Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

My iPod Has Issues – One Bond is Better Than Another

13 Oct

I was watching James Bond. Actually, I was watching Sean Connery, the real James Bond. My wife thinks Daniel Craig is the real James Bond, but everyone knows that is not true. Anyway, she did not want to watch the real James Bond and changed the channel to Taken, the movie where Liam Neeson is tough but not as tough as James Bond.from-russia

Since there is nothing on television, I decided to get on the blog and type something. The only problem is that I do not know what to type. Maybe I will go to an old faithful and explore what is going on in my iPod.

To stay with the theme, I will start out with a classic James Bond song.

“Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” by James Taylor

“Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top

“Sumertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris

“Workin’ Man Blues” by Merle Haggard

“Crazy” by Patsy Cline

“The Twist” by Chubby Checker

“Fool To Cry” by The Rolling Stones

“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks

“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich

“Pre 63” by Groove Armada

“Drops Of Jupiter” by Train

“Play Me” by Neil Diamond

“Tangled Up In Blue” by Bob Dylan

“Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” by Chris Stapleton

“Atlantis” by Donovan

“Old Man Willis” by Tony Joe White

Out of the Dark

1 Jul

When my old laptop died, I had to get another one. There was no way I was going to know what to get, so I asked my nephew. Under his guidance, I bought a Mac, and it is a cool piece of machinery. It has all kinds of bells and whistles that I have no idea how to use. However, there is one thing that is mega-cool. The keyboard lights up.

That means I can work in the dark, and, as I have always said, I do some of my best work in the dark. Some people refer to my office as a cave because there is only a single bulb burning. More than once, a security person has stopped by because they thought I had left my door open by accident.

I have always liked the dark. Nights are better than days. Staying up late is better than getting up early. It could be the mystery of the dark that fascinates me. You cannot really tell everything that is going on. People do things differently in the dark than they do in the light. Simply, darkness is a favorite of mine.

Just think about all of the cool stuff that is associated with the dark.

The Dark Knight (Batman at his best.)

Dark Chocolate (Good stuff.)

It was a dark and stormy night. (Every book should begin this way.)

Cinemax After Dark (I got cable in my room way too soon.)

Darkman (Alright, this one is a little obscure. If you think Liam Neeson was a badass in Taken, then you should see him in this.)Darkman

Dark Shadows (Think of it as Phantom of the Soap Opera.)

Dark Night (A great song by The Blasters. Everyone should give it a listen.)

Dark Horse (Not the Katy Perry song. I am talking about that person who comes from nowhere to achieve greatness.)

The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd made what could be the greatest album of all time.)Dark Side

The Dark Tower (A series of books by Stephen King about Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger.)Dark Tower

On The Dark Side (A song from Eddie and the Cruisers that was actually performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.)

See, there are a lot of great things that come out of the dark.

My iPod Has Issues – A Messy Mental State

20 Jun

I am seriously having a hard time coming up with something to write about. Wait, that is not accurate. There are plenty of things bouncing around in my mind that I should write about. However, the energy to write about one of them is not with me. This has been an eventful day for not much to have happened, Quite frankly, I am worn out.Worn Out

I should probably not write anything. There is nothing worse than putting up a throwaway post that has no meaning behind it. Despite that, I feel that something needs to be put on the screen, but it is going to be something easy. I thought about doing a Movie Wisdom post about Robert Duvall or Liam Neeson. Then, I decided that was not a good idea. They have both filmed a ton of movies, and looking up movie quotes takes more time than you could imagine.

Instead, we are going to delve into the mind of my iPod. Its mental state is a mess, and, embarrassingly, I let myself get into a mental state throughout the day. Since my iPod and I have a lot in common at the moment, we will shuffle it up and see what is going on in there.

I know we just did one of these, and I apologize for that.

“Da Funk” by Daft Punk

“American Roulette” by Robbie Robertson

“Rubberneckin'” by Elvis Presley

“One” by Three Dog Night

“Your Love Is Where It Ought To Be” by Big Mama Thornton

“Jesus Walks” by Kanye West

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man” by Chuck Berry

“That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets

“Nancy Lee” by Vintage Trouble

“The Unforgiven” by Metallica

“Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles

“Slide It In” by Whitesnake

“Bostich” by Yello

“The High and the Mighty” by Dimitri Tiomkin

“Baby Get Lost” by B.B. King

“She’s Just Killing Me” by ZZ Top

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach

“How Fast Them Trucks Can Go” by Claude Gray

“She Wears My Ring” by Jimmy Bell

“Help Me” by Joni Mitchell

Yep, the old iPod is pretty messed up.

 

What the GEC? A Liberal Arts Education

4 Apr

Last night, I spent some extra hours on campus proctoring the GEC Exit Exam. It is a test that we give to our graduating seniors to see if they learned what we taught them in the General Education Core (GEC). As I read from a canned speech, we have taught them “a particular set of skills.” I really wanted to say that in a Liam Neeson voice.Liam Neeson

After reading the canned script, I told them what I really wanted to say. We are a Liberal Arts university and want them to leave with a well-rounded education. While being trained for a job is important, we believe that being exposed to different theories and ideas is what higher education is all about.

That is why the GEC is filled with History classes that cover Benjamin Harrison’s presidency and the Ming Dynasty. That is why it is filled with English classes where they read Shakespeare and Twain. Students often wonder why they have to take those classes and end their careers taking this GEC test. It is because we want them to know more than how to do their jobs. We want them to know about the world.

Sometimes, I fear that universities are becoming trade schools rather than bastions of higher education. Think about those words for a second. Higher education. It is great to get training to be successful in a profession. However, it is greater to be taught to think on a higher plane. That is what higher education and Liberal Arts is all about. It is about helping people to be open-minded toward ideas that are different from their own.

