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Eclipse Won't Happen

Scientist admits he screwed up on calculations

2017-0820 Sunday

2017-0820 Sunday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   4WG


 

SCIENTIST SAYS HE GOOFED ON CALCULATING THE MOON'S TRANSIT

 

tWilson2he scientist who calculated the timing and place of the total solar eclipse, scheduled for tomorrow across a wide swath of the United States, brazenly and shamefully announced this morning that his arithmetic was woefully off. "There's not going to be an eclipse; not on Monday; not across the U.S.; not anywhere," said Dr. Cooper Wilson from his home/office above his garage in Schenectady, N.Y.

"It all has to do with the azimuth," he said. "I got the azimuth all wrong."

Reaction across the country was swift, yet mixed. NASA released a statement saying they were very disappointed in Wilson's error. They also threatened to recall Dr. Wilson's Secret Outerspace Decoding Ring, a prestigious collector's item that only the most hailed scientists around the country can receive (provided they send in $5 plus two cereal box tops). "We're also reevaluating our process for vetting information when it comes in to us," the NASA statement said. 

In Washington, President Trump insisted he'd hold the eclipse as planned. The President tweeted Sunday morning, "Eclipse will go on. Not cancelling just because some liberal bafoon [sic], most likely educated in a  public school, couldn't get his math right." An hour later the President tweeted, "The eclipse is going to be wonderful. More wonderful than any eclipse you've ever seen. We're going to enjoy a really, really fantastic eclipse."

The White House later issued a statement: "Just to clarify, if the eclipse doesn't happen, Congress will be held accountable."

In Mystique, WY, eclipse watchers were upset. "We drove all the way here from Little Rock, and now, no eclipse? That really sucks," said Albert Higgins. Higgins brought his family up to Wyoming to spend the long weekend, in anticipation of the eclipse tomorrow. "I hope my boss will understand," Higgins said. "All along, I told him I'd be gone from work for a few days, you know. Now, what's my excuse?"

Ray2Campers and revelers in the central Oregon town of Prineville seemed to be more understanding of the mixup. "Holy hell, there have to be 50,000 people camped out here in this field," Ray Barker of Dufur, Oregon said. "We've been partying and dancing for two days now. We're not going to let a little sunshine spoil this fun. Heck, I still have six cases of beer in the RV. Those cases don't care if the sun gets dark for a few minutes or not. They need drinked! We're stayin' put."

In Newport, Oregon, the first place in the U.S. that was supposed to see the eclipse, there was visible anger. "Why the hell did he not find this mistake earlier? Why didn't someone else figure this out?" Mona Simpson, a waitress in the town's Western Diner said. "I've been puttin' up with out-of-towners since Thursday, and I gotta tell ya, their [sic] a pain in the ass!" Even though the increased traffic was forcing her to put in quite a bit of overtime, Simpson said her overall tips were down. "Minnesotans are the worst," she sneered. "I told the hostess not to seat any Minnesotans in my area. They likely steal all the packaged sugar and butter, then just up and leave without leaving a tip at all. Oh, and those Canadians are just as bad. I had one table leave me a quarter for all my efforts–and yeah, a CANADIAN quarter at that. Maybe it's the cold weather up there, but the Northerners are tighter with their money than a pair of dogs in heat."

Asked for clarification, Simpson just shrugged her shoulders and mumbled something about having get back to work.

In a FaceTime interview with The RASH today, Dr. Wilson admitted the reason for his delay in revealing the truth about his error. "It was just a simple matter of shame. I didn't want to admit the mistake–not after seeing how everybody and their dog was making plans for the big blackout. And to be honest, I've applied to become a Fellow at the Mid-New York Community College Planetarium. I guess now... THAT'S just not gonna happen. What reputable organization, like MNYCC, would want some old fart on their faculty who can't even get his tangential projections of the moon's transit right?"

  

RASHg1

 

 

 

Eclipse Beckons

Enjoy the darkness with helpful tips from your RASH

2017-0730 Sunday

2017-0730 Sunday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   2WG


 

Darkness is coming

 

us Gershmanites are going to be just a tad outside the Path of Totality of the upcoming Solar Eclipse on August 21. Yet, to see the eclipse in its unearthly fullness, it's just a short 20 minute drive south, no?

Well, since Carmageddon is predicted that day, it might turn into a short 20 hour drive. Maybe. Sounds like it's gonna be quite cozy on the highways.

So, your RASH is providing the following tips to help you prepare and get the most out of this phenomenon—one that won't be seen again till long after a long period of time.

TIPS FOR ENJOYING THE ECLIPSE

1. The eclipse is scheduled for (roughly) 10:15 AM on Monday, August 21. For best seats, you might want to arrive a few minutes early.

2. NEVER look directly into the sun. It's very bright. Side-effects can include (but are not limited to) eye floaters; total blindness; parched eyelids; that red-eye effect in photos—it'll be present in every pic taken of you, till you die; amnesia; goiter.

3. If you simply cannot restrain yourself from looking directly at the sun, purchase appropriate eye protection. (Hint: the shades you buy at the gas station prolly won't do the trick.)

4. If you're on the highway (Interstate, US Highway, State Highway, County Road, etc.), don't simply pull over to watch everything get dark. ODOT will fine you and possibly flog you (as if they have enough people to find you). Find a safe parking spot.

5. Chill. There's gonna be traffic. Plan on bringing a week's-worth of food and water for each person in your car.

6. If you find that the crowds are gonna be too much for your traveling pallet, try staying at home and do this (NOTE: This trick will work even if you're outside the Path of Totality.): A) Find a closet. B) Go into it. C) Make sure there are no lights inside it. D) Experience darkness for about three minutes. E) Come out of the closet.*  F) Enjoy not having to wait till next week to get home.

 

* Some might find this a great opportunity to do this both literally and metaphorically.

  

RASHg1

 

 

 

Summer So Far

2Cellos Concert — Oregon Zoo Amphitheater

2017-0728 Friday

2017-0728 Friday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   3WG


 

Summer so Far

 

it has been awhile since your RASH has flared up, huh? Well, your RASH is back, and it's itching to bring you in on a few things.

First, and foremost, Yours Truly (that's me) went to an outdoor concert at the Oregon Zoo last weekend. It was the 2Cellos, and it was fantastic. More about that later. Or not.

Second, and secondmost, we'll be presenting more stuff soon.

Right now, it's time to watch some down-home TV. Right here in Gershman.

 

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

2017-0101 Sunday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   5WG


 

Yet Another Opportunity to Start Again

 

do-overs are what being human is all about (not to mention stretching the rules of good grammar). It's in our nature, is it not, to want to erase our past mistakes (if not learn from them) and start anew. Fortunately, once again, we've stumbled upon just such an opportunity, what with this being News Year's Day and all. Happy New Year. Everything's comin' up roses. 

Ifn I was the kind of guy who liked to wax eloquent (in my own mind, anyway) I'd wax eloquent in this column (it's a COLUMN, okay? NOT news) about stuffy, lofty, noble goals and aspirations. Actually, I am such a guy. I absolutely love to wax. And sound eloquent. Basically use a lot of words to say very little. It's my speciality.

