Podcasts were new to me in 2007 but I jumped right in. It's been a learning experience but also tons of fun! The following podcast features a 2:45 montage that I really had a blast (and spent 3 hours assembling)..I hope you enjoy it..Happy New Year!
By years end I will have read 23 24 books in 2007. I don't typically rate or review books until this past August when I was invited to contribute to "Book Me In" at which point I have done my best to follow up each book I read with a review over there. So, for the books on the list that do not have a review over there, I will give you a quick one liner and a link to Amazon.com (if available). For the books that have reviews over at Book Me In, I will offer a link to the review I wrote over there.
6. The Cell by Stephen King
One of the more violent King books and a worthy read if you can stomach it.
7. A Pilgrim's Way by Walter C. Righter
Walter C. Righter is a retired Episcopal Bishop who was once charged with heresy for ordaining and openly gay man. This is an important book for anyone who has any real concern of human rights issues as Righter discusses the whole ordeal in great detail. Walter Righter just happens to be the bishop who received me into the Episcopalian faith and is a truly wonderful man.
8. Black Market by James Patterson
I'm one of those freaks whose gone on to read all of his back catalog after getting into him much later.
As of this writing, I saw 28 movies this year. This list covers the movies I saw, not necessarily movies that were released this year. My ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 5 and includes half points. The rating is based on this most recent viewing of the movie. While it doesn't happen often, I will rewatch a movie I had seen some time in the past and there are circumstances where a movie with have a different significance to me and end up with a different rating For some, I may offer remarks and others, just a listing and a rating. Blah, Blah, Blah. And now, the movies...
1. Happy Feet - 4.5
Every now and again I need to see a film that can't possibly have a bad message. This was lots of fun and I always like trying to figure out all of the celebrity voices.
2. Flight Plan - 4.0
I love Jodie Foster, she's smart, beautiful, and a good actor. This movie had a good mix of suspense the story was told well.
3. Beer League - 3.5
This is just one of those goofy, stupid films that come in handy every so often. You can check your brains at the gate, grab a beer, and opt for a laugh or two. I happen to be a fan of Artie Lange so I am on the biased side of generous with my rating but I did genuinely have fun watching this.
5. The Break Up - 4.0
My beloved Jennifer Anniston. It was a funny movie, Vince Vaughn, while not an actor of great depth, does what he does very well and he does it here.
6. The Celestine Prophecy - 3.5
It was odd, but worth watching. As I recall, the cinematography was quite good but the cast was basically unknowns and not very good actors.
7. Jarhead - 3.0
Very intense. Jake Gylenhall was very good as was Jaimie Foxx (and it gives me no great pleasure to compliment Foxx).
8. Wordplay - 4.0
A documentary about crossword puzzle aficionados and followers of NY Time crossword editor Will Shortz. I know that it doesn't sound like it has a shot at being interesting but the characters were fascinating, especially since they are all real people.
9. Saw II - 3.0
I'm an old school horror film watcher so every now and then I check one out. As I recall, I like this one a bit better than the first of the Saw films as there was a bit of a twist that worked well.
10. Batman Begins - 4.5
I loved this film. I watched it while home sick one day and t really captured my attention. A really good piece of filmaking as the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman is told.
12. This Thing of Ours - 2.0
My only reason for digging up a copy of this film is that a friend of mine has an original song on the soundtrack and in the film. A stereotypical mob film at best with the same cast of characters that can't get work in films that aren't about mobsters.
14. Charlotte's Web - 4.0
This 2006 version of the classic story in brilliant color offers another chance to fall in love with this tale. And, another opportunity to pick of celebrity voices.
15. An Unfinished Life - 3.0
I feel compelled for some reason to see J.Lo films. Worth watching if you have low expectations of greatness and it happens to be nearby. Morgan Freeman is brilliant as always.
16. Stranger than Fiction - 5.0
A very unique concept brilliantly executed and a nice change of pace for Will Ferrell.
17. The Lady in the Water - 3.0
Everytime I give an M. Night Shyamalan film a chance I am utterly disappointed. It seems he shot his load in The Sixth Sense. Unbreakable and Signs really sucked, I haven't seen The Village as of yet, at least it was watchable thanks to one of the best actors in the game, Paul Giamatti.
18. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - 3.0
The level of funny you've come to expect from a Will Ferrell comedy is high and as such, this film doesn't quite hit the mark. However, there are ample laughs to make it rainy day rental worthy.
19. Casino Royale (2006) - 4.0
It's been a long time since I even cared about seeing a James Bond film and this one does not disappoint.
20. Music and Lyrics - 4.0
I have always liked Hugh Grant in the romantic comedy genre though his movies are either good or awful, not too many tweeners. I really enjoyed this film alot. I am no fan of Drew Barrymore but she was even good here.
23. Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector - 2.0
While there were some laughs, there really wasn't a screenplay other than trying to write a story around some of Larry the Cable Guy's jokes from his stand-up. Don't waste your time.
24. Good Night and Good Luck - 5.0
A brilliant film. David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow was a good an acting performance as I have ever seen.
25. Little Miss Sunshine - 4.5
Another winner. Lots of great performances and there just something about a 70 year old guy snorting a line of blow that reeks of sick humor.
26. Factotum - 2.5
I am hoping that I was just in some kind of funk when I saw this and it was better than my rating indicates. I am a Charles Bukowski fan, there just wasn't enough acting for me and the storytelling fell short as a result.
