"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lt. Col. William Arthur Bamford I (1909-2006)

The patriarch of my family is gone.

My grandfather passed away this morning at 10:55 AM EST. Aside from the last few years, he lived a full, wonderful life. He was a great and humble man, who dedicated his life to serving the Lord as a Salvation Army Officer (minister), and was active in the Corps (churches) he soldiered in (attended) even after he retired in 1973. He truly will be missed by all that knew him.

I've often said over the course of my lifetime that if he (and my grandmother, who died in 2001) don't get into heaven then no one goes. Fortunately, though he is home now with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Though I am saddened by his passing, his death was not an unexpected event. His quality of life was nil, as evidenced in the two times I got to visit with him recently, in July and October of this year. This increasing decline in his health was confirmed by the reports of my parents who visited him monthly, including the last time less than two weeks ago. I am comforted to know that he is in a better place now and finally at peace, reunited with his wife of almost 70 years.

The good news is, though, that I will see him again in heaven someday, and what a reunion that will be!

The funeral will likely be on Friday, so I will be away from my computer on Thursday and Friday but should be back either late Friday or Saturday.

What follows is a pictorial tribute to my grandfather from most of the pictures that I have on my computer. I've excluded the pictures showing other living relatives, not wanting to post their pictures on the internet without their permission. It's fitting to include my grandmother (d. 2001) in this tribute since she was his rock and his life.

WILLIAM ARTHUR BAMFORD I (May 25, 1909-November 28, 2006)

W. Arthur & Eleanor Bamford, at retirement, c. 1973


W. Arthur & Eleanor Bamford, Aug. 20, 1987

W. Arthur & Eleanor Bamford, 65th Anniversary, Sept. 1997

W. Arthur Bamford, 94th bithday, 2003

My grandfather and me, July 15, 2006

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

1 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Excellent game because we won.

New England Patriots 17, Chicago Bears 13 @ Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

Holy cow, what a game. Nine turnovers, five for the Patriots, but we still won. A win is a win and I'll take it.

Billed as a possible Super Bowl XLI preview, two of the best teams in the NFL slugged it out. It was a must win for the Patriots playoff positioning, not so much for the Bears solely becasue of the lead they have in their conference. The officiating was questionable on two pass interference calls called against the Patriots that set up the Bears with great field position on both. I think those calls led to 10 points.

I do feel bad for Patriots linebacker Junior Seau who broke his arm in an extremely ugly fashion, which was caught on camera. He's probably done for the year, unless the Patriots get to the Super Bowl, and possibly his career (being a 17 year NFL veteran). This guy has been called a freak and I'll bet he could come back next year and play well, if he wanted to. No comeback this season for Seau. The Patriots on Monday put him on the injured/reserved list, officially ending his season. I'd like to see him play again next season, though. And I'll bet that leaving a game injured is not how he pictured endng his career - competetive guy that he is.

The Patriots should have an easier game next week, as the horrible 2-9 Detroit Lions come to the Razor.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

SNMR 2.12: "Planes, Trains & Automobiles"

In recognition of Thanksgiving, tonight's SNMR feature is "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" (1987, R, 92 minutes), starring Steve Martin and John Candy. The film was directed by John Hughes.

This is one of those films that I first saw when I was a teenager working at the movie theater in my hometown. I've seen it dozens of time since then and it still is very funny. For me, this movie is always a tear jerker at the end because it reminds me how much we can take for granted our families and the houses that we call home.

From the DVD's dust case:
Neal Page is an advertising executive who just wants to fly home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. But all Neal Page gets is misery. Misery named Del Griffith - a loud mouthed but never the less loveable, salesman who leads Neal on a cross-country, wild goose chase that keeps Neal from tasting his turkey.
Steve Martin (Neal) and John Candy (Del) are absolutely wonderful as two guys with a knack for making the worst of a bad situation. If it's painful, funny, or just plain crazy, it happens to Neal and Del in "Planes, Trains & Automobiles." Every traveler's nightmare in a comedy-come-true!

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 882:
Although it tends to lose momentum in the last half, this screamingly funny film features Steve Martin and John Candy at the peak of their comedic powers. Martin is an uptight marketing executiveen route from New York to Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, only to end up on a bizarre cross-country odyssey with an obnoxious bozo played by Candy.