Fortunately (for the Curious Web Surfer), I'm not gonna wax much more than I already have in this column. Basically, I've used quite a few words (some of them multi-syllabic) to say quite a little.

But before you breathe that sigh of relief too deeply, let me add one more tidbit of meaningless drivel: I have only one Resolution to make for this year: Lose the weight & re-attain health and vigor. One might consider that to be two (if not three) resolutions, yet that position only allows me to further annoy the CWS with more incoherent and weird dorkiness (while still sounding somewhat high-brow, don't you think?). Yet, I won't.

However, I do need to say this: 2017 is going to be what you make it. Your well-being is not dependent on the news cycles. On which famous celeb dies. On what new executive order is handed down. Or what your mother-in-law thinks about that casserole you're going to make for Easter.

Snot. Really.

To paraphrase former morning TV host David Hartman, Go out there and make it a great year.

 

Jacques Nechques,
of Gershman
Please LIKE our Facebook page. If you do nothing else of value in 2017, at least do that.

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

 
2016-0805 Friday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   3WG


just THINKING about politics in 2016 is enough to give me the heeby jeebies. And I try to restrain myself from making political statements on Facebook (not always successful). But this weekend it's open season. It's our first-ever The RASH of Gresham Presidential poll!

Easy enough question: If the presidential election were held today, who would get your vote?

Answer that question by clicking on your choice above (if'n you haven't already). THEN, go back to our The RASH Facebook page and chime in! BUT: Try to be logical (and maybe even dispassionate?) about the whole thing. This is a serious issue, with lots of heated arguments just waiting to be had. So, do try and keep it cool. Speak your peace, and back out slowly, checking your rear to avoid collision with someone just getting into the fray. Play nice, even to the candidates. Yes, they don't, but that doesn't mean you can't.

I'll start: I have been waffling for the past six months, but I'll say it now, I will NOT vote for The Donald. I've always voted in line with my basically-conservative (fiscally, anyway) values, but I will not vote for someone who I would not otherwise invite into my home, and/or want to influence my grandchildren. That said, I am quite disinclined to vote for Hilary Clinton. (Must be my aversion to strong women, huh?) I'm not ruling out actually voting for her (depends on how close things look come November, I guess) but in line with our poll, if the election were held today I'd prolly punch my chad for Gary Johnson. I don't consider myself a libertarian, but to be honest, after looking at Gov. Johnson's Issues Page, I agree with his positions on pretty-much everything, except abortion. But I'm not a one-issue (or even two-issue) voter.

If you disagree with yours truly (or even if you agree!), feel free to have at it (keeping in mind the above-referenced guidelines citing civility, logic, and cool-headed niceness). You can respond to this article by commenting below if you want, but I suggest going back to our FB page to to so.

Engage.

Make it so. 

 

RASHj

 

 

 

A tale of two Portlands

Is it time for a name-change?

2016-0314 Monday

2016-0315 Tuesday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   1WG


NOTE: Much of this story is also presented in today's Vexillology article.

 

maine’s largest city is, of course, Portland, with a metro population of about 500,000. Our Portland’s metro population is some 2.3 million.

This brings us to a “Current Event” story from this week. (Remember Current Events in grade school?): A couple o’ missiles were evidently discovered on a passenger jet in Serbia. (Yes, said missiles were determined to be "dummy" missiles, but this is an important story nonetheless.) It was originally reported that the missiles were destined for Portland, Oregon.

It later came out that they were going to Portland, Maine.

The Board of your RASH thinks this is heinous. We’re tired of the City of Roses constantly having to use its last name (Oregon), when so many cities of similar—and smaller—size and stature are on a first-name basis with the rest of the country (a few examples: Cleveland, Buffalo, Memphis, Charlotte, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, San Antonia, Sacramenta, Boring, etc. ALL of these cities are basically either the same size, or smaller than Portland [,Oregon], yet you know these cities, even when their last name (their state) isn't mentioned, right?).

Thence our new poll: The RASH would like to know: Do you think one of the Portlands should change its name? You know, to reduce confusion?

Please take the poll. Take it. Take it HERE. Feel free to chime in with comments on our Facebook page (after you LIKE it!). (BTW, we like positive comments—those what agree with our position—more than negative ones. Just so you know.)

Your feedback regarding our unhealthy compulsion regarding vexillology is solicited. Additionally, your poll-taking feedback is also appreciated. Thank you.

 

RASHj

 

 

 

An Open Letter

...to the Orygun Departmunt o' Re-venew

2016-0716 Saturday

2016-0716 Saturday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   3WG


 

An Open Letter to the Orygun Departmunt o’ Re-venew

 

dear Departmunt,

Let me start by saying that the misspelled words in this Open Letter are intentional. I am fully aware that you gub’mint types have webb crallers and bots all over the interwibs, searching out peeps what criticyze your delightful Departmunt, so you can odd-it them as retribution. With that in mind, I am purposfully throwing a wrench in your sistem so you won’t find me & punish me for my opinions.

That said, let me start by saying this: Last spring, I dutifully filled my tex-as and maled in my re-tern on the dedline day. Just like I always have, every year, ever since I first had the pleasure of making incum in this fine stayt. I have always cheerfully submittid my tex-as, maling in any paymint that might have been do—on thyme, every year.

I might add, your fine Departmunt has usually been quite thymely in maling (or direck-deposuting) my rephund, if’n I was do one.

Until this year.

I have done a bit o’ snooping on the aforementioned interwibs, and found this article what says your delightful Departmunt has electid to prosess many re-terns by manuall means, supposebly because you wanna catch freudulint re-terns. Your interwibsite says that my “tern” is one of those what are being prosessed without the benufit o’ a qwick and effisent computer, and thence my rephund could take “twelf wekes or longer” to get into my hot little hand.

Well, today marks the point where we enter the “or longger” phase. Yes, it’s been FREE MUNTHS since I fyled my tex-as. I am not pleased with this sitiation. Obviously, though, I have absolutely no rekource in this matter, since you’re the gub’mint and all. However, I would like to express my opinion that TWELF FLEAKING WEKES is unacceptible!

If, the next thyme I am compelled by the Stayt of Orygun to fyle a tex re-tern, and I find myself in the position of O-ing y’all some of my hard-urned deneros (insted o’ the rephund I am do this year), you won’t mind if I take a move from y’all’s playbook and wait TWELF FLEAKING WEKES or longer to sennd in said currincy. Yeah, we’ll see how you like THAT!

Sincerely,

Jacques Nechques,
A pseudonym from Gershman
SSN: BR-549

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

Daylight Saving Time

Don't like it? Get over it.

2016-0312 Saturday

2016-0312 Saturday

By JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   3WG


 

 

wE'LL AWAKE tomorrow morning, having lost an hour of night to the Daylight Saving Time thief.

It’s a favorite topic of conversation: to lament the extremely strenuous and stressful responsibility we have, to twice-yearly change our clocks. It’s just such hard work.

And who in their right mind would want to make those glorious summer evenings longer, when it would be so much easier to simply leave the clocks alone and spend that summer daylight as The Lord Himself intended: Luxuriously lounging in our comfy, bourgeoisie beds every morning, unconscious and totally unaware of the glorious daylight through which we’re snoozing.