27. Click - 4.0
A fun movie. Also, it opened my eyes to the hotness of Kate Beckinsale.
I turned 43 (turned? what an odd expression - nonetheless, 'twas my 43rd birthday)
“wOOt” was announced as the word of the year
My office got TP’d
Dan Fogelberg died
I got the hots for Kate Beckinsale
That's just a brief peek. One of the best things to happen this year was meeting some new friends here in bloggerville that have touched my life in such wonderful ways. I look forward to sharing 2008 and beyond with all of you.
The year in books and the year in movies are still to come.
I went up to bed last night and there was a strong smell of gas in the bedroom. Desiring to awaken in the morning, I set out for a deeper understanding of the problem. I paraded about the house from the basement up to the attic and the only place where that smell existed was the bedroom.
Baffled, and still desiring to awaken come morning, I placed a call to the local fire department and discussed my concerns at which point the dispatcher ensured me that they would send someone right over. At this point I was relieved knowing someone would be over soon since I live just a few block from the firehouse and this someone would have the skill set necessary to determine if my goal of awakening would be possible if I chose to sleep in said gaseous room.
In the meantime, I scoured about the room looking for a possible feline "incident" or considering the possibility of a trapped dead animal in the duct work; then came the surprise. I really expected the "official" looking firehouse employee in the snazzy firehouse SUV, low profile and all. I look out the window and there is a full blown fire truck, lights and all along with the SUV guy and two firepeople in full uniform with masks and gear in tow ready for anything. Oh, did I mention that it's now midnight? This is the good part about not really knowing the neighbors all that well because inevitably, they are wondering what the hell is going on and now, they just need to fabricate their own version of the scenario.
Anyway, they firefolk ensured me that all was safe yet offered no explanation for the scent, which had diminished greatly by the time they had been there. As I write this some 22 hours later, there is no longer any trace of the scent...HMMMMMM!
How is it that I didn't realize until last evening just how freakin' hot Kate Beckinsale is? I (finally) saw the movie Click and holy Lord or Lords, that is one fantastical woman.
There's an odd phenomena going on with my most recent podcast. I broke the podcast up into three short segments and clearly labeled them as part 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3. As of this writing, parts 1 and 2 have been downloaded 7 times but part 3 has been downloaded 131415 16 times - I find this wildly interesting for some reason.
I offered up a fundraising project for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and the great work they do related to breast cancer, I am awaiting a reply on their part.
I am at the tail end of the Eric Clapton autobiography, a gem thus far. See review shortly on the book blog.
Three of the more than 60 Christmas/Holiday cards I mailed out were returned as a result of no forwarding addresses - where the fuck are you Paul Albinder, Lisa Diamond, and Lisa Cacace? It's me, your friend Chris. I know we haven't seen each other in years, but the annual Christmas/Holiday card was a nice way of staying in touch. I hope we touch base again sometime.
May the true spirit of the season bring hope and promise to you and yours.
UPDATE: I thought that I would tack on this silly, yet whimsical little email that's perhaps funnier to those who grew up Roman Catholic, but hey, the space is free so here goes, enjoy if you can.
A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done. The monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip." So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm. Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:
Sip the vodka, don't gulp.
There are 10 commandments, not 12.
There are 12 disciples, not 10.
Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the spook.
David slew Goliath; he did not kick the shit out of him.
When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass.
We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T."
When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, "Take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say "Eat me".
The Virgin Mary is not called "Mary with the Cherry".
The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.
Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.
In case you weren't looking carefully enough, I've added a new little app to my sidebar on the right, just beneath the old photo of me and my profile link. If you click the play button, you'll hear a very brief message from me then you can go ahead and click the "RECORD BY PHONE" button and leave me a message via a phone call which we all can enjoy at the press of the play button. Fun - Yes?
The ever funny Ben Stein has a terrific commentary on his website (actually written in 2005 but still topical and relevant). My friend Joe sent it to me in an email and I'd like to share it here: Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad. Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
I've vented quite a bit about the class I taught on Thursday evenings this fall semester and while driving home last night after it was all over, I clipped on a microphone, turned on the digital recorder, and just spoke off the cuff. The result is approximately 12 minutes long which I broke up into three separate parts.
I did this purely for me. I really needed to take a deep breath and get some sense of closure and this worked for me. Some of you may night find this at all interesting, perhaps some of you will. Either way, it's there for you if you choose to listen, and there for me having been there.
One quick note, the sound quality isn't top of the line but certainly passable.
Before I even get started, let me just say how friggin' disappointed I was to learn of 16 year old Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy. Even more odd, the mother Spears is having a book published - know what the subject is? Parenting...ouch!
For the past few days I have been in a super funk. Can't seem to get enough sleep, thoughts are scattered and unfocused...can't seem to get my shit together.
Looking forward to the last day of my current class. I laid the law down - if someones cell phone rings or someone shows up 15 minutes and 1 second late, they can expect a big fat goose egg for the final exam. It's time this group learns about respect. I had to lay the law down when it came time for final exam exemptions - I know far more people felt they deserved one but it isn't something that should go around so lightly. I really put my foot down with the qualifiers: a "B" or better in each of the 6 major units covered, no more than 1 absence, lateness, or leave early, and at least one logon to the class web site on 75 of the 101 days from 9/6 through 12/16. It's about respect and academic achievement, no free rides here.
