Monday, December 14, 2015

The discovery process

Monday again, folks.  Hope you had a good weekend!

My wife and I did, and accomplished a few things.  Our Christmas shopping is done, thank you very much, and everything is either wrapped and under our Christmas tree or on its way to family in Colorado.  The need to ship always accelerates our process, and this year is no exception.

But that leads me into my stated subject--discovery.  For instance, I didn't realize until Saturday, when I shipped our box to our daughter and her family, that the U.S. Postal Service prices parcel shipping in such a way that you almost have to use Priority Mail.  Oh, the old standby "parcel post" still exists, but when they project six to nine days of delivery time, the sender gets a little uncomfortable with the idea of waiting and hoping that the item will make it to its destination on time.  Besides, if you add insurance or other components, you may as well pony up for the slightly higher price of Priority Mail.  I did, influenced or not.

I've also discovered gradually that the state of officiating in nearly every team sport is so poor right now that we might as well let players call their own fouls, balls and strikes and penalties.  I don't think I've ever seen so many goofs by football officials at all levels as I have this season, with teams getting the benefit of phantom penalties, extra time outs, bad placements of the football, etc.  I think I had already expressed this during baseball season, but it appears to have moved into other sports.  It's also prevalent in college basketball, though I cannot speak for the pro game, since I don't follow it.

Here's another one--a decent cast and a reasonably creative director will NOT guarantee the success of a movie.  Example:  we rented the recent "The Man from UNCLE" recently.  Mildly entertaining, the European scenery was pretty and there were a couple of good car chases.  But the rest was pretty dull, despite current Superman Henry Cavill and brilliant character actor Jared Harris among the cast.

Peter Jackson, who won many, MANY awards for "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, admitted recently that when he was directing "The Hobbit" movies that he often wasn't sure what he was doing.  Quite an admission from a real auteur who appears to control everything, and a little jarring to a fan of these movies, which I am.  But the project was originally to be directed by someone else, and it was delayed extensively in court and otherwise.  Original director quit, Jackson stepped in quickly and off they went.  I liked these movies, personally, but Jackson is right to say that he didn't put the same extensive preparation into them as he did "The Lord of the Rings," for which he and his team prepped for a full three years!

I'd also like to say a word or two on the subject of holiday decorations.  I like things simple but I also know that some like to really go overboard this time of year.  You know what?  We're both right.  However you like to do it is the "right" way.  I do business with someone who said very matter of factly that she and her family have five indoor Christmas trees at their home every year, and outdoor decorations to go with them.  She mentioned something about the large windows of her home and how they just need something this time of year.  That's normal for her, so I'm not about to say that doing more or less is good.  Or not!

Finally, back to movies for a moment.  I have discovered, regrettably, that I am a little tired of hearing about "Star Wars--The Force Awakens."  I know, we waited for a long time for this movie to come out, and to make us forget about George Lucas' strange and sometimes uninteresting prequel trilogy.  But now that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise it's so completely overexposed that I am just ready for the hype to stop.  And for the debating to begin.



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