"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

Friday, June 30, 2006

The results are in

During the month of June, I asked you, my readers, to vote on which five Harrison Ford films you would like to see reviewed in this blog's SNMR feature during the month of July.

While the responses weren't as many as I would have liked to see or was hoping for, I did get a general idea of some of your favorites.

The results were quite spread out, with two films garnering a maximum three votes and others getting one or two votes.

The full results are as follows:

One vote

Star Wars IV
Star Wars V
Star Wars VI
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Sabrina
American Graffiti
Regarding Henry
Blade Runner
Six Days, Seven Nights
Mosquito Coast

Two votes

Patriot Games
Clear and Present Danger
Air Force One

Three votes

Working Girl
The Fugitive

So as you can see, I've got a wide variety to choose from, which doesn't make my job choosing any easier. Some of these films that got votes I will review. Some of his other films not listed will also be reviewed.

However, I have decided two things:

1) I'm going to avoid reviewing any of the Star Wars or Indiana Jones films this month and focus on some of his other work, some of which you may not even be aware of or have just simply forgotten about.

2) Since there are so many good movies of his, I will review two films every weekend in July, except for the weekend of July 15-16, when only one film will be reviewed and that on Sunday. The reason: I will be away for most of that weekend traveling to and visiting my 97 year old grandfather in New Jersey.

So you'll have a total of nine Harrison Ford reviews this month. I hope you will enjoy watching them as much as I will/have. But I'm not telling you which ones I've chosen, in order to get you to come back for the entire month.

Answer to the trivia question:

Harrison Ford's first film appearance came in an uncredited cameo as a bellhop in this movie which lasts all of 10 seconds or so.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Beast Is Truly Dead...Now.

In order for you to fully appreciate the lunacy of my day from automotive hell yesterday, please avail yourself by scrolling down to read both of my recent posts concerning the beast. Then scroll back up here so you can read the rest of the story.

Seriously. Do it.

Do it now, mister.

Anyway, here's the way the last 24 hours of my life has gone, starting from Tuesday night.

My parents dropped off to me last night, their 1998 Dodge Neon, effectively selling it to me for the expansive sum of $1.00 for title and paperwork purposes. I switched over my NH plates to the Neon so that today I could transfer the registration and reregister my vehicle for the next calendar year.

I took today off from work to accomplish this. Should be no problem, right???

HA!

I gather all of the necessary paperwork together (so I think) along with my checkbook and head out at 8:00. As I get into the Neon and start it up I notice, rather obviously that my driving perspective has sunk what seems like a mile, but actually only about a foot. The car starts easily but being a four cylinder engine, seems like it has the pickup and power of a lawn mower engine.

As I struggle to get the car up to passable highway speed, I hear some weird noises coming from the engine. But I keep moving. My exit comes up and the car is really struggling with each mile I travel. As I'm driving I notice that the RPM and speedometer gauges are not working at all and both the battery and check engine lights are lit on the dash. Finally, on one of Nashua's busiest non-highway roads, the car sputters out and dies as I pull into what passes for the breakdown lane on this road.

I find and turn on the hazard lights, which are barely visible, though I can hear them. I also see on the dash that the fuel and temperature gauges are bouncing up and down to the beat of the hazard lights. Since this road is a two-lane, one way street, oncoming traffic is mere inches from my door. After calling AAA for a tow, I decide the wise course of action is to stay inside the car. While I'm sitting there, I see four Nashua Police cruisers pass me with in a span of ten minutes, oblivious to the fact that my vehicle is a road hazard. I then decide to get out of the car from the passenger side. Within minutes, another cruiser comes by, this time seeing me standing there. The cruisers flashing lights come on and the officer pulls up beside me. I tell him that I've broken down and that I've got a tow on the way in 30 minutes or so. Officer then decides the best course is to push my vehicle into the dentist office parking lot directly across the street, off of the road, while I wait for the tow.


After officer is gone I call AAA to inform them of my new across the street location. Of course the tow driver never gets the message and has to do an around the block to get to me, as he was in the wrong lane.

Once loaded up, they drive me to a nearby garage that I've been to before. I go inside to start the ball rolling while the tow truck guys unload the car. Shortly after, the owner of the place asks me if I have a ride coming or would I need a courtesy ride somewhere. I tell him that I need to go to Nashua City Hall and 20 minutes later, we're in our way.

