Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Runnin' Down A Dream

My memory of Tom Petty goes back to my first memories of rock radio. His brand of rock seemed to be pure and simple. It wasn't punk, pop or metal. It did have elements of pop, folk and rock though. He adapted through the years but never seemed to change. He stayed current with the times and never really seemed dated throughout the 70's and 90's.

 
In retrospect he seemed a product of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Beatles.If he seemed to "sell out" it's hard to tell when. His music seemed at once the same but yet never dated. He'd mingle with the classic rock icons like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison but yet seem hip and stand alone on his own accord. 

The sixties had Dylan. The seventies had Springsteen. The eighties had Tom Petty. Tom had an ear for southern rock but yet had the sound of a mainstream rock performer. He was an American pop artist that stayed cool throughout his career. He was successful without appearing to have "sold out". 

Presently I can see how artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen had influenced him. His songs seemed to have a personal yet universal touch. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Rule: Get It in Writing | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Scale Model Review: M151A2 Hardtop with Trailer by Academy

M151A2 Hard Top with Trailer by Academy


I've finally got around building models again this year and I've had this one kicking around the house for awhile. My inspiration was that I drove one just like in the Army back in the 80's. It's a M151A2 with a trailer(M416 I believe). If my memory serves me right I don't remember a lot of these that came with the hardtop. Most I saw had the soft-top version. Most scale models I found were of the soft top so when I found it I snapped it up quick. 

The inspiration. My M151A2 in Germany back during the Reagan years.

I consider this my "first car". I had a civilian license before going in the Army but I had to learn all over Again. It is on one of these I learned to drive a manual transmission and it's a wonder it survived that ordeal. After awhile I loved driving them. powered by a sturdy 4 cylinder engine top speed was about 50 mph on the highway(yes we pushed them). We warned they were prone to roll-overs due to high center of gravity. I also learned later it was due to the 4 wheel independent suspension that made them prone to tip. 

They were excellent for what I call off pavement driving like dirt roads and in the woods. The knobby tires though I didn't work as well on slippery pavement or snow. I actually had a couple spin outs on snowy slick roads so they had their limitations. 




In the past I haven't done very many military models like this. Maybe a battleship or an old World War 2 plane but that was decades ago. I usually stick to cars of the 1/24-1/25 scale genre so to do a 1/35 scale military model was new to me. 




Pros:

The level of detail impressed me as I went along. I don't think I was expecting a whole lot from such a small kit but the number pieces surprised me. The majority of pieces also fit together quite well. Many models, like the my previous kit a 1/25 scale Impala, had some parts that wouldn't quite fit right and needed work to go together. Excess flash,mold lines and injector marks were minimal. These are imperfections left over from the manufacturing process for those that may be new to scale modelling. 



Cons:

I had a hard time thinking of any to be honest. I did have some issues with the instructions. The kit gives you an option to build a topless version with an M60 mount. Sometimes it wasn't always clear which parts were for a particular version. There were also some extra parts, actually they're listed in the instructions)which could get mixed up. It happened that I put on the wrong dashboard/windshield part. It was only slight difference in appearance on the inside. It wasn't a big deal but could be for those going for extra mile for accuracy and authenticity. This was to be a sentimental shelf display model and not a show contestant so I was fine with it.






Overall I think it came out very well in the end. I'm not sure I'd recommend this as a first build as it's has many tiny pieces that require tweezers to hold them. I actually lost a tiny piece of the engine that because it fell on my basement floor to never be found. Maybe someone with moderate experience would find this a nice challenge. Have fun with it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)







One of the few things I despise worse
than Donald Trump, Montreal Canadien fans and pickles(i felt a gag in my
mouth just typing the word) is anti-vaccine people. I may never been
that concerned about it until after I learned my youngest son had
Autism. Even though no actually link between Autism and vaccinations has
ever been found the fear it may happen still exists because of one
debunked study by a quack of a doctor(former doctor actually) many years
ago. 

What
drives me bonkers is the lack of common sense and the danger that can
be life threatening. One of the problems is that we as a society seem to
forget how horrific some of these childhood diseases really were. One
of the reasons our ancestors had more children(besides sex being fun and
there was no TV or Internet for distraction) was that many children
died before reaching adulthood. If you think of it you are here reading
this because your ancestor from 200 yars ago had 9 kids and at least one
of the survived long enough to become a great-great-great-great
grandparent of yours.

