Del and Mladen review ‘The Turkey Bowl’
“The Turkey Bowl” Starring Ryan Hansen, Matt Jones, Alan Ritchson, Kristen Hager and Barry Switzer. Directed by Greg Coolidge. 2 hours. Rated R. Hulu, Epix, DIRECTV.
After your gut has been stuffed, your nap wrapped up, the football games watched and the dishes scrubbed to gleaming perfection, plop your ass down in the recliner and dial up “The Turkey Bowl” on Hulu or Epix to complete your Thanksgiving Day playlist.
Like Aunt Martha’s green bean casserole, “The Turkey Bowl” is neither bland nor tart. It’s a vaguely smile-inducing low-fi comedy that tries hard to be a lot of things but in the end simply fails to offend, which means people will like it OK but nobody will ask for the recipe. That’s my Cliff Notes review and I’m sticking to it.
The story is about Hodges (Ryan Hansen) who exchanges his small-town Oklahoma roots for the big city. He has a high-powered girlfriend (Blair Bomar as Ashley Sinclair) whose father (Sean McGraw as Sen. Sinclair) is running for president, and a successful business career in Chicago that allows him to never visit Mom and Dad or any of his former friends back home, including a semi-jilted ex-girlfriend, Jen (Kristen Hager). His plan to propose to Ashley over the Thanksgiving holiday at Daddy’s ski lodge in Colorado is derailed when he learns his best friend from high school, Mitchell (Matt Jones), has died. So he returns for the funeral, only to discover it was all a ruse to lure him back for a legendary football game between the Putnam Badgers, for which he quarterbacked, and cross-town rivals the Noble Knights. The score was tied 7-7 when a sudden storm moved in and the game was never finished. That proved to be a thorn in the side of the Badgers, who hadn’t beaten the Knights since the 1950s, and Hodges’ former team members (now in the 30s and grossly out of shape) are strapping on the cleats to finish the game and with luck, bring home a win for the Badgers.
What follows is a series of events that can best be described as farce, some of which you already know and can easily predict the outcome – does Hodges reconnect with Jen? Do the Badgers win the game? Is Hodges able to hide his hometown antics from Ashley and her dad? I won’t give you the answers, but I’d lay money on your best guesses.
You’ve seen “The Turkey Bowl” a dozen times before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it again. Expect crude language and nudity, and lots of physical humor mixed with meant-to-be-funny dialogue and sight gags (at one point Hodges is placed under “arrest” and cuffed with an ankle bracelet, which turns out to be a dog’s shock collar).
The problem with “The Turkey Bowl” is that it never lives up to its hilarious potential. The story and actors offer the promise of an extremely funny movie, with absurdity layered on absurdity like the hilarious classics of the past like “Airplane!” and “Christmas Vacation,” but somehow the jokes fall flat. My humble guess is the timing is off. Director Coolidge could have profited from tighter editing. It’s as if “Animal House” had been remade by The Hallmark Channel.
Still, as Thanksgiving movie fare goes it’s not a bad way to spend that part of the night between sneaking leftovers from the fridge and falling into a turkey-induced coma that carries you through to the morning. Look for a funny performance from Niceville’s own Alan Ritchson, and who would have thought Barry Switzer, former head coach of Oklahoma Sooners and the Dallas Cowboys, could not only act but be so funny?
“The Turkey Bowl” is no “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and it will not become part of your Thanksgiving lore, but you could do worse. Did Bruce Willis ever make a Thanksgiving movie?
I give “The Turkey Bowl” a grade of B.
I watched “The Turkey Bowl” with a sour cranberries taste in my mouth that eventually subsided. The movie reminded me of my most ignominious act in high school. I dropped what would’ve been the winning touchdown pass during my school’s Homecoming football game. All I did was misjudge the trajectory of the approaching football by a couple of inches. Rather than the football floating over my right shoulder pad into my hands it hit it. Too much deflection. I was unable to adjust position to pluck the tumbling pigskin from the cool autumn air.
So, yeah, Del, much obliged for semi‑ruining my holidays because you chose “The Turkey Bowl” for us to review. You are responsible for traumatizing me with something I did decades ago.
