Dunkirk Movie

August 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I seldom go to the movies anymore as the majority of the movies do not do enough to grab my attention. I can remember seeing Lincoln in 2012but do not recall of any others since then. There may have been another or two, but they have not entered my memory. Last night, after trying to find an available time, I was able to view Dunkirk and was it a different movie.

Let me first say, I am glad the Americans didn’t arrive to save the day! One gets tired of America winning everything even when they were not involved; U-571 comes to mind as a movie that was not worth watching. When I watch a historical film, I prefer variety. Dunkirk provides this variety and even pushes itself away from Hollywood. Suffice to say that Hollywood is the reason I do not go to the movies very often. So what is Dunkirk about?

Dunkirk was the British evacuation of British expeditionary troops from France during the Second World War. By May 1940, the Germans had soundly defeated the British, French, and Belgian armies while entrapping them along the coast. Efforts were made to evacuate the 400,000 British soldiers and what French soldiers they could remove from France. The movie takes a British perspective of the evacuation from three different points of view. These views are from land, sea, and the air.

As this is from the British perspective, the Germans are purposely never shown other than their planes. As for the French, we hear of them fighting to keep the Germans at bay and do see some French soldiers trying to evacuate. The rest are British men trying to get home. The three points of view are the RAF pilots and their experience in the air, the Little Ships and their coming to rescue the stranded soldiers, and finally, the British soldiers trying to get off of the beach to go home. You do not see generals or politicians and in fact, the highest ranking officer I recognized was a colonel and a commander of the navy. I learn of one soldier’s name during the movie, and it really isn’t his name. The soldiers on the beach all seem to be the same, and this is the intent.

The storyline is divergent and takes a while to recognize it, so if you see British Spitfires, know they are the same throughout the movie. Another feature that is well done is the providing detailed information about the event, and this starts at the beginning with the pamphlets being dropped on Dunkirk by the Germans. The pamphlet or paper immediately explains to the viewer that the Allies are surrounded. What dialogue there is explains the number of soldiers and how many men the British hope to evacuate.

The movie has little dialogue and no plot. There is really no protagonist, but you still experience a good movie that is much like a documentary that is without much of the senseless dialogue found in your typical war movie. This is a movie where a defeat was a success. It is one of the strangest cinema experiences I have ever had, but I enjoyed it. If you happen to read this and have not seen the movie, keep an eye out for the gentleman that touches the soldiers face at the end of the movie.

 

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Categories: Movie Tags: ,

What Tumultuous Offseason?

August 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Julia Stumbaugh recently wrote an argument about the Penguins and their 2017 offseason changes. She correctly notes a rather minor offseason change for the Penguins of 2016 offseason when compared to the 2017 version. She lists a bunch of changes and notes the players that hurt the Penguins.

According to Julia, Fleury, Kunitz, Bonino, Daley, and Cullen hurt the Penguins. I am stuck with what she considers to be so damaging. Fleury, Kunitz, and Daley were instrumental for the injury plagued team while Cullen had a noticeable drop in skill the past two seasons. Even Bonino had a major drop. What is so glaringly wrong now that these players have moved on?

She states there is a significant loss in the veteran presence? First, this is an often overstated claim usually made by those who do not look deeply into what makes a team run. Veterans do add an element to a team, but after two Stanley Cup victories, I would say Sheary, Rust, and Dumoulin are veterans in some way or is it age based? She lists four current stars as the veteran presence, but this contradicts the idea of what a veteran is.  Is she trying to say that star players are veterans? If so, then the loss was truly insignificant. Fleury was the closest but he was relegated to more of a minor role this past season until the injury of Matt Murray. An assistant captain doesn’t mean the loss of a veteran. How long had Kunitz held this role? Don’t you think this is overplaying the assistant captain role for a guy that not only dropped in lines but also playing time?