Another
problem is the Internet. I love the Internet as much as anyone but it
does have it's downfalls. One of which ironically is too much
information with very little to filter it out. False or bad information
is alongside credible and established publications like New England
Journal of Medicine. If you search on any issue you can almost always
find and opposite viewpoint. What many have gotten poor at is filtering
out those that are junk and full of crap. As the old saying goes just
because it's on the Internet doesn't make it true. What is needed is
more education in is the ability to research sources of information and
to evaluate their credibility. That doesn't mean cherry-picking from
sources that just back up your own belief's. 

Lastly
I like I said earlier I have a young son with Autism who had all all
his shots. If I had to do it all over again I'd still have him get his
vaccinations on schedule. As much as being an Autism parent is a
challenge I would much rather have him around to love and hear his
laughter than watch him being lowered into the ground because I was
afraid him getting a vaccination. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Donald Trump Cold Open - SNL

I was at a bar last when this aired. Although much couldn't be heard over the din of a late night Karaoke crowd you could hear the mutterings of some of the old bar flies complaining about this. Cries of "unfair", "not funny" and general whining. Despite not being able to hear the actual dialogue on the TV the real-time commentary was quite entertaining and I got a good chuckle out of it. 

One thing I've noticed that many Donald supporters have in common with their golfing President is a thin skin when it comes to humor, especially when it's used in a critical way. What they seem to have most of is anger. When is the last time you've seen Donald crack a joke, laugh or even crack a smirk. It's all seriousness all the time. It seems that the very people who cry "Libtard", "Snowflake", sheep and so on are the very ones with the thinnest skin for criticism. 

I hate to say it with Donald penchant for buffoonish behavior and speaking before thinking it's unlikely this assault upon him will die out anytime soon.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thank You, Scott - SNL

Many of us, including myself, are guilty of being just like Scott(played to a perfection by comedian Louis C.K.). How many of us feel that by hitting "Like" or sharing the latest world outrage that we are doing something to actually help? Once in awhile SNL hits a cultural nerve and this is certainly one of them. Saturday Night Live has hit their stride this year. I haven't paidd this much attention to the show since the days of "Wayne's World".

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinnis

The Selling of the President, 1968The Selling of the President, 1968 by Joe McGinniss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this is a must read for those that are interested in Presidential politics. It is, even almost 50 years later, an eye opener to the behind the scene workings of "selling" a Presidential candidate. What many may not realize that during a campaign almost every moment, appearance by candidate, soundbite, camera angle, interview, even the temperature of room they are in is micromanaged behind the scenes. What may seem natural or casual on the screen is all a production.

Richard Nixon himself is only a modest character in the book. The story is of how he is sold to the voting public. It could have been anyone else before or since. We still learn what Nixon was like on a personal level. Nixon disliked the the press and television appearances. He still thought TV was a gimmick but realized he needed it if he wanted to become President.

Parts of the book also analyze what goes into how the public perceives the President and how they decide who to vote for. It actually made me think abut how I've decided and to understand how others decide. This is big issue these days as we are still trying to figure out what happened in our most recent election. Politics , especially Presidential, has more to do with emotion than rationality. This could explain a lot of what happened in November 2016. We tend to vote with our emotions. This didn't just happen in 1968 or 2016 but happens most Presidential elections. It was the same reason Obama won in 2008, Clinton 1992, Reagan 1980, Carter 1976 and so on.

In self reflection I thought about how twice in the last 8 years I voted for the losing Presidential candidates(McCain in 08 and Hillary in 16). Both Donald and Obama were the "change candidates". Also they had the stronger charisma and they were the exciting candidates. Let's face it despite their experience and intelligence(which were big reasons I supported them) both McCain and Hillary were relatively boring in comparison to their opposition.

I certainly recommend this book for civics geeks and for those wanting to gain an a stronger understanding political elections and how candidates are essentially packaged presented to us much like an advertising campaign. You may learn not only how others choose their President but how you make your choice.





