Saturday, December 29, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: The Mule

MOVIE REVIEW
The Mule
Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated R / 116 min
__________

It was a great year to
go to the movies. And
just in time for the
current holiday season
comes one of 2018's
most compelling films.
__________

Produced and directed by American film icon, Clint Eastwood, The Mule works for several reasons. For starters, the story of Earl Stone is riveting — an unbelievable tale based on the true life exploits of Leo Sharp (aka El Tata), a World War II vet, who in his golden years becomes a drug runner for the notorious Sinaloa Cartel.

Eastwood delivers an authentic, award-caliber performance in the lead role as the crotchety and refreshingly politically incorrect Stone. Seemingly unaware of the danger of his newfound vocation, Stone endeavors to salvage splintered family relationships while also eluding DEA agent, Colin Bates, played convincingly by Bradley Cooper. Kudos are also owed to Andy Garcia as Cartel boss, Laton and Dianne Wiest as Stone's ex-wife, Mary.

Brimming with tension from start to finish, The Mule is an edge-your-seat, must-see winner, worthy of Eastwood's distinguished legacy. (4/4)

-Christopher Long
(December 2018)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Friday, December 28, 2018

THE TOP TEN BEST RECORDS OF 2018 (Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)

THE TOP TEN BEST
RECORDS OF 2018
Guest Feature by
Jesse Tanner Long
__________ 

25-year-old pop culture
aficionado, ice cream
chemist, and one of my
favorite frequent guest
contributors, Jesse Long
returns with his annual
Top Ten records list.
__________

10
Rainier Fog
__________

9
Eikasia
__________

8
Effloresce
__________

7
In the Hills
__________

6
We Will All Be Gone
__________

5
Flow State
__________

4
New Levels New Devils
___________

3
Artificial Selection
___________

2
Technology
___________

1
From the Gallery of Sleep


-Jesse Tanner Long
(December 2018)

__________

CONTACT
JESSE TANNER LONG

Twitter and Instagram
@freezerp

Email
JesseTannerLong@gmail.com
__________


BE MY "GUEST!" 

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my website is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com


Thursday, December 27, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: Vice

MOVIE REVIEW
Vice
Annapurna Pictures
(R) / 2hrs 12min
__________

It possessed incredible promise.
Too bad politics got in the way.
__________

Had Adam McKay simply made the fictionalized Dick-flavored farce that he seemingly was frothing to make, Vice could have been a rousing romp — for everybody. Conversely, had he focused fully on playing the serious historical bio pic card, the results also could have been impressive. However, by attempting to be clever and pursue the narrative from both angles, the acclaimed director missed a golden opportunity to truly shine. 

The R-rated disclaimer rolling in the first few frames reveals to the "smart" viewers that the filmmakers also are "smart" — implying further that said "smart" viewers might be perceived as less than "smart" if they don't laugh out loud hysterically at everything presented in the film — up to and including the final credits. And they do. It's sorta like watching This Is Spinal Tap in roomful of amateur rock musicians who feel compelled to howl wildly at everything in the film just so that everybody else in the theater knows that they "get it."

Carell, Bale and Rockwell offer superb performances in Vice.

Yes, Vice is a very "smart" film made by very "smart" people, for very "smart" people. And that's precisely why it falls flat. It could have said so much. Unfortunately, its mouth is so full of partisan-peppered pablum, it's unable to articulate much more than, "Republicans are greedy dolts. Democrats aren't."

While the film itself is an exhausting, misguided blunder, Christian Bale delivers an amazing, award-worthy portrayal of former vice president, Dick Cheney. Kudos also are due to Amy Adams as Cheney's wife LynneSam Rockwell as George W. Bush and Steve Carell as former Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld.

Simply put, Dick Cheney ain't no "Freddie Mercury." In fact, at the time Cheney left office, his public approval rating was at a dismal 13%. Hence, it's difficult to fathom how this film possibly can recoup its $60 million-dollar budget. Aw, who cares — the Hollywood elite got to stick it to dumb ol' dubya and his dimwitted cronies one more time. But in all likelihood, Vice will earn out a considerable chunk once it picks up the "Best Picture" statue at the Oscars in February. And for that, the "smart" people will stand and applaud passionately!

-Christopher Long
(December 2018)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Monday, December 10, 2018

MIKE'S HOLIDAY HOUSE PARTY: Open Mike's Coffee Lounge / Melbourne, FL (12.15.18)

MIKE'S HOLIDAY
HOUSE PARTY
Open Mike's Coffee Lounge
Melbourne, FL (12.15.18)
__________

Boasting engaging authors
and celebrated artists, all in
a groovy, cozy setting, this
holiday event promises to
be a super-fun affair. It's
also for great cause. And
I'm thrilled to be one of the
featured special guests.
__________

"I'm honored and humbled every day to call this amazing community home," commented Open Mike's Coffee Lounge owner, Mike Della Cioppa, during a recent interview. A 36-year Melbourne, Florida resident, Della Cioppa, along with his Open Mike's crew will be hosting a holiday canned food drive for the Brevard County Sharing Center on Saturday, December 15th from 1-4pm. 