Open-mindedness is something that we are missing in the modern world. Heck, it may have always been missing. This makes me think about the politics of the realm in which we live. People are not willing to understand the arguments of the other side. I am not just talking about people who are conservative. I think people who have a liberal mindset are just as close-minded. Neither side is willing to concede that the other side may have some valid arguments and concerns. Let us just shut them off and yell at them.

Truly open-minded people listen to the other side. They may not agree, but, at least, they make an attempt to understand it. To me, that is what a Liberal Arts education is all about. It exposes people to different ideas and helps them understand that there things out there other than what their parents, their preachers and their teachers have told them.

It is a big world, and we need to do everything we can to understand it.

Today, I taught History to a room full of freshmen. Many of them did not seem very interested. By the time they get to the GEC Exit Exam, I hope they have realized that History, English, Philosophy, Sociology and all the other stuff were not wastes of time. They were essential to help them become something more than a job-holder. They made them an educated person.

 

Menacing Phantom?

2 Mar

Earlier in the week, my nephew wanted me to see The Phantom Menace (I decided not to put the words “Star Wars” with it.) with him. I didn’t want see it, but I didn’t want to disappoint him either. He’s 18 and has seen all of the good (read: original ones). Apparently, he just couldn’t miss the 3D, big screen version of this one. A smart lad, he made a 35 on the ACT, but I knew that he didn’t know what he was doing and would be disappointed.

How did I know that? Because I was disappointed when I first saw it. I could remember the awe of seeing Star Wars (before they added “New Hope”) on the first row of the old Capitol Theater. The music. The spaceship flying across the screen. It was beautiful. I hoped against hope that The Phantom Menace would provide the same feeling but deep down knew that it would be impossible. George Lucas should have known it would be impossible too.

Anyway, we went to the movie and donned our glasses. The music played and an old feeling of awe emerged. Then, the paragraph hit the screen with the words “taxation” and “trade routes” Who in the world would make a movie about those things? A lot of action there. That feeling of awe seeped right out of my soul. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking about all of the problems.

1. They made a complicated series about economics and politics. I have to put up with that in real life. When I go to a movie named Star Wars, I want to escape my world. The first movie (I mean the real first one.) was a simple good guys v. bad guys affair. The story has been filmed countless times. Lucas just added some special effects to it. Although, he says otherwise. I am convinced that Lucas had one western-type story to film, and it hit huge. When the studio saw that money could be made, they asked for more. There couldn’t have been a grand plan for an epic. If so, then why did a brother kiss a sister? There is no way he thought past the first one.

I know. This is going too long. However, the richer Lucas became the more he thought people were interested in his views on the world. We are not. We are interested in him making simple stories with a lot of cool effects.

Oh, and how do you democratically elect a queen?

2. Everybody complains about Jar Jar Binks, but he is actually the most endearing member of his species. The fat leader was ridiculous. I know people jumped on Jar Jar because of racism, and there is no way he is a good sidekick replacement for Chewy. However, the absolute worst character is the announcer for the race. In action films, comedy should be subtle. You don’t need clowns spouting off everywhere.

3. Computer generated aliens are not as good as people dressed like aliens. Lucas got all happy with his technology and made too many insect-looking creatures. The cool ones were walking around on two legs with humanoid features. Like the plot, some things should be kept simple.

4. Lucas introduced a kid. How can we believe that a cute little blonde kid is going to grow up to be one of the greatest villains in movies history? It should have started with him being a pissed off teenager. And, how gross is it to see Natalie Portman and this kid together when we know that they will eventually get it on? Very upsetting.

I could go on, but I don’t want to be like Lucas and drag this thing out. When the film ended, I asked my nephew how he liked it. He liked it. A lot. In fact, he liked it better than the original. How could that be? Maybe it was seeing it on the big screen. He has only seen the first ones on TV, and, honestly, that does take away some effect. He’s a smart kid. I had to know. So, I asked why. He replied that the first one was too slow with too much talking. I couldn’t believe it, so I watched it the next day. Turns out that he is right.

Star Wars was groundbreaking movie that changed the audience and the industry, but, like many things, it seems bigger as a child. Like I tell my history classes, people talk about the good old days, but they were never really that good. All generations have problems, but we look at the past through rose-colored glasses. I think some Star Wars fans, including me, have done this. The first movies had such an impact that nothing else could compare. But, young people like my nephew have a different perspective. Not just about Star Wars but about the world.

So, maybe Lucas was right after all. They are his movies to do as he pleases. Just like a professional football team, there are fans, but there is also an owner. In the end, it belongs to him. Star Wars belongs to Lucas. Maybe he realized the purity of the first ones needed to be changed for a new world view. Perhaps he realized that 21st Century audiences needed a more complicated story. It could be that he wasn’t making them for the 1970s/80s fans.

With that in mind I started thinking about The Phantom Menace with a more positive view.

1. It was cool to see the Jedi Council building. I only wish that Samuel L. Jackson had looked at Liam Neeson and said, “Look motherfucker! Can’t you see that this little punk is going to become the baddest ass we have ever seen?!”

2. Darth Maul was cool too. How can you go wrong with a red dude with horns? After all, only Satan could precede Darth Vader.

3. Liam Neeson made an excellent Jedi. At least he made the movie and didn’t bitch afterwards like Alec Guiness did for years.

4. Jar Jar and the gang turned out to be pretty good on the battlefield. They stood up to the droid army and didn’t slobber on themselves too much. Besides, how bad could they be compared to Ewoks?

In the end, my nephew changed my mind a little about The Phantom Menace. Then, he asked, “Which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek? Sigh.