Rik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
Source: GeoCaching.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reason: John Blundell: Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep and The Iron Lady: Fact vs. Fiction

Meryl Streep
I saw the Iron Lady, the Meryl Streep bio movie about former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher back in May. And I was expecting a great movie about one of the most important world leaders, in at least the last thirty years. And I was disappointed, I don’t believe this movie was intended for political junkies. Or even people who love history such as myself, whether its American history or world history. This movie was intended for people who love movies and feel the need to be entertained.

That consider the idea of learning about important historical events and people as not interesting enough to watch that type of thing or read about it. So they see a movie and hopefully its more dressed up for them and comes off as more and I hate this term to describe things like this, but as sexy. One credit I would give the Iron Lady and something that I was pleasantly surprised by, was that this movie didn’t try to make Maggie Thatcher look like some type of Conservative fool. Who was interested in selling out the interests of the country to private business interests and didn’t care about the needy and was always looking to go to war. I think Meryl Streep did a very good job of playing Maggie Thatcher as the person she was. And not some Hollywood Leftist vision of her.

To me, what stands out about Maggie Thatcher, who had about a twenty year career in the British Government in the UK Parliament, as Leader of the Opposition and then of course as Prime Minister, is all the important things in her career that they didn’t cover. They didn’t cover much of her as Leader of the Opposition and how she rose from that to be Prime Minister or. Her interactions with the UK Prime Minister. I believe they showed one Question Time performance, or her relationship with President Reagan, or, how she dealt with the Soviet Union. They covered a little bit of the Falkan Islands conflict with Argentina in 1982 and her attempts to cut the British debt and deficit. But about an hour of this movie was about her life post-Prime Ministership. Even though it’s as Prime Minister where she really made her impact, not only in Britain, but the world as well.

I thought that Meryl Streep did a very good job of playing Maggie Thatcher with the material that was given her. As far as what aspects of her life they covered. But no offense to Prime Minister Thatcher, this movie as far as appearances has a similar issue as the movie Game Change had with Sarah Palin. Except that I believe that Meryl Streep is too attractive, too cute and beautiful to play Maggie Thatcher. Whereas in Game Change, Julianne Moore is not attractive enough to play Sarah Palin, at least as far as I’m concern.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Interview: Sally Mason, U. of Iowa President: The Process of Handing Down the PSU Sanctions



What the Big Ten Athletic Conference had to do with dealing with the sexual abuse case that was around the Penn State Football Program. Was to figure out the facts of the case and where to go from there and figured out what the Football Program was responsible for in this case, if anything we now know that the Football Program and the Administration was either involved in a coverup or massively failed to supervise their own deputies. To have someone who served as the Defensive Coordinator of this Football Program for thirty years who was successful as well and in Jerry Sandusky. With all the great defenses he had, with all the great defenders that he had, Penn State is nicknamed Linebacker U, because they've produced Linebackers like Matt Millen, Shane Collan and many others. Who went onto to have successful NFL Careers and not to know that their DC was attracted to young boys, to not know what Sandusky was doing while he was at this Program and not coaching. Jerry Sandusky is either the master of disguises or Joe Paterno didn't do a very job of supervising him or there was some coverup involved in this affair.

So what the NCAA and the Big 10 had to do, was to find out what Penn State was guilty of, if anything and to figure out where to go from there. Its clear they are guilty and have acknowledged that and what they'll have the opportunity to do now, since they weren't given the Death Penalty, is to figure out where to go from here, clean up the program. Make sure they have the right rules and are hiring the right people and are supervising those people effectively, so this type of thing never happens again.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mid Night Rider: Governor Ronald Reagan Versus The Hippies

Source: Mid Night Rider-
Source: Mid Night Rider: Governor Ronald Reagan Versus The Hippies

There's a lot about Ronald Reagan as a Liberal that I like and respect about his career and his politics. But even though he described his politics as libertarian as late as 1975 when he was already considering another run for President in 1976, there's one aspect about his career that I don't have much respect for. And thats what he thought and how he dealt with he Hippie Movement in the 1960s and 70s.

Ron Reagan  essentially treated Hippies as Socialists or Anarchists who were looking to take down America and create some type of a Socialist State or something when in actuality the opposite was true. Ron Reagan basically had this Father Knows Best 1950s view of what America was supposed to be. And anyone who went against that he sort of saw them as Communists working for Russia. Or something crazy like that.

The Hippies of the Boomer Generation were running away from the American establishment, that Ron Reagan was a product of and that was way too conservative for Hippies culturally, otherwise they wouldn't be Hippies. How many Hippies do you know who where suits and ties everywhere they go, as well as sweaters and walk around with pipes that they barley smoke. I mean, the only pipes that Hippies are familiar with have marijuana in them.

Hippies were looking for a new way to express themselves and live their own lives. And sure, there were probably Socialists in this faction, but there Socialists everywhere in America. Its just that a lot of them are still locked in the closet politically. There were also Hippies who believed that higher education should be free. But those people were also looking for the freedom to live their own lives and not have to conform with the establishment in America, with the old guard in this is how should live life and this is what it means to be an American. Even if that meant being labeled as Communists. But the thing you have know about communism is that Communists don't believe in individualism and the right for individuals to individually express themselves.

