Link’n’Blogs – 9.23.16 – Quite Sharpe


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

I don’t pretend to understand the struggle of being black in the United States of America. I do understand there is significant struggle and I sympathize, but I cannot possibly empathize. I’ve been moved by much I’ve heard in the last 18 months, perhaps as much by this commentary by Shannon Sharpe as by anything else.

The One Thing I’ve Been for 48 Years Is Black

shannonweek4header

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The 2016 Denver Broncos – Week Three: Denver @ Cincinnati


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Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, September 25, 2016

broncos at bengals.png

 

BACKGROUND

22_bengalsbroncos_newsThese two teams met in the playoffs last year in a battle back-up quarterbacks which was decided by a last minute play be the Denver defense. Sound familiar?

When I looked at the schedule this summer, I was pretty sure this one would be a loss. Cincinnati is a perennial regular season powerhouse and Denver simply doesn’t play well on Sunday mornings (MST). However, defense travels and is the great equalizer and Denver has looked the better team in the first two weeks of the season so a Denver win is not out of the question.

KEY MATCH-UP

NFL: DEC 01 Broncos at ChiefsWill Chris Harris, jr. shadow A.J. Green all day or will the defensive back depend on where the star wide receiver lines up in the formation? Either way, if Denver can have success limiting the dynamic Green, the odds tip greatly in the Broncos’ favor. The Bengals haven’t been able to run the ball with great effectiveness thus far this season (I am hopeful that doesn’t change Sunday), and, if the cannot run and cannot get the ball to Green, the cannot beat the Broncos.

X-FACTOR

siemianThe Trevor Siemian watch continues. He’s been steady. He’s been calm. He’s been solid. He’s turned the ball over but only in “plus” territory. He’s got a good arm and good legs. Is he the answer for years to come? I don’t know. I don’t think so simply because he’s too steady and too calm but, is he good enough this season? Well, if he wins this Sunday in his first road start against a team many have picked to be in the Super Bowl, I’ll take him out of the X-Factor category next week. Promise.

PREDICTION

miller-daltonDenver is 2 – 0. The Bengals are 1 – 1. Denver looks to be the better team, looks to have the more complete team and looks to have utterly avoided any kind of Super Bowl hangover. That said, this is a challenging game for the Broncos. Cincy is very good. They lost last week in fairly ignominious fashion and don’t figure to put up back-to-back bad performances. I can see Denver winning this one, but I think the odds and the mojo favor Cincinnati.

Bengals in a close one.

BRONCOS   23    BENGALS  27

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: September 14 – 20, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 6 comics last week: All Star Batman #2, Wonder Woman #6, Detective Comics #940, Action Comics #963, Spider-Man #8 and Black Panther #6.

The best comic I read last week was Wonder Woman #6.

wonder-woman-6

Greg Rucka is some kind of comic book writer. Given the opportunity to re-interpret Wonder Woman’s origins for this DC Rebirth series, Rucka is not wasting the opportunity. He knows the character well having written her during a very successful run years ago. Now he’s back with the character and fans who aren’t reading this book are really missing out. Rucka is kind of having his cake and eating it, too, writing and every-other-issue, interlocking narrative story. The odd numbered issues tell a modern-day tale of a seasoned Amazonian princess while the even numbered issues feature Wonder Woman’s origins. The juxtaposition of these two narrative time-frames works incredibly well.

Issue #6 is an origin issue and it plays out (hey, look at the cover) like a very cool, very accessible, very updated version of a Disney princess story. Clearly that’s intentional. In this Wonder-Disney story, the princess is the most compelling, most 3 dimensional character and she doesn’t speak a word of English – well, few at any rate. Rucka writes an incredible Wonder Woman and he has streamlined and updated her supporting cast brilliantly as well. If the makers of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie have half the success with their reboot that Ruck has here, we are in for a fantastic film.

As good as Rucka is, what puts this issue over-the-top is the star making turn by artist Nicola Scott. Without question, the colors by Romolo Fadjardo, jr are terrific and add depth to what Scott has rendered, but the richness and, dare I say, beauty of this book is truly remarkable. I have enjoyed Scott’s work for years, but she has taken a quantum leap here. Perhaps the fact that she is inking her own pencils is why the art is so amazing and perhaps she can do that because she is illustrating the book every-other-month. Whatever. All I know is that I want her on EVERY title. Right now. Is that too much to ask?

What a wonderful (pun intended) book this is. This is the book Wonder Woman deserves going into what, hopefully, will be a very big year for her. Pick it up. It’s tremendous.

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Filed under Action Comics, Batman, Black Panther, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Uncategorized, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

Fall Into Television?


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Are we truly in a golden age of television? I think we might be. There is such good writing on TV right now, coupled with incredible production values and solid acting. TV is where it’s at right now and that makes fall television season all the more fun.

I have always enjoyed the fall TVseason. I’ve poured over Entertainment Weekly looking for new shows to watch, viewed the trailers and made some choices. Presented here are the trailers for five shows I am really excited to see. They are presented in no particular order.

Is the next West Wing among them? Or the next Flashback?  Time will tell… watch this space for reviews!

