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Saturday Top 5: Movies Watched in the Last Month

These are the top 5 movies that I have seen over the past month. Some are in the theater and some are out on DVD.

#5. Taken – Liam Neeson is a former special agent whose daughter is kidnapped overseas. This was not a bad movie, but not great either. It’s purely unrealistic action similar to the Bourne series.

#4. Tristan and Isolde – I didn’t even know this movie existed, but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s about the Brits after they became independent from the Roman Empire and their struggles with the oppressive Irish. In many ways it’s a knock off of a Braveheart type film, not quite on that level, but it was pretty good.

#3. Tropic Thunder – How could I put such a ridiculous movie in my top 5? Because of Special Jack. “Mama!”. This movie made me laugh so hard I was seeing stars.

#2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt star in a love story about a man who ages in reverse. I wasn’t exactly sure how to take this movie, because I am not clear as to what to the point of the movie was. The acting, costumes, and make up was great. It’s unbelievable to see how they can make someone look old or young with a little latex and make up.

#1. A River Runs Through It – This early Brad Pitt movie is about a Montana Presbyterian minister and his family and their love for fly fishing. It’s based on a true story with a few changes to the original story, such as the omission of the 5 McLean sisters. It’s not full of overly hyped drama, action, special effects, or emotional tricks to choke up the viewer. It’s just a story about a good man and his kids who grow up loving to fish, one of them a responsible young man and one who liked to drink and gamble. I can’t believe I waited all these years to watch this amazing film.

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Monday Armchair QB

It’s another good week to be a south Florida football fan.

The Dolphins love flirting with disaster. Yesterday, with a 9 point 4th quarter lead with 8 minutes to go, the game looked like it out be out of reach for Oakland. Then the special teams crew once again showed their ineptitude. They punted from the 37 yardline and Oakland returned it for a team record 94 yards and a TD. After a stalled drive, Oakland scored a fieldgoal and took the lead. Then Miami decided that they would finish the game. A few plays later Miami passed up a 52 yard fieldgoal attempt with 2 minutes left and successfully converted 4th down with a slant to Ginn. The fieldgoal with about 30 seconds left gave Miami the lead for good.

The Hurricanes won an impressive matchup against Virginia Tech on Thursday night.  They also flirted with a loss even though they controlled the game in nearly every aspect of the game.  Due to UNC’s loss against Maryland, Miami controls their own destiny with regards to the conference.  If they can win another Thursday night contest this week against Georgia Tech, and finish the season schedule with a win against NC State, the Canes will play in the ACC title game.  The GT game will be a rough one.

In tomorrows fantasy football report, you will read about a big shake up in the league standings.  I get revenge, a ghost beats Ritz, The Turkey Buzzards get two in a row, and Pastor Trav takes another step backwards in his hunt for the playoffs.

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Fresh Thoughts

  • What can be said about living in South Florida this time of the year?  The weather is absolutely beautiful, the sun is bright, the air is fresh, and the temperature is perfect.  I love it.
  • With all the talk we have had over the past few years about man made global warming and increased hurricane activity, we have now had two years of extremely low hurricane activity in the northern hemisphere, the lowest in 30 years.  We have also had record low temps for this time of the year all over the globe, and even in our back yard.
  • My washer kicked the bucket.  Brandsmart USA has to send someone out to fix it.  I hardly ever buy the extended warantee on my appliances and electronics, but that was one item I decided it would be a good idea to purchase it for.  It’s covered.
  • There are some great opportunities that may be coming open for me soon.  It would have an effect on my schedule, which should mean that I can be at church every weekend.  I pray that it works out.
  • Tonight I have to be at work and I don’t get back until the weeeeeeeee hours of the morning.
  • Maximus is a funny little guy.  We still have not decided when we are going to have him clipped, but he is a big fluffy ball of soft hair.  He doesn’t really run, but he sort of hops around like a rabbit.  Every now and then, he gets a big burst of energy and just takes off through the house weaving through all the furniture in and out of all the rooms downstairs.
  • I went to Lou’s this past weekend and picked up a new Glock, and I think I am going to get a Mossberg 500 next week.  That should be enough for a while.
  • The Hurricanes are playing some decent football now, and so are the Dolphins.  There is some real talk of the Dolphins making a run at the playoffs which would have seemed impossible last year.  At 4-4, they are favored to win again this week.  So far they have been beating the best teams on the schedule and losing to the worst.  The Canes are looking at the possibility of a decent bowl game, maybe a run at the conference championship.  It did not even look possible after losing two conference games.  But the ACC does not have a dominant team, and they don’t exactly have a doormat either.  Any team could beat another any week, it seems.  That leaves for a competitive race.
  • The Citizen Cane fantasy football squad has a tough game this week.  As of now, I am projected to win by one point.  We shall see.
  • My property taxes in Homestead have gone up considerably.  The state passes a doubling of the homestead exemption, and Homestead passed a tax increase because they know we are paying less.  That’s just lousy.
  • I really enjoyed service down in the Keys on Sunday.  I’m sorry I won’t get to be at the launch, but I will be there in a week from Sunday.  It’s not exactly the theater, but it is a blast.  It was cool hanging out after church and looking at the football scores.  See you in a week and a half!