My friggin' brain really hurts, bad. Later for now. I am however looking forward to the winter edition of our friends reunion featuring karaoke and libations at Chez DeCoursey. Hugs and kisses to the DeCoursey's.
Rest in Peace to singer Dan Fogelberg who lost a battle with prostate cancer at the age of 56. My favorite of his lyrics is a song called "Believe in Me". Here they are:
If I could ever say it right and reach your hostage heart
Despite the doubts you harbor then you might come to believe in me
The life I lead is not the kind that gives a woman peace of mind
I only hope someday you'll find that you can believe in me
Those other loves that came before mean nothing to me anymore
But you can never be quite sure and will not believe in me
(Chorus) Too many hearts have been broken failing to trust what they feel
But trust isn't something that's spoken
And love's never wrong when it's real
If I could only do one thing
Then I would try to write and sing a song
That ends your questioning and makes you believe in me
And makes you believe in me Oh, you can believe in me
My friggin' Yankees made what I consider to be a huge mistake by signing Mariano Rivera to a 3 year $45 million contract. I hate that fucker!
I am so looking forward to Thursday night as that is the night where the agony that is my current class, easily the most dreadful of my career, ends.
I walked into some major prankage this morning as someone toilet papered my office space. While my initial reaction was to laugh because I like a good prank, the current climate in our workplace is such that it could not be more inappropriate. Here are some photos:
I recently discovered the end-all cure for Insomnia - in a word, ballet.
It's been said that discretion is the better part of valor. What are the other parts?
It's the title of one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. It is also what a group of us did at work last Tuesday. At the end of each semester, the office of student development puts together a breakfast and they as well as volunteer staff serve breakfast to students. Here are a few pix from this semester's breakfast just this past week:
I saw this book meme at Joys and while I wasn't officially "tagged", I am gonna go for it anyway cause its fun.
Grab the nearest book.
Open the book to page 123.
Find the fourth sentence.
Post the next three sentences along with these instructions.
Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
State the book title and author.
So, here's mine: "This side of her life, the aristocratic social part, was something I never wanted to get involved in. I didn’t get it and I didn’t enjoy it. I’d go up to stay at the house, and the whole place would be full of people who just seemed to sit around all day smoking dope."
From Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
This past week, people have been tossing books they’ve read my way and this was one of them. I haven’t started it yet but her brief review was something to the effect that it is far more interesting early on but once he got sober, it started to get a little harder to read. I’ll let ya know on the book blog once I’ve read it.
And now, I wish to official tag the following fine readers of books: Airam, Sprizee, Brookem, Armalicious (you can leave yours in the comments since you don't current have a blog), and anyone else who wishes to join in.
I saw this on the 10:00 news last night and today it's an Associated Press newswire feature story:
Merriam-Webster's word of '07: 'w00t' By STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press WriterTue Dec 11, 5:55 PM ET
Expect cheers among hardcore online game enthusiasts when they learn Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year. Or, more accurately, expect them to "w00t."
"W00t," a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness or triumph, topped all other terms in the Springfield-based dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.
Merriam-Webster's president, John Morse, said "w00t" was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology.
"It shows a really interesting thing that's going on in language. It's a term that's arrived only because we're now communicating electronically with each other," Morse said.
Gamers commonly substitute numbers and symbols for the letters they resemble, Morse says, creating what they call "l33t speak" — that's "leet" when spoken, short for "elite" to the rest of the world.
For technophobes, the word also is familiar from the 1990 movie "Pretty Woman," in which Julia Roberts startles her date's upper-crust friends with a hearty "Woot, woot, woot!" at a polo match.
Purists of "l33t speak" often substitute a "7" for the final "t," expressing a "w007" of victory — an "in your face" of sorts — when they defeat an online gaming opponent.
"W00t" was among 20 nominees in a list of the most-searched words in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary and most frequently submitted terms from users of its "open dictionary."
The choice did not make Allan Metcalf, executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, say "w00t."
"It's amusing, but it's limited to a small community and unlikely to spread and unlikely to last," said Metcalf, an English professor at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.
The 2006 pick, "truthiness," also has its roots in pop culture. It was popularized by Comedy Central satirical political commentator Stephen Colbert.
Some also-rans in the 2007 list: the use of "facebook" as a verb to signify using the Web site by that name; nuanced terms such as "quixotic," "hypocrite" and "conundrum"; and "blamestorm," a meeting in which mistakes are aired, fingers are pointed and much discomfort is had by all.
From Associated Press, "The death last month of Kevin Dubrow, lead singer for the 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot, has been ruled an accidental cocaine overdose." I wish not to disrespect the dead or his family, but that term make no sense to me whatsoever.
First off, Cocaine isn't a prescription drug, there is no correct "dosage". Any amount of cocaine is an overdose.
Second, technically, isn't any overdose accidental? An intentional overdose would be suicide, wouldn't it?
I think part of the problem is that we need to nice every damn thing up. We are too afraid to confront the ugliness of certain situations and as a result, society begins to believe that the worst isn't as ugly as it is.
My parents were married on this date in 1955. While both have long since passed, not a day has gone by that they haven't been in my thoughts. I believe that they are together still.