After I get dropped off, I wander in to city hall and to the registrar's offices where I promptly notice signs posted in either side of the doorway that "no vehicle registrations would be issued without a verification of permanent address. Verification of permanent address requires that I provide either a current utility bill, lease agreement or some other such document. This is the one bit of paperwork that I do not have with me.

So here I am, at Nashua City Hall (roughly in the center of the city), unable to complete my main task and with no ride back to my apartment, which is an estimated five miles away. (7/3 Ed. Note: Today on my way home from the post office, I drove the route that I walked and kept track of the distance, which turns out to be 4.85 miles. Not a bad guess, eh?)

I decide that, since it's a nice warm day and with nothing better to do that I'd benefit from walking back to my apartment, rather than pay whatever it costs for a taxi. As I'm walking, I talk to both of my parents on my cell phone and apprise them of my situation.

As I leave the downtown area, I notice that the sky above is getting darker and with a long walk ahead of me, I see a Brooks Pharmacy, which I surmise is my last chance to buy an umbrella, since my walking route will not take me past any other retail store. A fortuitous $9 investment, as it happened to rain lightly but steadily while I was still about a mile or so from home.

The one positive thing that I was able to accomplish today was that, on my walk, I happened to pass by the office of my auto insurance company. So I stopped in and had them switch my policy from the beast to the Neon. Took all of five minutes.

On my way back to the apartment, I notice a dead raccoon, squirrel and raven on the side of the road, in two different locations. None of these animals seemed to have been roadkill as none of them were flattened to a bloody pulp. They all seem to have just keeled over and died right where they were. These are things you notice when you walk. I also noticed a few new housing developments being built. Really nice, expensive homes, with over 1 1/2 acres of land for each lot. I begin to daydream....

Anyway...

Once I got to my apartment complex, I decided to stop in at the office to get another parking sticker for the new car. The woman behind the desk informed me that the policy for the complex is that all vehicles must be running and licensed to remain in the parking lot without being towed (at owner expense) and that I have 24 hours to remove any such vehicle from the premises.

Great. The beast won't run so how am I going to move the bloody thing?

I arrive back at my apartment at 11:30 AM, slightly soaked from the knees down (since my new umbrella came in handy) and out of breath. I decide to call up my brother A and ask him if he would be willing to drive up at some point today, so that I can buy a new battery for the beast and then drive it to my parents house for storage until I can either arrange to donate it or find someone to take the foolish thing away. He asks me to call him back around 16:00, since he's not sure how the weather will affect his landscaping jobs for the day. Okay, that's reasonable.

I spent the afternoon relaxing and making a few calls, trying to find out how much it would cost for me to have the beast towed from Nashua to Burlington. I was then told by a local towing company that it would cost $150.00, which includes the hook up and $3.00/mile.

No thanks.

At 15:45 A calls me and says that he's going to get a coffee and come on up to help me. When he gets here, we immediately set off for the evil empire (Wal-Mart) and I buy a battery a magazine and some cat food. My plan is to just use the new battery long enough to get the beast to my parents house, then take it out and return it to the store. Not the most honest thing to do but hey, I never claimed to be perfect.

After we swing by the garage where the Neon is getting fixed (so I can pick up one of my license plates) we get back to the apartment lot and A begins to uninstall the battery from the beast, only he can't get it out because of a rusty bolt connected to a small, rusty metal plate which secures the battery on the tray in the engine area. A suggests to me that we should jump start the old battery that's in the beast now and just drive it where it needs to go and not have to use the new battery at all.

Sounds like a good idea to me, so we do it. After adding a bit more transmission fluid we're off to see the wizard. I asked A to drive behind me just in case anything happens on the way. Good idea, that.

I'm on route 3 in Chelmsford, MA and I hear these horrible grinding and scraping noises coming from the engine which sound really bad. SUddenly I see a trail of black smoke coming from the rear end of the beast and lots of smoke coming from the engine block under the hood. As the beast grinds to a halt, I pull over into the breakdown lane, already knowing what has just happened. You see, six years ago my Plymouth Sundance died on the same highway (though in New Hampshire) in similar fashion. It was in fact the death of my Sundance that prompted ex and I to purchase the beast.

What happened, you ask?

I blew the head gasket in the beast. Warped & melted the crap out of it most likely.

For the record, the updated FINAL odometer reading on the beast is 142,695.0 miles. The place of death was about 600 or so yards shy of Exit 30B (for Route 495 South) in Chelmsford, Massachusetts in the breakdown lane of the main section of highway. For those of you who aren't familiar with the new configuration of this highway, there is a through section (which is where I was) and a section separated by Jersey barriers containing the route 110 and 495 exits. After this the highway becomes one again.