In the 1950s and even early 1960s, America was a very conservative society culturally. Sort of Phyllis Sclafly's fundamentalist Christian-Utopia of what she believed America is supposed to be.  Culturally there was this feeling that this is how Americans are supposed to live life and if you don't follow this way of life, there's something wrong with you and you are even Un-American. You should be locked away for being Un-American, whatever that is supposed to mean.

That started to changed when Jack Kennedy was elected President in 1960, became President in 1961 and boomers started college and discovered that the way their parents and grandparents lived didn't fit in with how they want to live and the people they were meeting high school and college. So they were different both culturally as well as politically as their parents and grandparents. And this scared people like Ronald Reagan and others who were from that generation or who were born during the depression and had a Leave it to Beaver view of America.

What we saw as a country in 1968 and after that, in the 1970s and even 1980s, was the backlash to what was going on in the 1960s. That the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s went too far and that the establishment needs to be back in control. Which is a big reason why Richard Nixon was elected President in 1968. Reelected in 1972 and one reason how Ron Reagan was elected President in 1980.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Legends & Legacies: Don Shula: The NFL's All Time Winningest Head Coach is Profiled



When I think of great NFL Head Coaches, I think of Coaches who first understand both side of the ball. Who know what they want to do on both sides of the ball and who know what type of players they need to play their style of football on both sides of the ball. Another words Head Coaches who know what they want to do on both offense and defense and then get themselves the players to play that offense and defense. People like Tom Landry, Chuck Knoll, Vince Lombardi and many others thats one way how I judge whether a Head Coach is great or not. Another way I judge them is how well they do with the players that they have, this is the team that I have and now I have to find a system on offense and defense. That will best maximize the talent that I have, so we can be as successful as we can. Another words Head Coaches that are successful as possible with the available talent that they have. Thats where Don Shula fits in, I don't believe he ever had a set philosophy on what type of team that he wanted on both offense and defense. But this is the players that I have and this how we need to play on both offense and defense to be as successful as we can. And if we are not good enough, I need to get the best available players in the future, to make us as good as we need to be.

The best examples of this how it relates to Don Shula, is that when he was with the Baltimore Colts. He basically had a complete team on both sides of the ball, including the best Quarterback in the NFL at the time and I would argue of all time in John Unitas. Which meant that he could basically do anything he wanted on both offense and defense. When he was with the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s, his talent was more limited but he got more out of it, because he matured as a Head Coach. But also learned that he had a very solid team, with a great defense but that had to play a certain style of football in order to be successful. That his team had to be about defense and running the football and hitting key passes to in the passing game. Off of Play Action, play Ball Control Offense and allow their defense to set up good Field Position. When he was with the Dolphins in the 1980s, he knew he had a pass first offense and whatever running game he got out of that, was based off of the pass. So thats how they played.

The way to look at Don Shula is not as a visionary, this is what I want to do and this is where I want to take the game offensively and defensively. But the best way to look at Don Shula is as a Manager, a Manager of men, this is what I have to work with and this is how we should play on both offense and defense. To make this team as successful as we can and as a Manager I believe Don Shula was the best the NFL has ever seen.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Breaking Bad Official Season 5: What This Show is About and Why its Great



AMC's Breaking Bad is about a High School Chemistry Teacher who's probably way too overqualified for that job. Probably should be scientist at NIH or some major lab in the country but he's a High School Chemistry Teacher in New Mexico. Played by the great Comedian/Actor Brian Cranston who played the father on Malcolm in the Middle, as well as the dentist on Seinfeld. Who comes down with Lung Cancer and is told by his doctor he might have a year or two to live, his prognosis gets better as the show moves along for obvious reasons. A highly rated show on AMC and they don't want to take the star of the show off and other things. But one of the great things about this show is its timing, a High School Chemistry Teacher making 40K$ a year with a son and a wife who's a homemaker and they have aother baby on the way. And this show comes on the air right at the start of the "Great Recession", when no one in the Middle Class especially lower Middle Class. Where money is tight even in good times, is looking to spend money and are losing money, their jobs, their homes etc. Where even people with money aren't looking to spend it or invest it, because they don't want to lose or not have it later when they need it to pay bills.

So Breaking Bad comes on at the beginning of the "Great Recession", where the economy is dropping 7% per quarter, where we are losing 700K jobs per month. And this teacher making 40K$ a year who doesn't have much money to begin with, is now looking at huge medical bills with his cancer treatments with his Health Insurance only covering so much of that. And now he needs to find a way to save his life essentially, find a way to pay his medical bills so he can get the treatments he needs to save his life. And he runs into one his former students Jesse one day, who I'm guessing dropped out of High School, I don't know that for sure but whose a drug dealer. He deals meth and is looking for a new product to sell and Walt White played by Brian Cranston just happens to be a Chemist who knows how to make drugs like this, who also needs thousands of dollars if not more to pay his medical bills and they go into business.