This is definitely a Martin & Candy vehicle as the rest of the cast is ensemble, featuring cameos by Kevin Bacon, Ben Stein, Michael McKean, Edie McClurg and a very young Matthew Lawrence. Hughes has used some of these actors in other films he has directed. The script is well written, in spite of too much swearing which is the only reason this film garnered an "R" rating. The humor is subtle and the two leads play off of each other nicely. I like this film a lot. I'll give it four out of five stars.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving, 2006

On this dismal, cold and rainy Thanksgiving here in central New England, I thought I'd share with you some of the writings of William Bradford (1590-1657), longtime governor of Plymouth Colony.

Cotton Mather (1663-1728) on William Bradford:

"He was indeed a person of a well-tempered spirit, or else it had been scarce possible for him to have kept the affairs of Plymouth in so good a temper for thirty-seven years together... The leader of a people in a wilderness had need be a Moses; and if a Moses had not led the people of Plymouth Colony, when this worthy person was their governour, the people had never with so much unanimity and importunity still called him to lead them."

"He was a person for study as well as action; and hence, notwithstanding the difficulties through which he had passed in his youth, he attained unto a notable skill in languages... He was also well skilled in History, in Antiquity, and in Philosophy; and for Theology he became so versed in it, that he was an irrefragable disputant against the errors, especially those of Anabaptism, which with trouble he saw rising in his colony... But the crown of all was his holy, prayerful, watchful, and fruitful walk with God, wherein he was very exemplary."

William Bradford on the Mayflower, 1620

Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the fast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. And no marvel if they were thus joyful, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on the coast of his own Italy, as he affirmed, that he had rather remain twenty years on his way by land than pass by sea to any place in a short time, so tedious and dreadful was the same unto him....

...What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity," etc. "Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them." "Let them confess before the Lord His lovingkindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men."

The Mayflower Compact, 1620


We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the llth of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

On the First Harvest, 1621

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Three strikes and I'm out.

Well, I did it again.

Failed the bloody licensing exam.

This time I got a 64 instead of a 58. So I'm getting better.

But not good enough.

So this holiday weekend I need to do some serious thinking about my career (or lack thereof) and get serious about job hunting, since the Insurance game is obviously not for me.

Maybe I can wrangle some more hours at the old company, again, next week to get some positive cash flow coming in.

One of these days I'll look back on this period of my life and laugh, thinking, "What was I worried about? These things normally sort themselves out, don't they?"

Still the possibility remains to relocate to another, less expensive part of the country. Though I'd hate to do it because of my kids still being here in New Hampshire. I can't afford to overlook any options.

At this point, however, I'm at wits end and not sure what can be done. Pray for me, will ya?

Oh, yeah.

Happy Thanksgiving, 28 minutes early.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Your age by Eating Out

This is pretty neat.


It takes less than a minute .Work this out as you read...

Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!

This is one of those waste of time things, but it's fun anyway.

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to go out to eat.
(more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1756 ....If you haven't, add

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number The first digit of this was your original number
(i.e., how many times you want to go out to restaurants in a week.)

The next two numbers are YOUR AGE!
(Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

They say that this is the only year that this will work (2006), so spread it around while it lasts.

Buy it. Buy it NOW.

I will, as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

SNMR 2.11: "Dead Heat on a Merry Go Round"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round" (1966, 104 min, NR), starring James Coburn, Camilla Sparv, Aldo Ray, Nina Wayne, Robert Webber and Todd Armstrong. The film was directed by Bernard Girard.

This is the film where Harrison Ford makes his big screen debut, an uncredited ten second appearance as a bellhop. It was for this reason that I purchased this DVD. I've never seen this film before tonight. The only actor in it (Ford's cameo doesn't count) that I recognize is James Coburn.

From the DVD's dust jacket:
James Coburn stars as Eli Kotch, a captivating rogue and full-time con man in this comical crime caper also featuring Aldo Ray and Camilla Sparv.
In prison, Kotch cleverly seduces an attractive psychologist to win parole. Once out, he immediately goes to work, planning a major bank robbery at the Los Angeles International Airport. The logistics of the heist call for imaginative thinking, so Kotch hires an electronics wizard, charms Inger Knudsen (Sparv) into marriage, and recruits Eddie Hart (Ray) to work the airport as a disguised policeman. Once everything is set, the determined Coburn is ready to blast into action. But will his scheme really land him the loot he's looking for, or will his dreams wind up in a Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round?