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Saturday Top 5: Terriers

Terriers, in my opinion, are just great.  From their fighting spirit, to their funny personality, there isn’t much that I don’t like about Terriers.  If I had to pick one characteristic that is not always the best, it’s that they are more stubborn than most groups.  I am not including falsely named terriers in this list, like the Yorkshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, or Tibetan Terrier.  But first here are some honorable mention before listing my 5 favorite terrier breeds.

Irish Terrier – Truly an affectionate terrier with a desire to protect.  These are not the most pleasant to touch because of their harsh wiry fur.  But they are smart and loyal.

Wire Fox Terrier – I really want a Wire Fox but I could not handle the constant search for prey.  They have an insatiable desire to hunt, bark, dig, play, and even fight.  Non shedding and hypoallergenic.

#5 Scottish Terrier – When Marcela decided she really wanted to get a dog, Scotties were on our top 3 choices.  They look like little old men, they are a little less prone to fighting than bull terriers or Jack Russell’s, their energy level is more subdued than most terriers, and they are manageable concerning their grooming needs.  Unfortunately, they are not very readily available in South Florida, and I didn’t want to shell out over $1000 for pups to be shipped from a reputable dealer.  No shedding and mostly hypoallergenic.

#4 Norwich/Norfolk Terrier – The Norwich was also in our top 3 but they are more than twice as much (Roughly $2000-2500) as a Scottie and much harder to find.  They are very small for a terrier (10-12 lbs) but they are not lapdogs and have the heart of a lion.  The differences between Norwich and Norfolk are the ears (Norwich is pricked, Norfolk is down) and their temperament (Norwich is more companion, Norfolk is more hunter).  Very little shedding.  When we found that Cairn Terriers are being mixed with Norwich/Norfolk or are just straight up sold as Norwich on the internet, we decided that it was best not to buy online unless the breeder was recommended by the Norwich Norfolk Club.  There were no puppies available and when they were to become available, they would be too expensive.  They look like a little solid block of dog in a compact body!

#3 Welsh Terrier – Trav and Kelly had a Welsh named Tori, and I loved it.  She was a smart, loyal friend who was so good with Kourtney while she was newborn to 2 years old.  Tori had a heart-breaking accident and is sorely missed in the family.  They are much like the Irish in personality, but they are less harsh to the touch and a little smaller in size.  I think this is one of the greatest breeds of dog, but they are hard to find and expensive.  No shedding either!

#2 Bull Terrier – Maggie, my dog from 1993-2004 was a fawn colored bullie.  These guys are clowns and they live to make you laugh, no joke!  They are feisty, scrappy (as any terrier could be), noble, strong, loyal, and smart.  They have a strong drive to destroy other dogs unless completely socialized as a pooch.  They also shed, which is a downer.  But you can’t go anywhere with a Bull Terrier without generating attention.  Be sure to feed them beeno (or whatever you can get for dogs) because they create gusts of wind all the time.

