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Aug 29, 2011
-image of San Antonio Texas' River Walk - from flickrAn article in The Monitor last week discussed the possibility of the development of a River Walk-like theme park in McAllen (TX).
If it goes through, the park would be built in the Boeye Reservoir area which is just off HWY 83, and close to the Airport.
This is obviously a pretty big deal that stirs up even bigger questions; Is right now really the best time to build a park? How many jobs will this create? Can McAllen’s infrastructure handle a large park? Does McAllen even need a theme park?
But the one question everyone seems to be focused on right now is; Is McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez abusing his power? This question revolves around the fact that the company at the front of the line to develop the park is McAllen Attractions Inc., a company in which the Mayor’s two sons are associated with.
The Mayor has legally removed himself from all of the decision making about the park to avoid any conflict of interest. But a follow-up article in The Monitor makes it pretty clear that a lot of people have some pretty strong opinions about the whole thing.
Personally, I’m not so sure if who builds this park should be the dominant issue. Every single one of us, at some point or another, got a job, was referred to a job, or entered into some kind of business arrangement completely dependent on who we know, or who we are related to. As long as everything is done legally, I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Hopefully, as the negotiations continue on the development of the park, the attention shifts from who builds it, to answering whether it should or shouldn’t be built in the first place.
Aug 26, 2011
Paul Rudd in Big Beach Films' Our Idiot Brother - Image from movieweb.com
IMDB Plot Summery
A comedy centered on an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters.
Film Review By Christian Salinas
From the trailers to the TV spots, this movie is being sold as a goofy “I Love You Man” like, R rated comedy for adults. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find out this film has a little more to offer than what I was expecting.
This is one of those films that falls-in just about in the middle when it comes to entertainment value. It is definitely not boring, but it is paced like a slow-dance, but to be more specific, I would say it’s paced like a slow-dance to your favorite song with someone you really like.
This is a feel good movie with a positive vibe thorough. The R rating is appropriate, but the movie itself is never vulgar. The comedy flows very naturally without ever felling artificially injected into every situation. The plot is slow to develop, and very predictable, but this film’s strength lies, without a doubt, in its characters. They are very well written, and very relatable. We all know someone like the Paul Rudd (the idiot) character, and the supporting characters are also very grounded in reality, and most are still likable despite their obvious flaws (in personality). It may not be a side-splitting comedy, but it is funny in its own quite way, and overall a very enjoyable film.
It’s populated by very well written, very relatable characters. The comedy flows very naturally without ever feeling artificial.
The Not So Good
The Pacing can be slow at certain points, and the plot is very predictable with very few surprises.
Aug 25, 2011
-image from flickr
A report featured in The Monitor this week, seems to suggest Mexico has just declared one of the loudest “You think your ---- don’t stink?” in recent history.
According to the report, officials from the Matamoros Chamber of Commerce accused U.S. news media (more specifically RGV media) of purposely not reporting the “reality” of U.S. border violence.
A warning was issued to Mexican citizens to take precautions when traveling into the U.S. border cities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Everyone has the right to call things as they see them, but I do think officials should should be a little more selective with the things declare. This may be a matter of perspective, but it would seem to me that, stating that the violence reported along the Mexican side of the border is comparable to the crime in U.S. border cities is dramatic overstatement.
Even if U.S. media was purposely not reporting crime incidents throughout the Rio Grande Valley (which is extremely doubtful), it’s unlikely that there could be mass murders, mass kidnappings, massacres, and mass graves being found, or happening here in the RGV and that none of the news organization have been reporting on it.
Although its tactics are questionable, and some of the claims may be exaggerated, I actually don’t think Mexico is doing anything wrong by advising its citizens to take precautions when traveling into the U.S. as a general travel advisory, because the truth is, the world can be a very dangerous place, and we are living in some pretty unique times facing many challenges. The very obvious truth facing everyone these days, unfortunately, is that we all really should take precautions when traveling anywhere. But, what was stated on the report went beyond just a travel advisory, and I would say the official's words are comparable to childish "school yard" trash talk.
Aug 24, 2011
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Aug 23, 2011
-image special to BPS
The Monitor featured a bizarre article this week in which it was reported that several manhole covers have been stolen from the city of Brownsville.
As of the date on the article, there have been seven manhole covers stolen right off the streets. Authorities believe they are being stolen, and sold for scrap metal at local salvage yards.
On the surface, this may seem like a pretty funny crime, and those committing it may easily be filed under the “Dumb Criminal” category, but the undertones associated with this report are pretty scary.
