Category Archives: Opinion
We really, really like you White Rock Lake — we just can’t be seen with you right now.
That poor lake must be feeling pretty crappy about itself right about now, watching helplessly as its marathon name is ditched in favor of the word “Dallas”. The locally-famed White Rock Marathon will now be called the Dallas Marathon … and the new starting line will be downtown.
Similar to its Texas partners, the Austin and Houston Marathons (along with the Boston, Chicago, New York, etc.), the historically-named White Rock Marathon has been reduced to a city name and the word “marathon”. Good thing? Bad thing? You know what they say: deep-seeded marathon name judgment is in the eye of the beholder.
NOTE: Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for our 2012 Byron Nelson final round live coverage from Las Colinas this Sunday (5/20).
The 2012 Byron Nelson field is top-heavy with big names this year, so snagging the purse majority will be no easy task (is it ever in the PGA?). Dallas golf fans are in for a treat this weekend; be on the lookout for the big guns, young guns, and sleeper picks:
Matt’s had a lot to smile about lately: five top ten finishes this season and a fresh Players win at Sawgrass last week. But then again, K.J. Choi notched T40 when he hit the 2011 Nelson shortly after his Players win. If Kuchar can win two weeks in a row though, he’s going to turn even more heads than he already has.
At 24, Jason Day is to TPC Four Seasons what pre-tree-crash Tiger was to Augusta or Bay Hill (exaggeration, but intent intended). He won his first Nelson trip in 2010 and finished fifth last year, so he certainly knows what it takes to place well in Las Colinas.
Phil is going to be an obligatory consideration for any tournament he enters for a while. When Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy aren’t playing, he’s really going get consideration. He’s at fourth in the FedEx standings — the highest at the Nelson — and fifth on the money list behind Kuchar.
It’d be downright foolish to snub last year’s champ, especially at the birthplace of his PGA confidence. He’s got a PGA Championship win and a T27 Masters finish under his belt since his last visit to Dallas, so expect Bradley to make a break for the top 10 if he starts getting nostalgic.
Vegas is my not-so-risky sleeper pick. He only has one PGA win and he’s definintely a long shot, but he’s coming off of a solid Sawgrass outing and he’s a UT alum (for whatever that’s worth). Like Keegan Bradley, he’s bound to be on his way up. Ah, the beauty of attempted sleeper picks: low risk, high reward. If he wins, I might just look like a genius.
Collective note to Hunter Mahan: I know you don’t like the course that dealt you a 4-over finish in 2010 (+5 in the final round), but we miss you. I mean, you live in Colleyville and went to school in McKinney, you don’t have a choice. And don’t even think about committing to the Crowne Pla—–damn it Hunter!
If any mall in Dallas was going to impose a curfew, it was going to be NorthPark. When they revealed that anybody 17 and under couldn’t go unsupervised after 6 p.m., controversy was sure to follow — from teens and parents alike.
Not only have well-documented NorthPark scuffles been happening lately, but parents are taking advantage of the mall’s popularity by dropping their kids (and their kids’ friends) off whenever they need a little “away time”. It’s pretty clear that NorthPark is taking the measure to protect their target audience — this isn’t Irving Mall or Collin Creek, but rather the most upscale shopping center in North Texas that caters to some of the region’s wealthiest individuals. I personally don’t shop at Louis Vuitton, but if i did, I probably wouldn’t be in the blogging business.¹
“Ageism” as a form of discrimination has been an argument that I’ve seen floating around, but I don’t really buy it. It’s scientific reality that teens and pre-teens don’t act like adults, hence the terminology. Their brains are wired to make risky, often poor decisions.² Trust me, I’ve been there. On the same note, many teenagers can control themselves just fine and may act (or be) more mature than many adults, but there are always going to be a notorious few that stand out among the harmless bystanders. NorthPark’s decision is targeted toward those notorious few. It’s drastic for sure, but I can understand why they’re doing it. It’s about PPP — Privileged Patron Protection — and they’re willing to risk pissing a few people off to do it.
My humble solution: if you have to enforce a curfew, 17 years old seems a little high. Texans shouldn’t be able to legally drive at 16 and then wait two more years to bypass escort through a shopping mall. Driving seems like it bears more responsibility than walking around a mall after 6. But NorthPark is a private institution and if they want to impose curfews (for age groups, at least) they can.
A quick Google search for “mall curfew” reveals that this isn’t the first teen mall curfew to take effect. Unless a constitutional amendment passes that defines “ageism” as illegal discrimination, they’ll keep being implemented. If you like it, show NorthPark your support with your wallet. If you don’t like it, well, show them your dissent with your wallet. You’re a free market economist and you didn’t even know it!
¹Of course, I’m generalizing — and to be fair, I enjoy NorthPark. But I tend not to buy anything there.
Obligatory warning: contains spoilers!
Many Dallasites and Americans alike will see The Hunger Games this weekend. It wasn’t uncommon to find hundreds of moviegoers lined up with snacks and blankets for the midnight show. Last night, most showtimes were sold out and the attendance for other Friday night movies was probably a bit thin — it even broke the opening day record (non-sequel) with a staggering $68 million in ticket sales.
