Category Archives: entertainment news

These are the Beach Boys?

Check out the picture. It is of the Beach Boys, the iconic band from the 1960s. Except for this little item: The Beach Boys that I used to listen to comprised five members; this bunch totals nine men.

What’s more, two of the original Beach Boys are dead: brothers Dennis and Carl Wilson. And . . . the creative genius behind the band, Brian Wilson, no longer plays with the band he founded.

Check out the two men in the hats. The one on the left is Mike Love, the lead singer of the Beach Boys dating back to their glory days; the guy on the right is Bruce Johnston, a long time band member, but he was a part-timer back when Dennis and Carl were still with us.

Oh, and then we have Al Jardine, a friend of the Wilson family, who also was a member.

I guess my point is that the Beach Boys whose music I used to enjoy no longer exists.

I hope they can at least sound like the Beach Boys.

World War I, Vietnam: chilling symmetry

I have just watched a chilling, remarkable and utterly jaw-dropping film. New Zealand director/producer Peter Jackson’s documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old” hit me like a punch in the gut.

It is a film pulled together with many hours of archived film taken from World War I. Jackson colorized the raw film, restored its quality to a stunning level and then added narration taken from audio recordings made at the time.

The documentary takes us through British soldiers’ combat along The Western Front, how they confronted the Germans, fought them hand-to-hand. How they endured the most deplorable living conditions imaginable.

Then at the end of the film, we learn about the Armistice, which was proclaimed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The narrative tells how the guns just stopped firing. The battlefield fell strangely silent after years of constant bombardment.

There was no celebration among the British ranks. They packed up their gear and boarded boats for the ride home across the Channel.

And then they were greeted by — you guessed it — raging indifference. Indeed, many of the men who returned home from the War to End All Wars wondered: Why were we fighting? What was the point? What was the mission?

To those of us who had some exposure to another war, the one in Vietnam, the baffling reasons for fighting World War I among the British warriors seems to ring so very true.

I had a brief exposure to the Vietnam War. I didn’t suffer the hideous conditions experienced by the men I just witnessed on film. I did come home to what I have referred to as “raging indifference.” Make no mistake, either: I, too, wondered about what in the world I had just experienced and to what end was this war going to conclude.

I haven’t given away too much of the film. Just take my word for it: Peter Jackson has worked a technological miracle with this documentary.

It’s a classic!

Bale sticks a former VPOTUS in the eye . . . needlessly

Christian Bale more or less demonstrated the kind of behavior I wish wouldn’t occur at these awards ceremonies.

The actor — who I recognize is a brilliant artist — decided to stick it in the eye of former Vice President Dick Cheney while accepting his Golden Globe award Sunday night for best actor in a dramatic film. Bale portrays Cheney in the film “Vice,” and I must say he turns in a stellar performance.

Bale thanked director Adam McKay for casting him to portray the former VP. But . . . then he described Cheney as “absolutely charisma free and reviled by everybody.” Sigh.

Bale wasn’t finished. He said in the future he would be “cornering the market” on portraying “charisma-free assholes.”

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration,” Bale added.

Again, sigh.

I have already stated my wish that actors and others in the entertainment industry would refrain from making political statements at these events.

It’s fair to wonder, though, why Bale would decide to launch a gratuitous assault on an individual who — regardless of how you feel about him — is a significant, historic American political figure. Why then? In that moment? In that context?

I just don’t get it.

Oh, one more thing: Christian Bale is a Brit. Meaning that he didn’t have a voice in determining whether Dick Cheney would occupy any of the public offices he held.

Just sayin’, man.

Should awards shows become political events?

Variety magazine poses a question that is giving me fits, but I have reached a conclusion.

It asks whether televised awards shows that honor entertainers should become a forum for honorees to spout their political views.

I think not.

The Emmys, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes ceremonies have been most memorable for the political speeches that actors and others in the entertainment industry deliver while accepting their trophies.

Are their opinions of some value? Sure they are. Are these ceremonies the place for them to make those views known to the entire world? I don’t believe so.

I have long believed in the “There’s a time and place for everything” theory. I have this admittedly old-fashioned view that awards ceremonies are intended solely to honor those who get paid lots of money to, um, entertain us. That is why I watch them — on the rare occasion that I do.

Free speech is great, however . . .

You may spare me the rebuttal about “freedom of speech,” and “First Amendment guarantees” and this being a “free country.” Believe me, I get all of that. I understand the argument in favor of those who want entertainers to deliver us their political views on the issues of the day.