#1 Kerry Blue Terrier – This is the most beautiful dog and one of the best watchdogs of all the breeds.  They are used in police work in Britain.  It is classic terrier with a strong prey drive, hunting instinct, watchful, smart, and loyal.  This dog is far too big and too demanding with the grooming and energy level for me to consider, but if I had the money and time to invest in grooming and training I wouldn’t think twice.

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From the “What’s Up With That?” Files

I laughed so hard when I saw this that I had to share it.  Enjoy this responsibly.

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Friday Bottom 3: The Movie Sequel

Don’t you love my Top 5 and Bottom 3 lists having to do with movies? It’s like a sequel. You know it’s going to stink, but you have to go see it anyway. These are the worst sequels/prequels ever made. In order for a movie to qualify for my list, the original at least had to be entertaining. There will be some discussion about a movie or two that should have been included in the list, but I don’t believe anyone will argue that these should have been left off because of their quality. In fact, if you disagree with these selections, you are wrong and should face a civil penalty.

Dishonorable Mention

Next Karate Kid – Truly only the first movie in this series was good. Wax this one off, please.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd – Some may disagree that the original was good. Personally, I believe the original Dumb and Dumber to be a quality film which touches on everyone’s inner desire and ambition to succeed, and stirs an emotion not easily described. Well, it could also be the hilarious ex-lax and toilet scene that makes the original great, so I could be wrong. But, the lack of talent and thought in writing part two left you with just a silly mash up of horrible jokes and stupid humor.

Jaws: The Revenge – This one was so close to making the bottom three. It’s saving grace was that the Jaws 3-D sequel before was almost as bad, so this one could hardly be much worse. Both were plain awful, but this one was as big a stinker as Mount Trashmore.

Drum roll please….

#3 Rocky V – I am very grateful that Sylvester Stallone redeemed himself in the last installment. In Rocky V, they tried to do something different. Rocky was not fighting for money this time. He was retired, and he had developed a talented fighter. His protege (sorry I couldn’t find the accents) turns against him, and a caricatured Don King waving a flag and saying “Only In America” watches in the background as grandpa Rocky kicks some Tommy Morrison tail! It’s really much better to picture it in your head than to watch it on a movie screen.

#2 Speed 2: Cruise Control – I liked the first Speed flick. It was fun, fast-paced, with some action, and a nasty villain. The second was just an attempt to capitalize off the success of the first. The acting and storyline were so laughable! Did Sandra Bullock’s career ever fully recover?

#1 Batman and Robin – Holy Stinker, Batman! There has to be a purpose in a movie with good material like the Batman and Robin comic heroes turning out to be more like a Broadway show. Someone was trying to bankrupt Warner Bros. Pictures. The villains were not scary, the good guys were not likable, and the plot seemed like it had been written by a 13 year old. That is a bad combination for a movie with a budget the size of most countries’ GDP. I think they spent all their money on the almost A-list cast and uniforms and forgot to pay for a story, special effects, or sets. Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone (who was actually a big name at the time), Vivica Fox, and Elle McPherson were all cast in this joke without the Joker. This may be the worst movie ever made, unless you are a pothead in which case you may have actually enjoyed it.

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Wednesday Quotable

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

Barack Obama

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Sunday Life Pointe Talk Soup

  • Made it to the theater for Church by 7:33 AM, 3 minutes later than I was supposed to. Jesse, Bill, Mike, and Rebecca were there before me, along with the set up guys.
  • Zech brought a friend today who is multi-talented in a big way. The kid is a “speed metal” banger on the drums, plays some mean electric lead, and also slaps the bass like a pro. I heard he also is pretty dern good on the keyboard too! I am looking forward to playing along side him in the future.
  • In the first service, Ritz drummed, Bill was on the electric, Rebecca on the keys, Jesse lead from acoustic guitar, and I played bass. Kyle, Nyrian, Julie, and Reina sang back-up.
  • The music today was fun to play. In the corporate worship, we sang “Better Days”, “Friend of God”, and “Enough” and for Communion we sang “God of Wonders”. For greeting Jesse led in “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2. The worship was energetic and I could really sense that people were calling out for more of Jesus.
  • After worship, Jesse introduced Paul with a very exciting introduction, to which Paul responded by calling him a “midget Santana who sings like Bono”.
  • The Bumper video on the topic of anxiety featured Alex Santoyo, and was downright hilarious. The best part is Alex stating that he is tri-lingual and speaks Charlie Brown…”Wah wah wah”.
  • Travis spoke on the funk of anxiety. It was very relevant to today’s lifestyle and issues.
  • The youth also had another bake sale and Vic donated a Ken Dorsey autographed Miami Hurricanes helmet to help send kids to youth camp. Kudos to Vic for an item that will alone send more than 3 kids to youth camp!

