Category Archives: entertainment news

Build the ballpark, the stores will come

I got a glimpse of a headline on Amarillo.com that reveals how the retail space in the newly built parking garage on Buchanan Street in downtown Amarillo likely will remain empty for the foreseeable future.

I couldn’t read the whole story because the pay wall popped up; since I don’t subscribe to the Amarillo Globe-News, I couldn’t read it.

The retail spots are going to remain empty until the ballpark gets closer to completion, which is about all I could see of the story.

I am reminded of the line from “A Field of Dreams,” where the Kevin Costner character is told, “If you build it, they will come.”

So it well could be when they break ground on the multipurpose event venue, aka The Ballpark. The MPEV is taking shape as a sort of “field of dreams” for city, business and civic leaders who consider the project to be the gateway to a brighter future for Amarillo.

I happen to agree with that view.

Thus, it doesn’t worry me in the least that the garage’s ground floor row of retail space will remain empty for the time being. It makes sense.

Why install an establishment that won’t reap the reward until after the MPEV is open for business and attracting crowds into the downtown business/entertainment district?

If that’s the prevailing theory, then it makes perfect sense to yours truly.

I remain optimistic — and you can remove the “cautiously” qualifier from that description — about the future of the MPEV and its impact on Amarillo.

The Local Government Corp. has negotiated a deal to bring a AA minor-league baseball franchise to the city. They’ll break ground soon on the MPEV. It will open no later than April 2019, just in time for some hardball to be played.

The MPEV will be built. I remain quite confident that the retailers will come.

Trump seeks to play us as fools

Donald J. Trump was caught blabbing to an entertainment host about how he treats women. He treats them badly, according to the recording.

Trump then acknowledged when the recording became known that it was “locker room talk.” He blew it off.

Oh, but now the president says in private the “Access Hollywood” audio is fake. It’s not his voice.

The president’s penchant for delusion is stunning. He also seems to believe that the public that knows what it heard is willing to accept this lout’s denial that he said what we heard him say.

I’ll add here that Billy Bush, the TV host caught laughing and carrying on when Trump talked in the 2005 recording about grabbing women by their private parts lost his job over his role in the hideous recording.

So now the president is suggesting that Bush got fired … for nothing? Is that what the groper in chief is telling us?

Someone has to explain this

And then there’s this: The president reportedly has reopened that idiotic “birther” controversy involving former President Obama. Trump has been at the forefront of the lie that Obama was not born in this country and, thus, was not eligible to run for the presidency.

Weird.

Trump now says ‘Access Hollywood’ tape is fake … eh?

My head is about to explode.

Donald John “Groper in Chief” Trump Sr. now suggests that the audio recording that almost covered him up in some serious political doo-doo might be a fake.

I’m talking about that 2005 recording of Trump boasting about how he could grab women by their private parts because he’s such a star, a celebrity. That status, he boasted to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush, gave him license to do terrible things to women.

It’s Trump’s voice on the recording. Of that, anyone who’s heard it can say with supreme confidence.

If the recording is not Trump, that it’s a fake as he reportedly told a U.S. senator, then who is it? Did someone impersonate the man who would become president of the United States?

Read Newsweek story here.

And while I wouldn’t call Trump’s response to the criticism of the recording when it became known in October 2016 an actual apology, he did have an “explanation” of it in real time. Trump called it “locker room talk,” which I guess was his way of acknowledging that he did say those hideous things.

Now he’s trying to, um, take it all back. He’s suggesting the recording is inauthentic.

This won’t surprise readers of High Plains Blogger, but I … do … not … believe the president’s apparent denial. 

The prevaricator in chief, though, seems intent on denying the obvious. Hey, wasn’t he just “telling it like it is”?

Film creates a guilty conscience

Have you ever seen a film that leaves you with a guilty conscience?

I just saw such a film. Today. I sat between my wife and son for a couple of hours watching “Wonder.” The parents in the film are portrayed by a couple of well-known actors: Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

But then there’s this boy, the “wonder” in the eyes of his mother. Jacob Tremblay portrays a youngster named August Pullman, who was born with a serious facial deformity.