Who in their right mind?

Well, I consider myself to be in my right mind, and to those who love to complain about DST, I have two words: Get over it.

I absolutely love Daylight Saving Time; I also actually love the traditional, almost liturgical, process of springing forward and falling back every six months or so. I really do. It’s like a rite of spring, in the spring, to say goodbye to the dark days of winter. Springing Forward is a way for us commoners to unite and raise our collective voices, saying, “I won’t slip quietly into the night! I will move forward into the light!” It’s a way of heralding the arrival of longer, brighter days.

In the autumn, Falling Back is a way of recognizing that the bleak midwinter is a-coming, and we would be wise to prepare. Plus, in the fall, we get that hour back—as well as all of its luxurious side-effects and implications of horizontal wonderfulness. [Those what complain of losing the hour in the spring are reticent to remember that we DO get it back! It’s not like it’s gone forever!]


PREVENTING DEATH AND OTHER THINGS

vibratorIt’d be interesting to do a study (only, of course, if said study backed up my hypothesis) to find out how many precious lives are saved every year because of DST. No, I’m not talking about the differences between more light in the early-day vs. more light in the late-day; I’m talking about the tradition of checking the smoke-detector (and for that matter, the radon detector, carbon monoxide detector, radar detector and the remote control) batteries when one resets one’s clocks. How many fires/deaths and other bad things are prevented by this tradition? Without the semi-annual chore of fiddling with the clocks, when would we be reminded to change the batts? If we end DST, the blood of those saved lives is on your hands, my friend.

 

THE RESULTS OF OUR EXCLUSIVE POLL

DSTpollNot wanting to ignore our fan base, The RASH, of Gresham commissioned an exlusive poll (as we are wont to do from time-to-time) to poke our proverbial wet finger into the air and test the winds, as it were, of public opinion regarding DST. Our results were astounding. Astounding, that is, if one was previously inclined to believe the liberal media. Said media would have all of us believe that people hate DST.

That's not what we found.

As even a most cursory examination of the delicious pie chart to the right will elucidate, over 63 per cent of our respondents actually LOVE Daylight Saving Time. And of those who love DST, over 40 per cent of them love it so much they'd like to see Hillary issue an executive order mandating year-round observance of DST, once she takes office. Only about 36 per cent of our respondents think DST should be abolished. (And it is to those some-36 per cent this article is addressed, BTW.)


CLOCKS SET THEMSELVES ANYWAY

It’s the 21st century, right? And although the oft’ promised flying cars of our day do not exist, we do enjoy the increasingly common presence of self-setting clocks, thanks to that Universal Time Beacon thingy what sends discrete signals to our devices, telling them when to skip a beat, so to speak. Example: One never has to change the time on one’s cell phone if said phone is tuned in to this network, right? And your DVR? Sets itself too. Sure, there aren’t enough auto-set clocks in the world yet, but they are coming.


WHINERS GON’ WHINE

The above serious considerations notwithstanding, there are way too many of you out there who insist on ignoring the benefits of DST; you love to complain about the negatives of DST (and possibly everything). Again, my thesis is that there are no negatives. Yet people being people (as some are) a few just won’t listen, no matter how brilliant my argument. I could continue to tout benefit after benefit of DST and some wouldn’t care.

I get that. It’s okay. I realize my powers of persuasion are limited. Not everyone who hears my voice, or reads my words, will be elucidated to the point of my wonderful understanding. I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that not everyone shares my elucidation. (In fact, that fact just makes me more stalwart and committed to elucidating the masses. As long as there are ignernt people out there, I have a purpose.)

So, you just go ahead and whine about it. I have it on good authority that Hillary will make sure that DST endures. She's wonderful.

Now, you'll excuse me please. I need to get to bed early. Gon' lose an hour, you know.... 

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

Xfinity/Comcast X1

A dispassionate review of the X1 system

2016-0310 Thursday

2016-0310 Wednesday

A review by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   3WG


 

 

iF YOU'RE LIKE me (and who doesn’t want to be), you constantly walk a tight-rope that’s strung between multiple skyscrapers, thousands of feet above the masses on the ground. Said skyscrapers are: the "Cable TV Tower", the "FIOS Tower", and the "Satellite TV Tower". The rope on which you walk is tenuous. It’s scary, because falling off could be really dangerous. Disastrous, even.

(Gosh, my skill with metaphors is amazing: Spreading creamy peanut butter on the bread of your computer screen.)

I often lean heavily on the old bromide, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That philosophy usually serves me well. Yet, I’m not above doing a bit of research to get all the information I can when I make a big decision, such as whom I hire to provide my TV and Internet service.

Last year, I decided to do a bit of said research and evaluate whether I wanted to stay with the provider I currently used (Comcast/Xfinity) or step onto a different tight-rope and switch to either Frontier FIOS®, or some sort of DISH®/Satellite service. (I usually do this evaluation every year or two.) Besides researching prices and services, I also asked my Facebook friends (of which there are so many. I’m that poplear. Who wouldn’t want to be my friend?) to tell me which service they used for TV and Internet. And whether they liked it or not. I got some pribby good feedback.

 

I DECIDED TO STICK WITH COMCAST

I could delve in to the various options into which I looked, but that's not the purpose of this article. In the end, I chose to stick with Comcast/Xfinity, and in so choosing, I also decided to upgrade to said company's newly-touted "X1" DVR system, complete with a new, ultra-deluxe (or so I thought) remote.

I was excited to use the new X1 system. Those of you who are privileged to know me personally, know that I’m a sucker for a good gadget. I love anything that can be pressed, button-wise.

TextRemoteThe older DVR system that Xfinity/Comcast had previously provided was pretty good. X1 was going to be better. That was the promise. And although I’m going to pick apart (i.e. skewer) this newer system forthwith, please know that I’m not totally dissatisfied with it. I just think it needs improvement. In reality, I’m surprised at how frustrating this new system can be to use. I expected that we are all, you know, in the 21st century and all. I’m not asking for the 22nd century; just the 21st.

That said, please allow me to elucidate the CWS as to my impression of Xfinity’s X1:

It’s not that much better than the old system. If at all better.

I have to say that the only real improvement is that the new DVR has more storage capacity to save recorded shows; it also allows me to record multiple (not just two) shows at once. But aside from those two improvements, the system is barely better than what I had before, and in some very frustrating ways, it’s worse.

 

THE ONSCREEN INTERFACE

Let’s talk first about the DVR box (the onscreen experience), then I’ll get to the very frustrating remote control.

The X1 onscreen experience is clunky. They have provided new graphics, as far as the way they list show schedules, and as to how station-changing is handled, but for me, its frustrating. The customization options (how the "listing" screen overlays the current program when you pull it up) are worthless. I wanted to see more of the current show in the background when I looked through the listings, and they give the option to change that, but it’s useless. “Light,” “Dark,” or in between, there’s barely a change in the level.