For a different perspective on this morning’s service, be sure to check out:

Chris’s Sunday Morning Tossed Salad

Pastor Travis’ Wrap Up

Kelly’s Chick Kabob (Which will be updated shortly!)

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Saturday Top 5: Rock and Roll Guitar Solos

I love music. And of all music, I like rock and roll most. At the heart of all great rock is the guitar, and the guitar shines today in the top 5 greatest guitar solos. Included in the list are a few songs that had the juice to make honorable mention, but not enough to crack the list.

Honorable Mention:

Hotel California – The Eagles Easy sounds from this southern rock band gave it such a nice feel. I still haven’t figured out what the song is about, though I have read things ranging from Satanism to music history (with references to Steely Dan and many other rock greats in the song). But the solo is just killer. Definitely one of the greatest rock solos ever.

Reelin’ in the Years- Steely Dan This is the closest to pop of any songs on my list. It actually was the #1 pop tune of 1973. But the guitar solo is totally rock. Steely Dan is jazzy enough for your mom and dad to enjoy, rockin enough for me, and about the most sophisticated rock and roll created. The solo on this track is Jimmy Page’s favorite solo of all time. It’s not every day you can find a guitarist who can come close to replicating it.

Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin There are many who say Jimmy Page’s hammering on Stairway was the best solo of all the Led Zep tunes, but this one had more emphasis with the breaks. I gotta whole lotta love for this song and this solo!

Long Time – Boston Off the self titled album, this was the best of Boston’s killer guitar solos in my opinion, and there were plenty to choose from.

Europa – Santana This song was the closest of the honorable mention selections to making the top 5. If you think Black Magic Woman contained his best solo work, you are incorrect. You can feel the heat coming off those tubes in his Mesa Boogie. Wikipedia has the parameters for attaining the sound Santana had on Europa, supposedly. He really makes the guitar sing, scream, and then cry.

Do You Feel Like We Do – Peter Frampton This was the best video I could find of this. The sound quality isn’t the best, but it still has the voice box and guitar solo. This tune is energetic, and the solo rocks in a big way that is worthy of mention on my list.

The “Top 5”

#5 Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd The smoothest work by a seriously smooth guitar player. Quite a few regard this as the best guitar solo ever laid to vinyl in the Rock and Roll genre. David Gilmour punctuates a song about an apparent injection of something that takes away pain. According to some of the information I found, there was nothing to the drug rumors other than that it was about a child that got sick and got shot up with some medicine to feel better. Of course, the term “acid rock” is actually a description of the effects of acid rain on a sheer mountain face. YEA RIGHT! Any way you slice it, the solo is one of the best ever.

#4 Eruption – Van Halen Eddie sets the fretboard on fire with some of the fastest hammering ever recorded. Actually, he was so fast many of the notes were supersonic and undetectable to the human ear. That’s how amazing this solo was! The link is to a live version with a little more than the original recorded version.

#3 Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits Is it rock and roll? You better believe it! There’s no trumpet playing in this song, and the solo(s) are just as effortlessly smooth and fast as the combination can be. One of my gun range instructors used to say “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast!”. I love the clean bends and flat picking Knopfler brings with his guitar here on this slightly altered live extended version.