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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Barrel Fever: Stories and EssaysBarrel Fever: Stories and Essays by David Sedaris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one caught my eye in a used book store. Having read David Sedaris before(Let's explore diabetes with owls) this wasn't a hard choice. I wasn't aware this was his first book and that it was a mix of stories and essay's(previously just read his essays). The first part of the book is fictional stories which at first were difficult to grab onto. I did like "We get along" and "Don's Story" as far as his fictional work. When it hit's his essay's is where David's talent and wit show through the best. It's disappointing that there are only four essays. If you already read David's work you may be a little disappointed at first but it's still worth checking out.

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Model Bug

Recently I've rekindled my interest model kit building. I've had a couple of kits floating around I finally dived into one of them Before I get to far ahead I'll give a little history of my model building. I first started building them probably around my preteen years. Being like many boys I loved cars so that what I mainly built but on occasion I'd build airplanes or battleships. One of my inspirations was my grandfather whom we lived with. He had a love for the sea so he built old square rigged sailing ships although he did a few other things but the ships were his specialty. I tried the "Mayflower" and Pilgrims would have never made it across a bath tub never mind the the Atlantic in it so I stuck with cars. Eventually grew interested in other things so the hobby fell away. Over the years I'd build one here and there. 


The kit I'm starting with is of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala by AMT. It is 1/25 scale which is the most common ones, along with 1/24 scale, for cars and trucks for those of you not familiar with scale modelling. I got this one several years ago when I owned the modern version on the Impala(a 2000 model). It's also inspired from one of favorite movies "American Graffiti" where one of the cars was a white 1958 Impala which was my favorite in movie. 

http://www.superchevy.com/news/1509-american-graffiti-white-1958-chevy-impala-goes-to-auction/#photo-01

One of the first steps was eking out a space to work my project. I had a work bench in the basement that was currently home to several old tower PC's. So I had to find some space in an already cluttered basement for these to go. 

I also took inventory of modelling stuff  I may still have. I had started a 57 Chevy Bel Air several years ago so I did have some stuff already. Unfortunately I needed to buy some more tools and paints. The 57 Chevy though was in sad shape as it's missing pieces from being shuffled around. I'd not sure what I'm going to do with it at this point. Maybe keep it for spare parts of some future project. 

Well I was happy to have found a space work and project to work on. I'll post updates as I move along with it. Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NASA live stream - Earth From Space LIVE Feed

A relaxing and yet mesmerizing live video from the International Space Station(ISS). Some of the feed is prerecorded when the station is passing through night time. The video will say "Live Feed" at top left corner when it's live. Thanks NASA.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Carrie by Stephen King

CarrieCarrie by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this as a teenager decades ago and decided to reread it again after my own teenage son developed an interest in Stephen King's work. I gave him this book as a Christmas gift. It feels good to have some connection with him and I hope it keeps him reading as I know King's work sparked my own interest in books. It's as good, if not better, than I remember it from my teen years. I enjoy King's ability to narrate the story from multiple viewpoints and not just using first person accounts also using excerpts from accounts in the future which gives you the impression that the event's had a much bigger impact than what's told in the book itself. It makes you wish you knew more than what being told.

Another interesting aspect of the book was it's picture of adolescent bully. I don't think it was an intentional focus but King certainly brings to light an aspect of growing up that many of us experience but doesn't always get talked about. It's a subject that in recent years has grown more out in the open. I think part of the books appeal was bully victim revenge aspect. Many who experience bullying I'm sure fantasize about exacting revenge of their persecutors.

If you're going to start reading Stephen King I feel this is the place to start.

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The Green Beret's by Robin Moore

The Green BeretsThe Green Berets by Robin Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the book that the John Wayne movie"The Green Beret's" was based on. It is a collection of stories from the early day's of the Vietnam War around 63-64 when it was mainly "advisors" which consisted for the most part Special Forces (aka: Green Beret's) and support personnel. From what I can tell only one or two of the stories were used for the movie itself. It gives an interesting look at our involvement in the early part of the war before we had gotten more directly involved. You also get the picture that it was a confusing war with a complicated strategy and no clear battle lines. In a way the book mirrors the war as it moves from one story to the next without a clear connection. It's a decent book that's worthwhile if you'd like to get an idea what the early days of Vietnam War were like.

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Man in his arrogance - A Great Speech By Carl Sagan

Such an amazing video narrated with the words of the late Carl Sagan. I have rarely heard such profound thoughts and ideas crammed into such a short video or speech. I feel like it's something I've been missing my entire life up until now. I can't stop watching this. I want to absorb every little detail.