The dropped pass memory triggered by Del is mitigated by the fact that for a few years after graduating high school, me and a group of high school friends would play a turkey-ish bowl of our own when we converged on the hometown for the holidays. I can’t recall if it was for Thanksgiving or during Christmas. The games weren’t against our county rival but they were fun. Sometimes there was snow on the ground.
Oh, the film. “The Turkey Bowl” is good enough to rationalize spending 120 minutes of your time if you’re properly fed and reclined to allow those weird semi-sleep states that I sometimes reach when I’m trying to avoid napping because it’ll screw my regular sleep. It’s also an adequate substitute for classic holiday – yes, I’m clumping Thanksgiving and Christmas together because, it seems, the U.S. is no longer interested in recognizing the two as events separated by time – movies such as “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Christmas Vacation,” “Home Alone,” and that overrated black-and-white one with whiny children and mysticism-tinged Christianity.
“The Turkey Bowl” takes patience. It’s like putting a meal into the crockpot. At first it’s raw but gets cooked and better fit for digestion over time. The beginning of the film annoyed me. It was campy, juvenile, and the acting a bit off. And, of course, there were cliches, particularly the one about old, out-of-shape men trying to relive their glorious youth by doing something nostalgic.
I wish the interaction among the Badgers when they were together, whether drinking or practicing for the bowl, was funnier. However, the scenes with our hero Hodges and his ex-girl Jen chit-chatting about this and that are charming. Also neatly set up was the contrast between Hodges’s blue-collar parents accepting him for who he is and his fiancée’s elitist liberal politicians trying to keep the image that they’re good, pure, and helpful intact. Hodges’s Mom eventually accepts that he’s a vegetarian and starts preparing vegetarian meals for him along with the hotdog casseroles and fried chicken for the Fox News-watching Dad. Hodges’s prospective father-in-law sics his bodyguard to spy on Hodges to make sure he does nothing to embarrass the politics- and money-driven U.S. senator who wants to be president.
“The Turkey Bowl” is a mash of movies we’ve all seen about a hometown boy leaving the hometown to do something great, coming back for some reason, and then staying for the simpler, happier life.
But, Del, a grade of B for the movie? No. Maybe you’re getting feely squishy because T-day and X-mas day are approaching and you want to be generous to show goodwill, but no. “The Turkey Bowl” is an intermittently entertaining film, which means it deserves a mid-grade grade. The movie is a C. It has just enough warmth and humor to make it an acceptable holiday flick. It will not become, for better or worse, a holiday classic.
Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.
“The Platform” (“El Hoyo”) Starring Ivan Massagué (Goreng), Zorion Eguileor (Trimagasi), Antonia San Juan (Imoguiri) and others. Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. Rated for mature audiences. 1 hour, 34 minutes. Netflix.
“The Platform” is a very good movie that could’ve been great but for its descent into gratuitous violence.
How potentially great? The Spanish equivalent of South Korean “Parasite.” That’s how great. Recall that “Parasite” won the 2020 Oscar for Best Motion Picture. It was the first time a foreign film got the most prestigious nod from the Motion Picture Academy.
“The Platform,” perfectly kitted by a simple, soul‑scraping score from Aránzazu Calleja, buttresses what should be clear to all of us by now. Most humans are savages. There’s nothing those of us who aren’t can do about it.
Titled “El Hoyo” (The Hole) in Spanish, “The Platform” is a parable on many levels. Here’s the skinny, assuming I can summarize the movie’s plot.
The hoyo is an underground skyscraper with a rectangular cut centered on each subfloor. A levitating platform, a big ole block the parameter of an opulent dining table, packed with all sorts of food moves down through the subfloors, some three hundred of them. It stops at each subfloor, where the two often self-imprisoned occupants have 2 minutes to dine on whatever food there’s left. The inevitable kicker. The farther the platform descends the less food for the people below. Get it? It’s better to be on top.
Every 30 days, the Powers That Be gas the hoyo to move around the occupants. Those who were once at the top and had access to food before it disappeared may end up at the bottom and not get even scraps. The randomness of the monthly vertical displacement means hoyo occupants must prepare for survival, which often translates into murder and cannibalism, all of it vividly depicted again and again. Unfortunate. An imaginative, nicely acted movie about class gets distorted by “Hostel”-like violence. Let me say it again. Unfortunate.
