Sioux Empire Podcast 129 Veteran’s Day With Garrett Gross from Age Media

On this very special patriotic episode of The Sioux Empire Podcast hosts Robert Mehling and Seth Glover welcome Garrett Gross from Age Media, he’s here to tell us about some of the extraordinary stories about Sioux Empire veterans he’s collected.

Film Review: Kong – Skull Island

I love big monster movies. Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, King Kong, etc. So I was more than excited to check out the latest outing of my favorite big ape.

The story is set in 1973 on the last day of the Vietnam war. A group of scientists wants to investigate one of the last unexplored islands because they feel it’s the land of the lost. They are grouped together with an expert helicopter fleet and head to the island. They quickly encounter Kong who doesn’t take kindly to their arrival. He knocks them out of the air with ease and spreads them out around the island. Then it becomes a race against time and the island’s dangers to make it to safety.

The characters are pretty cliche. Tom Hiddleson plays James Conrad, an expert tracker. But he is never given anything to track. When the group gets scattered across the island, he leads them, but even the lowest ranking private could have done the same job. His tracker skills never come into play. Brie Larson (an Oscar winner) is an anti-war photographer assigned to the group. But she is given nothing better to do than follow Hiddleston’s character around and capture Kong’s interest much like Fay Wray, Jessica Lange and Naomi Watts have before. John C Reilly is the film’s comic relief, and his jokes fall flat. He delivers them the best he can, but it’s the script that is at fault for not providing better comic opportunities. John Goodman is the man who sets the mission in motion, and once he’s on the island, he’s given very little to do except marvel at Kong. He acts the hell out of the role and proves once again he can do a lot with a little. Samuel L Jackson is given a little more to work with. He’s a soldier who doesn’t want the Vietnam war to end. So when Kong attacks his men, he’s given a new mission and will stop at nothing to take the ape down. The rest of the cast is just victims along for the ride who are given a few empty emotional moments here and there.

The look of the film is one of the strong points. The cinematography has a nice 1970’s feel to it. The colors have a nice washed out tone to them. Along those lines, I did feel one downfall of the cinematography, is that it was trying to pack too much into each frame. Instead of a couple of helicopters in a shot, they try to pack the entire fleet and space them just perfectly. It looked unnatural but would be right at home in a Michael Bay film. Each shot was overly busy with multiple planes of unneeded motion. It’s not pleasing to the eye. Which leads my biggest fault with the film. It was sacrificing tone and acting for ‘cool’ shots. There was no need to turn the camera on its side to get Hiddleston stabbing a sword into the ground. The editing was overly busy, which doesn’t allow the viewer to get immersed in the story. It keeps reminding them that they are watching a movie. It’s almost as if they tried to use something from every camera and very take. It’s sloppy and very distracting. Not sure if this was the fault of an inexperienced director or an over-eager editor.

The special effects are pretty top notch. The creatures looked great and are the showcase of the film. Kong is impressive as are the creatures that live below.

The tone of the movie is all over the place. It wants to be dramatic; it wants to be funny, it wants to be scary, it wants to be action. And none it works. As mentioned before, all of the jokes fall flat. The cardboard characters, which there is way too many to even care about, are given nothing to do.

Overall, Skull Island is a summer action movie that was released a little earlier to avoid the true summer action films. It should appeal greatly to a mass audience and the younger crowd. I recommend to go in with an open mind but have extremely low expectations, and you should be ok. Oh and stay until the credits are done. There’s a nice scene that sets up the next outing of the big monster series. It’s probably the best scene in the film.

Jay Williams Interview

Robert Mehling with The Sioux Empire Podcast and interviews Jay Williams Candidate for United States Senator, SD.

Issues discussed include:  Qualifications, Background, Marijuana, Climate Change, Marriage Equality, Trans-Gender Issues, Bi-partisanship, Free Trade, John Thune, and more.



My name is Jay Williams and I am running to serve you in the United States Senate.

I grew up on a farm south of Gettysburg, South Dakota, where I learned to love the beauty and bounty of South Dakota. My parents instilled in me the importance of education, hard work and public service.

After graduating from Gettysburg High School in 1968, I earned a Navy scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin. There I met an amazing woman, Carol, who later became my wife. Carol and I moved to Yankton, South Dakota in 1987 where we have lived ever since, raising our family with the same values my parents instilled in me.

Before returning to South Dakota, I had the opportunity to serve my country in both the US Navy and in the Peace Corps. In addition, I was able to work in the high tech industry.

As a midshipman, I served on the USS Oriskany in the Vietnam War where I learned to work with discipline under pressure. After graduating from college I was commissioned as a naval officer, carrier qualified in a high performance jet plane, and earned my wings as a naval aviator. I served as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Italy and Virginia Beach. My 10 years of military service allowed me to develop my leadership skills and formed my passion for public service.

After my time in the Navy, Carol and I volunteered for the Peace Corps and were assigned to Bogotá, Colombia. It was during this time that Carol and I gained perspective on America’s prosperity and the importance of working together with community leaders at the local level to impact change.

After the Peace Corps, I returned to college to earn a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. This training gave me the tools I needed to earn a living and to support and raise a family. After working in the high tech industry in Texas and California, Carol and I longed for the strong community and wonderful people that we knew were present in South Dakota.

In 1987, Carol and I moved our family to Yankton, South Dakota and started a small business called Excelltech Inc. It was the best move I have ever made, and we have lived here ever since. During my years in Yankton I have been involved in the community in a variety of ways, from performing in local theater productions to serving on volunteer boards to most recently performing duties as an elected member of the Yankton School Board.

I believe that all South Dakotans deserve the opportunity to have an excellent education and the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Let’s work together to build a strong future for South Dakota.