The food drive is the primary purpose behind Della Cioppa's upcoming family-friendly yuletide affair, but, as they say — Wait! There's more! "We've invited several of our favorite hometown authors and artists," Della Cioppa added. "They'll all be meeting, greeting and selling their work — awesome gifts for the shopping season. We'll also have a coloring station for the kids, holiday music and even a visit from Santa himself with a sackful of goodies."
__________

MEET THE
HOUSE PARTY
AUTHORS

Jaimie Engle

The author of an array of successful youth-targeted titles, including her latest, Metal Mouth, Jaime Engle also has been a wildly popular Florida speaker for several years. Fans old and new can expect her to be on-hand at Open Mike's, hocking all of her bestsellers, as well as her fabulous line of related gift items. Find Jaimie online HERE.

Books by Jaimie Engle
__________

Violet Favero

Known originally for her popular Silly Yaya children's series, Violet Favero recently has expanded her "Yaya" brand to include fun "How To" books and interactive journals. She will have her full line of fun releases available at the upcoming Holiday House Party. Find Violet online HERE.

Books by Violet Favero
__________

Christopher Long
(That's me!)

With my long-awaited fiction debut, Superstar, arriving via Moonshine Cove Publishing on April 7, 2019, I'll be embracing the spirit of the current season by GIVING AWAY eBook copies of my two non-fiction titles, CMON! and Shout it Out Loud. Although I won't take your money (at this event), I will take your email address — and a hug!

Books by Christopher Long
__________

MEET THE
HOUSE PARTY
ARTISTS

June Knox

A Brevard County native, June Knox possesses an honest and pure passion for the Florida lifestyle. And that unique passion is reflected beautifully in her authentic Florida-themed art. A self-described "accidental artist," June first discovered her hidden talent by chance just three years ago, after being "challenged" by another local artist. Since then, she's become a frequent fixture on the Florida art show circuit. In fact, June has become so successful, she manages to dodge the dreaded "day gig"  —  art is all she does. Working under the moniker, Sirens & Sea Maidens, June can be found HERE.

Artwork by June Knox
__________

Diana Cannon

Despite the relentless demands of her role as a "stay at home mom," Diana Cannon found herself seeking an outlet. "I needed a hobby," she confesses with a laugh. And in 2008, the longtime Brevard County resident was encouraged by a friend to take a painting class. In short order, Diana's newfound "hobby" morphed into a full-blown passion. Soon, Diana's artistic endeavors also included wood burning and bamboo art. For the last decade, Diana's artwork has been seen displayed prominently in homes through Florida's sunny Space Coast. Contact Diana: dianacannon321@gmail.com

Artwork by Diana Cannon
__________

Known far and wide for its intimate atmosphere, incredible signature coffees and taste-tempting menu items, Open Mike's is the perfect venue to host such a seasonal celebration.

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a rockin' holiday," proclaims Della Cioppa, as he invites everyone to come out and enjoy his Holiday House Party. (OpenMikesCoffee.com)

-Christopher Long
(December 2018)


Saturday, December 1, 2018

GEORGE H.W. BUSH — My Personal Encounter with an American President

GEORGE H.W. BUSH
My Personal Encounter with
an American President
__________

With his recent passing, I was
reminded of my personal one-
on-one experience meeting
President George H.W. Bush
back when I was just a kid.
This story is an excerpt from
my second book, C'MON!
__________

During the 11th grade I was playing drums for my high school song and dance troupe called The Ten Tones. Our well-groomed, wholesome-looking group performed choreographed dance routines as we sang standards and show tunes. Certainly not very “rock and roll” to be sure, but the act was a huge hit on the local elementary school and retirement home circuit. Due to our frequent daytime performance schedule, Ten Tones members often were afforded a certain perk that not even many of the cool kids were privileged to receive — the coveted “Off Campus Pass.”

In February 1980 The Ten Tones were invited to perform at a political rally being held on Melbourne Florida's F.I.T college campus. This was during the presidential primary season and the man who was scheduled to speak at the event was one-time Texas congressman, former CIA director and Republican presidential candidate, George H.W. Bush. Despite my teenage political interest and Bush’s undeniable experience and qualifications, I was somewhat unfamiliar with his name at the time. However, Bush narrowly had beaten perceived Republican front-runner, former actor and California governor Ronald Reagan in the recent Iowa caucus.

As a result, I was extremely interested in what he had to say. So I remained at the rally following the Ten Tones performance, while the other group members made a beeline to the nearby McDonald’s for lunch and to discuss how they could best maximize their remaining off campus experience.  

Although I followed politics more closely than most kids my age, at 17 I had no firm political party affiliation. However, as I sat in the audience absorbing every word of Bush’s speech, I soon realized with great certainty for the first time in my life which side of the political fence I was on — the “right” side!