There is terrific dialogue in this film. Goreng maintains most of his humanity, Trimagasi’s stark realism is understandable, and Imoguiri comes up with a solution for getting as many people as possible fed with the very limited supply of food on the platform. Her idea fails. Those above are unwilling to share with those below.
Maybe “The Platform” also riffs the fascist regime of Franco, who ruled Spain for decades starting in the late 1930s. There’s speculation by a character in the film – may have been Trimagasi, I can’t recall – that the Government was using the Hole as a social experiment to determine when regular folk would be pushed to the brink of cooperating to conquer mutually shared adversity such as hunger. Why? Because the underprivileged, who are always a vast majority of society, could coalesce into a rebellion with revenge as the goal if pushed too far. Who would be the target? The privileged, of course, including Government officials. Neat. The Government is trying to quantify how oppressive and depraved it can be before the masses take action to alter their miserable lives.
“The Platform” is a B+ 1 point from an A-. It pains me to give this terrific movie that grade. “El Hoyo” starts strong, stays strong to mid-point, and then deteriorates toward sadism to an unclear ending. Less splattering blood and fewer depictions of people carved for eating and, poof, “The Platform” would’ve reached A-land. Off I go to relive the film through Calleja’s masterful music, particularly “La Plataforma.” Oh, that insidious, almost lighthearted but certainly tinny tick-tocking as time to be humane runs out.
It’s not merely the Christmas spirit of charity that compels me to agree with Mladen. “The Platform” is a terrific movie ruined – for me, anyway – by graphic, stomach-churning violence. I don’t recommend it to anyone but those who can stomach extreme and bloody sadism.
A shame because it has crucial things to say about humanity, especially today, with knuckle-dragging, hate-spouting anti-intellectuals squabbling like pigs in a slophole over the dwindling largesse this planet has to offer. In fact, as the platform descended floor by floor, its offerings growing meager as it edged closer to an inferno of starvation and depravity, I saw the metaphor clearly:
That’s the world today. We are those people.
Speaking of which, moviegoers will not and have not embraced “The Platform” because they will not and have not embraced movies that offer such a bleak appraisal of the human condition. I maintain the portrayal is spot-on: With climate change, dwindling resources, division and untruth, a weird service-based economy and rampaging pandemics all around us, how can feeling good be a priority? What humanity needs is a swift kick in the ass and an admonition to get out there and change the world for the better. But that won’t happen, ever.
Most illustrative was the attitude changes of the people who shifted floors every month. A plan of action advanced by Goreng was that if each floor took only what it needed, even the people on the lowest levels would have something to eat, averting starvation and violence. Presumably the people on the lower levels, having suffered the greed and waste of those above them, would support such a strategy, but no. When they advance to the higher, more food-plentiful levels, the former low-level inhabitants become swine wallowing in an every-man-for-himself philosophy. Even when Goreng and a fellow cellmate try to organize the occupants of The Hole, or enforce their policy of selflessness, they’re defeated by anger and violence.
I watched this and was reminded of 2005, after Katrina devastated New Orleans and Fort Walton Beach became home to a flood of refugees from Louisiana who were buying gas, water and food and driving it back to the zone of destruction. I saw locals piling into gas stations, filling up the tanks on their gas-guzzling boats and personal watercraft as the lines grew longer and longer, and I wrote a column about it, admonishing those people to abstain from their personal pleasure so that our fellow Americans to the west could get back on their feet. The emails and letters I received were depressing – from people vowing to run all the gas out of their boats and return for a second helping, or more pointedly, that I go fuck myself.
For me that incident became a blunt illustration of humanity’s inherent savagery as Mladen put it, and I suppose “The Platform” seeks to be equally blunt. I personally could not get behind the blood, gore and depravity. Mladen argues the movie would have been better without all that but I’m not sure. I think when you soften the message, the message is lost on a lot of people. Subtlety is not one of our better qualities.
The ending? I won’t talk about the ending except to say it is dark. Literally. And darkness has always served as a metaphor for ignorance, decline, and evil.
Brace yourself for “The Platform.” You’ll never see it on The Hallmark Channel and that’s a good thing. When you’re done watching it, go out and do something unselfish. Make the world a tiny bit better.