I was reading the "magazine" section of this past Sunday's newspaper and came across an article that was entertaining to read because it was so well written, but partly the reason why this particular holiday season is something of a downer (thanks to years of retail work). Oh, the article...here it is:
It's the Receipt That Counts It's almost blasphemous to buy a present nowadays and not include a gift receipt. When did all of us gift givers become glorified ATMs? By Beth Teitell November 25, 2007
I was handing a friend a present recently, a nice one, with a card and everything, when I heard an apology coming out of my mouth. "There's no gift receipt. I'm sorry." My friend was gracious, but I knew I'd been rude. After all, who saddles someone with a present these days that can't be easily liquefied? Not most of us. Last year, 57 percent of consumers enclosed receipts, up from 49 percent in 2005, according to the National Retail Federation. It's still the thought that counts, but sadly, in 2007, the way to express that thought is not by adding a hint of your own personality or hunting down a unique item, but by ensuring the recipient gets full value at the returns desk.
Can an intervention be performed on a national level? I sure hope so, because every year around this time, Americans spend weeks schlepping around searching for merchandise to give to other people to schlep around and return. (Is there a shadowy schlepping lobby we should investigate?) Someone stop us, please. The Washington, D.C.-based retail federation says that one-third of consumers return one or more gifts, which means that if you glimpsed the action on mall security tapes, it would be like watching a movie forward and then backward. Sweaters, CDs, and small appliances would fly off the shelves, then magically reappear.
Even if you're lucky enough to give a gift that sticks, it probably won't be fully appreciated. That sounds pessimistic, but a number of studies have confirmed a depressing phenomenon called the "dead-weight loss of Christmas." That's the term economists use to describe the difference between what I spend on a gift for you ($100, say) and the value you put on it (about $82 - ingrate). In his work on the subject, University of Pennsylvania economist Joel Waldfogel has written, "People get about 18 percent more satisfaction, per dollar spent, on things they buy for themselves than on things they receive as gifts." That doesn't count sentimental value, but in an age in which many gifts that aren't returned are routinely re-gifted or sold on eBay, meaning doesn't count for much.
As if another red flag were needed, a new federation study found that gift cards - a less crass, less convenient version of cash - are the most desired gift this year. Why don't we just start cutting one another checks and skip the middlemen? Since Waldfogel had so clearly described the problem, I asked him for a solution. He suggested making a charitable donation in the intended recipient's name. That's nice in concept, but given how tyrannical recipients have become, I can already see how things will go. You write a generous check to a worthy cause on your friend's behalf, and next thing you know, he's insisting that he get the tax deduction, too.
With two shopping days behind us, and The Holidays gathering strength like a tropical storm whipping into a killer hurricane, is there a better way? Maybe the solution isn't anything fancy. How about simply giving people what they really want - a link from your blog to theirs? Or, how about spending time with "loved" ones instead of giving them gifts? I like this idea, but if you mention it to people, you get push-back: They want to buy their way out of togetherness.
All this negativity was making me nostalgic for the good old days, whenever those were, so I called Stephen Nissenbaum, author of The Battle for Christmas. He read me a few lines from a short story called "Christmas; or, The Good Fairy," in which the main character laments the state of the holidays. "There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got." Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote that, back in 1850.
So it's hardly a new problem. Until we get it figured out (there's always the next century), maybe the best thing we can do as gift givers is merely set the expectations low: Just be glad we're not - yet - complete doormats, required not only to spend, wrap, and mail, but also to write thank you notes to ourselves, too.
Beth Teitell, a Boston-based writer, contributes regularly to the Globe Magazine. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier I commented on Erin's blog and realized how much I love the story I told there and couldn't remember if I had ever shared it here. I did a search on the blog and couldn't find it so I am gonna tell it and if by chance I have told it and the search engine was wrong, I hope if you are hearing it again that you enjoy it again.
* * * * * * * * * *
My friend Mike and I used to go on these marathon shopping trips mall hopping through New York City. One time, my car had two large boxes filled with books that I had intended to donate to the library. However, during this one marathon shopping trip upon returning to the car, our bounty had required far more space than currently available (because of said books) and so we decided to place one book on each car in the lot until we were out of books. Afterward, we just sat in the car for a short while and watched as people would return to their car, see the book and start looking all around. What was really fun, funny, and cool is that an informal book swap began to occur - people would go to other cars and "trade" for a book they preferred. It was wild. As we drove out of the pay lot, I gave my money to the attendant and looked at him straight in the eye and said, "Beware - The Bookworm!" then drove off into the chilly night.
I'm way past the point of giving a crap about my birthday though I am utterly grateful to keep having them. Have you ever had a car that was getting up there and every so often it needs a bit more than an oil change and a tune up. While I didn't utterly abuse my body with chemicals, I was something of a wreckless daredevil and have broken and dislocated a few things which as the years pass, squeak a lilttle more.
The one thing that has definitely improved with age is my heart and my soul. I pay far more attention to them now. I'm affected by things and I care, at least most of the time. In the last few years, you my readers and blog buddies have become a part of my heart and soul. Thank you for sharing this journey with me and I look forward to what is yet to come.
And now for the creepiest yet most interesting birthday sond I could find - enjoy The Necrophiliac Creatures of Evil and "Birthday Song".
It would shock and alarm you to know how many college age students either do not understand what it means to write something "in your own words" and/or are incapable of doing so.
From where I sit most of my day, the line between naivety and stupidity is far blurrier that it should be.