41st U.S. president, George Herbert Walker Bush
*President (Jan. 1989 – Jan. 1993)
*Vice President (Jan. 1981 – Jan. 1989)
After 30 years, I can’t recall any specifics of Bush’s speech, but I do remember feeling inspired by his words. In fact, as Bush left the stage following his speech, I felt compelled to thank him. So, I fought my way through the sea of supporters, cameramen and news reporters that surrounded him as he was leaving the building. “I enjoyed your speech, Mr. Bush,” I announced as I reached out to shake his hand. With my shoulder-length hair and tinted glasses, Bush appeared somewhat taken aback initially when I approached him. However, he seemed to quickly recognize my sincerity. “Thank you," he replied with great enthusiasm as he shook my hand. “I need the support of America’s youth in this campaign,” Bush added further while still shaking my hand. “I’m with you sir,” I assured him as I noticed he wasn’t letting go. In fact, Bush had what I can only describe as a death grip on my right hand! After exchanging a few more pleasantries, he finally let go and I went on my way.

What I remember most vividly about my brief encounter with George H.W. Bush was that he didn’t seem merely to be taking advantage of a convenient photo opportunity. He genuinely seemed to care that I had been inspired by his speech. And he honestly seemed concerned about my generation. It was a powerful, life-changing experience.

-Christopher Long
(December 2018)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

PINK TUESDAY 2018: Today is the BIG Day!

PINK TUESDAY 2018
Today is the BIG Day!
__________

"Black Friday" — it doesn't sound
terribly fun or fabulous, does it?
Neither does "Cyber Monday."
And that's exactly why I created
"Pink Tuesday" back in 2011.
__________

Just what the heck is Pink Tuesday? Well, it's a glorious celebration I dreamed up a few years ago — a heart-warming alternative to the otherwise soul-crushing holiday shopping experience.

While the average American "John" and "Mary" are content with fighting mobs for typical holiday gifts and deals at their local supercenters on Black Friday, others opt for the sterile safety of shopping from home on Cyber Monday. BORING!

Conversely, Pink Tuesday is a more interactive, peaceful, joyous option — the day when I personally dispatch the other people across the country (the groovy ones) out to their favorite thrift shops in pursuit of truly fabulous finds — always on the cheap, and always on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

I know, everybody is always searching for bargains and struggling with gift ideas at this time of year. But holiday shopping can be fun, and affordable. Let's be honest, what do your friends and loved ones desire most on Christmas morning  a new 72" flat screen with surround sound, or a slightly "previewed" Oak Ridge Boys cassette collection? Duh, the Oak Ridge Boys, of course! But you just  can't locate those types of hard-to-find treasures or super-rock bottom prices anywhere else but at your friendly local thrift shop.

The pastor's wife was delighted last
Christmas when I gave her this VHS copy
of BIG. Um, I think she was delighted.
I scored this CD by "rappin' trucker," Buck Truckfor my aunt on Pink Tuesday in 2016. She LOVED it!
I knew exactly to whom I was
gonna give this helpful audio book.

(Sadly, it didn't help.)
Yes, from monogrammed oven mitts and twice-worn intimate apparel, to Betamax machines and bestselling self-help books from 1993  I guarantee you can find it ALL at your favorite thrift shops on Pink Tuesday  AND you'll stay well within your budget. If you don't believe me, just take a look at all this incredible stuff I've scored over the years for the people who I love most — all on Pink Tuesday!
It was priceless - the look on my GF's face
last Christmas when I gave her this almost
like-new 1991 AM / FM portable blaster. She
had been hoping for Keith Urban tickets,
but I'm sure she liked this, just as much.
Since thrift store dolls aren't creepy at all,
I bought one for every little kid on my
2015 holiday list - even a couple of girls.
THE BOONE FAMILY CHRISTMAS ALBUM
(S
ome Pink Tuesday finds y
ou just gotta keep for yourself.)
So, today is the BIG day! You'll probably want to take off from work. And I suggest you get an early start. Gather up your closest besties for a soothing "pre-game" brew at your local independent coffee house at about 9am. By 10:00, you'll all want to be in action. A 1:00 lunch break is recommended, but you'll need to be back at it by 2:00. Come 5:00, your holiday shopping should be completed. You'll then be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the season, totally stress-free — sorta.

For just $1.99, who wouldn't want to play a
game with Desperate Housewives' dirty laundry?
This 8-track tape of Molly Hatchet's 1979
classic, Flirtin' with Disaster was a huge
hit with my teenage nephew last Christmas.
During a 2012 Pink Tuesday excursion,
I bought gifts for all the guys down at the
gym - and I got change back from a $5.
There ya go. Pretty awesome, right? Of course it is. Now, go out there today and make it the greatest, most joyous and prosperous Pink Tuesday ever! And afterward, I invite you to come back here and share your personal Pink Tuesday stories in the "Comment" section below.

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S !

-Christopher Long
(November 2018)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)