Another ironic and great thing about this show is that Walt's Brother In Law, his wife's brother played by Dean Norris. Who might be as funny as Brian Cranston on this show, is a pretty successful and pretty high ranking DEA Agent based in New Mexico and these two guys are like brothers or friends. And Walter White is running his drug business under his family's nose, including his wife and Brother In law who also happens to be a DEA Agent. This is a very funny, entertaining and even dark show on AMC that moves in all sorts of directions. Because it has a certain desperation factor to it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

WNST BSMS "Will The Baltimore Orioles Make The Playoffs in 2012?: What to Expect From The Orioles in The 2nd Half



About when the 2012 MLB Season started around late February or so, I predicted that the Orioles would once again finish in last place. Which unfortunately has been a common place for them the last fourteen years, fourteen straight losing seasons and chances are you are going to finish in last place in at least a few of them. Especially considering that the Orioles play in the best division in Major League Baseball the AL East. Where currently no one including the Orioles has a losing record, I just thought and I'm glad I'm wrong at least so far. That the AL East with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Rays and even Toronto Blue Jays, was too tough of a division for them. Especially considering how young but talented the Orioles Pitching Staff is, plus with all the questions they had about their infield going into Spring Training. Who was going to be their First Basemen, would Leadoff Hitter Brian Roberts bounce back from the concussions he suffered last year. Would Right Fielder Nick Markakis bounce back from an off year in 2011, would Nolan Reimold emerge as the everyday Left Fielder. Could Jim Johnson handle being the full time Closer. No clear ace on the Pitching Staff, winning teams don't tend to have all of these questions going into one Spring Training.

But the Orioles have surprised me so far and I'm glad they have being 45-40 going into the All Star Break, despite the amount in injuries they have suffered. And with an up and down starting Pitching Staff, with only Jason Hammel and Chen Mi Won being Pitchers they can rely on so far. Jake Arrietta, Brian Matusz, Zack Britton and Chris Tillman are all in the minors right now and they were suppose to be the Orioles Starting Pitchers. But the Orioles have the first or 2nd best Bullpen in MLB, lead the American League in Home Runs and have done well but not lately with Runners in Scoring Position. So when Hammel or Won are pitching, with their Bullpen and Jim Johnson closing, the Orioles can shut you down and blow you out with their offense. They can hit 1-9 and all hit for power and when one of the other pitchers are pitching well that I mentioned. They are a very good team.

Going forward for the Orioles to remain a contender in the AL East and for one of the two AL Wild Card in the AL Playoffs. They need at least one more Starting Pitcher and probably are going to have to trade for one and hopefully Jake Arrietta who has the stuff to be an All Star and an ace, throws 93-95 with movement, with a wicked curveball to go with that. Needs to bounce back and their offense needs to continue doing what they are doing and the Orioles should be looking to trade. For Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hammels who would fill a major void for them and then the Orioles will be in the thick of the AL Playoff Race.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

WCW Four Horsemen: The Elite Group of Pro Wrestling



The Four Horsemen of Pro Wrestling not the group that Teddy Rosseevelt was associated with or anything like that. Was a group of Pro Wrestlers in the old World Championship Wrestling organization, that were in the business of covering the backs of each other. To take apart the competition, they were in the business to make as much money and win as many WCW Championships as possible. That was lead by James Dillon one of the best Wrestling Managers of all time, who put this group together. That was made up Ric Flair, who as far as I'm concern is the best pound for pound Pro Wrestler of all time, 17 time World Heavyweight Champion, this group also has Arn Anders and Tully Blanchard, as well as Ollie Anderson. Ric Flair was like the First Officer of this group, he was the Four Horsemen's Quarterback, Arn Anderson was the Enforcer. The man who was responsible for watching the backs of each member, to beat the competition of each member in the group. Tully Blanchard would a lot of times hold the next Singles Championship to the World Heavyweight Championship, the United States Championship. To prevent Ric Flair from having to wrestle the number one contender. And Ollie Anderson along with Arn Anderson, formed the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

Keep in mind this is Pro Wrestling but it was so well done, kinda like watching a great action or cop show, or even Soap Opera every week. They produced this act real well, the Four Horsemen were a real group and the people that took them on, like the Road Warriors along with Dusty Roads. The Kollof's and others, really didn't like the Four Horsemen and at times would come together and take one the Horsemen and even beat them at times. Like at events like War Games, Starcade and many others, people like Barry Windham, Sting, Doctor Death Steve Williams and many others. And WCW did a great job of producing a lot of these events and are just one reason why I always preferred the WCW over the World Wrestling Federation, because the WWF never really had groups like this. Bobby Heenan's Family probably being the closest thing they had, but they were a collection of individuals, not a group of men.

Rick Flair classic confrontation the rival of all rivals, that could not only give the Nature Boy a good fight and take it to him. But one of the few wrestlers that actually beat Rick at big events and beat him for the World Championship and beat him on multiple occasions. Which is why the American Dream was always at the top of the Horsemen's Enemies List, because losing to Dusty, meant not only losing championships but losing money as well.