Second, she mentions the high-quality backup goaltender. This is only an issue when your main goalie is injured. Just about any team in this league will suffer if their main goalie goes down. Why not include the scrubs or development players if you are going to include a backup? She is basing the future on the past. Anyone familiar with sports is well aware that the injury bug is not predictable

Julia concentrates on the point production for players lost but doesn’t dig deeper into other issues. She could have made a case about Bonino but doesn’t. Where she could strengthen her argument she ignores while plopping fluff to support her argument. She falls flat on her face with her article.

She doesn’t use the term leadership in her article. It is here where she could have mentioned Kunitz, Bonino, Cullen, and Fleury. But is leadership someone who is willing to give all as these players did? If so, then why include Malkin as he takes a backseat much of the time.  There is so much to dig into with this element.

The truth of the matter is that the players lost were becoming minor role playing partners on the team or were not in a position to push the team forward. Fleury was more of an aberration this past post season and the other players were more fortunate than skilled in helping the team. This isn’t to say their skill didn’t help, but my argument is there are other players out there that could have done the same thing. Kunitz’s series winning goal against Ottawa was not because he was a veteran. It was the fact he was in the right place at the right time and with a little luck, his end over end shot went in. This is similar to 2016 Stanley Cup Finals game two goal by Connor Sheary.

Julia does not know the Penguins players with much detail or she could have provided more information to support her weak argument. This is typical of most writers of any sport. They misguide the reader and claim they know what they’re talking about. The 2017-18 may suffer from weakened the 3rd and 4th lines, but their success is ultimately dependent upon the core players. The counter argument is that the 3rd and 4th line was getting progressively weaker anyway.

The team has gained veteran depth with younger players winning two cups. When you are playing 23 playoff games, you gain experience and doing it two years in a row provides much to build on. No, I don’t say Sheary, Rust, and Dumoulin are veterans, but they are on their way to being veterans. Who you cannot exclude are Hornqvist, Cole, Hagelin, and Kessel. Losing role players doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom. The Penguins lost periphery players that had to shine when injuries took their toll and some players were sadly overrated. Hey, I like Bonino, but his name to fame was the HBK line and a Punjabi goal chant. His 2016-17 season was mediocre at best, so what are the Penguins giving up? Cullen is another year slower. Daley was a minor role player for the team as injuries riddled his time with the team.

The Penguins will fight for the Stanley Cup next season and the team will have to battle improved opponents in order to win the Stanley Cup. If they do not win, it will be their opponents who earned the victory while the Penguins squandered their chances.

Chicago Blackhawks

August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

The Chicago Blackhawks were swept by Nashville Predators with ease. Was this an aberration or portends to come? They only scored three goals in four games while being shut out in two of the games. Some years the puck doesn’t go the way you want. Was this the case?

It is easy to look at the Nashville Predators and assume their making the Stanley Cup finals proves the Blackhawks played a great team, but this is too simple. The Predators were the sixteenth seeded team and clearly were not one of the better teams entering the playoffs. They were tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders for regulation victories with 39. They were five and five their last ten games. There was not much to write about as the Predators entered the playoffs.

Chicago, on the other hand, lost their final four games with two being in overtime and the team was three and seven in their final ten. They couldn’t average two goals per game their final four games, and they held a four and one record against Nashville with two victories in Nashville. On the surface, there wasn’t any reason to believe Chicago would be swept.

The losing streak provides one impetus for their being defeated by Nashville. The ‘hawks were struggling at the end of the year and this lack of energy was carried into the playoffs. When a team dials it back, they sometimes lose their momentum and this appears to be one of those times. They didn’t have any momentum and Pekka Rinne had a great two game start to push back the ‘hawks.