And now for some hopefully whimsical commentary regarding DUMB LAWS that still exist in the state of Massachusetts (where I currently reside):
"At a wake, mourners may eat no more than three sandwiches." Why not, the dead dude isn't gonna eat them and it would be ashamed for the good food to go to waste.
"Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked." Arrest me now. I can only assume this is "public nuisance" issue but if your snoring is so loud that you are disturbing the public, or anyone other than those in the room in which you are snoring, you have a far greater problem than the fact that youa re disturbing the public with your snoring.
"Taxi drivers are prohibited from making love in the front seat of their taxi during their shifts." Crap, I was really looking forward to banging Rajheev this afternoon smack dab in the middle of his shift.
"All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday." Fortunately, I comply with this one so I can't get into trouble but heck, show a little mercy, not everyone can be cool and tote a rifle.
"Hunting on Sundays is prohibited." I bet you're now wondering what the heck that rifle is for now, aren't you?
I'll close with one that's on the books in the state of Washington for the benefit of my peeps up there: "It is illegal to entice girls away from the Maple Lane School for girls." I am assuming that means that all others are open game.
Funny, after I read some of these laws that are still on the books, it's not so unreasonable to think that there are people who were mentally disturbed enough to vote George Bush to a second term and even how someone as brainless as him could even be president. Very sad indeed.
I am off the the theatre tonight. In particular, the Colonial Theatre in Boston to see Mamma-Mia!
I was very happy to touch base with an old colleague, friend, and a very talented writer and teacher. Her blog is now on the "Blogs I Frequent" list, check it out when you have a chance.
Dig the music player above? I found it online recently and am testing it out here with a nifty little diddy, a timeless classic if you will, from my youth.
Yesterday was my dear friend Jenn's birthday and she celebrated by playing a gig in her new home of Los Angeles. Today is Jill's birthday who moved to Portland, Maine recently. Jill turned me on to this world of blogging for which I am forever grateful. I'm thinking about ya Jill and hope you have a terrific birthday and a great year.
I just noticed that this post reads Saturday, December 1st when in fact it was posted on Sunday, December 2nd. Peculiar. Nevertheless, Mamma Mia was terrific. For the record, I am typing this as 12:29am on Monday, December 3rd.
During some short pockets of down time, I began thinking about all that I read about here in bloggerville. Every so often I click on blogroll links then keep doing so until I end up somewhere deep in the sea of bloggers only to discover there are so many common threads among us. Makes sense though since we are all human and have similar human interactions.
Anyway, I found myself doodling, which has nothing to do with drawing for me since I have no talent there. Doodling for me usually is putting words on a page and hopefully assembling them in some way that bears meaning. The net result is a poem called "It's Time to go Back Home".
It's Time to go Back Home
All is not right in my world
and I no longer can pretend
I've been hurting far too long
and I just need this pain to end
While I'm hanging on to hope
there's not enough to go around
I've taken one too many to the heart
and I just need some level ground
So if you ain't here to rescue me
then please just walk away
the years that I have lost
were just too high a price to pay
From here on it's on my own terms
there'll be no compromise
no more feeling sorry
no more battle cries
It's time to go back home
It's time to go back home
In honour of Airam's Nablomopomo success and the fact that I and others can't see the video there, I took the liberty (hopefully with Airam's blessing) of posting it here hoping that between the two blogs, at any time at least one will have it viewable.
I have no business posting today. My brain is toast after grading 28 or so realy awful papers. I gave a super simple assignment that required minimal research and very basic writing techniques. The class average was a dismal 69.69%. Ultimately, it speaks volumes on the literacy problem in this country because if you read the assignment and simply respond accordingly, the grade should really be a mimimum of 85-90%.
Helio won Dancing with the Stars. Hours later he and his fiancee split. He better not be messing with that hottie Julianne.
My dear Heather is gone from ANTM. I rooted for her but she didn't make it easy.
Project Runway is about to end, my cue to start watching it. Update: "The crotch on the pant is insane!" Michael Kors referring to Carmen's outfit. What a brilliant line.
I got a nasty pimple on my neck, it's one that actually hurts. WTF, 43 and still pimples. Well, if you are only as old as you feel then I guess I am 14.
I've resisted Facebook for quite some time despite being a technology person and teacher. Well, finally this past weekend I set up my account and I hate to say that I'm kind of hooked. I still need to work on my profile which is somewhat compete but I have already gotten shellacked at a game of scrabulous by my pal Jenn.
I've been trying to find people that I haven't communicated with in ages but am having no luck so far. However, I have been having a swell time futzing around with the few folks I have touched base with in that venue.
I currently have a splitting headache and the dizzies, it's just been that kind of day I guess. Perhaps to much Facebook time - LOL!
Here's a geeky sentence: "My color printer seems to have decided to switch its IP address all on its own."
I like the phrase, "In a metaphorical sense."
I ate vegetable lasagna today, it was yummy.
I saw the following movies over the turkey day weekend: "Good Night and Good Luck" and "Little Miss Sunshine"; I loved them both.
This picture was from the year 2001 when my now sister-in-law, then, brother's girlfriend, attended the Broadway production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Frank N' Furter is monstrous, you should have seen the heels that dude was wearing.
By the way, I haven't abandoned podcasting I just haven't had time to put things together. Maybe tonight one will happen, if not, next week for sure.