I also am acutely aware of the entertainment industry’s left-leaning bias. These folks, to be candid, are preaching to the choir if they are talking to me. I share their bias. Thus, I don’t need to hear points of view that merely affirm what I already believe.

All I want from entertainers is for them to perform up to the standards we all expect of them. Whether they think badly of the president of the United States or of certain members of Congress or of governors of certain states is irrelevant.

Good grief! We’re inundated with opinion 24/7 on cable TV shows, in various publications, and in blogs — such as this one.

Entertainment awards ceremonies need not be a forum to feed me more of the same.

Yep, some of us do care that she swore

I had to look this guy up before offering a comment on what he had to say. Mikel Jollett, I learned, is a musician and author, who is best known as the front man for an indie rock group called Airborne Toxic Event.

Now with that out of the way, I want to declare that I happen to care that a freshman congresswoman swore when she called for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. I do not support the president of the United States; I didn’t vote for what he calls a “racist sexual predator.”

The basis for my caring about Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s foul mouth is two-fold.

First, she is a brand new member of Congress who sought to make a name for herself right out of the chute. Mission accomplished. All she had to say was that she believes Democrats are going to “impeach the motherfu***r.” Washington is all abuzz over what she said.

Second, she could have made precisely that point without using the gutter language. I get that Trump has said all of that. He trash talks with the best of ’em. I am acutely aware of his history, of the language he has used to describe how he treats women. I am aware of the misogynistic nature of his comments.

None of that — zero! — justifies the use of the language that a heretofore virtually unknown rookie member of Congress has used to highlight (or lowlight) what she hopes happens within the halls of Congress.

I do not want the newly empowered Democratic Party congressional caucus to slide into the gutter occupied by Donald Trump and so many members of his “base.”

As for Mikel Jollett — whoever he is — the young man should cease assuming that “nobody cares” that an “incoming congresswoman” swore. He is mistaken.

Rep.-elect Crenshaw showing serious class and dignity

I want to concur with a friend of mine who said over social media that he is beginning to like Dan Crenshaw more each day.

The Texas U.S. representative-elect has reached out to “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson after hearing about the mysterious Instagram post that suggested Davidson might be contemplating suicide.

Davidson, you will recall, mocked Crenshaw on an “SNL” segment, poking fun at the former Navy SEAL’s war wound; Crenshaw lost one of his eyes in Afghanistan when he was hit with an explosive device. Crenshaw showed up on an “SNL” segment to poke fun at Davidson. Crenshaw, a Republican, demonstrated a wonderful sense of humor in response to Davidson’s mocking of him.

Now we see yet another side of Crenshaw. According to Fox News: “I talked to him personally (Sunday),” he said. “We don’t go back very far. We’re not good friends. But I think he appreciated hearing from me. I told him everyone had a purpose in this world. God put you here for a reason. It’s your job to find that purpose. And you should live that way.”

I, too, hope that young Pete Davidson finds his way out of whatever dark place he’s in at the moment. Some heartfelt words of encouragement from a newly elected member of Congress certainly can provide help.

I join Rep.-elect Crenshaw in pulling for Pete Davidson’s sound emotional health.

Yes, I am liking Dan Crenshaw more as well.

Trumps set a record for event no-shows

Donald and Melania Trump are going to stand alone.

They will become the first-ever consecutive-year no-shows at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony that recognizes the cultural contributions of noted artists.

The first couple stayed away a year ago after it was revealed that some of the 2017 honorees wouldn’t attend if the Trumps were present. They oppose the president’s policies deeply.

This year? It appears to be the same issue that has arisen. One of the honorees, Cher, is a vocal critic of the president.

This kerfuffle is yet another example of the intensity of the polarization that the president brings even to ceremonial events that usually involve the leader of the nation. The Trumps now become the first ever two-years-in-a-row absentees in the 41-year history of the event.

The Trumps issued a statement that said they would stay away to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” That’s a euphemism for the blunt truth, which is that the level of criticism of Trump by many in the entertainment industry would drown out any celebration offered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This is a rather troubling development, if you want my view on it. I wish it were different. I wish the president and first lady could feel comfortable attending this event. It’s not to be.

What’s more, my sense is that the Trumps won’t attend any of them for as long as they live in the White House.

Sad.

An ‘SNL’ joke makes this young man a star

I didn’t know Dan Crenshaw from the man in the moon … until someone made a tasteless joke at Crenshaw’s expense on “Saturday Night Live.”

Then the young man became all the rage, the talk of the nation.

