Saturday, June 18, 2016

My new favorite local Indian restaurant

is Dawat, a Morrisville place I tried for the first time earlier tonight.  Nestled in a small strip mall, Dawat is not particularly fancy, though it is quite nice inside.  Every dish I tried, though, ranked as high or higher than any other local Indian restaurant I've visited.

My main course, Lamb Lababdaar, which I asked them to prepare with a medium spicy level, proved to be a delicious and strongly flavored but not overpowering blend of spices, lamb, chicken, shrimp, spinach, and other vegetables.  I also sampled the lamb korma, which was easily the best I've ever tasted.  Both the garlic and the peshwari naan were excellent examples of their types.

Everyone else at the table also enjoyed their dishes, though we did learn that if you ask them to make a dish spicy, you should expect a very spicy meal indeed--something I consider completely fair.

If you're in the mood for a very good Indian dinner, head to Morrisville and visit Dawat.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Central Intelligence is a delightful romp

A group of us went to this movie because of The Rock, more properly known now as Dwayne Johnson.  We expected to be uncomfortable for most of the film, because we were sure we would be the victims of an onslaught of painfully awkward humor, but, hey, The Rock.

I'm very happy to have been wrong about this one.  Although the opening few minutes of flashback--the key moments of which are in the trailer--were indeed as uncomfortable as we expected, once the movie jumped to the present, it hit its stride and delivered a consistently funny and entertaining ride.

Dwayne Johnson plays the awkward and very fat geek grown into a powerful CIA agent--who is still a geek--perfectly.  Kevin Hart delivered the best and most subdued performance I've seen from him, in part because much of the time he was the straight man.

The supporting cast members were uniformly fine, with Danielle Nicolet a standout as Hart's wife.

If you need a lot of laughs, go see Central Intelligence.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Oh, yes, I'm ready to see this one

I don't care that Matt Damon is older.  I'm just happy he's back as Jason Bourne.

It's looking to be a good summer for action films!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Range 15

Earlier tonight, a group of us went to a one-night, 540-theater premiere of this utterly insane film.

Do not watch this trailer if violence or sick humor bothers you.

This movie started as an Indiegogo project, gained other support, and is now obviously real.  A group of nine veterans launched the project, and it's tied to a Durham firm, Ranger Up.  At this premiere, two of the nine, including Nick Palmisciano, who seems to be the leader, introduced the movie and held a Q&A session afterward.

I didn't know any of this when I bought our group's tickets.  I knew only that the movie was about zombies, looked batshit crazy, and was somehow tied to vets.

They had me at zombies.

Overall, I had a good time and enjoyed the movie.  Predictably, it's amateurish in many ways, and the non-professional actors definitely come across as such.  They kill zombies, though, and they do so with great glee, so you have to like that.

The film goes out of its way to find ways to be offensive, and it's so full of vet jokes that I suspect I missed 75% of them.  No political correctness exists here, and violence and foul language are the orders of the day.

I can't tell you to go to the theater and see it, because this was a one-night gig.  I can say that if they hold another one-night show (they said that was possible), it's worth your time, even if only as a weird experience.  Ditto the purchase of the DVD, when it appears in August.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about all of it, but overall I am glad to have had the experience.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A bit of trivia about Tarzan and me

My depression and rage over the Orlando shooting are still with me, but I thought it was time for something different here.

Saturday night, I saw a long preview for the upcoming Tarzan movie.  It reminded me of this bit of trivia, which I've never shared publicly.

When I was a kid, I would get up early on Saturday morning, turn on the TV, tune to our UHF channel, and hope to catch a Tarzan movie.  They played many Saturdays between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.  When I was lucky, one would be on before I had to go outside to start mowing lawns.  I loved those movies and watched them over and over.

Johnny Weismuller was my favorite Tarzan.  I particularly loved his Tarzan yell.

I've always wanted to be able to make that sound, but I've never even come close.  Some film lore claims that the call was an artificial one that a sound department made, but a lot of folks insist Weismuller could make the yell himself--and that he did so at random times for many years to come.

I expect I will never be able to make that yell, but I will always dream of doing so, and I will always love it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A little more we can do, a little more I will do

If you have seven minutes to spare, watch Anderson Cooper's moving tribute to the Orlando shooting victims.

It's worth your time because one thing we can do in every such case is remind ourselves and everyone around us that the victims were real people with lives and dreams and hopes, not merely statistics in another senseless tragedy.

We can also stop tolerating anything that dehumanizes or otherwise diminishes others simply because of their gender, race, religious beliefs, sexuality, or any other distinction that people so often use to treat people as less than equal.

I've sat silent while people around me made jokes or disparaging remarks about something being gay or about stereotypes that diminish whole groups of people.  No more.  I was wrong to be quiet before.  If you say such things around me, expect me to argue with you about it or, if I believe that is pointless, to simply point out how offensive it is and to leave.

It's a small thing to do, but it's something.  We need to find a lot of small things to do even as we battle for the bigger things, such as making laws that protect all of us and electing candidates who want to represent all of us, that take a long time.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I don't know how to stop us from hating one another

but as today's shooting in Orlando illustrates with sickening force, it's clearly past time to address this problem.  When you hate someone for their race, their religion, their sexuality, or any other irrelevant characteristic, you kill a bit of them and a lot of yourself.  When that hatred or mental sickness that feeds on it leads you to action, those deaths become literal.

As I wrote in the headline, I don't claim to have answers, but it's time we make it a national priority to find some.  Controlling access to assault weapons strikes me as one good place to start.  Making the elimination of poverty a top priority is another.  Changing the way we speak so we stop making pejoratives of the characteristics of others is another important move, one that's cheap for us all.

We have to do something.  We are a country under attack by itself, and we must heal ourselves.

Whatever you believe, vote for candidates who will confront these issues.

My heart breaks for the people who died and who were injured in Orlando, but that heartbreak does them absolutely no good.  We must demand better of our government and of ourselves.


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