The Born in the U.S.A. album was represented by a with Bruce playing the acoustic guitar with a raw aggression punching up the studio version of Working on the Highway along with some yowls and hoots. Lyrically, I can't help but think it was an intentional lead into Devil's Arcade from the new CD as the lives of the characters seem to parallel in many ways. Devil's Arcade is not for the faint of heart. It's lyrical and vocal content require a specific audience response for the proper effect, that is quiet and attention. From what I've read, this was a bit trickier on last night but in this performance, it seemed that the audience was captured without distraction and effectively rewarded as the beginning notes of The Rising, from the CD of the same name, were played. The Rising is one of those songs that constantly builds on itself, even when I listen to this song on CD, I can feel that "Rising" in the music and the lyrics as they play off each other. I love this song and live, it is not only electrifying, but moving as well.
Bruce gave us two more from Magic at this point with Last to Die and Long Walk Home. When I first heard these songs in the CD I couldn't wait to see how they translate live. These are songs that really highlight the brilliance of this band as a unit and how each player contributes to the whole. There are certain songs that strike particular emotions that contribute to how they feel when you hear them. One of my favorite Springsteen songs that just tugs at something inside of me is No Surrender, absent in this performance but Last to Die seems to pull at those same emotions and Long Walk home was a good choice rhythmically to bring me back to the performance I was watching from the place I seem to go when I hear those songs.
The main set closed with Badlands, from Darkness on the Edge of Town, a classic track that had all 18,000+, including this fan, on their feet singing along with nearly as much passion as Bruce himself. There wasn't much time to breathe though because we all knew they weren't done yet; not with the show or the surprises. Us diehards are always browsing the set lists from previous performances on the tour and trying to predict what we might hear. Throughout the tour, the encore set has been fairly standard with some, but few surprises and nothing for sure that would have had any of us guessing what we were in store for except we knew for sure that Born to Run would be in there somewhere.
The first song was as predicted, considering it had been placed there for all but two shows on the tour, Girls in their Sumer Clothes from Magic. This song was made for the live show and we were all invited to sing the first chorus as Bruce held the microphone out to the audience while moving his hands in a conducting manner and mouthing the words for those who may not have known all of the words. I particularly love the bass vocal range hat finishes the chorus. As the song ended, much to our surprise and delight, the show officially went into overdrive with the tour premiere of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out from Born to Run. Peter Wolf, in the audience the previous day, took the stage during this crowd pleaser to kernoodle with Patti Scialfa and Springsteen himself. Wolf a Boston native and local hero didn't add much to the performance but the crowd was happy to see him and he certainly didn't take anything away from the performance either. Quite frankly, the idea that we were hearing this song really just elevated the adrenalin levels and trust me, there was no way you would believe that every performer on the stage was a card carrying member of the AARP. Simply breathless and it wasn't about to stop as a tightened up jazzy, bluesy, Federici-fied version of Kitty's Back from the Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle continued to mesmerize the crowd. We all knew that this was going to be a great show and it's hard to consider a specific Springsteen show as "something special" but I think having seen him nine times, all special, I can say without hesitation, this show was truly something special.
The rest of the show, anyone of us diehards could have predicted if you told us there were only two songs left. And while predictable, they were nothing short of brilliant. The legendary Born to Run, from the album of the same name is not only a signature song, but proof of the love and passion Springsteen brings to his performances and his fans. Compare it say Sting, who has admitted to dreading singing Roxanne as it is painfully obvious to anyone who might take a moment to observe him during the performance, Springsteen performs Born to Run with the same intensity and perhaps even increased appreciation as if it were a song he wrote the day before and he were introducing it for the first time. The show closer was American Land from the "American Land" reissue edition of The Seeger Sessions CD. Lyrics were provided, karaoke style, on the big screens above the stage and the crown responded in kind. When it was all over, we weren't brought down, but lifted up to a place very few performers can take us. To see Bruce Springsteen live is beyond just any concert performance, it truly is a spiritually moving event and when the E-Street Band is along for the ride, there is just no limit to how high they can take you. The End.
Darkness was followed up with Candy's Room, also from the Darkness on the Edge of Town album and then She's the One from Born to Run. Both of these songs were highlights of the integrity of Springsteen's older works both as works of art and as treasures valued by those who love this artist. Moreover, both were a testament to the quality of musicianship of this seasoned touring band.
Living in the Future, from Magic came complete with brief but poignant political commentary and captured the crowd while setting them up for what was not just a surprise choice in tonight's set list, but the first of two tour premiers with This Hard Land, first presented on the Greatest Hits CD and then on the Tracks box set as an alternate version. Boldly replacing the far more familiar The Promised Land yet with no hesitation nor disappointment, this number really took shape, especially following Living in the Future, in embellishing the political perspective without force feeding yet entertaining brilliantly.
Reflecting on his older material and perhaps in an effort to showcase original E-Streeter Danny Federici, we were treated to two consecutive gems from The Wild, The Innocent, & The E-Street Shuffle. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) and The E Street Shuffle had the crowd exhilarated and perhaps even grateful in hindsight that we all ended up with tickets for the second night show. By this point in the show, these performances also served as a testament to how good songs stand the test of time and remain relevant regardless of age; not unlike Springsteen himself.