Add to that the fact that you can’t customize the action of changing channels, and it’s even more frustrating. As they have it now, when I change channels, a black (again, non-customizable to my tastes) band covers the bottom 25% of the screen for about five seconds after I change the channel. This black band overrides the main content and shows the name of the new channel to which I’ve just changed (as if I didn’t know), the name of the show that’s on the screen (ditto), and other information.

But it’s in the way! If it’s a news show what I’ve changed to, the black band at the bottom completely covers the footer information about the story and reporters. If there are subtitles, you won’t see them either, until the black fades away. Why can’t we customize this? Personally, I don’t need to have part of my screen blackened with meaningless information. Maybe some people like that, but I would love to have the option to eliminate this. How is it, in this day and age, we aren’t given the option of customizing the interface experience to our own personal tastes?

“But Jacques,” you say, “why not simply hit that circle-arrow on your remote and have it rewind a few seconds so you can then see what that black covered up?”

Because.

Because when you circle-arrow back in time, that same damn black thing shows up again! Yes, it is possible to delete that black thing if you are quick and press the correct button, but the process of doing that can have unwanted results (see below for my review of the remote). I want to be able to dis-enable the black thing altogether.

 

THE POORLY-DESIDGNED REMOTE

Okay, now let’s talk about the remote control that comes with the X1 system: It’s a step backward. How this remote ever got past the “design” phase, I can’t comprehend. To use an aphorism that’s poplear with today’s youth: it sucks.

To wit: When I’m watching TV, I always have my trusty remote on the chair’s arm. This is de rigueur for adult males (and many females) these days. And when I access said remote (i.e., pick it up), I want to—no, I need to—use it without having to look at it. A remote needs to have a tactile interface. I don’t think it’s asking too much (in this day-and-age) to require that the purpose of the buttons on my remote be obvious, just by touch. The X1 fails miserably here.

Miserably, I tell you.

This isn’t rocket science, people. It should be obvious to my fingertip whether I’m pressing the REWIND button or the EXIT button. If my fingertip is wrong as to what it’s pressing, the consequences can be dire. And during my tenure operating said remote, said results have indeed been dire.

Most notably, there are two rows of buttons on the X1 remote that have identical tactical tells. Identical, I tell you. And these rows are right next to each other. So, if one’s attention falters during a show, and one forgets which row upon which one’s fingertip rests (and after all, the purpose of TV entertainment is to loose oneself in the actual show, and not have to pay attention to where one’s fingertip rests, no?), said fingertip may indeed press the wrong button. The above reference to REWIND vs. EXIT is a prime example.

TextButtonsThis can be especially frustrating when watching a previously-recorded DVR’d show. The REWIND function is self-explanatory; it’s often accessed while watching a recorded show (or a live one, for that matter). The EXIT function completely removes one from the recorded show and sends them to whichever show happens to be on at the time. Argh! And there’s more: If I’m watching a live show, and perhaps I’d circled back in time to re-see something interesting… in order to return to the LIVE broadcast, all I have to do is press the EXIT button on the handheld. Yet let’s say I’m watching a DVR’d recording of a show. Well in that case, if I press the EXIT button, absentmindedly thinking that it’ll bring be back to where I was before (as it would during a live program), no. It totally removes me from the DVR’d show and places me outside the recording, smack-dab in the middle of whatever random show is airing on the current station! Argh!

There’s more, too. But the technical aspects of the resulting frustration can be too laborious for a highbrow article such as this. Suffice it to say, there have been numerous instances when I inadvertently—through no innocent fault of my own—pressed the wrong button on the remote, innocently thinking that I was operating said remote in a responsible manner. Yet the results have occasionally been so disastrous that I’ve been tempted to throw said remote through the winda. It’s that bad. Much worse than the previous remote.

Why can’t we design a remote that is easy to operate, where the tactile indications of the buttons are obvious? Well, guess what. We can. All it takes is a teensy, weensy, tiny bit of attention to detail. Detail what is quite possibly the most important aspect of designing any device what people might use.

Oh, and Xfinity/Comcast touts that this is the first remote to which one can talk. Not true. I believe Apple was first. In fact, I rarely use the X1’s voice/talk function. Yet, I frequently use the voice/talk function on my Apple TV remote. Siri is friendly, and helpful (and possibly luscious). I often use the “What did he say?” voice command with her, and Siri rewinds the show a few seconds and adds subtitles for a bit, so I can hear and see what I missed.

X1?

Doesn’t do that.

So, I give the Xfinity/Comcast (can we decide on a name here, please?) system TWO out of five pips. The remote that comes with the system: ONE out of five. It’s horrible and frustrating.

If said company (with two names) wants to hire me as a consultant regarding a new remote (and DVR) design, I’m available. I gotta few ideas….

 

Pip2

 

 

RASHg1

 

 

 


2016-0308 Tuesday

Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this letter: 2WG

Driving me Daisy

 

Dear Jacques,

I’ve been meaning to write you for years. Long-time fan, first-time writer.

Before I get to my reason for writing, I just have to say, I absolutely LOVE your videos on TPRQ.net. They’re informative, interesting, and impeccably produced. True professionalism. People visiting The RASH should be aware of these priceless recordings.

Okay, on to my issue. Or, maybe I should say, my wife’s issue.

Let me start by saying that I love my wife (Let’s call her “Tryxi). I respect her. She’s intelligent, beautiful, funny, wonderful, well-read, well-busted, nearly zit-free, compassionate, always aware-of-her-surroundings, honest, a fantastic cook, knows her NFL teams, a wine connoisseur (I had to look-up the spelling of that), a wonderful mother to our two Cocker Spaniels, good with a screwdriver, has a genuine green thumb (literally), and is a respectable bowler (168 average).

But here’s the thing: I can’t stand to ride in the car when she’s driving. Literally. Normally, I drive anyway, but on rare occasions I’m forced to ride gunshot while she ferries me to and fro (like, when I’m done with a root canal, or after my monthly colonoscopy, or if I had way-two-many vodka & teriyakis. Sometimes when I just won a chess champeenship and I’m too ramped up to concentrate.). The experience of watching her drive (as a passenger, no less) is always harrowing, to say the least. I wonder how in hell she’s survived all these years, what with the way she drives and all.

I’ve narrowed down her absolutely horrifying driving habits to a few bullet points (and they are habits–she does these things consistently):

  • NEVER signals when she changes lanes.
  • When she comes to a stop at a light where she knows she’s going to make a turn, she doesn’t engage her turn signal until the light turns green.
  • Tailgates with a passion. No matter how often I call her out, she continues to ride the bumper of the car in front of her. I can’t believe she’s not had multiple rear-enders.
  • Although she usually limits it to while she’s stopped at a light, she insists on texting behind the wheel. There have been many times that the person behind us has had to honk to get her to lift her head and proceed on the green.
  • Often screams racial epithets to other drivers, even tho most of ‘em are already white.
  • When screaming said epithets, she frequently raises her fist, trying in vain to give “the finger.” (She lost the middle finger of her right hand in a tragic meat-packing incident when she was 13, so her efferts are seldom recognized for their meaning. Why she doesn’t simply use her five-fingered left hand, I have know idea. “SMH,” as they say.)

