Sunday, April 27, 2008

Umpire knocked out at game I was at

So I am sitting casually watching the Dodger game which the Dodgers had all but wrapped up in the first inning when they scored ten runs.  All of a sudden I see the umpire fall over like a sack of bricks and fall flat on his back after a pitch.   Almost instantly I see the third base umpire sprint towards home plate, with his crewmates not too far behind.  Dodger catcher Russell Martin and pitcher Brad Penny ran up and the Dodger trainer came flying out of the dugout.  The only things I could think of was Mike Coolbaugh, how hard I know Brad Penny can throw a baseball, the fact that he is standing 60 feet 6 inches away.  I know umps wear masks, but what if it caught him right in the neck like Rockies minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh and killed him?  
For a while I was silent, hoping this wasn't the case, but for the moment it was a very eeire scene to be a part of.  50,000 fans were dead quiet.  Soon I knew based on the body language of the people on the field that the umpire wasn't dead.   As he was loaded on the ambulance that drove directly on the field he gave the crowd a thumbs up sign.  
The umpires name is Kerwin Danley, and he was hit by a fastball clocked at 96 miles an hour, when the Dodger battery got their signals crossed.  He was hit directly on his jaw which was protected by a mask, this was the equivalent of him taking a punch.  He was released this morning and he is doing fine.  

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pacino and DeNiro

There have been a couple of articles lately that talk about the new movie that legendary actors Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro will star in together...their first since Godfather II and Heat.  I actually am indifferent to seeing it, I'm sure I will but will probably watch it in the Riley home theater...(Which has equivalent or better sound as movie theaters) but I digress...

These two have put out some of the best movies in history...For Al Pacino, everything 
begins and ends with his portrayl of Michael Corleone in Godfather I and II.  (III was a misfire)  He also was fantastic in Dog Day Afternoon, Donnie Brasco, Scarface, Carlitos Way, Glengarry Glenross, and Scent of a Woman.  DeNiro has given us his greatest portrayl in Raging Bull, and was incredible in Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Godfather II (freakin awesome performance) The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear, and A Bronx Tale.  

They are two iconic actors and my big question is why have they slipped so far?  I think in part is the fact that once you acheive a certain level of sucess, you perhaps lose your edge.  Is that what is going on with these two, I don't think so, but it sure is embarrassing to watch dreck like the focker movies, and analyze this and that....and Pacino made me sick in Oceans 13, and now he has 88 minutes, which critics say is his worst movie of all time.  Their choices have become stale and they are releasing movies that are uninteresting.  I think there are a few points to explain what is happening with them...number one is their egos...Pacino( a 67 year old man) demands that he will have girls half his age falling all over him...this may be fun for him, but it cheats the audience.  DeNiro demands money for his tribeca company, and makes it hard for people to work with him.  Even though they are both genius actors, in person they two of the most uninteresting people you would ever want to meet, empty shells.  Also they have Harrison Ford disease to a degree.  They won't accept smaller character roles in independent films, which hurts them artistically.  They are both nearing 70 years old....time to start adjusting guys!!

Do either of them have at least one more masterpiece left in them?  I don't doubt it but they better wake up!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I don't believe in god anymore

Many of you already know this, but I thought I would write at least one post about it.   I was raised in a christian home and was a strong bible believing christian up until the mid nineties when I began questioning a lot of things.  I wrote a very long story about my journey and my reasoning, which if you want I can e-mail to you.  I now consider myself an Atheist, which is somebody who has a lack of belief in a supernatural deity.  Most people are atheist in principle regarding the existence of thor, zeus, jupiter, mithras, etc.   I just take it one god further.  As to my philosophy of life, I am a "secular humanist"  That means I uphold reason, ethics, and justice and I specifically reject the supernatural and the spiritual as warrants of moral reflection and decision making.  I champion rationalism over ancient superstitions.  I believe that concepts need to be tested using reason and the scientific method, rather than "taken by faith"  

So anyways, there it is....if you want to know more (and there is so much more), just ask me, I LOVE to talk about this stuff!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Zach and Matt Birthday video 2008

Happy Birthday Matt!

A big Birthday wish to my brother and friend, Matt Riley!

Monday, April 21, 2008

"All of the buildings, all of the cars"

"All of the buildings all of the cars, were once just a dream in somebodys head"
==Peter Gabriel 'Mercy Street'

You know what's fascinating about nearly everything that we have around us?  Everything came out of the ground!  This computer I am typing on, started from people figuring out how to manipulate natural resources.  This picture of Downtown Los Angeles, the buildings and everything in it came out of the ground!!!

Evolution shows that we evolve from simple to complex....we didn't start out this way...we had to learn through systematic attempts...sucesses and failures.  20,000 years ago, we had nothing even close to this, we were too worried about survival, and day to day necessities.  But we have actually learned to build these buildings  and 

we landed on the moon and returned safely to earth six times, just because we wanted to. And in about 2025, we will have set foot on Mars.  This is a great time to be alive!  Look around you when you are driving, at the streets, the buildings, the electrical wires overhead.  It is all really cool if you try to imagine that everything that we have now started from a wild natural state.  

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Alcohol and our culture

Whenever I hear a politician or an "outraged" parent group speak to the evils of violent video games, I think of alcohol.  It is amazing this stuff is actually legal.  Consider a day like March 17th, St patricks day, and a place like Boston.  You will see people so completely wasted that they are barely able to walk, or put together a coherent sentence. And this stuff is legal!!  Whenever you have a violent school shooting, or handgun violence, it is on the news because it is so rare (except in the inner city)

  But alcohol is responsible for nearly half of all traffic fatalities and accidents, but it is so commonplace that we become desensitized to it, and the news stops reporting it, like its "breaking news"The proportion of outrage versus actual harm is totally out of wack.  Politicians love to say, "We need to get guns out of the hands of our students"  But alcohol causes exponentially more harm to students then guns do.  Why don't you hear politicians saying, "We need to ban alcohol!"  Why not?  Of course the first thing that pops into my head is money and lobbyist influence.  