From Martin & Poerter's DVD and Video Guide 2006, p. 274:
Thoroughly engrossing film depicts the heist of an airport bank. Not a breezy caper flick, it unfolds a complex plot in a darkly intelligent manner. The cast is impeccable. James Coburn delivers one of his most effective performances.
Over all, this was a decent film but a bit slow. The plot took too long to build and the very last scene left me with a "what was that for?" question. It almost seemed like there was going to be another scene or that this last scene was tacked onto the end of the film. I would have edited it differently and added a bit more to close up that loose end. This 40 year old film is notable because of Harrison Ford's uncredited cameo film debut. I'll give this film two and a half out of five stars.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rare Opportunity tonight

My kids are taking a tae-kwon-do class in the town where they live and both are testing for their yellow belts tomorrow morning. I'll pick them up after they're done, just before noon.


One of the hardest things about being single is that, when I see a good looking woman that I might be attracted to, I can never tell if they are already involved in a relationship or not, aside from any rings on the left hand.

Which leads me to the rare opportunity I have tonight - a kid-free Friday night. Coincidentally, a local radio station is sponsoring a singles-mingle dance tonight in Manchester, from 8:00 PM - midnight.

So I've decided to go out tonight to this event, even though dancing isn't my favorite thing to do. I'll check out the scene and see what comes of it. It will be nice to get oout and socialize, knowing that the women I'll meet are definitely unattached. Who knows? At the very least I'll meet some new people. Should be lots of fun.

UPDATE: I was rather disappointed in the event. The music was good and loud, the place was packed, the dance floor was always full BUT most of the people there from what I could tell were NOT single. It looked like there were more over 50 couples there than actual young, single people. And there were many couples around my age there too, people that clearly came with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

In fact, when I first got there, around 20:15, the deejay was handing the microphone over to the owner of a local dance studio who co-sponsored the event. He went on to try and teach the group some basic Salsa steps. I ended up getting partnered with three women who looked old enough to be my mother. YUK!

The best looking woman there happened to work at the dance studio, possibly as an instructor. Man was she hot. But it looked like she had a boyfriend.

So tonight I learned two things.

A) Never go to one of these things solo.


B) Never go to one of these things solo.

I think the biggest reason why I don't normally go to these types of things, is because I know that I have no rhythm and look foolish when I'm pretending that I do. Seriously, all I kept thinking about was Billy Crystal's "white man's overbite" line from When Harry Met Sally and trying not to do it myself.

Before I left, I did go up to the table that the hot chick was working at to find out her name and inquire about the dance studio and lessons.

I'm seriously considering taking some dance lessons, probably after the holidays, so I don't feel like such a big dork when and if I go to these things. Plus, many women like to go dancing and it would be nice, if ever I'm in a relationship again, to actually have a good time if we ever would go out dancing. Taking lessons might be a good way to meet women and I might get on the beat...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Red Skelton on Marriage

As a divorcee, this made me laugh. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I am divorced... :>(

1. Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays.

2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California and mine is in Texas.

3. I take my wife everywhere..... But she keeps finding her way back.

4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. She said, "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" So I suggested the kitchen.

5. We always hold hands... If I let go, she shops.

6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said, "There are too many gadgets and no place to sit down!".... So I bought her an electric chair.

7. My wife told me the car wasn't running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was; she told me "in the lake."

8. She got a mud pack and looked great for two days... Then the mud fell off.

9. She ran after the garbage truck, yelling "Am I too late for the garbage?" .... The driver said "No, jump in!"

10. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.

11. I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don't like to interrupt

12. The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked "What's on the TV?" I said "Dust!"

13. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Big day tomorrow and he better be worth it.

I'm shortly off to bed because I have that one day crash course for the licensing exam tomorrow. The schedule says 8:00 to 18:00 for actual class time.