The economy is making criminals so desperate that they are now stealing large pieces of metal right off city streets. This reminds me of disturbing scenes in ‘Great Depression’ era movies where people would do things like take down advertising signs to build shacks to live in, or tear down white picket fences to burn as firewood.
Is this manhole theft story a glimpse of something disturbing bubbling-up under the surface?
Aug 22, 2011
-image special to BPS
It can either be considered a creative solution, or a disturbing trend, but it was announced by local media last week that the Donna and Hidalgo Independent School Districts will start offering advertising spots on school buses.
On the one hand, this is a simple, and inexpensive way for school districts to make a little extra cash. Cash that pretty much all school districts desperately need these days. It would virtually cost the schools nothing to get it going, I’m sure the advertisers would themselves be in charge of producing all ad materials, and maybe even the setup, leaving plenty of room for the schools to make a healthy profit.
Is this right however? Ads are crammed into everything around us from billboard signs on the road to walls on the street, both consciously and subconsciously telling us to buy new pants, drink beer, and buy an iPads. Do kids really need more advertisements surrounding them eight hours a day?
The report did point out that the content of the ads would be strictly regulated, and limited only to school buses.
I’m sure this is true, for now anyway, but how many organization in history have every turned away from easy money? Not many, and that’s exactly what this is, it’s a very easy way for school districts to make money, and the more they do it, the more they make.
All signs point to things not getting any better for the economy any time soon; it could take years. School districts will no doubt find themselves struggling for revenue again next year… how far are they willing to go to get it.
Aug 19, 2011
Colin Farrell in Dream Works Pictures’ Fright Night – Image from movieweb.com
IMDB Plot Summery
A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.
It was hard to know exactly what to expect from this film since it was advertised in some trailers as a dark comedy, and in others as a straight-up horror film. Being that the film featured “McLovin” however, I just assumed it would lean more towards dark comedy…. I was wrong.
This film appeared to have all the elements necessary to make an entertaining film; an energetic young cast, it falls under a popular genre, and it has an overall setup that’s perfect for some potentially great action sequences, but in the end they all fail to meet their full potential.
You can’t blame Hollywood for trying to make money off a popular genre (Vampire Movies in this case), but they can’t all be winners. Even though it was great to be reminded that Colin Farrell still has a healthy onscreen presence, that just wasn’t enough to overlook the lack of attention paid to both story, and character development, nothing is very consistent in this film, and both problems and solutions seem to come out of nowhere in certain scenes. I will say, it was nice to see that the vampires were undoubtedly the bad guys, and the plot is simply to rid the neighborhood of them. No time is wasted in wondering whether the main villain is simply misunderstood or just needs a girlfriend. For a film that presents itself as a ‘serious’ vampire movie however, a lot of the vampire rules, and more specifically their abilities, are some of the silliest I’ve ever seen.
It was refreshing to see smart female characters, they are rarely written so respectfully in horror films. I did like that the vampire was finally back to being the bad guy. I can’t say Colin Farrell gave a great performance, but it was good to see him onscreen again.
The Not so Good…
Almost all aspects of this film seem rushed, and under developed. Some action sequences are silly, almost laughable (and I’m sure not intentionally).
Aug 17, 2011
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Aug 16, 2011
-image from sodahead
A while back, an article posted in the New York Post stated that earlier in the summer, FaceBook started to show signs that it’s popularity may be dropping in the U.S. It actually lost about six million users in the month of May.
Like I said, this information was released a few months back, but a recent local story from Channel 4 has helped shine a little light as to why I’m convinced FaceBook just isn’t as cool as it once was.
Apparently, local State Representative Veronica Gonzales, from McAllen (TX) had her FaceBook account hacked, and someone sent out annoying messages under her name.
I have nothing against the State Rep. I’m sure she’s a very good person, but the fact that state officials are using social networking just seems like something FaceBook should try to put an end to if it wants to stay popular.
Aug 15, 2011
Still Image from Umbrella-Rosenblum Films Production Feature "1984"
An article featured on Channel 4's website last week reported that Harlingen (TX) has added cameras to some stop lights, as well as police vehicles, designed to scan your license plates.
The Harlingen PD states that cameras would not be used to issue traffic violations, but as a system to identify criminals, and possibly even kidnap victims. The theory is that the cameras will scan the license plates of all vehicles that pass in front of them, if the plates are on a list of registered criminals, sex offenders, and/or stolen cars or related to an Amber Alert, nearby police vehicles will stop to investigate.
Just how effective will this system be though, is it possible that it can make mistakes, and if so, what would be the consequences?