Without seeing the series or videos, it is difficult to show how the Predators were able to neutralize the ‘hawks. One video I did see (Game 1) was on the ‘hawks offensive zone as they were on a powerplay in the second period down 1-0. Every shot by the ‘hawks on Rinne were unscreened with Rinne given time to set up. Patrick Kane, all alone, shooting from the faceoff circle to Rinne’s left had plenty of time to move in if he should choose. Instead, he fired a shot to a well-positioned Rinne who saved it. Toews was briefly trying to screen Rinne, but he did a poor job and was rather ineffective. A second video showing Hossa’s second period shot displayed nothing more than a weak shot that was easily saved by Rinne. In fact, I do not believe Hossa got all of that shot.

Nashville’s goal was a nice goal but more of a luck type that more often than not does not go right. This doesn’t take anything away from the goal, but it is simply something that happens from time to time. For Rinne, he played well but didn’t face many difficult shots. In fact, Chicago shot wide many good scoring chances. The first game validates the fact that Chicago was not ready to play. There was energy, just not the crispness the Blackhawks were used to.

An early goal in game two continue the momentum the Predators had from game one.

Categories: Uncategorized

Resume Season For Me

August 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bad emails are back again for those in the need to write one for a job. It never ceases to amaze me at how poorly resumes are written. If you want an interview, your resume is the gateway to the interview. You need to keep it concise, clear, and informative. Put some effort in writing the summary of who you are as a potential employee.

Somehow colleges and universities do a very poor job of teaching students how to write resumes. The first issue, I believe, is the fact that those teaching how to write resumes do not write standard resumes. They construct a college teaching oriented version that is vastly different than what most people are looking for. Also, they teach obsolete ideas. The biggest issue would be the variety of resume styles needed. Each profession has a focus such are published works for professor positions and website work for those looking to program.

As I look at my newest batch of resumes, I see quite a number of people omitting names. Seriously!? A few only provided what I presume to be the first name. If you cannot take the time to provide your full name, I will not take the time to read your resume. You have told me you do not care. While you are at it, provide me with a means of contacting you. Give me a phone number and an email. Also, where are you located?

Length. If I have to read fives pages worth of a resume to get an idea about you, you have wasted my time. This young lady’s resume is slightly over four and I stopped at one page. Her summary of qualifications took nearly half of the first page and the technical skills were vastly overloaded. Simple to say, reduce this information. Instead of listing in a vertical position your name, number and email, why not go horizontal with this. Oh, the 24 font name is not necessary. Keep it standard and bold if you must.

This lady brings up another issue and that is experience or skills. Do not oversell yourself as doubt begins to set it when you “know everything.” She may be experienced in her listed technical skills but by no means is she proficient in all of them. Remove the Microsoft information if you are going to add 35 additional skills. Why not combine the MS information and leave out what you are not proficient at. Pick what you are best at or use the skills you know to target a specific job. Design your resume as if it is a guided missile. Make it specific to the job you are seeking.

Experience and past jobs are another problem I have found. Please refrain from using the buzz words. Only a simpleton falls for them or the experienced graduate. I have eight resumes that I swear the applicants used the same source. “Experience working on large scale projects…” What does this tell me? Absolutely nothing. “Was able to autonomously understand the overall requirements…” and “Experience with process modeling…”and so on. This means nothing to me. Just because you are experienced at using a software has no value. I can find dozens if not hundreds of people that can use Microsoft Word. Leave out the phrases “Good experience…”, “Good knowledge…”, “Experience in creating…”, and “Involved in…” Include substance within your experience. If you worked at place A for a time, then give me some detail about what you did. I know you did not do ten different major projects in the year or two you were there. You may have assisted in some minor way, but you were not the most important person. Leave the lesser part of your experience out.

For goodness sake, do NOT tell me why you lost your job. You want me to bring you in; not exclude you! Do not tell me that you left because of personal reasons or company culture reasons especially when I see you work at companies for no more than a year or two. If you keep being laid off or downsized, this tells me all I need to know about your skillset. I recommend you keep a job for a minimum of four to five years. It is understood that some jobs are not what you thought, but when you leave a company every one to two years, this tells me you are not someone I want to bring in.