11/16 UPDATE: I actually left my apartment at 6:15, and got there at 6:45, since registration started at 7:30. I wasn't sure what time I needed to leave my apartment because you never know from day to day what the traffic on the highways around the Boston area will be like. And five minutes can make the difference between moving freely and getting bogged down in stop and go traffic. The class was held in a hotel right off of the highway and very easy to get to.

The class was fruitful as the instructor went through the book and highlighted the areas most commonly asked on the exam. We broke for five minute breaks every hour and had 30 minutes for lunch. The breaks were good for using the restroom and mostly because the material is so dry. It helped us (me anyway) to stay awake. My only complaint for the day was, for the cost of the class, lunch should have been included in the price, especially since there was a restaurant right there in the restaurant. But it was not.

I actually got out of the class at 14:30 becasue the last section discussed Massachusetts law, which doesn't apply to me right now. This was good as I needed to meet the ex to pick up V and M for the night.

I take the exam again on November 22 @ 15:00. I had better pass.


It was revealed on Tuesday that my Boston Red Sox won the right to negotiate a contract for 26 year old Japanese pitcher Diasuke Matsuzaka, shown here at the 2006 World Baseball Classic (of which he was MVP).

From everything I've read, he's good. Real Good.

They paid $51.1 million dollars to his Japanese League team, the Seibu Lions, for that right. Now they have to negotiate a contract with the player by December 14 or he goes back to his Japanese team. I suppose the good part is that if the Red Sox fail to sign the player to a contract within the 30 day window, then the Seibu Lions do not pass GO and do not collect $51,100,000.00.

Never let anyone tell you that professional sports is not a business first and foremost. The games are just a bonus for the fans, it seems.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Was God Thinking? Science Can't Tell

This is an essay that caught my eye at work last year, so I photocopied and saved it. Coincidentally I randomly pulled it out from a stack of papers on my table this morning. It appeared in Time magazine, in the November 14, 2005 issue. The essay, written by Eric Cornell, is adapted from a speech tht he gave for his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cornell won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2001.

Scientists, this is a call to action. But also one to inaction. Why am I the messenger? Because my years of scientific research have made me a renowned expert on my topic: God. Just kidding. You'll soon see what I mean. Let me pose you a question, not about God but about the heavens: "Why is the sky blue?" I offer two answers: 1) The sky is blue because of the wavelength dependence of Rayleigh scattering; 2) The sky is blue because blue is the color God wants it to be.

My scientific research has been in areas connected to optical phenomena, and I can tell you a lot about the Rayleigh-scattering answer. Neither I nor any other scientist, however, has anything scientific to say about answer No. 2, the God answer. Not to say that the God answer is unscientific, just that the methods of science don't speak to that answer.

Before we understood Rayleigh scattering, there was no scientifically satisfactory explanation for the sky's blueness. The idea that the sky is blue because God wants it to be blue existed before scientists came to understand Rayleigh scattering, and it continues to exist today, not in the least undermined by our advance in scientific understanding. The religious explanation has been supplemented--but not supplanted--by advances in scientific knowledge. We now may, if we care to, think of Rayleigh scattering as the method God has chosen to implement his color scheme.

Right now (2005) there is a federal trial under way in Dover, Pa., over a school policy requiring teachers to tell students about "intelligent design" before teaching evolution. The central idea of intelligent design is that nature is the way it is because God wants it to be that way. This is not an assertion that can be tested in a scientific way, but studied in the right context, it is an interesting notion. As a theological idea, intelligent design is exciting. Listen: If nature is the way it is because God wants it to be that way, then, by looking at nature, one can learn what it is that God wants! The microscope and the telescope are no longer merely scientific instruments; they are windows into the mind of God.

But as exciting as intelligent design is in theology, it is a boring idea in science. Science isn't about knowing the mind of God; it's about understanding nature and the reasons for things. The thrill is that our ignorance exceeds our knowledge; the exciting part is what we don't understand yet. If you want to recruit the future generation of scientists, you don't draw a box around all our scientific understanding to date and say, "Everything outside this box we can explain only by invoking God's will." Back in 1855, no one told the future Lord Rayleigh that the scientific reason for the sky's blueness is that God wants it that way. Or if someone did tell him that, we can all be happy that the youth was plucky enough to ignore them. For science, intelligent design is a dead-end idea.