So please, Jacques, help. Should I simply refuse to ride with her when she drives? Or is there something I could say to her, to WAKE HER UP? I’ve even considered an “intervention” involving family members and friends, but I hesitate to do that because her family is so dysfunctional that I fear they’d all pile on ME for being OCD or something. Additionally, none of her family drinks, so it’d be a “dry” meeting… something to which I have a huge aversion. (Don’t get me started, but Thanksgiving dinners with her family: The pits. No wine, no beer, no tequila, and no vodka. I mean, it’s excruciating. Have you ever tried tryptophan sans alcohol? It’s not even….)

Your elucidation concerning my plight would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,
White Nuckled in Troutdale.

 


JacquesPicDear Mr. Nucklehead,

First off, it’s to bad you din’t use your spell checker on “Nuckled,” since, you know, it starts with a silent “K.” Further, there are additional spelling and/or grammatical errors in your letter. Yet, I'll overlook them, in order to elucidate not only you, but our CWSs as well. Your cry for help is compelling.

Secondly, my initial advice is to run, not walk, to the nearest police station and report your wife to the authorities. I have to admit, tho, that they prolly won't do nothing. I’ve had experience in this kind of stuff, and the cops are usually all, “We can’t arrest unless we have actual evidence. We need to see your wife (we’ll call her “Tryxi”) violate.” To paraphrase a recently-dug-up and popularly relevant phrase, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." I realize that quote might be somewhat irrelevant, yet it seemed timely at the time The RASH went to press.

Tertiaryally, I further advise you to reconsider trying the intervention idea. Studies have shown that when family members (no matter how dysfunctional) and caring friends intervene, there is a 21% chance that said intervenee will wake up and smell the coffee that is ostensibly growing on the side of the road wherein “Tryxi” is recklessly a-drivin’. She might possibly, in reality, literally, realize that she is actually Satan Himself manifested in a seemingly*-innocent woman’s body.

And studies have shown, that “Tryxi” actually is Satan Himself, embodied in the body of a seemingly* innocent woman. There is nothing more heinous than a person what changes lanes without signaling. This behavior alone reveals and confirms that your wife is the actual incarnation of humanity's forked-tongue nemisis, the Fallen Lucifer.

Once I read your first “item,” in your list of grievances, I needed read no further. Yet I did (read further), because I love reading about heinous things. And let me tell you, “Tryxi’s” list contains some of the most juicy, gruesome, aberrant behavior I’ve ever been called-upon on which to comment: 

  • Sitting at a red, knowing you’re going to turn, without communicating your intentions to your fellow travelers until the last second?: This is one of the reasons our Gub’ment initiated the Death Penalty. (Yet, the liberal-packed Supreme Court might disagree with my stance here.)
  • Having sex with the bumper of the car in front of you?: Slow-and-torturous-death-by-dropping-into-a-deep-well-and-sealing-the-lid. (& yet, the Supremes prolly wouldn’t support this idea either. Dang liberals.)
  • Texting while light-waiting?: Electrocution by 110 volts. Admittedly 110 volts’d take awhile. Yet that’s the fun.
  • Verbalizing racial slurs at non-racial people?:** I can’t even.
  • Raising one’s appendage against one’s driving opponents, in an obviously vulgar, road-rage-type hand-signal?: I gotta admit, this one’s not gonna go in your favor, Nucklehead. I know, Gershman isn’t Philly or Boston. But really, when we loose our Third Amendment rights (freedom o’ speech and all) to espress our selves, we all loose. My advice on this one: Give “Tryxi” a pass here. (And you might consider taking lessons from her, as to the realities of traffic "communication.")

To sum up, Jacques (myself) advises you to rally the Friends-and-Family group and Intervene. “Tryxi” needs fixed. If the Intervention doesn’t take, get outtatown.

 

Your sincere advice giver, spiritual leader, sage, & mentor,

Jacques Nechques, TMW***

 

 

 


* Or not.
** I know, I know. It's possible that some caucasians could be racial. But please remember: *I* am not a racist. Just FYI.
*** The Most Wise

 
 
 
 

Please compile an email and send it in to The RASH of Gresham to express your praise, post an inquiry, or simply comment. We @ The RASH are friendly, don't judge, and are quick to agree with the aforementioned praise that we know you're going to send in. Post all FEEDBACK to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Additionally, YOUR LETTERS TO "DEAR JACQUES," requesting advice about your important life matters... well, send those letters in! Please access Jacques' aforementioned email for this purpose.

 

RASHg1

 

 

Bridge of Spies

Suspenseful and tingling; won't win Best Picture

2016-0227 Saturday

2016-0227 Saturday

A review by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   2WG


 

 

tODAY WE'RE going to talk about Bridge of Spies. It’s nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® tomorrow (2016-0228).

Staring Tom Hanks, and directed by Steven Spielberg, one would expect this work to exemplify the highest in cinematic artistry.

And it does.

Who doesn’t like a really good cold-war drama? Especially when the whole premise of said drama is based on actual events?

I thought this was a very good movie. I liked it from start-to-finish. Yet, I’m aware that popularity with the masses (Rotten Tomatoes™ gives it 91%, and most reviews have been quite favorable) doesn’t necessarily mean a particular work is Oscar® material. Just because I liked a movie, a lot, doesn’t mean my criteria is the same as the Academy’s.

In the case of Bridge of Spies, I suspect it isn’t going to win Best Picture, especially considering its competition. Of the movies nominated for BP this year, I’ve seen three (The Martian, The Revenant, and this one); I predict that of those three, The Revenant is the best bet for Best Pic. But personally, I didn’t enjoy The Revenant that much. Too slow, too gory, slack character arcs, predictable plot line. Yet, I have a hunch that The Revenant has a bunch of the qualities that Academy-types love: Too slow, too gory, slack character arcs, predictable plot line. You get the idea.

Anyhoo, back to this review. Bridge of Spies is suspenseful and fun. (Fun? Okay: fun to watch.) Tom Hanks—how could you go wrong? Steven Spielberg: ditto. The story is based on true events, so there’s no need to worry about the ending; anyone with knowledge of the story knows what’ll happen. Even if you’ve never heard of the story, that’s not the point. The point of this is the telling. And it’s told very well.

The late ‘50s was a time of global anxiety. American school children underwent regular drills to make sure they knew to duck under their desks in case of nuclear bomb droppage.* Tension between the East and West was palpable. Bridge of Spies is the story of how the East and West played Spy vs. Spy: Check Point Charlie. Secret codes stored in a fake nickel hidden under a park bench. All that.

The tension in the original set of events was quite real. The tension in the re-telling is quite believable.

I recommend “BOS” to those who enjoy this genre of flicks. Best Picture? I doubt it, if only because The Revenant is bound to win.

  


I'm considering starting a GoFundMe account to support my movie-review proclivities. Or maybe I'll just get advertisers?

*Yeah. As if.

RASHg1

 

 

 

You're all a bunch of liars

The RASH's latest poll might possibly be inaccurate.

