The Descendants

The Descendants is an interesting movie about choices, and families.

The film stars George Clooney in what is likely an Oscar nomination role.  He plays a wealthy Hawaiian lawyer who has a lot on his plate.  His wife is in a coma after being injured in a boating accident.  He manages a soon-to-be-dissolved trust for his extended family and needs to decide whether to sell land that has been in his family for generations.  His two daughters are acting out, then he learns that his wife will not survive the coma, and then he learns from the oldest daughter that his wife was having an affair.  The arc of the movie addresses Clooney’s struggles to deal with his confused feelings about the affair, his wife, her approaching death, his daughters, and his native Hawaii.

I thought The Descendants was highly entertaining, thought-provoking movie.  Clooney turns in a fine performance, and Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, who play his two daughters, are excellent.  The three of them had great chemistry as  a family.  I also very much liked the deliberate pace of the movie and its refusal to be pigeon-holed into the categories that so often define the standard Hollywood fare.  Often funny, at times deeply moving, and always riveting, The Descendants was an unpredictable treat.

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The Streak is Over

Well the Ohio State Buckeyes seven game winning streak is over against Michigan not to mention eight straight OSU – Michigan wins for me when watching THE GAME with good friends John and Sharon. Even though we couldn’t bring home a winner we had fun trying.

Thanks to Keith and Kim’s suggestion we decided to watch the game at The Lost Shepherd in Powell, Ohio which bills itself as Powell’s Casual Neighborhood Tavern. The thing that made the tavern extra special was the fact that Happy Hour started at noon on Saturday so even though the Buckeyes lost we were all very happy when we left.

The menu had numerous appetizer choices so we all shared crab dip, sweet and hot fries, portobello pizza, southern fried chicken fritters, nachos blanco, wings and hummus. Overall I thought the food was pretty good. The Lost Shepherd also had quite an extensive beer selection which many tried. When the game was over we headed off to play Keno and shoot pool.

Great friends having a lot of fun and laughs together, that’s really what it’s all about. P.S. Keith Woo Hoo back at you brother !

Migration Nation

It’s late fall, and in New Albany that means dealing with the annual migration of the reviled Canadian geese.

We’ve had gaggles of geese moving through New Albany for weeks now.  You hear them before you see them.  The brassy honking draws your attention, and then you see the familiar V-shaped flying wedge in the sky.  The geese follow the leader to the pond on number 5 North, where they inevitably tussle with the swan.  Geese and swans don’t get along, and when the geese land they stick to grassy areas and enter the pond only when the swan is at the opposite end.

Does any other creature have such a huge chasm between appearance and actuality?  Canadian geese are noble looking, with their black necks and white-slashed heads — but in person they are loud, annoying poop machines who leave the ground coated with disgusting droppings.  It’s always a relief when the last gang heads south for the winter.

Marsbound

We Earthlings have always been curious about our neighbor, Mars.  It’s appropriate, therefore, that the latest robot sent to explore the Red Planet is called Curiosity.

Curiosity, which blasted off from Cape Canaveral yesterday, is the largest, best-equipped robot ever to be sent to another planet.  Its mission will feature a number of significant advances in space exploration technology, including new systems that will allow the Curiosity to parachute to the Martian surface and land with great precision.  And the robot rover itself is exceptionally cool.  It is huge by rover standards, and it basically is a geological laboratory on wheels that will be able to photograph, laser, sift and test the Martian surface.  It also has a fully functioning weather station that will record temperature, wind, and humidity.  (Watch for apps that will let you get the daily Martian forecast!)

It will take Curiosity months to get to Mars.  After it lands, it will spend two full years rolling around the Martian surface, attempting to answer questions about whether Mars has been, or is now, capable of sustaining basic life forms.

As an American, I’m always proud of our NASA space exploration missions and the ground-breaking (literally, in the case of Curiosity) technological advances that they feature.  It’s nice to know that our engineering and space exploration systems work, even if our political systems don’t.