Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Spring!

It's Spring...well at least for now. In the past week we have had great weather in Tennessee, although it is supposed to get cold again. There are several things that I enjoy when I come to this time of the year.

Basketball is ending and both of my teams are going to the NAIA national tournament next week. I am fortunate enough to get to go with one of them. I am going to Jackson, TN with the Lady Flames. The proximity of the tournament allows April and Abby to come over during April's Spring Break if the girls advance.

Spring training has begun. It is a time of new hope where every team has a chance of going to the World Series. My Yankees are poised to make a run with great off season moves to get new players. I love watching baseball throughout the Summer and hopefully I will get to go see my perennially hapless Reds at least once. I'm looking forward to Abigail's first MLB game. She has been to a Lee University game.

Finally golf has begun. It won't be long until the greatest golf event of the year - The Master's. Tiger is back and so I now I can watch weekly as he attempts to dominate the field and continue his run as the greatest golfer ever. April even gets into on Sunday afternoon when Tiger is in contention.

Spring also brings some emotions that I don't really enjoy. March 28 will mark 2 years since my brother passed away. So when trees bloom (especially forsythia), the final horn blows on basketball season, and some of my favorite things begin, a weight seems to bear down on us for a while. We are doing as well as we can be and the Lord has shown us much grace. So as we move into this great time of the year it is with a heavy heart for me as I assume it will always be.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Classic Film of the Week - "Mrs. Miniver" (1942)

Continuing with my series of classic movies that any movie buff should see, is the World War II classic Mrs. Miniver (1942). While a bit propogandic, the film shows how the typical British village and people handled the German Blitz. It was well shot, directed, acted, and told a story of determination and resolve. It was nominated for 12 Oscars awarded 6 including for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

I really love this film and I hope you will too.

I recently was able to buy this film at Target with four other best picture Oscar films (Casablanca, American in Paris, and Gigi) for around $20.00. Buy here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wacker comes to Cleveland

Yesterday I was able to work on and attend an event that will have a significant impact on southeast Tennessee and Bradley County in particular. An international chemical company Wacker Chemie will locate a plant in Charleston, TN. In short the plant will process silicon into the components for solar panels. Wacker will inject $1 billion dollars into the economy and employ 500 new people with good salaries and training.

Full Story from Times Free Press.

In the new world of global worming crazes and political pushes for energy independence, this company should do well with their products. Right now their annual income is $5 billion and by building this plant in the U.S. they hope to create a bigger market share in the Americas.

This is a great thing for our community. Wacker will quickly invest in our schools, infrastructure, and increase jobs (taxpayers). This announcement along with the Volkswagen plant being built in Chattanooga, TN may also help to encourage other multinational companies to plant roots in southeast TN. My hope is that Wacker will take a interest in the science and math department at Lee University and use our students and graduates in their company.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars

Unfortunately last night's Oscars were a little ho-hum for me. Of course I have only seen a few of the films nominated. I had heard Slumdog was a good film by some of my students and one worth to check out. I did see The Dark Knight, which thoroughly enjoyed (especially since I saw it in IMAX).

I tell my students while I think the the Oscars are important in pointing out extremely good work in the film industry it is also very political (where the politically incorrect is celebrated) and self-indulgent. Industry people patting themselves on the back for doing their job. I tout film as an art form and comparable to other forms of traditional art. For me, it's hard to imagine some of the classical artists throwing a lavish party and heaping praise whether deserving or not on each other.

Hypothetical Conversation -Leo what a great painting. Thanks Michael, that David you carved is superb. You should get an award - And for the category best nude sculpture, the winner is Michelangelo.

While I believe giving credit where credit is due- giving awards and lavish celebrations to artist for creating what they supposedly love doing seems strangely out of place.

I do enjoy when they poke fun at each themselves. Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix (link to Phoenix on Letterman - watch this first) was pretty funny:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Abby's Epiphany

Last week Abby said something that upset her mother to the point of weeping. I'm no psychologist, but I think it was a bench mark in her development. Playfully April was asking Abby if she was "mommy's baby," surprisingly Abby gave a definite "no" to her question. With a puzzled look April said "what are you?" Clear as bell Abby said "I'm a big girl (holding out the word bigggg)." April was devastated and I sat amazed. Our little girl whom we brought home from the hospital in preemie clothes and was completely needy of every moment of our attention is now able discern the fact that she was no longer a baby. She can walk, knows what she wants to eat and can tell us whether she wants chicken or mac-n-cheese. She isn't a baby as far as developmentally, but she will always be mommy and daddy's baby even when she's 30 and has her own children. I think this is something that most parents go through. Kids grow up too fast and with each milestone they become less reliant on their parents and while that is gratifying it is a scary place too. I'm loving it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Classic Films

Having a Master's degree in film is something I never thought I would have and as of this May it will be reality. I have always loved movies, but never really studied cinema (there is a difference). After my first semester I found a love for studying film in academic terms beyond that what you would read in Entertainment Weekly. My thesis is an academic look at the Rocky films. Maybe in the future I will get more specific about its contents.

One of my favorite aspects of film study is history, specifically the Golden years of Hollywood. This summer I am teaching a course in Early Film History from 1910-1950. It should be a great course. We are going to watch several old films and discuss them in terms of content and history. I am really looking forward to teaching it. It is open to any student at Lee U.

In the next few weeks, I want to present a classic movie of the week for the blog's readers. A Jeff Salyer's must see list. Some will be obvious while others will be more obscure.

This week we will start with a great classic Casablanca (1942). I know we are a little past Valentine's Day, but this romance film is one of the greatest. The American Film Institute rates at #3 all time. It would fall in my top 5 as well. Humphrey Bogart is stellar and the film delivers some of the most repeated and timeless lines in all of film. "Here's looking at you, kid."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It has been a while since my last post.

I just wanted to let my readers know that I'm doing great. Life has been busy due a growing daughter, the TV show I produce in the Winter/Spring, and just trying to do a good job at work teaching and editing.

I hope life will slow a bit in the next few weeks. I really enjoy being at the house and playing with Abby whenever possible. I have a great student crew this year who have taken a lot of burden with the TV show off of my shoulders.

You can check out my show at www.youtube.com/insideleebasketball or at www.insideleebasketball.com The YouTube option will give a better quality viewing experience.