Now I've got to place another call to AAA for a flatbed tow for the final part of the trip. The woman I spoke to informed me that I've used up my five free assistance calls for the year and that I'll need to pay the tow truck driver approximately $85 for the hook up and tow.

Fan-tastic. But what choice do I have? None.

A is kind enough to spot me a Benjamin, until I can get to a bank when I get closer to the parents house.since I do not carry large amounts of cash on me (or any cash for that matter, most of the time).

I tell A that since AAA is ont he way that he doesn't need to wait with me. I thank him for his help and he takes off. About 40 minutes later I'm in the tow truck engaged in a conversation with the driver on how Pedro will do pitching tonight in his return to Fenway as a New York Met.

When we get to the parent's house, I only owe the driver $66.00 because I overestimated the mileage between where the beast died and where we needed to go. Still, it's $66.00 that I'd rather not have spent. Looks like a call to the insurance company is in order and a nasty letter to AAA. I've been a member for 13 years and have never heard of a limit on roadside assistance. And even if I had, I hardly think I've used 65 road assistance calls during my membership. (5/year x 13 years= 65), so you think they'd be able to carry one over. Coincidently I got my annual renewal form in the mail last week and was all set to mail it out at the end of July. Not now. They've just lost a longtime member, though in today's business culture, they probably could care less about my loyalty or business.


My dad was willing (what choice did he really have?) to ride me back to NH and even to stop back at the evil empire so that I could return the unused battery. By the time I got back to my apartment, it was near to 21:00.

What a day. Not one, but two cars crapped out on me today. Unbelievable. I tell you, if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Story for another day

I need to tell you about my automotive hell-day today. But having just spent the better part of the evening typing it out and just a few minutes ago realizing that blogger just ate better than half of it, you'll have to wait until tomorrow night when I'll have the energy to retype it.

Trust me: it's a story you'll want to read, because retrospectively it is very funny, though it didn't seem that way earlier in the day. Seriously, I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Beast Is Dead.

After the AAA guy gave me the rotten egg smell warning this morning I had a feeling that this would be the day of the beast's death.

When I got to work I parked in one of my usual spaces in the lot and turned off the beast. For kicks I tried to start it up again, having a feeling that it would not. Bingo. I was right. Dead again the beast's battery was. So I made sure that I informed several people that I would need one, final jump start in order to drive home this afternoon, which I was able to get, with no problem.

I decided that, as long as the beast was running, I'd drive to north Nashua to check my mailbox. Let the beast cruise down these familiar roads one last time. Mission accomplished. Several times as I was driving (stopped in traffic or at a light), the transmission would quit and I'd uselessly rev the engine to try and get the transmission to slip back into gear.

I did in fact get home safely. I always back my car into the parking space, so that it's easy to get out. After waiting a long minute for some parking lot traffic to clear out, I backed the beast into not one of my regular spaces in the lot right in front of my living room window but a few down the row, slightly beyond my bedroom window, knowing that this was it. Fitting though that I was less than three feet from being where I wanted to be in the chosen parking spot, when the battery died for the last time.

I forced the steering wheel straight, threw it in neutral, and gently pushed it back into the parking space. Then I managed to hold on to the beast and reach inside and jam the gear lever into Park.

There the beast will stay until called upon, by whatever charity will take the foolish thing off of my hands.

For the record, the beast (1995 Dodge Caravan) died with 142,684.7 total miles using two transmissions. Ex and I bought the beast in July 2000. Nearly six years and 80,000+ miles we/I drove the beast, with just a few minor problems and plenty of routine maintenance and oil changes.

The Beast

Many a time I've ranted here about my van, the beast.

Well here's another one.

This morning, as I was all set to leave for work, the beast would not start, again. The engine wouldn't even turn over.

So I called AAA and they came out to give the beast a jump start. The guy looked at my battery and said that it is almost permanently dead because he could see rot near the posts. He also said that if I ever get into my car and smell something like rotten eggs then that is the sign that the battery is ready to explode and obviously shouldn't even attempt to start the beast. He warned me that when the battery explodes it fries the vehicle's computer which costs a small fortune to replace. Of course he recommended that I buy a new battery.

Well I am going to do that - but not for the beast. You see, in New Hampshire, vehicles are registered and inspected based on the birth month of the owner. So with my birth month being June, my beast has only four days of life left, counting today.

Why?