Layouts of resumes have changed. I have a ten year old or more resume that needs updating. Today’s college graduates are changing how resumes look. One gentleman has his objective, skills, and additional knowledge listed on the left while his experience is listed vertically on the right. The left side information tend to be single words or short phrases. Another person has his skills, tools, and language listed on the right. These are organized and clear and very easy to read. One mistake I do see are paragraphs that are too long. Three sentences are nice but keep them short. Search on the internet for templates that best fit you. Please, please for you own sake do not say you are not willing to relocate. Do NOT highlight it in any color, too.

One final point to bring up is providing links to your work. Obviously this is not for everyone, but it is for those that do developer work, research, teaching, and other jobs that provide an opportunity for me to peruse beyond your resume. If you are a college student that wants to be a web developer, then have some examples! You had to do this while in school, so give me this and do an outstanding job on this. Do web work for a local church or organization even if it is free. I hired a great lady whose experience was doing a few simple sites for two small businesses. Her school project was immaculate, too! Do not blow off your school project and do whatever you can do. The more I learn about you the more I can determine if you should be brought in for an interview.

The key to take away is to design your resume to fit a specific job. You may need five or more different versions of your resume, but this will help your resume stand out more. Stay away from buzz words or generalized statements. These statements and words bore me and tell me you are not very experienced and are not as in depth with your work as you want me to believe. Update your resume to the current standards and continue to keep it fresh. Do not be overly flamboyant but go outside the box while maintaining some conservatism. Do not oversell yourself and be concise. I do not a dissertation on a job you held for one or two years. If you did lead a project then spend a sentence or two giving me the meat of what you did. What was the success? Did you save anything? If you were a minor role player, then give me the meat for that. Take a lot of time developing your resume as it will show and tell me that you care.

 

Categories: Education, Uncategorized Tags: ,

That Homemade Sauce, From a Jar.

August 2, 2017 Leave a comment

I have Italian blood coursing through my veins. Pasta, red sauce, cannoli are vital to my life even at the expense of my Germanic other-half. It has even been said that I ruined my first born on the red sauce by feeding it to him on a continual basis when he was a toddler. I just think the German part of him is sour much like sauerkraut. When I make pasta there is one problem I often face and that is time to make the sauce and the lack of necessary ingredients.

A jar of sauce is a convenient way to make a pasta and ruin the experience, too. Quality jar sauces are too expensive, and this leaves me with the Ragus and Pregos of the grocery store. I truly hate them. They’re too sweet and, well, just not very good. There is a solution to using these jars without any good Italian recognizing the imposter. Yes, I have actually seen Italians, proud of their tastes, claim an imposter to be a good sauce. I have a friend that has been clueless every time we make a sauce and he prides himself on his Italian heritage. Is there a secret to making a jar sauce palatable? Yes.

Two main ingredients are quality garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Seriously, olive oil is key and you need to find a very good maker and pay the price. Right now I use a domestic olive oil, California Olive Ranch. The imported are risky as you don’t know how long they been sitting since they were bottled and where they were sitting. There are even incidences of so-called quality olive oils from Italy being fake. A good way to know is to buy a bottle and test it. There is a bit of a wow factor when you taste the good oil. As for garlic, you want a type that you like as there are many varieties of garlic. I prefer not to use elephant garlic as it is part of the onion family, and I do not care for onions in my sauce.

You want to heat oil in a sauce pan before adding the garlic to infuse flavor. Don’t worry if you allow your garlic to sit idle for a bit after mincing. Apparently, there are healthy things happening when you do. Do not cook the garlic for too long as you don’t want it to brown. I usually eye it to my liking and turn the heat down before adding the dreaded jar. This is the first step.