2016-0223 Tuesday

2016-0223 Tuesday

 by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   5WG


 

 

tODAY WE'RE going to talk about honesty and telling the truth. They’re basically the same side of the same coin. Why this topic? Because the Board of your RASH believes that some of our CWSs are not being totally honest when taking our polls. Specifically, the poll of last week. To refurbish your memory, the question was, “How do you treat most stop signs?” There were five selected answers available, ranging from an extreme of making a complete and utter stop at the line every time, to blow through it altogether. The results of said poll are available with a single click on the pie, to the right of the following paragraph.

StopSignsThanks to an alert CWS, I was elucidated as to the lopsided, extremely unlikely trend in the poll. Indeed, when the poll was finished and taken down, the results were definitely lopsided and extremely unlikely. As you can see, the fat side of half of all respondents (the red portion of the pie) said that they “come to a complete, utter and total stop at the line, every time. Then if I have to, I’ll creep forward to see cross-traffic.”

Oh really?

When I mentally compared the audacity of that claim—half of the drivers out there come to a total stop at the line every time—with my keen observatorial recollection of my fellow Gresham drivers, I was thunderstruck, if not aghast. Then, when I realized that a whole nother more-than-a-third of you (the yellow part in the pie) claim to not necessarily concern yourselves with the line, but come to a complete stop nevertheless, I was nearly apoplectic. And I don't get apoplectic easy.

Really? To be honest, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw someone come to a complete and utter stop at the line at any intersection controlled by a stop sign.

Then, I called on my extensive educationated background, wherein I took not one, but two statistics classes, back during my undergraduate years. Well, actually I only took one stats class. But I took it twice! Does that count?

Why twice? the CWS undoubtedly wants to know. Simple: I flunked it the first time. But I got an “A” the second time! So, statistically-speaking, I’m at 50% when it comes to knowing stats. That information might be germane to this discussion in a minute, so keep it in mind going forward.

I remember basically (only) two main things from my stats class. To wit:

  1. Approx. 43% of statistics are made up.
  2. In order to get even remotely accurate stats, you gotta have a big enough, and random enough sample.

So, given that only—what—15 people took the poll, I wondered if perhaps it was simply too small of a sampling to reflect the true, honest (see how I brought us back to the theme introduced in the first sentence of this post? They don’t hire just any fool here at The Rash, of Gresham) driving experience of Greshamites. Yet, since the Board really wants to present a fresh, glossy, polished website that is relevant, interesting and better than yours, we decided to engage in some pseudo-journalistic research.

We sent our crack investigative crew out to a busy street corner, some-random-where in Gresham. There, we set up our iPhone (mine’s better’n yours) camera and started recording. The resulting 64 seconds of footage tell a harrowing, revealing, and almost tragic story: It’s one of flagrant deception, falsification, mindless abandon (regarding driving “skills”), and outright fiction when it comes to, you know, telling the truth. At least, that’s what I think. Take a gander by clicking on the pic below (Clip opens in a new window.). You’ll see two things:

  1. We have a really cool “The RASH” “bug” in the lower right corner of the clip.
  2. Of the ten cars what go through the intersection (it’s a four-way stop) only ONE (the first one) comes to a complete stop—but not at the line! And we suspect that car stopped because of cross-traffic.

Stop162

The fat side of 50% of you treat stops signs religiously? You stop completely—wheels not moving? Pardon? (Forgive me if I question your level of religiosity.)

The other nine vehicles in the clip do not stop AT ALL! Wheels keep rolling the whole time.

So, what can I conclude, except that the vast majority of my readers are a bunch of whining, tall-tale-telling, pretentious, snobby, lane-changing-without-signaling, diddling, liars? Liars all!

“But Jacques,” the CWS is possibly yelling at the computer, “what’s the big deal? Why be such a stickler? For all intents and purposes the drivers are being safe! Do their wheels really need to completely stop turning?”

That, dear CWS, isn’t the point. This article isn’t about following the law—as important as that may be. This article is about honesty. It’s about trust. Truth in poll-taking. It’s about being able to believe anything at all. If I can’t trust my readers, how can you trust me?*

Go ahead, run your stop signs.** Hit those pedestrians in the crosswalk.**

Just, please: Be honest about it. That’s all I’m sayin’.

I ‘spect that next time we have a poll, you’ll be chagrined into clicking more accurately, and honestly, K?

I encourage your emails (confessionary or otherwise) concerning this topic: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I'm seriously considering sending in this post, with the accompanying film footage, to Nightline, or 20/20 or something. I believe the people need to know. 

 


*I realize that doesn’t make sense, but I’m writing from a position of emotional brokenness here. Bear with me.
**Kidding

 

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

In the Bleak Midwinter

Do you suffer from SAD?

2016-0216 Tuesday

2016-0216 Tuesday

 by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   5WG


 

 

aWHILE BACK I posted a delightful little very-short story, titled East Wind. It’s destined to become nominated for a Rashy (and win), I’m confident.

I have always loved the East Wind. Yet, I know not all Greshamites share my love of it. My Mom, for one, doesn’t like it one bit. Me, though… I love lying in bed (I've also been known to lie in bed, but that's a whole nother story) and listening to the dark, mysterious power outside. That’s why I wrote that story: to give words to my fascination with it. (That, and to win a Rashy and some other prestigious, artsy-fartsy writing award. Is there a Nobel Prize for Blog Posts? Edward R. Murrow? I have it on good authority that a Rashy is pretty-much in the bag, anyway.)

That said, I’ve recently realized that the bleakness of winter, personificated in the Wind, can wear on me after awhile. You know, after the holidays. Yet this February has been pretty good, weatherwise, no? But still....

HipaaHIPAA guidelines prohibit me from divulging any health issues I might have, but I will admit that I’ve occasionally suffered from depression (although not “clinical.” Rest assured, your RASH webster may be tormented by any of a number of disorders, but MDD isn't one of them—that I know of).

Moving on, I’ve (also) never been diagnosed with SAD. Maybe I’m susceptible. Yeah, I think I am.

If Seasonal Affective Disorder had an epicenter, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that spot was somewhere pretty-close to Division and Eastman. What with the gray skies, short days and dismal gloom that blankets us this time of year, if anyone is entitled to get a bit down, it’s us, right? As a native Oregonian (and lover of the aforementioned bitterness of the East Wind) I’ve always prided myself on being immune to the winter depression that seems to plague so many. But it might be that I simply try to put my best foot forward. I guess it’s a love-hate kind of thing. I love winter; I love all four seasons that we (or is it us?) Oregonians enjoy. Yet maybe I’m simply getting older and I’m losing my tolerance/affection for “nesting.”

Never has my tendency to feel the January Blues been more apparent than this year. Don’t know why. Maybe I need to up my meds.* Yet things are going quite well in my life right now: I have my loving family close-by. I am the publisher of a new, wildly-successful news website/blog (the one you’re reading right now) that has the potential to change the entire world. My toenail fungus is in check.* No cavities last time.* And although I’m not rich, I’m comfortable and content with my financial situation.

So, why so SAD this year?

One contributing factor is my weight, I’m sure. I started in on an ambitious healthy-eating and daily-exercise regimen in the fall, and it was going very, very well. Up until Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And New Years. And Kwanzaa (and I don’t even celebrate Kwanzaa). I’ve pretty-much gained back all of the 15 pounds I had lost. That said, I’m only THIS FAR from getting back up on that horse.