My call to action for scientists is, Work to ensure that the intelligent-design hypothesis is taught where it can contribute to the vitality of a field (as it could perhaps in theology class) and not taught in science class, where it would suck the excitement out of one of humankind's great ongoing adventures.

Now for my call to inaction: most scientists will concede that as powerful as science is, it can teach us nothing about values, ethics, morals or, for that matter, God. Don't go about pretending otherwise! For example, science can try to predict how human activity may change the climate, but science can't tell us whether those changes would be good or bad.

Should scientists, as humans, make judgments on ethics, morals, values and religion? Absolutely. Should we act on these judgments, in an effort to do good? You bet. Should we make use of the goodwill we may have accumulated through our scientific achievements to help us do good? Why not? Just don't claim that your science tells you "what is good" ... or "what is God."

Act: fight to keep intelligent design out of science classrooms! Don't act: don't say science disproves intelligent design. Stick with the plainest truth: science says nothing about intelligent design, and intelligent design brings nothing to science, and should be taught in theology, not science classes.

My value judgment is that further progress in science will be good for humanity. My argument here is offered in the spirit of trying to preserve science from its foes--but also from its friends.

My only addition to this essay would be this:

Science, in its most basic definition can only tell us about phenomena that we observe today. Science tells us how things work, not how they got here. Since evolution offers only speculation (and false speculation at that) regarding the origin of life, evolution should not be taught in science classrooms, either.

Monday, November 13, 2006

On Christianity & Religion

I want to direct your attention to a new blog called On Christianity & Religion, that I've been meaning to start for some time now.

To start this new blog off, I'm reprinting (with American Guy's permission) a series of email conversations that we had several years ago regarding this topic, the first of which is available for reading now.

Though I warn you, these posts of necessity will be lengthy, but I hope that will not discourage you from reading and commenting there.

Once this initial series of posts is done, the blog will stay on topic, containing pieces that I've written in the past and will continue to write, as long as I'm able. Of course, the life-blood of any blog is the readers and commenters, and I hope you will want to join in the fun.

Leaving comments there is also a great way to give me ideas for future posts as well, since I'm always interested in what you're thinking. Who knows, I may be able to even get a few guest posters to contribute once in a while, if the readership is good.

However, the purpose of this new blog is not to displace God vs. Darwin, which offers three other very different viewpoints on the topic from fellow contributors American Guy, Scribe and Dabich, as well as my own.

I hope to see you there!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Looking through the hard drive...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

SNMR 2.10: "Be Cool"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Be Cool" (2005, PG-13, 120 minutes), starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Steven Tyler, Robert Pastorelli, Christina Milian, Harvey Keitel, The Rock and Danny DeVito. The film was directed by F. Gary Gray. This is the sequel to "Get Shorty".

I bought this DVD at the same time as Get Shorty, only because it is the sequel. I'm watching this film for the first time tonight. Hopefully this movie will be better than the first one. We shall see.

From the DVD's dust case:
Starring an unbelievably hip all-star cast including John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Andre 3000, Steven Tyler and The Rock, and bursting with the hottest music in the biz, Be Cool is the wildly hilarious tale about a gangster-turned-music mogul... and what it takes to be number one with a bullet.

When Chili Palmer (Travolta) decides to try his hand in the music industry, he romances the sultry widow (Thurman) of a recently whacked music exec, poaches a hot young singer (Christina Milian) from a rival manager and discovers that the record industry is packin' a whole lot more than a tune!

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 80:
Chili Palmer (John Travolta), the hoodlum turned movie producer of 1995's Get Shorty, gets into the music business to help a friend (Uma Thurman) save her record label. The pacing sags from time to time , but this sequel benefits from the Travolta-Thurman chemistry and an amusing supporting cast- especially The Rock as a gay bodyguard who wants to be a movie star, and Vince Vaughn as a hustler who wants to be black.