The next step is allowing it to simmer for a short time while adding dried oregano and basil. It can simmer while you heat up the water and cook the spaghetti. Keep in mind of the sauce you are using as you could add too much if there is already plenty of these herbs in the sauce. You could try fresh but the dried imparts more flavor. This doesn’t make the jar taste go away, but it becomes palatable. You can add onions before the garlic and let the onions cook down. Another option, and a great

You can add onions before the garlic and let the onions cook down. Adding olives to the sauce, don’t fry these, imparts a nice flavor, too. Another option, and a great one, is to add meat. My mother would fry up some pork on the bone and add it to the sauce. The pork and bone change the flavor for the best. You can add just about any type of meat to the sauce. Oh, do NOT make meatballs and place them in the sauce without first cooking the meatballs. The texture and taste become wrong with the meatballs if you do that. DO NOT buy the pre-packaged meatballs. Just make a large batch, broil or fry them, and freeze them. Adding real cheese, not the wood chips you find in the plastic containers, helps with the flavor of the sauce. Sometimes I’ll add tomato paste or another type of canned tomatoes.

The base of altering a jar sauce is the olive oil and garlic. From there you can add what you like to produce a sauce you can enjoy with your pasta. Some people prefer ground beef to pork or meatballs. My wife doesn’t like the cheese in the sauce while I try to sneak it in. The key is to add the very best ingredients to the jar sauce.

What about a white sauce? Make the real thing! You can’t improve the jar alfredo sauce. Look online for a good sauce recipe, and it will be unhealthy. Anything fat-free or has a substitute for health reasons does not taste good. We all know it, so why trying to fake ourselves as we struggle to eat horrible items. Just do not eat the white sauce as often or not at all. As for the red sauce, alter the jar sauce if you cannot make the real sauce.

Could Rick Tocchet’s departure cost the Penguins a third title in a row?

Could Rick Tocchet’s departure cost the Penguins a third title in a row? Few people think of an assistant coach as an important piece to a championship puzzle. Like any machine, every component plays a vital role and is never recognized until you are missing it. Think about the Jesus nut found on the UH-1 helicopter. What does Tocchet’s departure mean?

For starters, Hooks Orpik of Pensburgh blog notes another writer’s perspective on the relationship between Phil Kessel and Mike Sullivan. Mark Madden, the author Hooks refers to, hints at a contentious relationship between Kessel and Sullivan as noted by this, “But Sullivan was often less than pleased with Kessel. Tocchet, however, served as a buffer and conduit between Sullivan and Kessel, and did his best to steer Kessel in the preferred direction. He also talked Sullivan off the ledge regarding Kessel.”

The next hint comes from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Okay, I do not think highly of Cook, but he’s in Pittsburgh and I am not. He in his article of July 11, 2017 says we shouldn’t be surprised if Kessel is traded. He connects this to chemistry concerns and Kessel’s contract. Cook sees Malkin as unhappy at playing alongside Kessel and Crosby has no chemistry with Kessel. There is his belief that management was unhappy with Kessel’s performance during the playoffs. There is one element that connects Madden’s article to Cook’s and that is Cook’s belief that Kessel drives Sullivan crazy.

How does Rick Tocchet play into this. The blog by Hooks Orpik basically states that Tocchet was the buffer between Sullivan and Kessel. In other words, Tocchet translated Sullivan’s frustration into a meaningful explanation for Kessel. Tocchet was the glue that kept the two together. How much of this is valid and how much of this is Kessel baggage?

Kessel’s time in Toronto gives us a clue, and there will be no references to elongated food items. Watching video of Leafs games with Kessel, you could see Kessel take games or shifts off that led to stupid opportunities and goals for the other teams. Coaches were frustrated in the level of play by Kessel. His work ethic was and continues to fall far behind of Sidney Crosby, but how many others suffer the same issue on this topic. Kessel’s defensive play is far from the level Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Roman Josi, and P.K. Subban.

I really haven’t seen others stating a major issue between Kessel and Sullivan, but that does not mean it isn’t there. The reality is that there is some Kessel baggage here but also a standard coach versus player issue. If you watched Penguins games, then you did see Tocchet with Kessel quite a bit on the bench. It is reasonable to believe that Sullivan is not satisfied with Kessel’s output and is pushing Kessel. Placing more shots on net is a valid request by any coach. How the request or any request is communicated becomes the issue. If Tocchet was the intermediary, then the communication between Kessel and Sullivan just got more difficult.

