Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
Fury

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Title: Fury

Can't Get Enough of Those Nazis. Even better, most of the bad guys in the movie are SS, which are, like, the Naziest.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant to the Film: Three and a half Rommels out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Veteran WWII tank commander must contend with rookie driver while trying to survive the 2nd Armored Division's final push into Germany.

Tagline: "War never ends quietly."

Better Tagline: "Das Platoon."


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5 Hidden Shopping Gems Neartown/Westheimer Corridor

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Photo by iodine127 via Wikimedia Commons
Probably one of the most popular shopping strips in Houston, Westheimer Road is a main thoroughfare where we all have dropped a few hundred dollars during holiday season. Even though we all are very familiar with the strip, there are hidden spots that you may have never seen or heard of before. Tucked away on the side streets and in the shadow of The Galleria and West Ave are mom and pop shops with really great fashions and gifts for you. Here are five of my favorite off the beaten path Westheimer Road shops inside the loop.

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100 Creatives 2014: Anne-Joelle Galley, Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives

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All photos courtesy of the artist
Artist Anne-Joelle Galley likes working with vibrant colors. It's an affinity, she says, best explained by Matisse in his Notes of a Painter: "The chief aim of color should be to serve expression as well as possible. I put down my colors without a preconceived plan. (...) I discover the quality of colors in a purely instinctive way. (...)"

What she does: Galley calls herself a print-maker, painter and colorist. She'll be adding wearable art to her resume soon.

Why she likes it: The great-niece of famed European painter/composer/writer Pierre Alin, Galley says enjoys the process of building work, of making creative choices as she goes along rather than following some pre-determined plan. "I am very lucky to be artistic, yet, unlike my great uncle, I was not born with the [ability] to approach a canvas or plate and be done from the very beginning. I really have to work at my art and re-visit each project over and over again. That process is what creates the passion for me, as [I'm] 'working' a piece.

This story continues on the next page.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Get a Jump on Halloween

Categories: Top 5

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Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, but we suggest you get a head start on all of the spooky, scary, scream-worthy happenings this weekend. Be sure to check out our Halloween Guide. It's packed with info on haunted houses, pub crawls, ghost tours and family fun events.

On Friday, we suggest a visit to Nightmare on the Bayou. (If you've ever wondered what causes all those traffic jams on I-10 and Studemont, Nightmare on the Bayou is why.) It's a ridiculously scary haunted house located right next to an old graveyard and is known as Houston's only actual haunted house. As in, this place is known to have some real spirits lurking about, along with those freaky actors. Lines wrap around the building as Halloween inches closer, which means you should probably check it out this weekend. Just watch out for the ice-cold hands; it'll be hard to tell whether the thing that grabbed you is still rocking a steady heartbeat or lacking a pulse. Either way, it's a guarantee that you'll be shaking in your boots for days after a visit to this haunted house.

7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 26; , 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. daily from October 27 until November 1. 1515 Studemont. For information, visit nightmareonthebayou.com. $20 to $40.

This story continues on the next page.

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Tenor Stephen Costello Withdraws From Cosi, Norman Reinhardt Will Do Double Duty in Two Operas

Categories: Breaking News

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Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera
Norman Reinhardt
Proving that real-life opera can be as dramatic as the tumultuous scenes and lives it portrays, Houston Grand Opera has just announced it is making a last-minute switch of one of its lead singers in its upcoming production of Cosi fan tutte.

Stephen Costello, last seen here as the duke in last season's HGO production of Rigoletto, has had to withdraw due to illness, HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers announced. "We wish Stephen Costello a speedy recovery."

Instead, tenor Norman Reinhardt will sing the role of Ferrando. He happened to be in town because he's singing the role of Cassio in Giuseppe Verdi's Otello which starts next week.

Now he'll be singing both roles -- a pretty daunting proposition and one that has HGO officials saying that there will be no advance interviews with him while he takes special care of his voice.

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American Horror Story: Freak Show: Greatest Show on Earth

Categories: Film and TV

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Without delving too far into hyperbole, this is without a doubt the best season of American Horror Story yet. Though it's the one I was the most worried about liking, it's managed to capture the perfect mixture of horror and regular dramatic television.

Let's start with Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch), our strange, homicidal masked killer. Somehow this show has taken a one-dimensional killer trope and turned it into the potent mix of slapstick and spine-tingling awfulness that made the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre the unique film that it was. He gets a profound amount of screen time this episode, and he uses every inch of it to amaze and disturb.

He's onto at least his fourth murder now, the latest taking place in a toy shop in a scene that will definitely haunt your nightmares. However, it's coming from that killing where things really get going. Oblivious to the fact that he looks like Hell's fast-food mascot, Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) stops him on the side of the road and invites him home to entertain her crazed, spoiled son Dandy (Finn Wittrock).