Alcohol is both celebrated as one of the joys of life, but it is simultaneous responsible for bringing about an enormous degree of misery in our life.  (death, injury,phycological pain )This is a very weird thing if you think about it.

 95% of the BS that I have to put up with at Dodger Stadium from other fans around me is due to alcohol.  But they sell the stuff for an amazing markup..and the profitability is enormous.  So stadiums are willing to sell it because it is a goldmine pure and simple.  I was at Mammoth last weekend, and I saw two 20 somethings doing a shot at 10:00 in the morning before they went skiing for crying out loud!!  Why would the bar sell serve them so early in the morning?  

You see billions of dollars worth of advertising constantly to push a product that does more harm to society than anything I can think of.  So here is what I would do if I was in charge....1.  cut off the TV advertising like they did with cigarettes in the 1970's  2.  Invent a BAC meter that everyone would wear in a bar that would monitor their content.....have everyone who enters the bar surrender their keys to the bartender....if you are near .08 then you don't get your keys.  3.  Prohibit the public sale until after 3:00 PM every day 4.  Prohibit the sale in all sporting arenas.  5.  Don't sell it in the town of Mammoth Lakes until after the mountain is closed.  

Part of me feels a little silly for writing this post, because I like alcohol as much as the next guy.  I have even had an occasional beer at Dodger Stadium.....but I would be willing to give up a bit of my freedom to use this powerful drug, if by doing so, it will save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

Friday, April 18, 2008

3 Brothers playing at Mammoth Mountain

Matt took these videos with his digital camera...and I punched them up a little using my mad  skills....enjoy

Christopher Walken on SNL

"What are you doing Dave?"

So lets jump right in shall we?  For my first post ever, I want to talk specifically about the movie 2001: A Space Oddessy.   I saw this about 10 years ago and I thought it was good.  I saw it again last week and I think it is one of the most important films of all time.   This is a movie that actually reinvented the form of movie making in terms of special effects.  But it is not just a special effects deals with themes and emotions, the story is visual and told with minimal dialogue.  It is a slow hypnotizing journey, one that is very peaceful, and very still, yet at times you are the edge of your seat.  It is a compilation of different acts, that deal with human evolution, space travel, artificial intelligence, quantam physics, and it is told with a beautiful sountrack, that not only has the signature "Also Spach Zarurustra" and the "Blue Danube Waltz", but some trippy and beautiful sonic parts.  In fact the first two minutes of this film open in complete darkness with nothing but an almost pink floyd like sound experience, it also has an intermission break where the movie plays in complete darkness for about 3-4 minutes with noises going on.  At the face of it some people may find this weird, but I thought it was original and cool.  
The plot of 2001 is almost unimportant, in fact this is a movie where if someone were to ask me, "What's it about"  I would say, dude just freakin see it!  But anyways,I'll highlight a few acts.  (If you haven't seen it, I am not "giving anything away")
  We begin at the dawn of man about 2 million years ago with our apelike ancestors fighting with another tribe, one of them finds a bone and realizes he can use it as a weapon to fight of the other tribe...our ancestor throws the bone in the air where it rotates in slow motion, and then in an unbelievable jump cut it becomes a space ship.  Showing our evolution of 2 million years in an instant.  
Later in the movie we meet up with a crew which is composed of Dave, Frank, 3 other humans in hibernation chambers, and the final member of the crew...HAL, an artificial intelligence entity.  HAL begins this act chatting and playing chess with other members of the crew and admiring one of dave's drawings.  But later HAL begins to exhibit feelings of human like neuroses, which ultimately lead to him feeling threatened and leading him to his only option, he must terminate the human crew members, before they disconnect him.  Guys this part of the movie is so genius and brilliant that it gives me chills even now writing it...anyways..Dave needs to get back into the spaceship and when he asks HAL to open the pod bay door , HAL responds chillingly "I'm afraid I can't do that Dave"   Dave ends up outsmarting HAL and does begin to disconnect him, HAL asks "What are you doing Dave?"  "Perhaps you should calm down and we can talk about this"  And as Dave pulls his memory we hear HAL say, "My mind is going, I can feel it going Dave"  Just before HAL "dies" he reverts to his basic operational program which is to sing the song "Daisy, Daisy"  Which he sings as his artificial voice is fading out, again folks this scene is unbelievable and chilling.
Later Dave goes through a Stargate, or wormhole and travels faster then the speed of light.  And this is when we see the films most hypnotic we see Dave travel down this path, we see psychedelic lights and color fields that change in a beautiful manner, this part of the movie lasts almost 7 minutes, and it is nothing but a series of travelling down a light path....but again it is brilliant.  Dave reaches the end of his journey and is ultimately reborn as "The Star Child" who may be the next jump in evolution perhaps?  No one knows, probably not even Stanley Kubrick the director.  
Anyways every frame of 2001 is like watching a masterpiece painting, the shots are languid, hypnotic, and beautiful.  Like all of Kubrick's films, it gets better with repeated watchings.  It is also interesting that this is not a movie that I liked so much better at 34  than at 24.  For whatever reason....Some movies can acheive the highest form of visual art and this one knocks it out of the park!