With all the hype surrounding The Hunger Games film, you probably know what it’s about by now. Essentially, a group of 24 teenagers have to fight to the death in a government-imposed (and sponsored) contest. If that doesn’t sound like something that interests you, read no further, because the details can get a bit gory.Viral Hollywood hype never comes easy, though. I’ve heard a few references comparing The Hunger Games to the 1999 Koushun Takami book Battle Royale and even accusations that Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins stole the idea from Takami (Collins denied any knowledge of Battle Royale during writing). The 2000 Japanese film adaptation of Battle Royale is one of my personal favorites to date, but I haven’t read the Battle Royale or Hunger Games books. Everything written from here on out is solely based on movie comparison. For the sake of the average moviegoer, that’s probably a good thing.
When I sat down in a Plano theater last night, I knew of a few similarities from the get-go. I knew that Hunger Games, like Battle Royale, centered around a group of people who were thrown into the fray and had to fight for their lives until one remained. I also knew that the cause of the “games” in both movies was a totalitarian, Orwellian government that had seemingly abandoned all reason.
I can let these similarities go though, I suppose they can be chalked up to coincidental Romanesque [group] gladiator themes. However, there were some finer similarities that made me wonder just how much Battle Royale really influenced
the Hunger Games film.
For one, both groups of free-for-all contestants are high school aged, complete with young love and teenage angst. Love actually becomes a major theme in both films, and even directly influences the winners in both. Hunger Games could have easily gone with a group of grown men and women, but instead opted for the Battle Royale route.
After the death of a contestant, the result is announced to all surviving contestants. In both films, it would have been interesting if there was no announcement, and survivors were kept guessing until the last survivor is left standing. The announcements didn’t necessarily detract from either movie, but you can add it to the list of coincidences nevertheless.
The last, pretty glaring similarity was the tracking system. While Battle Royale players were tracked with a collar and Hunger Games contestants were tracked intravenously, the behind-the-scenes idea was nearly identical. A group of mindless drones sat around a giant digital map, directed by a single leader, and watched the contestants as they fought to survive. The Minority Report touch screens in Hunger Games couldn’t mask that similarity. In both films, the finalists cheated the system and found a way to escape the game intact.
However, there were key differences that set Hunger Games apart from its counterpart and made me appreciate the film for the unique adaptation that it was.Hunger Games features more of a futuristic, dystopian feel, where an elite ruling class shave their beards artistically and sip cocktails while the peon masses huddle up like cattle in 12 different regions. Of course, inter-region travel is not permitted (by way of electric fence) and it leads to some stark differences among the members of each region. One male and one female are selected from each of the 12 districts, which makes for interesting interactions among the 24 contestants of the “74th annual” Hunger Games. Battle Royale takes place in an alternate Japan where the economy has collapsed and civil unrest runs rampant. Students are boycotting school and the government passes the BR Act, which allows for the contest. In this respect, Battle Royale is more startling and borderline believable, while Hunger Games is more of a far-off fantasy — but don’t take that the wrong way.
The Hunger Games contestants, in contrast to Battle Royale, seem to be battle-hardened and are even trained prior to the contest, which makes sense, because the whole thing is televised for elite entertainment. There are only a few people, slightly younger Rue included, who are really numb to the whole situation they’ve just been dumped into. In Battle Royale, the majority of the characters are like Rue, and many try to achieve some sort of peace.
Plot-wise, neither tournament lasts longer than a few days. Film-wise, the Hunger Games competition seems to last less than half of the screen time (an hour or so). The other half is spent on weak character building and not-so-weak setting development. I say that because, by the time the battle actually rolled around, I found myself not caring if one character survived or got killed off by genetically-modified hornets. In Battle Royale, I felt the same way, but it’s because I was supposed to. Less than five minutes is spent introducing the story line and the group of schoolchildren is almost immediately thrown into pure island chaos, and a few of them don’t even make it that far.
The contest rules are also different. Hunger Games contestants had an obligation to kill each other, but there was no time limit. In Battle Royale, the added suspense of a three-day time limit imposes on the minds of all 42 contestants and drives many of them to do things they would never have dreamed of doing.
The most prominent difference, and what ultimately solidified my Battle Royale bias, was the contest setting. Hunger Games took place in a giant electronic nature dome where Truman Show operator had the power to alter everything, including the weather and the challenges. This includes fireballs coming out of nowhere and pit bull mutants popping out of the ground (…really?). Battle Royale, on the other hand, took place on a deserted island — and that’s it. Most of the contestants are from the same school class, gassed en route to a field trip, and thrown onto the island. In this respect, the viewer gets to witness the progression from innocence to cold-blooded killer. There’s nothing in between.
All in all, The Hunger Games was a very good movie. If you like Battle Royale, you’ll probably like Hunger Games (and vice versa). Nobody can say with certainty if Suzanne Collins was influenced or not, but we’ll have to take her word for it. If you’ve never seen Battle Royale, you’ll probably experience the initial shock of seeing a dystopian teenager-laden battle to the death. But if you have seen Battle Royale, Hunger Games might come up a little short. However, in the style versus substance battle, Hunger Games definitely has the style aspect locked up.
A solid Woody Harrelson job never hurts either.
You idiot Republicans. You mainline fools — that go to the country clubs and feel like you’re part of the establishment because you go to $5,000-dollar-a-plate dinners with these people — are morons. You’re just like the idiot Obama supporters who thought they were going to get free cars and houses and gas from him. The same Wall Street interests that are offshore, the same mega banks finance Obama and Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. They own all the horses, so they win either way. The one guy they’re attacking is Ron Paul.
– Alex Jones