Auggie is home schooled by his mother. Then his parents decide to send him to a prep school in New York City. He gets the expected harsh reaction from fellow fifth-graders when he enters the school. Auggie powers through the ridicule, the taunts, the hideous give-and-take that middle schoolers are so capable of delivering.

I won’t give any more of the plot away. It is, simply put, just about the sweetest film I have seen since, oh, I can’t remember when.

The film is based on a novel, which by definition is a fictional story. Auggie’s story, though, does mirror the real-life story of a young man named Nathaniel Newman, who was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. Nathaniel’s story was detailed on a recent edition of “20/20” on ABC-TV.

In the film and in real life, the boys who are affected by this syndrome are just as normal as any children with whom they interact. Auggie happens to be a science genius who loves the space program and wants to walk someday on the surface of the moon.

My guilt comes from the gripes I level at seemingly trivial matters. I get stopped by traffic? I complain about it. Someone cuts in front of me at the grocery store? I grumble under my breath. My favorite football team loses a close game? I curse the television set.

Then I witness on film the portrayal of a little boy who has to go through life with a struggle that too few of us can understand and appreciate. I read about another little boy with precisely the same condition and wonder: Could I be so noble and gracious in light of such struggle as he faces each day in the real world?

It makes me ask myself: Why in this world should I ever complain about anything ever again?

Walk of Fame to get thinned out?

With all this sexual abuse/harassment/assault talk overtaking many Hollywood entertainment giants, the thought occurs to me.

What are they going to do about all those stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

Dustin Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey? Don’t they all have their names engraved on that walk? Will they — and maybe others — be dishonored for life? When does all this stop?

I don’t usually think much about these kinds of things.

I am thinking the Walk of Fame likely could — and should — be culled of many of the names now honored with those stone plates planted into the ground.

The list of names already sullied by these allegations is long already. It’s likely to get a lot longer.

Welcome back, Tiger; many of us have missed you

I am heartened to hear the news that Tiger Woods is planning yet another comeback to the world of professional golf.

You have to understand how I feel about this guy. I will concede in a New York minute that he has proved himself to be a dirt bag of a husband. His serial philandering was too much for his ex-wife to bear. He got caught up in that nasty scandal — and then his health went bad.

I tend to separate sports celebrities’ personal life from their exploits on their respective fields of competition.

I like watching pro golf on TV. I really like watching Tiger Woods compete. He brings a certain panache and flair to a game that at times needs it. The Golden Age of golf, from my standpoint, occurred in the 1960s and ’70s, when Arnie competed head to head with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player; then came Tom Watson and Lee Trevino. (I  need not bother with a last name when referencing The King of Golf. The same can be done, I suppose, with Tiger.)

Tiger has 14 major titles under his belt. He’s seeking to break Jack’s record of 18. I once thought it was a done deal. It now appears out of reach, given his recent performances on the links.

Whatever, he says he is coming back in December. Tiger has gone through those back surgeries. He’s suffered some personal indignities along the way. He and rival Phil Mickelson revealed recently that they really are pals, that their so-called mutual dislike was trumped up.

Tiger will have a tough road ahead to regain his top-tier ranking. The pro golf game is full of young guns ready to take their place among the greats of the game: Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson come to mind. They are as fearless as Tiger Woods has proved to be in the heat of competition.

So … welcome back, Tiger.

This golf fan is pulling for you.

Hillary is right: We’ve got serious sexual conduct issues to answer

Harvey Weinstein, the film producer and mentor to the stars, apparently has a serious problem  on his hands. He stands accused of sexually molesting women. He is seeking help for his problem, but his career likely is toast — as it should be.

Then we have another notable individual, the president of the United States of America, who’s actually acknowledged groping women and, in effect, committing sexual assault.

Hillary Clinton addressed both men’s issues in a United Kingdom television interview.

As The Hill reported: “Look, we just elected someone who admitted sexual assault to the presidency. So there’s a lot of other issues that are swirling around these kinds of behaviors that need to be addressed,” Clinton said when asked if she had heard rumors of Weinstein’s behavior before the bombshell reports. “I think it’s important that we stay focused, and shine a bright spotlight, and try to get people to understand how damaging this is,” she continued.

No one should dismiss what Weinstein has been accused of doing. That he would check himself into a rehab clinic is an acknowledgment that he has done what many women have accused him of doing.