Mladen Rudman is a technical writer and former journalist. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and writer.
“Cosmos” Starring Tom England, Joshua Ford and Arjun Singh Panam. Directed by Eliot and Zander Weaver. 128 minutes. No rating available.
I spent the better part of my senior year in high school hanging out at my friend David’s garage. David was whatever you called a computer geek in the 1970s, and his garage was a trove of junk – boxes and bundles, cables and capacitors, all of it lying on the floor, hanging from the walls, spilling out of containers and littering the desktop where his ham radio sat. It had the class-action lawsuit smell of dangerous carcinogens and looked like a Jawa sandcrawler that had been ransacked by Imperial stormtroopers. We loved it.
“Cosmos” has a similar feel. It’s chock full of computer equipment, radio gear and bins with batteries and cables and God knows what, but it’s really about three guys and their niche interest – astronomy – and I will warn you front and center: It’s not for everybody. Most of the movie takes place behind the steamed-up windows of a Volvo stationwagon, and no, get your mind out of the gutter. It’s about bonding, friendship, and every other box that must be checked before a movie can earn the Steven Spielberg stamp of approval.
I can go two ways with this review. I can talk about “Cosmos” being a set piece with glacial pacing until you are thrown into the tacked-on, hair-raising final 5 minutes. Or I can talk about the fact that it was written, directed, lighted and photographed by two young brothers in one month for a total cost of $7,000. Avenue No. 1 leads to a C+ rating. Avenue No. 2 is a solid A. I am trending to No. 2 because “Cosmos” is blessed with something most movies don’t possess these days:
I’m talking about the intangible love endowed by creators who care about what they are doing, a love that can’t be articulated but somehow becomes obvious after the few minutes. “Cosmos” has a heaping helping of love, and that counts for a lot.
The story is about three astronomy buffs who head into the English countryside one night to hunt for a passing asteroid. Yet there’s tension – Roy (Arjun Singh Panam) was laid off from his engineering job just as a satellite he designed is lofted into orbit. His friend Harry (Joshua Ford), who worked for the same evil company and is the leader of their ad hoc stargazing group, the Astro-Nuts, replaced Roy with Mike (Tom England) when Roy stopped turning out. Mike is a radio astronomer and the misfit of their geeky troika.
During the night Mike sends a message into outer space and strange happenings commence – the message returns, a void is detected orbiting the Earth, and Roy and Harry hash out their differences – with an assist from Mike, who aspires to be a fully fledged member of the Nuts. To say anything else would spoil the movie.
Sound boring? Not to a SETI fanatic sporting a 5-inch reflector with a tracking motor and a crosshairs-illuminated spotting scope, hence the caveat: This movie is not for everyone. For those who might have hung out with me and David in his Jawa junk bin of a garage, it’s a gem.
But about that last 5 minutes. Ahem, guys: You totally abandoned the movie’s voice when you tacked on that last 5 minutes. And the payoff was, shall we say, a letdown? Only a person who has had an asteroid named after him or her could appreciate the payoff.
The two guys who made this movie are brothers Eliot and Zander Weaver, a pair of movie-loving Brits in their early 20s who said to hell with college, we’re making movies! “Cosmos” was shot mostly in a garage in a month with the bros doing all the work, and again, the total funds expended were $7,000. I expect that’ll attract the attention of a few beancounters.
Their talent for moviemaking is obvious: “Cosmos” has the look and feel a movie costing 10 times as much. Acting and direction are excellent, dialogue is excellent – it’s a well-done film and my jaw thudded against the desk when I read that $7,000 figure.
So I’m giving it an A, just because I want these guys to keep making movies.
Del claims to be only one of two people on the planet who are perpetually skeptical about what they read on the Internet. But, he accepts the claim of the Brothers from Britain that “Cosmos” only cost them $7,000, or is that pounds, to make? If the latter, “Cosmos” was an $8,750 production. That’s a difference of 22 percent. Can I trust the souls, motivation, and marketing of the Brothers and their allegedly low-budget Indie attempt to make a serious movie as does Del or is “Cosmos” a feint? Maybe the movie is designed to dupe utopians such as Del, who go on to praise it, and, as word spreads, gets the Brothers a big budget for a much bigger movie bankrolled by Hollywood, Bollywood, or some Asian studio laundering money for the Chinese Communist Party or Kim Jung‑un.