Aug 12, 2011
Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari in 30 Minutes or Less.Image from Movieweb.com
IMDB Plot Description:
Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery guy, strap a bomb to his chest, and inform him that he has mere hours to rob a bank or else...
Film Review by Christian Salinas
This film is everything you expect it to be; an over the top, not-to-be-taken-seriously funny summer comedy. No one in this film will be nominated for an Oscar, it offers no profound message, and none of the characters are well developed…. and that’s okay. I’m pretty sure no one, neither the audience nor the filmmakers, were expecting any of these elements to be the main attraction of this film. The success of this movie is completely dependent on its entertainment value.
Taking all of the above mentioned statements into consideration, I would say this film does accomplish the goals it appears to have laid out for itself; It was funny, and it will appeal to a young audience only seeking a night out at the movies with friends, which I have no doubt is the originally intended audience.
This film does have some genuinely funny moments. It features a diverse(ish) cast, and aside from the final few minutes, the plot is actually fairly well structured. It was also nice to see Jesse Eisenberg experiment with a ‘non-nerdy’ role.
The Not so Good:
Most of the humor is mean-spirited with some of it not having much to do with the storyline. None of the characters are particularly likable, and the story does lose its structure in the final few minutes with some of the characters making ‘out-of-character’ decisions, and leaving a lot of loose ends.
Aug 11, 2011
If you have any doubt that droughts are a big deal, just take a look at what’s happening in Kenya right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their homelands as ‘drought refugees’. The number of people suffering in these lands is so high that my mind literally can’t fully comprehend it.
A lot of other factors come into play, of course. These are third-world countries that lack infrastructure such as irrigation systems, or even just essential things like a stable government that can attempt to organize to come to solutions, but in spite of that, the horrible drought conditions are still dominantly to blame for what’s going on there. What about the drought conditions here in South Texas?
Is the same thing going to happen here in Rio Grande Valley? Not really, but we’re not in great shape either. As can be seen from the image of the US Drought Monitor Map, drought conditions in our area, and pretty much the whole state, are substantial. We’ve been following several stories from local media on just how the drought has already had some significant effects locally, such as a report from Starr County about how local farmers have been forced to sell their cattle into beef production earlier than usual because drought conditions are just making it too tough to keep cattle alive.
Aug 10, 2011
Aug 9, 2011
Twentieth Century Fox's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" Image from movieweb.com
An article in The Monitor recently stated that the San Benito School District is the first in the region to put together a guide on how to deal with bullying.
I know, from first-hand experience unfortunately, that being picked on, or getting beat-up at school is a horrible experience. Although, I do feel the need to mention that one of the worst beatings I ever got in school was actually from my own teacher’s wooden paddle.
I have no doubt bullying in schools is a very serious problem, and it's very likely that bullying these days is a-hundred-times worst than it was when I was in school… or is it?
According the San Benito “Guide to Deal With Bullying” - bullying is defined as; “written or oral expression or physical conduct (that has) the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, placing a student in reasonable fear or harm.”
The article continues stating that bullying can also take the form of gossip, and rumors, or also harassing emails, texts, or taking “unflattering pictures” of someone and posting them online.
I may be wrong, but doesn’t that pretty much describe everyone in your class?
Aug 8, 2011
Images from movieweb.com
Over the weekend, Channel 5 reported on two separate stories involving citizens standing-up to crime with two very different approaches.
First, we have the story of John Hogan, a retired detective who decided he would catch criminals by setting up a homemade non-lethal alarm system around his neighborhood that would set-off a siren when tripped. Reportedly this has reduced crime in his area.
Second, we have the story of an unnamed 16-year-old boy who decided he would deal with the criminals in his neighborhood using his father’s shotgun, a decision that resulted in the shooting of two men; two alleged criminals to be exact.
Aug 5, 2011
Image from movieweb.com
In the 2002 film Minority Report, a high-tech Department of Precrime has been created, in the not-too-distant future, to detect and prevent crime before it is committed.
In an article posted today on Channel 5’s website, local law enforcement official announce they’ve started using Crime Mapping Software intended not only map where crimes are taking place, but also predict future criminal activity.
The Mapping software is able to make predictions as to where and when crimes are likely to take place by following the principal that, statically speaking, criminals tend to commit crimes within what are familiar territories them. By keeping data, on where, when, and by whom crimes are being committed, police can be better informed on where it makes more sense to concentrate their efforts. Or in other words, Police are likely to patrol streets where crimes often take place, at the times they often take place.