The astonishing aspect of this is that while the media are zeroing in on Weinstein we seem to have looked askance at what the leader of the free world has admitted doing. The “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump admitting in 2005 to hideous behavior with women raised a ruckus for only a brief period before this fellow was elected president of the United States.

Do values matter?

Many of us talk all the time about “values” and their impact on contemporary culture. We expect our elected leaders to be paragons of virtue. We bristle — or at least we used to bristle — when they don’t measure up.

Donald Trump has defied every conventional norm one can name in his quest for the presidency.

Should we be alarmed at what Harvey Weinstein is alleged to have done? Certainly. But what about the president?

‘We all make mistakes?’ Seriously?

Harvey Weinstein hasn’t said much in public since these allegations surfaced about sexual harassment and rape.

The longtime film producer, mentor to many of the film industry’s superstars and a deep-pocketed Democratic Party financial donor, is in serious trouble. Stars are dropping him like a bad habit; politicians are donating money Weinstein sent them to charities relating to sexual harassment.

So, what does this guy say about his hideous alleged behavior?

“Everyone makes mistakes,” he said this week while piling into an SUV. Yes, Harv, everyone makes mistakes. You know, things like bouncing a check, or being late with a credit card payment, or running a red light in a busy intersection.

Not “everyone” sexually harasses women or tries to rape them.

We aren’t talking about a simple “mistake,” dude. We are talking, though, about sexual predation.

Sordid past catches up with this mogul

Harvey Weinstein once was called “God” by award-winning actor Meryl Streep.

Well, it looks like Streep’s version of “God” has taken a mighty fall and he’s feeling it right where it hurts.

Weinstein is a once-notable agent to the stars and a big-time Democratic Party donor. It turns out the fellow’s got a seedy, sordid and salacious past.

Allegations of sexual harassment — and even rape — have emerged to sink this guy, who this week was actually fired from the company he co-founded. Actors have bailed on him left and right. Women have come forward to accuse him of seeking to do naughty things with and to them.

To make matters worse — and yes they can get worse — Weinstein’s wife has announced she’s leaving him.

Oh, and then there’s the political side of it. All those Democratic pols, particularly the women who run for or who currently occupy public office? They’re donating the cash that Weinstein gave to their political efforts to charities, notably those that deal with women who are abused or harassed.

I get that we’re talking virtually about allegations. I haven’t heard of anything that’s been proven.

But this big-time big hitter is paying the price he likely ought to pay. All those allegations — they appear to be countless — seem to add up to a disgusting and disgraceful past that has caught up with this guy.

‘Vietnam War’ finally brings a lump to the throat

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick did it. Finally.

On the second to last night of their epic PBS documentary film, “The Vietnam War,” they brought a lump to my throat. They made me swallow hard. As in swallow real hard.

The moment struck me as I listened to a former Vietnam War prisoner tell of his release from captivity by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese.

His name is Hal Kushner. He was an Army physician who was taken captive by the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. He then was taken to Hanoi.

Kushner would be released in March 1973, two months after President Nixon announced the signing of the ceasefire that ended our combat involvement in the Vietnam War.

Kushner told of being greeted at Clark Air Force Base, The Philippines by an Air Force officer who said, “Welcome home, doctor.”

Kushner’s voice choked up as he remembered looking at the jet transport that would fly him and his fellow former POWs across the Pacific Ocean. He saw the letters “USAF” painted on the plane. “I saw this big C-141, this beautiful white bird, with the American flag emblazoned on the tail,” he said. They were going home.

The sight of those men hugging each other, toasting each other and kissing the flight nurses aboard the aircraft made my eyes well up as I watched this landmark series march toward its conclusion.

“The Vietnam War” has filled me with many emotions. Some nostalgia over my own meager involvement in that war; some anger at the way our returning warriors were treated when they came “home”; more anger at the sight of Jane Fonda yukking it up with North Vietnamese soldiers while sitting in an anti-aircraft weapon they used to shoot down our aviators; revulsion at the sight of all the carnage that occurred throughout the war.

The sight of those POWs coming home? That evoked another feeling altogether. I’m prone to sappy reactions at times, even when I watch actors portraying human emotion. I tend to forget that they’re pretending.

Not this time. What we saw was real. Man, it was good.