“Cosmos” is a decent movie, whether you subscribe to Del’s Avenue 1 or Avenue 2 perspective, and nothing more. It succumbs to all the tropes you expect in movies: tension among characters; a dangerous and spooky outdoors; and some type of looming malfunction that risks everything the protagonists have accomplished.
Of those tropes, the first is the least objectionable. People are stupid. Who knows what triggers their moods and feelings and reactions and whatever other phenomena our yoga‑practicing society now identifies as maladies. When this “Cosmos” character dislikes that “Cosmos” character, though the latter had nothing to do with the former’s misfortune, I shrug and wonder when the story will get interesting again. A character’s backstory is never interesting when the genre of the film is sci-fi or war. When creating a movie about a radio signal from outer space, which was done well in “Cosmos,” or the invasion of Okinawa, I prefer the sole focus to be the actor’s response to the imagined scenario. That the person being portrayed by the actor is a father or mother, abused as a child or spoiled, or struggling with the death of finance matters nothing to me. When you have aliens responding to a signal from Earth that was sent 20 years earlier, I’m in for the ride for the duration of the movie. The hook is detecting the signal and what comes next. There’s no reason to distract the viewer by introducing the trifling, pathetic concerns of unsatisfied lives. We’re Homo sapiens and unsatisfied with everything. Move on. Show me what happens next without interfering with the story by shifting to a memory of getting fired from a job or whatever.
Introducing a frightening forest scene to the film as two of our heroes move in separate directions to plant antennas was a mistake. The locale for the film is the U.K. outside a large city with SETI‑like satellite dishes and their control station nearby. We’re not talking the Congo rain forest here. What were the dangers that our trekkers faced? Attack by a rabid raccoon, a deranged rat, the Queen’s Yorkshire terriers? Oh, no, there’s a dip in the terrain. Damn, don’t walk into that tree. Shit, was that a velociraptor pack? The effort to portray physical danger in the movie was silly. It still sticks in my craw.
The adventure during the last, oh, 10, 15 minutes of “Cosmos” is contrived because it was triggered by a cliché technology trope. No need to introduce a spoiler, but here’s a clue: Pay attention to the Volvo wagon’s headlights, which were on during much of the movie with the engine off, and then ask why the vehicle’s power supply wasn’t the answer to the problem facing three aerospace engineers. Oh, of course, the movie included the obligatory loss of cell phone or walkie-talkie communications and even a wild‑ish car ride to help pace the movie’s melodrama.
Yes, you should watch “Cosmos,” though it’s a B-. Those moments when the movie focuses on the discovery of the alien radio signal, pinpointing its locale, and corroborating its authenticity are very good. Much of the rest is spittle. If you want to watch low-budget, A‑level sci-fi, catch the time travel piece “Primer.” Pay attention to the brief dialogue about two-thirds into the film while the time travelers are hiding in a motel room to avoid meeting themselves.
Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.
“Parasite” Starring Song Kang-ho, Jang Hye-jin, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Cho Yeo-jeong, Lee Sun-gyun and others. Directed by Bong Joon-ho. 2 hours, 12 minutes. Rated R. Hulu, Amazon Prime.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times that for two years running a movie about class structure has won the Academy Award for Best Picture, or maybe it’s just a reward for classy moviemaking. No matter. “Parasite,” the 2019 Best Picture winner, earns that accolade and then some with its darkly hilarious and stingingly critical look at the way money makes monsters of us all.
In the past, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho used fantasy elements to illustrate the dehumanizing aspects of Western – and now Eastern – culture and its fixation on accumulating wealth at the expense of the planet and its people, but in “Parasite” he brings the argument closer to home with ordinary folks, in this case the Kim family, jumping through extraordinary hoops to escape their poverty and maybe even climb the lower rungs of the ladder to success.