It turns out he is a newly elected Republican congressman from Houston. He’s also a former Navy SEAL who suffered a grievous injury fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. He lost an eye. The sight in his other eye is flawed. He has trouble keeping his balance and, as the Texas Tribune reports, he “misses” handshakes on occasion.

As the Tribune reported: Weirdly, his election wasn’t the biggest news in Crenshaw’s life last week. That came during the first minutes of Nov. 4 on the “Weekend Update” portion of “Saturday Night Live,” when cast member Pete Davidson, who gave a riff on the midterms, presented a photo of Crenshaw, eye patch on.

“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit-man in a porno movie,” the comedian joked. “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”

Rep.-elect Crenshaw, though, is a terrific sport. When cast member Pete Davidson made fun of his injury on “SNL,” many around the nation took offense. “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels invited Crenshaw on the show. Crenshaw at first balked, then he went on and returned the barbs to Davidson.

The congressman-to-be has become a political star as a result.

The Tribune published a lengthy feature about Crenshaw. Read it here.

I find this fellow’s story to be quite compelling and worthy of attention, even without his star turn on “SNL.”

He fought through a difficult Republican primary to be nominated, then knocked off a Democratic incumbent to win a seat in Congress representing his native Houston. He also is part of a congressional freshman class that includes 15 veterans, which I believe gives the next Congress valuable insight into the myriad issues — and problems — that our returning servicemen and women are facing.

I like this fellow’s story. I grieve for his terrible injury, but am proud of the way he handled himself in light of the flurry of controversy that swirled after the “SNL” joke went viral.

I wish him well as he takes on his new job representing his congressional district.

And, welcome home, young man.

This flag-waver will watch ‘First Man’

Critics of this blog likely won’t believe this, but I am a serious flag-waver. I love Old Glory. Don’t burn it in my presence if you intend to persuade me to sign on to whatever political point you are making.

My love of the flag also has given me some pause about whether I want to see a film. I refer to “First Man,” the story of one of this country’s most magnificent technological achievements.

“First Man” tells the tale of Neil Armstrong’s role as the “first man” to walk on the moon. Armstrong was joined by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on that historic – and heroic – Apollo 11 mission that achieved President Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the 1960s. The landing occurred on July 20, 1969. JFK didn’t leave to see the mission accomplished.

Why the trepidation about seeing “First Man”? It doesn’t show one of the mission’s most iconic moments: the unfurling of Old Glory on the surface of the moon.

I keep hearing theories as to why the film doesn’t show that moment. One of them has to do with Ryan Gosling, who portrays Armstrong. Gosling is a Canadian and I’ve heard some chatter about Gosling not wanting to unfurl the Stars and Stripes because he ain’t an American.

I believe that’s crap.

I wish the film would depict that moment. Having said all that, I’ll likely see the movie when I return home from an RV trip my wife and are taking at this moment.

There’s a lot more to this story than a simple flag ceremony. As a proud flag-waving, patriotic American I wish they had depicted that moment. President Kennedy likely would have insisted on it. For all I know he might even have boycotted the film because of that moment’s absence.

That’s not me. I’ll see the film and enjoy all the drama that led up to Neil Armstrong’s “one giant leap for mankind.”

MPEV occupant lines up a big-league affiliate

The San Diego Padres are coming back to Amarillo, Texas.

Amarillo’s upcoming minor-league baseball season has cleared yet another hurdle. The Padres used to be affiliated with an earlier Amarillo baseball franchise. They’re back in the fold with the new team that doesn’t yet have a name.

It is getting a ballpark, though. Bit by bit, the multipurpose event venue is going up along Buchanan Street. They hope to have the venue complete by April 2019, when the AA season commences in Amarillo.

Given the progress I’ve seen — albeit from some distance these days — I am no longer going to doubt the project will be done in time for the team to toss out the first pitch next spring.

The San Antonio Missions are moving to the Panhandle from South Texas; San Antonio will be home to a new AAA franchise that is relocating from Colorado Springs, Colo.

The next big question now appears to be: What are they going to call this new Amarillo baseball team?

I’ve done a 180 on this one. I once hated the Sod Poodles name that showed up on the list of finalist names being considered by the Elmore Group, owners of the new Amarillo team.

I am not entirely crazy about the name today, but the thought of the name has grown on me. I now officially hope that Sod Poodles, or some derivation of the name, becomes the name of the new team that will take the field.

But … the city that is remaking its downtown district — with new hotels, entertainment venues and a serious dressing up of street corners — has a new major league baseball affiliation about which it can boast.

Not bad.