What follows is a duel of insanity that may never, ever be topped. How weird is it that you are actually looking at a guy in a rotting clown outfit that you know for a fact has murdered and kidnapped with brutal glee and you're feeling bad for the guy because he clearly regrets having accepted a gig with an obvious nutter butter. At times, this season takes the "real monsters are inside" metaphor a little wide on the turns, but there's no denying that Dandy is far more stomach-churning than any human oddity on display.

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America's Next Top Model's Chris Hernandez's Take on Reality TV

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America's Next Top Model: Season 20
I'll admit it... I'm a little embarrassed that I watch America's Next Top Model, but I love it and I'm not big into watching reality TV shows. For me, ANTM is the exception because it captures the reality of the modeling world... or at least I think it does. Models sometimes get a bad rap, but anyone who watches this show knows that it's not an easy industry to deal with...So that got me wondering what life is really like for one of these ANTM models.

I got together with Chris Hernandez, one of ANTM's top male model contestants from its 20th cycle, and grilled him about the modeling/fashion industry and his opinions on reality TV.

Q: What's your take on the fashion industry?

"The fashion industry has changed with the emergence of social media. It used to be about your book, looks and modeling skills, the ability to sell whatever it is you are modeling. Now it's more about how many followers you have following you on social media."

Q: What was your experience like on America's Next Top Model?

"It was a great experience and I learned a lot and got to meet some great people. It was definitively stressful, but what competition isn't? I am very glad that I was given the opportunity to be part of ANTM."

Hernandez said the only bad part was that he learned that reality TV isn't always reality television.


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When Parents Say, "How Can You Have a Meaningful Life Without Kids?"

Categories: Parenting

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Photos by Jef With One F
If you've reached a stable adulthood but have not yet had any children, you've probably had people who have ask you when the hell you're going to get off your bottom and shoot your own half-clone into the world. This goes double if you're married. And depending on the tact of the people asking, you might get asked fairly rudely.

"One person even told me that I would wake up sad and alone, hating my life, if I decide not to have kids," said a friend of mine on an informal Facebook poll.

"I've been told it's unnatural for a woman to not want kids and that I should 'get help' for it," said another. "I've been told I'm selfish. I've been guilt-tripped for not giving my dad grandkids before he died."

"No matter what reason I give, people always lecture me about having babies," added a third. "I wish that it was not so socially acceptable to be so intrusive in the lives and decisions of others."

The consensus I get is that a lot of parents simply don't understand how a person's life can have any meaning without reproduction. Well, this weekend I had something of an epiphany on the subject.

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When Wood Met Design: LeeAnn Gorman and Paula Haymond

Categories: Visual Arts

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Photo courtesy of Archway Gallery
Wooden sculptures by Paula Haymond are shown in front of an acrylic painting by LeeAnn Gorman
Painter LeeAnn Gorman met sculptor Paula Haymond at the Archway Gallery, and they formed a friendship which has now led to a collaboration.

In the current show, each artist has solo pieces, but also shown are works where their efforts are collaborative.

The artists exchanged ideas as well as efforts, and Gorman's use of mapping as a theme has been incorporated by Haymond, even in her solo pieces. Gorman's paintings use acrylic on canvas, and resemble is some ways the kind of map one might see of an underground subway system in London or New York.


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10 Most Controversial Houston Billboards

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We still do a remarkable amount of advertising on billboards because frankly there's not much else to do while the city apparently tries to better 290 by smashing it with hammers. Most of these are amusing and simple. Cows misspell words so you'll eat at Chick Fil A and Jim Adler will glare at you until you sue someone for something just to get that stare out of your head.

Then there are ads that were more or less like trying to sell your point with a wasps' nest.

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Green Pharmaceuticals is a company that makes sleep aids called SnoreStop, and in 2013 it started a campaign called #betogether designed to show rarer forms of loving couples in America embracing and presumably living more harmonic lives now the that ear-shattering mouth rattles of their partner had been silenced. The campaign ran in Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Salt Lake City, New York City, and more. One of the billboards in the campaign showed a young American soldier cuddling with a Muslim woman wearing a wedding ring. They were based on a real-life veteran named Jamie Sutton and his wife, Aleah.

If you've been on Facebook these last several months then you know that depicting Muslims as anything other than wild-eyed beheading maniacs will unleash the Kraken. As one commenter on a KTRH story about the billboard put it, "Like a military man is ever going to love a woman who's own people kill him in their own country. What liberal lala land do the people that made this live in?"


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