I liked this film better than the original for some reason, though I can't actually say why. The premise is the same as the first exchanging the movie business for the music industry. As with Get Shorty, I think this film has too many characters and tries real hard to get everyone involved but has a hard time doing so. Cedric the Entertainer plays a lousy tough guy and Vince Vaughn's character is simply annoying. I'll give this film three out of five stars.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Deaths, divorces and this day in history

60 Minutes anchor and news icon-legend Ed Bradley died on Thursday at 65 of leukemia.

Oscar winner and actor Jack Palance died today at 87 of natural causes.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe are getting separated and likely soon divorced.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline are getting divorced.

Ed Bradley spent 26 years reporting for 60 Minutes and his signature voice and journalistic prowess will be missed.

Jack Palance was one impressive actor. He was one of the few who could upstage Jack Nicholson, as their initial scenes in Tim Burton's "Batman" demonstrated. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in "City Slickers".

Why do we mourn human death so much? If all man is is a body, then why does it matter? For example, why don't we mourn squirrels and raccoons when they get hit by cars? What's the difference?

That Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe are now separated is surprising, yet not totally unexpected. Many Hollywood marriages that seem to be really solid usually end when one actor's carrer overshadows the other, as Witherspoon's has over Phillipe's.

Britney Spears divorce from Kevin Federline was a no-brainer and you could see it coming from the time you read about their marriage in the supermarket tabloids.

Too bad really. I for one never like to read about couples getting divorced, even the high profile Hollywood types. It's all part of the lack of respect for marriage and family and the general decline in our culture, where divorce is the easy way out.

And of course, I include myself in the above statement on divorce, just in case you think I'm being hypocritical. I don't recommend getting a divorce in the vast majority of circumstances.

This Day in History:

1928: Hirohito became Emperor of Japan.
1969: the children's educational program "Sesame Street" made its debut on PBS.
1975: the ore-hauling ship Edmund Fitzgerald and its crew of 29 vanished during a storm on Lake Superior. This event was memorialized by Gordon Lightfoot on his 1976 album "Summertime Dream"
1982: Soviet leader Leonoid I Brezhnev died at age 75.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Burlington High School football

I've never really cared much about high school football, which is not as big here as it is in other parts of the country. Also, when I went to high school, our team was perpetually bad, as they pretty much always are. However, it has been amusing to follow (from a distance, thanks to the Boston Globe) them this season as they are unbeaten and perfect with two games to go.
On Friday night, a win at home against Woburn, a traditionally tough opponent, will give them the Middlesex League title and a berth in a Division 2 Super Bowl. Of course, the annual Thanksgiving Day game (at Lexington this year) is no gimmee, either. Even with a loss on Friday night, they still would have a chance at the league title.

And yes, that's the Lexington of American Revolutionary War fame, for those of you not from this area.

So here's their schedule and results so far this season:

  • Sept. 8 Billerica W, 28-7

  • Sept. 15 at Arlington W, 27-0

  • Sept. 21 Wakefield W, 23-13

  • Sept. 30 at Winchester W, 42-14

  • Oct. 6 Watertown W, 33-0

  • Oct. 13 Melrose W, 48-7

  • Oct. 21 at Reading W, 19-14

  • Oct. 27 Stoneham W, 57-13

  • Nov. 3 Belmont W, 57-29

  • Nov. 10 Woburn W, 29-21 (OT)

  • 11/11 UPDATE: Burlington High School 2006 Middlesex League Champions!!!!

  • Nov. 23 at Lexington W, 20-7

  • Division 2 Playoff Nov. 28 vs. Natick @ Acton-Boxboro, 7 PM

  • NOTE: Lexington result and playoff schedule updated 11/24

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    forgotten English words

    It has been a long time since I've shared with you a sampling of forgotten English words pulled from the pages of my calendar. So here are some that caught my eye tonight.

    doctor of skill: a physician.
    -James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855.

    On this date in 1895, the German physicist Wilhelm Konrad von Rontgen (1845-1923) accidentally discovered the electromagnetic rays he called X-rays, also initially known as Roentgen rays. A notion cropped up soon after their medical imaging application came into use that X-rays could project anatomical drawings directly into students' minds. It was also suggested that unscrupulous doctors used them to examine women through their clothes. In the early 1900's, bogus X-ray glasses were developed for this purpose, and the New Jersey legislature considered banning them. The glasses prompted a London clothing shop to sell lead- lined, X-ray-resistant women's undergarments. Elisabeth Celnart's The Gentleman and Lady's Book of Politeness (1855) offered the following bit of medical etiquette: "Everyone knows with what delicate precautions a physician ought to speak before the patient and... In what guarded terms he should at last disclose to them a fatal termination... Everybody knows also that however poignant may be the grief of patients, they ought never to let it appear in their conversations with the physician that they regard him as the cause of their affliction."

    spelk: a splinter.
    -Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850.