I'm crazy busy prepping for turkey day but I didn't wanna leave y'all in the lurch without a taste of what I experienced at the Springsteen concert last eveing. So, here is the first installment with more to come:
The lights went out, the crown began to roar. Some crazy things floated up at the back of the stage making carnival like music. The crowd roared louder. The carnival like sounds stopped and that unmistakable gravelly voice yelled through the darkness, “Hey Boston, is there anybody alive out there?” the crowd roared yet louder, so much so that the seats were shaking. One more time, “Hey Boston, is there anybody alive out there?” then the chords began and the crowd erupted; as did the band as they opened the show with the first single off the new CD “Radio Nowhere”.
A quick guitar change, chords still ringing through the arena, the band followed up with “Night” from Born to Run and then “Lonesome Day” from The Rising. Finally Bruce speaks to us but very briefly. “Thank you Boston, thank you for coming out tonight.” I seemed as through the brief pause had the intent of allowing us to process the true magic that began to unfold and would thrill all 18,000+ as the night progressed. One of the things I think makes Springsteen so relevant and entertaining is he is still hungry after all these years, he really loves doing this.
“Gypsy Biker” from followed by the title track from the new CD “Magic”, a song “not so much about magic, but tricks” Springsteen exclaimed after a short synopsis about the song and its inspiration. With this, the tone was reset as the crowd response was nothing short of mesmerized as we all watched these brand new songs come to life on the concert stage.
“Reason to Believe” from the solo acoustic effort Nebraska was next but delivered with fuzz box intensity and an arrangement reminiscent of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky”. As a long time diehard fan of Springsteen, I get especially excited hearing rearrangements of his songs and have yet to be disappointed. This particular arrangement had me literally at the edge of my seat and as the song ended and led into “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, from of course the album of the same name, I can’t even begin to describe (though I’ll continue to try) nor quantify the joy (to borrow an expression from John Stewart’s Madison Square Garden review) I was feeling as was that of the crowd, obvious by their reaction.
Well, there's much to be said about the amazing show and I have decided to do that in a separate post because I don't want the negative vibes to cloud the genius of Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band. Therefore, I will vent here in this post and give the greatest Rock and Roll band in history its proper due later in another post.
Before I continue the ranting, I should refer you to a post of several weeks back entitled Concert Going 101 - this shall be a good primer for the rest of this post. Are you back? Okay...
There were 18,000+ in attendance at the show last night and only 5 complete assholes. Unfortunately, all 5 were directly in front of us and I hate each of them fuckers. What the fuck is the point in spending $110 for a concert ticket if you are only there to drink $7 glasses of urine (they serve that godawful Coors there)? I mean, you wanna go out drinking, these are kids who are doing shit I did at that age so I can't be too critical but if your paying primo bucks to see a show, pay attention to the fucking show and don't deter anyone else from doing so.
These little shits were rude, loud, obnoxious, texting, and drunk. By the way, to the pencil-necked dick wad in front of me, YES, I was the one who poured water on your seat and put a gum wrapper in your beer - go fuck yourself for messing with me and my good times. And to your Lance Bass looking buddy, nice fucking hand dance (thanks to Nancy for spotting that). I only hope those two young girls you both coaxed into spending time with you got home safely and realize what pricks you all were. I also hope that you got home safely as well. Even though I hate you, it would only be that much worse if someone other than us had to be annoyed or hurt by your uselessness.
One more gripe related to Concert Going and this is not about the public but whomever is responsible for the show starting time. I paid $110 for a seat to a show that stated a 7:30pm show time. I hauled ass through sucky traffic and paid $25 dollars to park my fucking car so that I could be in my seat ready to enjoy the show that I paid $110 to see start at 7:30. Why the fuck did I have to wait until 8:20? The very least you owe me is an explanation that makes sense.
Okay, I'm done, all the shizz is behind me. See ya later with the good stuff.
Bagpipes. Today at church, we celebrated both the day of our patron Saint, Andrew, and the 50th anniversary of worship in our building. Along with lots of festivities and food, there was a dude all Scotched out, kilt and all, playing bagpipes. Darn impressive up close.
House Cleaning. In preparation for the arrival of my brother and sister-in-law, I've been working on getting the house cleaned up. Yesterday I did all of the windows, inside and out and today I have thus far been working on the kitchen. Currently I am taking a break from cleaning the grout which has gotten grubby.
Probably no Podcast Tonight. While pre-production work has begun, with the amount of cleaning to be done, I it's not likely I will get to the podcast this evening.
A New Feature. Over on the sidebar, just below the "More of Me" section, there is a new feature called the "Project Runway Tracker". Over the weeks, this will be your guide to who has been eliminated and who remains in the competition. Or, as Heidi Klum puts it, who is still in, and who is out.
In the meantime, take a deep breath and do something mice for yourself, you deserve it. With love...
The photo below is evidence that one can improve with age. The guy on the right is Larry Harmon, the creator and original portrayer of the character "Bozo the Clown". The long haired, giant tinted freaky glasses wearing, over sized earing, and something of a snaggle tooth grooving guy on the left - GULP - yes, it's me.
For those who talk down to the fashions and styles of the seventies, folks, I am living proof that the 80's were not good times in that area either cause trust me, I was not the only one to look that freaky. Thing is, none of us had any clue that we were looking so darn freaky, obviously.