So anyway, the purpose of this post isn’t to lament my situation. Especially when, like I said, things are going well. Upshot: I thought I should explore the possibility that SAD might be sumpin’ I need to deal with.**

What I found is that during the winter (short, dark days), SAD people need to expose themselves to more light. I think I’m going to think about bright lights. Think about them anyway. If I could figure out how Uncle Fester did that thing with the light bulb in his mouth, I’d try that. (Well, I did try that. No luck. The bulb lit up, but I’m still depressed.) 

Do you have any thoughts? (We at The RASH hope you do, ‘cuz, like, it’d be even more depressing to find out that only the thoughtless visit here.) Care to share? Let’s talk (or, at least type). Please note that yours truly reserves the right to completely tear apart your thoughtful, deep, carefully-crafted, brilliantly-written, serious email and take everything out of context, make fun of you, and basically make you look like a dufus. (But we won't use your real name.) A little laughter for the CWS goes a long way in battling SAD.

If you want to share, lemme know. I’ll send you the HIPAA forms.

 

 


 You simply MUST watch/listen to the video/song at the jump at the link: "bleakness". It's from my absolutely-favorite-of-all-time Christmas productions: Sissel with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (2007 I think). I bought the DVD after watching this production on PBS a few years ago. Now, I listen to it every year. Just a beautiful, fantastic, wonderful, amazing (insert more superlatives here) experience. The music is off-the-charts beautiful; the whole production and choreography... the Choir... the Orchestra... if you are hankering for a new Christmas tradition, I highly recommend you get this DVD. Then, sometime every December, plop your buttocks in your Barcalounger®, and enjoy. If you enjoy wonderful Christmas music, and delicious orchestration, etc., you will NOT regret this purchase. [NOTE: There are TWO versions of this production out there. The good one is OUT OF PRINT, but you can get it HERE (for a price). Do NOT get the abridged version. It's weak.]

* Dang! Did I just say that? Thank goodness I’m not an actual medical-care-provider type person. I haven’t signed any forms giving myself permission to release any medical information. 

** Please note: Whenever yours truly ends a sentence with a preposition, he knows what he’s doing. Please save your grammar/spelling corrections for errors that are not on purpose. Thanks.

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

Calling out KGW

2016-0208 Monday

 by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   4WG


 

 

aN OPEN letter to KGW news:

Regarding your news story tonight, about plans for eleven new buildings in downtown Portland:

Are you kidding? The whole idea of new development for Portland is overshadowed with a story about food carts? As if 20 food cart owners trump growth, new jobs, and the thousands of new offices and jobs these projects represent? FOOD CARTS?

In the mean time… your story completely ignores the positive aspects of these ambitious plans, and instead you decide to feature a food cart owner who says he hopes he doesn’t have to move. Are you serious? Why not interview the manager/worker of a parking lot that is to be replaced by a new building? I mean come on.

I watch KGW, almost exclusively, because I just can’t stand the drama and sensationalism of other stations’ “news” stories. Yet you have really missed the mark of the true story here, and in my opinion you have pushed the emotional envelope, eschewing real news in favor of drama.

This story, which provided an opportunity to look forward to new growth and progress, was, in my opinion, hijacked by the viewpoint that progress is evil and harmful: Never mind that Portland has economic growth knocking at its door: people’s food carts will be displaced. Heaven forbid!

With this this new development, we’re looking at thousands of square feet of new office space—hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs! And you focus on food carts that might have to move. MOVE, mind you—not shut down! Your story even said that all the food cart entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to move to any of 30 OTHER blocks! Does this fact NOT negate your angle of sympathy for the food cart owners?

Instead of presenting a non-story that creates false sympathy for a few food cart owners, why not decide to err on the side of civic pride and growth in Portland? (I happen to believe that no person can be totally objective—news reporter or not. Your food cart paradigm certainly supports my belief. So why are you against growth, huh?)

I certainly do not begrudge a news team for touting the underdog and presenting the perspective of the disenfranchised. But the fact that the food carts are being offered new spots in other places leaves me scratching my head regarding your bias.

I hope you will make an effort to reconsider your perspective, and instead delve into the many other aspects of this story. I’m not asking you to ignore the food cart sub-story, but I think you should realize that in the grand scheme of things, having to walk a few more blocks to get your lunch burrito is nothing compared to the healthy growth and economic stability that rises on the horizon.

Jacques Nechques
Gresham

RASHg1

 

 

 

Interstellar

A stellar movie every sci-fi fan should see

2016-0208 Monday

2016-0208 Monday

a review by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   2WG


 

 

nOW THAT you’ve come down from that terrific performance at Super Bowl “L”, (and I’m not talkin’ ‘bout Beoncé’s piss-poor gig in the half-time show), it’s time we moved on. Let's review another movie. A number of days ago, I reviewed The Martian. Now it’s time to talk about another—altogether better—sci-fi flick: Interstellar.

Interstellar is an epical movie, worthy of three hours of your time. [Nothing like the three hours you spent watching the painfully endless Dances With Wolves back in the day. Promise.]

Let’s start with something not necessarily associated with great sci-fi movies (although there are certainly huge exceptions*): music. When you watch Interstellar, listen to the music. It’s sweeping; it’s epical; it adds so much to the movie. Really.

So, let’s get to the crux. Before I go much further though, I have to say this: I’ve never been a really big fan of Matthew McConaughey. Six-pack notwithstanding, I’ve often tried to like him, yet my endeavors have been in vain. “All right, alright, alright, alright, alriiiiiight…” He’s always come across to me as conceited—not one of my favorite characteristics in a person. Believe me, I’ve tried. To like him. But there’s just that sense of hubris in Matthew Mc. It has effectively served to deflect my attempts to appreciate his acting. Really deflect.

The above information and perspective notwithstanding, Interstellar has offered me a new view of Mr. Mconaughey: In Interstellar, I thought he was fantastic. Outstanding, even.

Crying MatthewCouple Matt’s performance with the delicious acting of Anne Hathaway, and I have to say, these two made this movie rock (that, and the plot, the character arcs and the special effects). From my observations, in the past Ms. Hathaway hasn’t necessarily set herself apart from the acting pack either. Yet, she did real good in this flick. Real good. I was totally able to remove my awareness of the actress from the character (ditto w/ Matthew): My definition of great acting.

Add to this, the superstar contribution of (Sir) Michael Caine, as well as offerings from the other actors in this production (Ellen Burstyn anyone? I mean, come on!), and you wind up with a really, really, really, good movie. If not a great movie. Other actors?: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow (!), Mackenzie Foy. They all did good.

Matt Damon was in not only this flick, but also The Martian, which I have recently reviewed. Allow me, if you will, to compare these two Damon-graced movies: Although I truly enjoyed The Martian, and I appreciated its drama, suspense and its will-he-make-it plot, I frequently found myself telling me that the ending of said flick was going to be too-painfully-obvious. It followed a time-worn, predictable pattern. Yes, the pattern was somewhat reassuring, but it was a pattern. Any fool who has seen more than four movies knew how it would end.