The Kims – father Ki-Taek, mother Chung-sook, sister Ki-jung and brother Ki-Woo – are living in a semi-subterranean roach trap where they fold pizza boxes to earn a living, open their windows when the fumigator comes down their alleyway, and wile away the hours dreaming up scams so they may, in the words of the “Good Times” TV show theme song, begin “movin’ on up to the big time.” An opportunity finally comes their way when Brother Ki-Woo connects with a friend who recommends him for a private teaching job. The wealthy Park family needs a new tutor for their teenaged daughter, and before the movie has finished they will also need a new driver, housekeeper and art therapy teacher for their son – all provided by the Kim family after a bit of slyly funny subterfuge, disinformation and Machiavellian maneuvering.
But karma catches up with the Kims and their machinations pile up like logs stuck in a flume. At that point “Parasite” takes a left turn from a “I Love Lucy”-style farce about a family of ne’er-do-wells creating their own misfortune to a razor-sharp satire about the inequalities of class and how those inequalities can drive some people to madness.
“Parasite” is perfectly acted and written, and I would rate it one of the finest black humor stories ever set to film – up there with “Dr. Strangelove” and “Being There.” It delivers many of its lessons through dialogue. In one scene, the wealthy Parks are having what they think is a private conversation about Mr. Kim and his odor – he smells like old radishes, or the people who ride the subway, Mr. Park muses, to which Mrs. Park replies that she hasn’t ridden the subway in ages. In another scene young Ki-Woo is asking his father if he has a plan for dealing with their latest predicament and the elder Kim replies that indeed he does have a plan, and it is the best plan of all, which is to have no plan because plans fail and leave the planner disappointed and fearful.
As the movie progresses along the trajectory of its increasingly bizarre resolution it becomes impossible not to watch and remains with the viewer long after the closing credits roll. Suffice it to say the Kims might yet climb out of their below-ground-level living conditions but not in the way they planned. Remember: The best plan is to not have a plan.
It took me the first third of the movie to become invested in “Parasite” but once I did I became a huge fan. I think it’s one of the best movies made this century and I will add it to my DVD collection. It’s on Hulu for subscribers, or you can watch it pay-per-view on Amazon Prime.
I give it an A+.
Del gives “Parasite” an A+. I give it an A-. The bout of graphic violence at the end distracts the movie. It’s not that the violence is unwarranted. It’s that it should’ve been done with more finesse and less blood.
Del, who’s ordinarily good at summing a movie, misfired on this one. “Parasite” is about both class warfare in the traditional sense – the wealthy pissing on the poor – and interclass warfare between the considerably less well off. To me, that was the movie’s strongest component and lead to its funniest, most satirical scene.
The Kim’s infiltrate the wealthy Park family by shitting on others who are poor or one lost job from tumbling into poordom. One of the Kim shat-upons is the Park’s housekeeper. The Kims connive a way to get her fired so that Mama Kim can take over as the maid. One event leads to another and pretty soon the fired housekeeper and her husband are threatening to expose the Kim con on social media by pressing the “send” button on a cell phone. The kerfuffle that comes along is a hoot. The Kims and the housekeeper (six people) fight up bomb shelter stairs and in a sprawling living room with cell phone imagery and its distribution on the World Wide Web as the prize.
“Parasite” is director Bong Joon-ho at nearly his finest. I’ve watched four of his films. “Snowpiercer” is superb. “Parasite,” along with “The Host” and “Okja” are merely excellent. But they all share a backbone: Mankind is deranged.
Obviously, Bong isn’t the only filmmaker to tackle social injustice. From 1927’s “Metropolis” to 2020’s “Nomadland” the ugliness of our species is well notated. The important part about the message in “Parasite” is that it shows snobbery, greed, selfishness, and disillusionment are the globe’s real currencies. South Korea’s won, the euro, America’s dollar, Brazil’s real, and whatever the fuck Bitcoin is, are just tools that magnify humanity’s flawed, odious character.
I watched “Parasite” with some pleasure. It reinforced what I’ve long known and witnessed almost daily as a newspaper reporter. We the people know what’s going wrong with society. We know what it would take to correct the errors of homelessness, hunger, and medical care rationing based on access to wealth. But we ain’t gonna do nothing about them.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s time that I stop watching films with dire portent or those that feature potent dissection of social ills. Maybe it’s time that I re-watch “E.T. The Extraterrestrial,” “The Princess Bride,” and “The NeverEnding Story” and then stop watching movies all together because they seem to be ever more disturbingly prophetic.
Mladen Rudman is a former journalist and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former journalist and author.