Late on a dark New Orleans, a jogging Peter Gold saw a hoodie wearing man dragging a woman down the street. Gold intervened as the man tried to get the woman into a SUV near the intersection of Magazine and St. Mary streets.  The man let go of the woman, held his gun to Gold, looked him in the face and said ‘I’m going to kill you‘, then he shot Gold point blank in the stomach.

 

Gold lay on the sidewalk and pleaded for his life. The hoodied man put the gun to Gold’s head, pulled back the slide on the black semi-automatic gun and pulled the trigger. “I saw the man squeezing the trigger repeatedly. He said the gun was jamming.” Gold recalled. When the gun didn’t fire the man took the woman’s purse and drove away.

Gold recovered from his injuries in what everyone has called an “incredible miracle.” Gold graduated from Tulane medical school and continues with a residency in orthopedic surgery at a hospital in New York City.  “I’m just very lucky and fortunate to be able to come out of that alive,” Gold said. “I think about that day every single day of my life.”

Every single day Gold thinks about how he almost died, “I wonder what happened in somebody’s life that they were able to create such violence with such ease without even thinking about it.” Gold has a started a nonprofit foundation called MyStrongCity to provide education, mentoring and to raise money for community-based organizations that empower undeserved youth.

The gunman, who was captured later, attacked three other people immediately after leaving Gold.

Gold says that he was “lucky”, but could the gun jamming be attributed to something other than luck? Would he have started this foundation that has helped thousands of people, if this horrible incident had not occurred? Could this happening be something other than fortune smiling on him?

Could this have been  THEM?

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A shower of red sparks shot up from beneath the chassis of the speeding Camaro, and then a bike, folded up from impact. The Camaro had hit a cyclist, and the rider was pinned underneath the car. The Camaro plunged on for ten seconds, dragging along the 18-year-old rider with it.

One of the rider’s legs was pinned between chassis of the car and the frame of his bike, the other was jammed between the bike and the asphalt. After 30 feet, the Camaro slowed and stopped. The rider screamed in agony, pounding on the side of the car with his only free hand.

Without stopping to think, Tom Boyle who was driving by who had stopped, reached under the frame of the car and lifted. The metal bent and groaned and the chassis moved up three inches. “Mister, mister, higher, higher,” the rider screamed.

Boyle braced himself, took a deep breath, and heaved. The front end of the car lifted six more inches. “‘OK, it’s off me,” they boy called out, his voice tight with pain. The driver of the car pulled the rider free while Boyle held the Camaro another 45 seconds.

The biker was badly hurt and he was in a lot of pain, but he was alive and he would live. Some people have called what Boyle did, by lifting the 3,500 lb., car a miracle but maybe it was something more than that…maybe it was THEM.
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Iron Man 2 is Jon Favreau’s much anticipated follow-up to his 2008 blockbuster. Iron Man 2 recast Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire inventor/superhero. Also reprising her role is Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke stars as villain Ivan Vanko complete with  uber Russian accent and electrified whips. James Rhodes played by Don Cheadle is the military liaison to Mr. Stark, but Cheadle is not very convincing and he comes awkward in the role. Director Favreau should have let Terrence Howard reprise this role, he  was much more believable as Stark’s uncomfortable best friend.  Surprisingly this movie is not about Ivan, or even explosions. This film is less about Iron Man and more about the appeal of Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey is a great actor, so the guess had to be that if Downey was in it the movie the story came second, you could just piece together a story, throw in pieces of conflict, flirt with an obvious love story that never really develops and voila you have a blockbuster. The box office tally will no doubt tell if the guess was right. No one will cringe at the needless use of comedy, no one will bat an eye that the so-called super villain had about 5 minutes of super villain screen time. I don’t think that anyone will mind that Ivan built his own arc reactor and power suit in his basement, but yet the government is still trying to have Tony Stark hand over his Iron Man suit.

Note to self:  Build Arc reactor in basement, then mow lawn.

In this sequel Anthony “Tony”  Stark just doesn’t give a shit, really. He is a big-time playboy, a trillionaire and a superhero what is there to be worried about, oh yeah his pesky heart. Tony Stark is an over-the-top arrogant, smug, unapologetic ass all the way up until we find out that wearing the Iron Man suit is killing him. Yeap he’s dying and rather quickly to add to the drama.

This movie is based on a comic book and all of the comic book geeks will be glad that their adolescent fantasies are now on the big screen, a feeling which I too experienced when I first saw the Silver Centurion armor. Although the Black Widow story line is spot on, Iron Man 2 as a movie is barely in the Marvel Universe, it is almost pure soap opera, which is probably why they kept referencing other Marvel’s other characters and films.

It’s not that the movie needed more action, it just needed a better story. The middle sags as Hamlet broads, but there just isn’t enough story to go around, well at least not enough to get the ensemble cast enough time to shine, especially Scarlett Johannson. I was sufficiently wondering where the movie was headed by the time Ivan Vanko a.k.a “Whiplash” shows up walking around slicing and dicing cars on the Monaco raceway. But even while he was doing that I was wondering where was the officer who tasered that 17-year old kid at the Philadelphia Phillies game.

Everything about Iron Man 2 from the music to the fight scenes to the actors are solid and unimpressive, except for Robert Downey Jr who saves or should I say makes this film, much in the same way Johnny Depp does the films he stars in. Director Jon Favreau plays footloose and fancy free with the dialogue as he goes with a more heart less suit theme. I am not kidding when I say that Iron Man gets maybe 20 minutes of screen time. These actors don’t compliment each other well. The moralizing from the first movie sadly has been removed in exchange for a larger cast and little direction. Iron Man, as marvel superhero’s go, is already on the lower rungs and this movie, while not terrible, does nothing to bolster that position.

Iron Man 2 gets a7.5 out of 10 and that’s my FilmWord.