    The celebration of Crouchmas commemorates the discovery of the "True Cross" in AD 323. The holiday was observed from 1389-1573. Historians estimate that by the Reniassance, several tons of splinters supposedly from the cross on which Jesus was crucified had been distributed and enshrined across Europe. Christian forces going into battle often had bits of the Cross on hand as good luck charms and morale boosters. One common belief was that the Cross had been made from an elder tree, and so anyone who burned that wood for heat would suffer misfortune. Another belief was that quaking aspen leaves tremble because that tree had been used to make the Cross.

    irrisory: addicted to laughing or sneezing.
    -Daniel Lyons's Dictionary of the English Language, 1857.

    heaven defend: Heaven forbid; Othello.
    -Rev. Alexander Dyce's Glossary to the Works of Shakespeare, 1902.

    beef-witted: having an inactive brain, thought to be from eating too much [beef].
    -John Phin's Shakespeare Cyclopaedia and Glossary, 1902.

    be blowed: You be blowed, or you go and be blowed, a vulgar form of refusal or dismissal, probably has a still coarser allusion underlying it, that of being "fly-blown," or rotting- that is, dying.
    -A. Wallace's Popular Sayings Dissected, 1855.

    Bostonian: It was indeed by the name of Bostonians that all Americans were known in France... Coffee houses took that name, and a game invented at that time, played with cards was called Boston, and is to this day [1830] exceedingly fashionable at Paris by that appellation.
    -Samuel Breck's Recollections [and] Passages from His Notebooks, 1877.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Work & another anniversary

    I just worked a 10 3/4 hour shift at my former employer. But it was cool though as we made a part today that we hadn't made since June, 2005. The part is a 12 mm Full Thread Bio Interference Screw, which is the largest screw we make (shot size 6.5g, part size 2.05g). Obviously we don't get too many orders for this part, which is okay, since a 1,000 piece order takes 12 hours to fill.

    I've got four more shifts there before I'm done with them, again. Actually, I'm fortunate that they had shifts available for me to work in the dead time that I have before I suffer through that nasssty licnsing exam again. So I can't really complain.


    Today is the first anniversary of my second and final kidney stone surgery. Wow, it's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since that time.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    What a weekend

    Saturday we went to my parents house so I could help my dad with his pool again. Two of my nephews were there also, so the kids could play together while we worked.

    When we closed the pool up a month or so ago, we inflated one of those pool pillows and pulled the cover over it, as we normally do. That pillow deflated. Two weeks later (the next time I could get down there to help him) we replaced the pillow with another one. That pillow deflated. So this weekend, we've put the third pillow under the pool cover. Hopefully this one will stay inflated. In 20+ years he's had that pool, we can't recall ever having any pillow problems. And for many years, he used the same pillow.

    Sunday was cool. We went to G's house for the afternoon. G and his wife have three kids. P and his wife were there too. They have four kids. Altogether there were five adults and nine kids. All of our kids, save one, are between the ages of 11 and 7. Five boys and four girls. They had fun playing and fooling around together. We had fun talking too. G, P and I even got to shoot some pool, which we haven't done together since college. I probably haven't played pool at all on my own since then either. P won four games, G won two games and I won one game.

    V, M and I got back home just in time for them to have a quick snack and go to bed. Coincidentally or not I timed it perfectly, just in time for the kickoff of the Patriots-Colts game, which turned out to be the only real downer of the weekend.

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    You just can't do that...

    ...and expect to beat a good team like Indianapolis.

    Five turnovers, including four interceptions, just won't work 99.9% of the time.

    I think that Brady's first INT of the game was the most critical, since it occurred in the end zone, taking away a prime scoring opportunity for the Patriots during the opening drive of the game. The Colts took the ball and marched down the field for a touchdown of their own. That's a huge momentum swing. Huge.

