff to regulate to keep their jobs, but this is just crazy.

It all reminds me of one of “those” emails your friends send you. This particular one has the line in it, “We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.”

While we have made great strides in humanity over the last century, we have as a society done some pretty stupid stuff as the result of fear. We need to stop and think! I love the phrase, “Life was much simpler when it was just Dick, Jane and Spot…” It was much better, too!

Just my thoughts…

By the way, here is that email in its entirety:
1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.

And, we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

We had friends and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers’ Day – Thoughts On Being A Dad & A Son

Being a father is a pleasure, an honor, a chore, a privilege, and heavy with responsibility. It should not be a partisan or political thing, though many times it is, mainly through domestic discord. I cherish being a father, despite the many times my four children have attempted to drive me crazy.

Sometimes my kids have been the bane of my existence, but that’s my fault. Always remember that your children will do all the things you did to drive your parents nuts - ten times over. Yes, I have become my father. Despite all this, I love my kids more than they will ever know. I think about, fret and worry over, and have unconditional love for my children everyday.

Season is in Blowing Rock, North Carolina raising triplets, Taylor is a butcher running the meat department at a Food Lion in Lynchburg, Kendall is our vagabond off in New Zealand working on a cruise boat on the South Island, and Fleming is still at home with us, some of the time, working at Bull’s Restaurant and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

My dad was one hell of a great guy. He was born in Lynchburg in 1908, something I didn’t know until I moved here. His father worked for the Southern Railroad and when dad was two they moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he and his two brothers grew up. As a young man dad had a pretty hard life during the Great Depression.

During World War Two he served in the Navy Sea Bees. During the invasion of Okinawa his job was to take his bulldozer and start fixing roads and the air field that the Americans had shelled and bombed, all while being shot at and shelled by the enemy.

After the war he met my mom and got married, and went to work for a construction company building homes for the returning military men and women. He did that for 12 years until he had a massive stroke and heart attack in the summer of 1962. He was paralyzed on his left side. Despite this he got up every day, shaved, put on his Old Spice, dressed himself, made his breakfast and walked at least two miles. Every Sunday he would do all this but would also tie his own tie, put on his coat and hat, and drive us to church.

He died in January 1975 following another massive stroke and heart attack. If he were still alive he would have been 101 years old in July. My dad was one hell of a great guy. He was my hero. He was a great father.

The subject of being a father is one thing that I can agree on with President Obama. To paraphrase some of the things he has said – any fool can have a child, it takes a real man to be a father. Fathers need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. They need to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child - it's the courage to raise one. Man up, be a real father.

Obama knows what it was like not to have his father around. And even though he saw his dad once in a great while, he still refers to their relationship as the myth of his father. A year ago, before he was elected, Obama gave a speech highly critical of absent fathers on Fathers’ Day at the Sunday services at the Apostolic Church of God on Chicago's South Side.

I am proud to say that I know many great fathers. Many are young with new families; others are older, dealing with dilemma of steering children who are entering adulthood; and there are many more like me still fretting over their adult kids and playing with their grandchildren. Just remember, grandchildren are God’s gift to you for not killing your own children.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all you dads, step-fathers and grandfathers, and particularly to all the men who are father figures to children who would otherwise not have a dad at all. God bless you!

Just my thoughts…