Since Tocchet worked with the forwards, he was closer to Kessel and could figure out how to communicate with Kessel while Sullivan managed the team and provided the strategy for playing. Losing Tocchet doesn’t indicate bad things to come because of Kessel. It is more likely that Tocchet’s tactical coaching will be replaced by another coach while Sullivan’s gameplan strategy remains unchanged. The new coach will be the intermediary between coach and player.

There are several ifs. If there is a relationship issue between coach and player, then Tocchet may have been a vital cog in the Penguin machine, and if the new assistant coach cannot succeed in this, and there is a frosty relationship between Kessel and Sullivan, then you have a Penguins team falling short of their third cup. If the Penguins are truly unhappy with the Kessel run during the playoffs, then you will see a trade much sooner than later, and we can conclude Tocchet never had such an important role as Mark Madden believes. For me, there is an element of truth for both scenarios. Kessel appears to be frustrating at times, and he didn’t lead the playoffs in goal scoring. He was only five behind Guentzel with his eight goals to young Jake’s 13.

Stick a Fork in the Washington Capitals?

The Washington Capitals once again failed in the playoffs. Their standard nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins, once again knocked them out, and if it isn’t the Penguins it is the Rangers. Did the window officially close for the Caps?

The Capitals enter 2017 shorthanded. If we look at CapFriendly, we see the Capitals with 17 players on the roster with three being RFA. The cap space is roughly $12.5 million. The team needs to sign Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov while Philipp Grubauer is less important, and they are in need of a sixth defenseman. This does not give the team much room unless they look to Hershey which is likely where they will look to for filling roster spots. The loss of players through free agency has hurt this team depthwise Justin Williams is now in Carolina and a few others are enjoying life elsewhere, too. T.J. Oshie is an expensive signing, but he may be an overpriced purchase.

Defensively, the Caps are hindered by an old anchor in Brooks Orpik. Here was a guy that was on his downside with the Penguins during his last two years with the team, but the Caps thought him worthy enough for an outrageous contract. In the attempt to defeat the Pens and Rangers, Orpik was signed through next year. The team does have Niskanen, Orlov, and Carlson to continue to support the defense. All three heavily paid players (Orlov was recently signed for six years) need to compensate for a horrible bottom three. Taylor Chorney’s advanced stats show that the Capital’s defense should be considered suspect. The loss of Kevin Shattenkirk and Nate Schmidt will hurt this team. The defense is a weak link for the Capitals and will hinder Braden Holtby’s numbers.

Offensively, the Captitals are reliant on Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom and TJ. Oshie provide additional support with Marcus Johansson helping out, too. Tom Wilson isn’t going to save the season and neither will Jay Beagle. The Caps should have two strong lines; however, their third and fourth line will be suspect. The forwards present the strongest element to their game. Holtby can’t score goals. There are some AHL players that will be expected to chip in from time to time as I expect the Capitals will need to supplement their lineup due to injuries.

The Capitals will score goals during the 2017-18 season, but they won’t win the President’s Cup or even finish first, but they should make the playoffs where luck can carry a team to the finals. Help from Hershey could keep the team strong as I am not certain Oshie is the solution or that he will shoot 23.1% for the season, so don’t look for 33 goals. Burakovsky and Kuznetsov should net additional goals for the team. The Oshie signing tells us that the Caps aren’t quitting, but they will need a lot of luck such as the Penguins and Rangers meeting in the first round. In fact, the Penguins and Rangers need to not make the playoffs. Let’s just say the team needs a tons of luck much like Oshies’s 2016-27 shooting percentage. Their best chance has past them by but luck has a way of rewarding.

Categories: Sports Tags: ,