    On the plus side, Mr. Reliable missed two field goals... for the Colts. Still root for ya though, Adam.

    And since they only play once a week, it sets a lousy tone for the rest of the week.

    Hello Monday.

    Saturday, November 04, 2006

    SNMR 2.9: "Get Shorty"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "Get Shorty" (1995, R, 105 minutes), starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, David Paymer and Martin Ferrero. The film was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. I'm watching the 2 disc widescreen Collector's Edition.

    I had never watched this movie in it's entirety before tonight. I think that my ex rented it once and I caught bits and pieces of it here and there. Maybe we even saw it on television or something. I can't remember.

    From the DVD's dust case:
    Loan shark Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is bored with the business. So when he arrives in LA to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), Chili talks tough...and then pitches Harry a script idea. Immediately, Chili is swept into the Hollywood scene: He schmoozes film star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), romances B-movie queen Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and even gets reservations at the hottest restaurants in town. In fact, all would be smooth for this cool new producer, if it weren't for the drug smugglers and the angry mobster who won't leave him alone.

    From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 436:
    John Travolta solidified his status as the comeback king of the 1990's with his performance in this smart, often outrageous screen adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a collector for the mob who, after being sent to Hollywood to collect some outstanding debts, decides to go into business for himself - specifically the movie business. This is the best insider's look at the sleazy side of Tinsel Town since Robert Altman's The Player.

    The movie was entertaining, though not as good as I thought it would be, considering the great cast. I thought the movie would be much funnier than it was. The writing was decent, I suppose. I've not read Leonard's novel, so can't say how much was added or removed from book to film. I think part of my problem with the film is that there were several scenes that really could have been done away with, rather adding to the further development of the main characters. I'll give this movie three out of five stars.

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    More on the presentation

    I was going to write a post on what I saw at the presentation on Thursday night, since I took some notes. But I received an email from a friend of mine who was there with me and he found this, which is the powerpoint slide presentation Dr. Heddle used, which he modified to an Adobe .pdf file for easy viewing. The only thing missing are his actual words, but since he based his talk on these 53 slides, you can get the gist of what he was saying.

    Also, Dr. Heddle's blog is now linked over on the right. Enjoy.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Where I'll be after work tonight.

    More info from The Nashua Telegraph.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Trying to save money bit me in the...

    DISCLAIMER: This post occasionally uses algebraic expressions. If you don't like algebra, please skip this post. Thank You for your time.

    When I knew that I had this new job in mid-September, the boss told me that I should take that one-day cram course for the state licensing exam. At the time I didn't have the v to take the course (which includes the hefty book, sample test and cd-rom) and barely had w to purchase the book and materials alone. Honestly, I didn't think I'd need the course either. I mean how hard can a multiple choice exam actually be?

    Since that time I've taken the licensing exam twice at a cost of 2x+5. Today I signed up for the one day cram course and asked the lady operator what the cost would be for the course on its own. She told me it would cost y. So by purchasing the book and signing up for the course separatrely, I've spent w+y, which is z more than I would have spent if I had just ordered the book and signed up for the course at the same time. And assuming I would have passed the exam the first time after taking the course, I would have saved x.

    As it stands now, I still have to spend x+5 to take the course for the third time. And above all of this, the state of New Hampshire is goiong to require a for me to even get the license. Eventually I'll have to pay b and c respectively to Massachusetts and Maine to get cross-licensed.

    The good thing is that, as long as the license doesn't lapse, I'll never have to take the stupid test ever, Ever, EVer, EVEr, EVER again. I also get to write all of this nonsensical expense off on my taxes this year, as I'll be a 1099 employee (self employed).

    And believe you me, after all of this, I'll never let the license lapse.


    Because I live in an apartment with an unreliable outside mailbox system, I use a PO Box for my mailing address. I tell you that to tell you this:

    I got the dumbest call on my cell phone today. Some mortgage telemarketer guy called me and told me that I could save money by refinancing the mortgage on my post offce mailbox. He even read my address back to me. So I told the guy to stop and think what he was saying so (hopefully) he won't make the same mistake again. LESSON: Never call a number with an associated PO Box, especially if you're trying to set appintments for refinancing.