THIS IS US

FREQUENCY

PITCH

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

TIMELESS

 

 

 

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Hell or High Water – A Movie Review


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hell-or-high-waterI’ve been told my movie reviews are getting a little long, so I’ve tried to rein this one in… here is the review in a nutshell: go see Hell or High Water. Now.

Hell or High Water was the best movie I saw all summer. Period. This movie is so solid from top-to-bottom, it’s very hard to find any weakness in it. From plot to acting to cinematography, Hell or High Water is tight, engaging and challenging.

Chris Pine is a leading man. Perhaps best known as Captain Kirk from the rebooted Star Trek series, Pine has been overlooked, perhaps, because of the flashiness of that role. It’s a mistake to overlook him now. As Toby Howard, one half of a duo of bank robbing brothers, Pine is understated and taut, energetic and intense. He’s wound tightly as he goes on a smartly written Robin Hood-like crusade, robbing banks of just enough money for a very specific purpose. I won’t reveal that purpose – it’s part of the fun of the movie – but I don’t know how important that purpose is, anyway. It’s Pine’s performance that rivets the audience. We care about what he’s doing more because he cares about what he’s doing and less because of the actual task he’s trying to accomplish. Gritty and real, Pine’s work here is outstanding.

He’s up against one of my favorite actors of all time. Jeff Bridges plays the sardonic, brilliant and funny Texas Ranger who is just a slight step behind Pine’s Howard. Bridges is so good in the role – so authentic – that The Cinnamon Girl said “he took the part on the condition that he could say whatever he wants.” He certainly seems like he’s making things up as he goes along in the best way. Bridges doesn’t just Ranger Hamilton, he embodies him.

These actors are ably assisted by Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham. Foster plays Pine’s more rugged, reckless and dangerous brother. The contrast between the two is well draw by Foster’s fine work. Birmingham is Bridges’ partner and is quite amusing in a role that, in lesser hands, would descend into stereotype.

Director David Mackenzie paints a world of dust and dirt, one that has little future, less hope and dead ends wherever you look. His camera finds pristine shots and powerful moments over-and-over during the course of the film, lingering on a sunset or shadow just long enough to create an indelible image in the audience’s mind. His light touch is a fascinating match for the heavy material and his ability to wring humor out of this bleak affair is remarkable.

But, in the end, the movie belongs to the performances of Pine and Bridges, which is, of course, a testament to Mackenzie as well. Hell or High Water isn’t an easy movie to watch. It careens too quickly towards potential disaster for an audience to ever feel relaxed, but I find myself wanting to see it again.

Hell or High Water receives FIVE $200 DOLLAR TIPS out of a possible FIVE.

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Link’n’Blogs – 9.16.16 – Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Famed newsman Bill Moyers wrote a piece about Donald Trump’s lies way back in May. It’s as pertient now as it was then.

Why Trump Can Lie and No One Seems to Care

trump-lies

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The 2016 Denver Broncos – Week Two: Indianapolis @ Denver


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Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos

Sunday, September 18, 2016

colts-at-broncos

 

BACKGROUND

manning-coltsIt sometimes seems that one team has another team’s “number” as it were. In recent seasons, the Denver Broncos have been very successful against more opponents than they’ve failed against, but that equation has not held up in terms of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have gone 3-1 (including playoffs) against the Broncos in recent years, a record significantly above how they have performed against other competition, and it’s hard to put a finger on why. The Cinnamon Girl would suggest it was the Manning factor and I think she’s right. There is no other reason that the Colts (really an inferior team overall in recent years) should have experienced such success against the Broncos.

Does Sunday flip this recent script? I think it does.

KEY MATCH-UP

marshallBrandon Marshall has made headlines this week with his actions during the National Anthem last Thursday night and his comments and steps afterwards. On Sunday afternoon, he will have to make headlines on the field. He has to match up against Andrew Luck mentally and physically. He has to get Denver into the correct defenses. He has to out quarterback the Colts star quarterback. If Marshall does so, the Denver Broncos will beat the Indianapolis Colts, likely handily.

X-FACTOR

siemianI don’t know what to say here. We have to continue to watch Trevor Siemian and his performance as the Broncos’ quarterback. Though he kept his cool last week, especially when the Broncos were down 10 and the offense wasn’t moving the ball. The fact that he seems unflappable may be his be most “quarterback-y” quality. He also tossed two interceptions, neither a particularly good ball. One of the ways the Colts can stay with the Broncos is if the Broncos turn the ball over. They cannot do this again this week. Siemian cannot do this again this week.

PREDICTION

sanders-coltsDenver is Number 8 in the ESPN poll? Number 8?!?! Wow. That’s pretty stunning and my guess is I am not the only one stunned by this. A defending Super Bowl champion beats the team that many had Number 1 in their power polls is the 8th best team in the league? C’Mon. I suspect the Broncos locker room has this message plastered all over. I suspect the team will feed on the perception of disrespect.

This game is more important than last week. This is a conference game against a team that has taken it to the Broncos of late. This is a game the Broncos win. 2 – 0 is coming…

COLTS   23    BRONCOS  31

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