#2 Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd It’s technically not a guitar solo when played live since it’s a duel between Allen Collins and Steve Gaines (Ed King originally), but the recorded version was double tracked and recorded by Allen Collins alone (still not exactly a solo). But since the 5 minute guitar piece at the end of the song is one of the most recognizable portions of rock and roll picking in rock’s history, I have to include it. The haunting slide played in the beginning of the tune is by Gary Rossington. That makes it a three part solo. 🙂

#1Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan This is the ultimate in Rock and Roll guitar solo, an extended version of Hendrix’ Little wing with a portion of Third Stone from the Sun at the end. It’s a buffet of all you can eat blues/rock! It has some serious rock foundation to it, but the soul of this jam session is pure blues. It’s sad that such a talented guy (the greatest guitarist to live) didn’t live longer. To quote Bill, how much music was lost when he died? He had years of creativity, writing, recording, and performing taken away when he died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35. When you watch him play, he makes it look so easy.

There you have another controversial edition of Saturday Top 5. If you think I am wrong, then you are wrong, obviously. I welcome anyone to challenge my list so I can prove to them why I am right.

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Saturday Top 5: Fish for dinner?

I love fish. I like to catch them, I like to look at them, but most of all I like to eat them! If I had to choose only one protein source to eat, it would have to be fish. So here are my top 5 ways to prepare the best food source on earth. Trust me. You need to know this information.

#5. Let’s have us a fish fry! Deep fried country style, with grits, hush puppies, french fries, and cole slaw reminds me of when I was a youngin in the bradenton area. I prefer fillets of snapper, grouper, trigger fish, dolphin, sea trout, cod, catfish, and flounder, but I also dig some blue gill, speckled perch, tilapia, or even bass for a fish fry. Simply dredge the fillet in some egg then coat it with a mixture of corn meal, salt, pepper, and cayenne powder and then drop it into some hot oil. Dip it in some good tartar sauce. I like batter dipped fish well enough, but some good corn meal crusted southern style fish fry is my favorite way to fry.

#4. Grilled. This is better for you and not as heavy on the gut as #5. Be sure to have a clean grill, spray it with no stick spray, and make sure it is hot. Don’t over cook unless you like fish jerky! I like to use a little salt, pepper, dill weed, and finish with some fresh lemon juice and maybe a little pat of butter. For a richer flavor I prefer steaks of salmon, kingfish, and spanish mackerel. For a cleaner or milder flavor, I prefer steaks of tuna, cero mackerel, (my favorite) swordfish, or fillets of grouper.

#3. Ceviche. Did you know you can cook fish without heat? That’s right. Personally, I prefer my ceviche HOT HOT (as in spicy) but nice and chilled. Making ceviche is about the easiest way to prepare fish. First, you start out with fresh boneless fillets of a mild and flaky fish, preferably yellowtail, or mangrove snapper, or even grunt. Cut them in half inch chunks. Add fresh chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and finely chopped jalapeños or your favorite hot pepper. Drench it with a good layer of fresh lime juice. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and pop it back in the fridge for about an hour. You can watch the fish go from opaque to white as the acids from the lime juice cook the fish. Serve it on a bed of lettuce with some good chewy or crusty bread or crackers. Now you’re talkin! Or is it eatin?

#2 Raw baby! Sushi (nigiri or sashimi). The Japanese know how to do fish. If you are going to eat sushi, it had better be fresh (never frozen). Pull a yellowtail up out of the water, off the hook, fillet it right there, slap some wasabi and soy sauce on it, and you’re eating some of the finest cuisine in the world! I would not ask you to try something I never have. I prefer ahi tuna, white albacore, and salmon for sushi, but yellowtail or any snapper, and yellowfin or bluefin tuna are all excellent choices.

#1. Taco time. Hands down, the best way to eat fish is with a slice of avocado, some fresh salsa, jack cheese, and sour cream on a warm soft flour tortilla. I have seen recipes where the fish is deep fried, but I prefer it charred on the grill or in the pan with some chipotle, salt, and pepper. Marcela makes some excellent salsa, so I just focus on getting the fish right. Sometimes I like to grill some onions for this tasty treat, almost like fajitas. My fish of choice for tacos or fajitas is good old dolphin/mahi mahi/dorado. Man, you wanna talk about good south Florida food? This is one of the best things about living in So Fla. When I’m out fishing for dolphin, when I see a school, it looks like a bunch of gold and green tacos swimming around in the ocean! If I have my choice, you can keep your fancy little blackened fish sandwiches, or your cute little flounder with lemon butter and capers over linguini. Give me some tacos!

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