This is what happens at half past midnight, I start whipping out the nostalgia items. Alright already, heres the fugly, I mean photo:
For the first time in quite a few years I'll be spending Thanksgiving with a member of my immediate family. My brother and his wife are coming into Massachusetts for a few days. The funny thing is that they can't travel a lot because they are so tied down to their dogs and their usual kennel had no opening for boarding. Turns out, there's a boarding place a few block up the road from me so the dogs are taking the long road trip up from Staten Island, NY as well.
I just placed my food order because I have vowed never to cook a Turkey again. I see no point in it. Turkey is friggin' boring and just not worth any more effort than picking up a precooked Turkey and just tossing it in the oven for a heating.
In the meantime, I need to get cracking and clean the messy house and get a room ready for them to sleep in. I purchased new filters for the humidifiers yesterday – I just typed that and realized afterward how pathetic that sentence is.
FUCK!!!! I used this word in some form three previous times and removed it because I've been overusing it (subconsciously to impress Airam) but now I must. Some bloated nursing student with an attitude she hasn't got the right to have just returned my tape dispenser to my desk. She never asked if she could use it, she just took the fucker when I wasn't here as if it's perfectly okay to take shit off someone's desk. I hope the bitch flunks out of nursing school and has to wipe asses for the rest of her miserable life. There, I am much better now.
Finally, Project Runway has returned to the airwaves with season four. And a new cast of eclectic and eccentric designers, the familiar cast of judges, and my favorite TV personality, Tim Gunn. It may seem strange to some that a reality show where the main characters are clothing designers could be interesting but in my opinion, clothing designers are part artists, part salespeople, part entrepreneur, etc. This unique mix of ego and expression of inner-self is often a fascinating study in a single individual. However, take 15 of them, throw them in close quarters and have them pit them against one another and you have a whole new ballgame. Then throw in the show personalities such as Tim Gunn, hands down the classiest guy to work on television in years. Hedi Klum, the "host" and head judge offers a European flair while Michael Kors and Nina Garcia offer their perspectives as industry insiders. One of the cool things about a cast of designers is that it's rarely formulaic, which is one of the very few criticisms I have with the casts of Survivor fifteen seasons in. What I like most about Project Runway is that the creativity provides the flavor of the show while the personality and the clashes typical of competition based reality television are the filler. Check it out.
Monday holidays often throw off the beginning of my week but I am always grateful on Friday when I realize it's Friday already.
I have my annual physical scheduled for tomorrow. Of course it's been more like two plus years since my last one but I've been to the doctor enough times since to not feel so guilty.
I never enjoy the idea of paying money to another man to grab my nuts and occasionally probe in other places that quite frankly, I just don't enjoy being probed. Then of course there's the blood work. I don't have any problem with the needles or anything, it's just I hate the idea of fasting for 12 hours.
Also, I always seem to be in my unhealthy phase when it's time to see the doctor. I'll go for some period of time where I am eating pretty well and exercising regularly. And then I go for a period of eating just about everything that isn't chained down and the only exercise I get is the actual act of eating it, this is usually when I have my physical.
I'll weigh in between 175-185 during my healthy days and between 195-205 during my who gives a flying fuck days. I seem to have had an extended period in the not giving a flying fuck days so I guess part of the process is coming to grips with the idea that I need to batten down the hatches, or the refrigerator at the very least.
I hope you all enjoy this week's podcast, I made it for you and me. In timew, I will get the sound quality better. I am getting new software this week and in time will get a new microphone and I may either get a professional mixer and/or a multi-track recording system. I'm a freak about this stuff.
UPDATE 11/12/2007 The amazing Armalicious informed me of the orginal source of the JC Penney post/eMail. I am now linked in to his terrific blog called 15 Minute Lunch and his original version of the post can be found here. I confess, I've been holding out. My buddy Johnny sent me an email the other day that just had me laughing so hard, along with many of my colleagues. I haven't shared it hear because I knew it would take time to convert it to a post but I finally have the time and thought I'd finally let you all in on some funny stuff.
The original author is a mystery but the laughs are plentiful. Enjoy...
Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife's grandfather. While my wife's brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:
A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It's not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking. I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels: Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom: There's plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I'm not going to bore you with that. Instead, I'm going to bore you with something else. The clothes.
The clothes are fantastic.
Here's how to get your ass kicked in elementary school: Just look at that belt. It's like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.
Here's how to get your ass kicked in high school: This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.
Here's how to get your ass kicked on the golf course: This "all purpose jumpsuit" is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can't see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block. Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden made you, and as a one-piece, it's slightly more effective as a deterrent against ass-rapery.
Here's how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere: If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob "No-pants" Saget has his hand in the other guy's pocket. In this case, he doesn't, although you can tell just by looking at them that it's happened - or if it hasn't happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his matching coffee cup.
Here's how to get your ass kicked at the beach: He looks like he's reaching for a gun, but you know it's probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.
How to get your ass kicked in a meeting: If you wear this suit and don't sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you'd be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit.
How to get your ass kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick's Day: Dear god in heaven, I don't believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you're working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.
In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys. As does your search for chest hair.
And this -- Seriously. No words. Oh wait, it turns out that there are words after all. Those words are What. The. F*ck. I'm guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.
Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I'm guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don't they? I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best." And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and a blonde girl with a look on her face that says "I love the way your junk fights against that fabric." Then, after the lovin', you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits: I could go on, but I'm tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it's the colors. That said, I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers: Man, that's sexy.