Interstellar, not so much. It was better.

The ending of Interstellar revealed new information (yet, said information didn’t spoil the plot at all; it added to the movie in a deep way). This newness wasn’t contrived; indeed, it had been artfully alluded-to from the beginning.

In my opinion, Interstellar was written “outside” the box of over-used predictability. I thought it was craftily-presented. It all tied together quite artfully.

In contrast to The Martian, this movie also incorporated a struggle that involved more than simply the survival of one man (Damon, in The Martian). In Interstellar the stakes involve not just the survival of one man, but of all humanity itself. There’s so much more emotion and compelling human connection here than in The Martian that it’s not even funny.

Interstellar is drenched in humanity: The will to survive, as a species. Moreover, it touches the haunting emotion that shadows every person: regret. Who among us hasn't wished for a Mulligan?: wishing we could do it over. McConaughey did a great job of showing his character’s (Cooper) overwhelming desire to re-do the events that separated him from his daughter. [Oh, should I have inserted a SPOILER ALERT tag there?]

If only we could do it over. Do life over. Throw our experience and knowledge of our later years upon the naivety of our younger years. Yes. If you’re human, you have regrets, no?

I heartily recommend Interstellar. If you haven’t liked Matthew McConaughey before, you might find yourself liking him how. The plot is really good. The acting is stellar, if not actually Interstellar. The music was nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes. Well-deserved, IMHO. Listen to the music. In so many ways, the music makes Interstellar. Special effects, plot and acting notwithstanding.




* Star Wars theme anyone? How ‘bout the Star Trek theme? Prometheus: Yes. And anything at all that John Williams has done (did he do any sci-fi?).

 

RASHg1

 

 

 

Mojave Grill & Cantina

Gresham's premiere sports bar

2016-0203 Wednesday

2016-0203 Wednesday

an unsolicited review by JACQUES NECHQUES. Recommended number of wine glasses before reading this piece:   2WG


 

 

my head needs scratching when I think about Mojave, downtown. My bafflement surrounds this question: “Why in heck isn’t this place packed-to-the-rafters every day of the week?”

This location was originally the home of 4th Street Brewing, back in the day. (Well, not orginally. For that we’d need to consult the Gresham Hysterical Society, or maybe the Chinookans, yea, even, perhaps the Lord Himself.) It is a fantastic location, right in downtown—the heart of historical Gresham, and the hub of so much activity these days.

For now—and the foreseeable future—the place is a restaurant and bar (“Grill & Cantina”). From my limited observation, the restaurant is quite popular. It always seems to be buzzing. [Note: I’m not reviewing the restaurant side right now, since I haven’t et there (or maybe I have but I can’t remember, okay? Leave me alone.) Although, now that I think about it, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to review a place just because I’ve never been there. Maybe later, as I develop my reviewing skills…] 

Why, I want to know, doesn’t the bar get as much business as the restaurant? Maybe it does; perhaps I’ve just missed it because I stay home too much. [Actually, that’s quite the possibility.] Regardless, Mojave’s bar is a great way to watch a game. Sup' Bowl 50 fans, are you reading this? Big TVs surround the room; it’s a two-story-high affair, kitted out [I just found this term, "kit" in the dictionary] with very comfortable and warm furnishings. It has to be one of the best bar ATMOSPHEREs in Gresham, especially when there’s a big game on and the place is full of rabid fans.

My son (you may have heard of him) and I decided to meet after work a week or so ago, to watch the Clemson vs. Alabama game. [Well, it was after work for him. I sort of shun work now-a-days. My plan is to make it big on the Web.] We easily scored the best seat in the house, right in the middle of the room, under the big screen (the place's "feature" screen is bigger'n' the others).

BoxMojaveThe SERVICE was good. My expectation for service at a bar has diminished as I’ve aged; when I’m in a restaurant-proper, I expect the staff to grovel and accede to my every thought—even before I think said thought. In a bar, I’ve come to realize the servers are usually quite busy, and they seem to expect that patrons aren’t necessarily in a hurry. I get it. That said, our servers (from the hostess, to our wait person, to the other people who brought our food, etc.) were great. I almost never had to begin screaming and throwing silverware to get their attention. (That was a joke, for those of you in Boring. I’m being funny. The service was four-pips.)

FOOD? Awesome. I had a nacho thing (can’t remember the name of it) that was huge and delicious. Exactly what I want when I’m hungry. I actually think it was intended as an appetizer for a few people, but I ate it myself; my son ordered an entrée. My son told me said entrée was quite good too.

I know that with this next statement, some of the CWSs will almost-violently flip the OFF switch of their computers and be tempted to toss it—monitor and all—out the window; I can handle that: I ordered Coors Light. I know. I know. I’m not a beer connoisseur. The astute CWS will note that I prefer wine, given that most of my articles are prefaced with a wine consumption recommendation. Nor am I wine snob, though. I’ve been known to consume wine out-of-the-box. (Have I just lost the other half of my readers?) The wines I like best?: Those with, as Michael Scott of The Office TV show says, have an “Oaky afterbirth.” Yeah, I know my wines.

Okay, now that I’ve alienated those of my fans who actually have good taste, I am free to speak to the 6% of my readers what are still here. (And given the early-stage situation of therash.today, that’s prolly like, about, two-and-a-half people…)

Good golly. My mind is scattered. To the wind. Is it not? Alrighty-then. Where wuzz-I?

Beer. Okay: I love a good pilsner. Pale lagers are my friend. My sons can have all the soil-infused dark brews they want. [Yeah, I have more than one son, and they’ve both been known to order the dark, earthy, full-of-body (corpses, I’d say) Porters and Stouts—and actually enjoy them, methinks.] Let ‘em drink the darks. Just leaves more Corona Lights, Heinekens and Coors Lights for me.

My Gresham son (the one who has chosen to live close to me, and love me—as opposed to the one who has ended up living under a bridge in San Francisco) commented, “[Mojave has] a pretty good selection of brews on tap. Definitely one of the best selections in Gresham (as far as that goes).” Gresham son continues, “The atmosphere is great. It's hard to believe that place isn't busier for the big games. I love the big screen they have.” So yeah, Gresham son is quite smart and observant. But I think we've already established that.

In fairness, I have to post that said Gresham son (love him as I do) differs from me regarding Mojave’s food. In his (admittedly youthful, inexperienced and green-behind-the-ears) opinion, the food is “just on this side of sub-par.”

Perhaps I need to Facetime with San Francisco son a bit more, in spite of his living-under-a-bridge status.

Okay, the runway is in sight, and we’re ready for a VFR approach. Time to reign in this article and come in for a landing. [...to mix a metaphor or two] Yeah. We’re going to do this manually: I’ll land in the same manner with which off I took: Mojave Grill & Cantina deserves to thrive. Its location at the hub of Gresham’s physical downtown/center foreshadows (I hope) its centrality as the go-to place for social gatherings, sports events, great food and all-around fun.

When next you text your friends, deciding on a place to meet, give Mojave a try. You won’t be disappointed.

In fact, I think you’ll be very pleased.

 

RASHg1

 

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