Well for one, the beast would not pass the rather thorough state inspection because it needs new brakes, probably a few tires and has a wicked leak somewhere in the (already replaced once) transmission. All of which are not worth fixing because the beast is 11 years old and has 142+K miles on it.

The upside is that my parents have a car that they will let me borrow until I can arrange to buy something else, which I am working on. Sometime this week I'll get the car from them and register and inspect it using the plates I already have.

The AAA guy told me to leave the car running for 20-25 minutes to let the battery charge up a bit before I drive it. And I think that time is up.

So...

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Thirty-seven


For reasons beyond my control, I have decided that as of now and for the next calendar year, my favorite number will be 37.




BTW, as of today, you now have exactly six months until Christmas. Better start shopping now to beat the rush....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

SNMR 1.16: "War of the Worlds"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "War of the Worlds" (2005, PG-13, 117 minutes), starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Miranda Otto and Tim Robbins. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg.

Yet another in a long line of DVD's I bought when it came out but had never got around to watching until tonight. I've kept putting off this review for a number of weeks in favor of other movies I wanted to review first.

Generally speaking, I enjoy Tom Cruise's movies, even if he's a tad weird in real life. I've heard good things about this movie. Cruise and director Spielberg worked well together in Minority Report; will they do so in this film also? I hope so. I'm also hoping that they do justice to HG Wells classic book.

From the DVD's dust jacket:
An earth-shattering adventure that both "rivets and amazes" (Michael Washington, Chicago Tribune), War of the Worlds reunites superstar Tom Cruise and Academy Award-winning Director Steven Spielberg for one of the most awe-inspiring cinemactic experiences of all time!

A contemporary retelling of HG Wells' classic, the sci-fi thriller reveals the extraordinary battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family. Fleeing from an extraterrestrial army of killer Tripods that annihilateeverything in their path, Ray Ferrier (Cruise) races to keep his family safe. War of the Worlds is an action-packed adventure that explodes with spectacular special effects.

I thought the movie was decent and somewhat suspenseful, even though I knew how the aliens die in the end. The special effects were all right but not the best I've ever seen. I thought that the most compelling charachter in the movie was Rachel, played by Dakota Fanning. She just had that really good freaked out look for most of the film. I haven't read the book in a long time, so can't really say how much it differed from the screenplay in the minor details, except of course for a contemporary, modern setting. The movie moved along fairly well, though there were a few parts that dragged on too much. There are worse ways to spend two hours, though. I'll give this film three and a half out of five stars.

Friday, June 23, 2006

quizzes

You are a Believer

You believe in God and your chosen religion.
Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu..
Your convictions are strong and unwavering.
You think your religion is the one true way, for everyone.


You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You're totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in... in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick


Your Love Life Secrets Are

Looking back on your life, you will have many true loves.

You're a little scarred from your past relationships, but who isn't?

It's important to you that your lover is very attractive. You like to have someone to show off.

In fights, you love to debate and defend yourself. You logic prevails - or at least you'd like to think so.

Getting over a break-up doesn't take long. Easy come, easy go.


You Are 68% Gentleman

You are definitely a gentleman. You're very considerate and you have excellent manners.
Occasionally, you slip and do something foolish... but usually no one notices!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Easy to talk to, I am.

At least that's the opinion of the ladies I work with, or so it seems.

I find it flattering that they feel they can confide in me (on the rare occasions when they do.) Anyway...

PT and I were sitting in one of the clean rooms chatting about stuff & complaining about work when EK came into the room. PT was going to start this new conversation with "I have a friend who" but then EK immediately chimed in and said that the friend was her. She said she needed another man's opinion (or a man's opinion), so she proceeded to ask me what the reasons might be why her boyfriend of eight months is now indifferent about having sexual relations with her. This after that initial period of dating where sex is an almost everyday occurrence.

This was not a topic of conversation I was expecting. At all.

So I asked a few background questions and gave my opinions on the subject; possible reasons why he might be acting this way (or not acting as the case may be). Don't really know if I helped solve her dilemma or not, but I gave it my best effort.

Now I have never met and don't know anything about EK's boyfriend, save that his name is Jason and that he's 25. But I can tell you this: EK is an attractive woman. Not the most tasty chocolate in the box, in my opinion, but not the nastiest by any stretch. She's a tall woman and plays on her college women's basketball team.

The funniest moment of the conversation came when EK said her boyfriend recently asked her what she wanted for her birthday. Her reply to him was simple and straightforward, "I'd like to get laid."

To which I innocently asked, "When is your birthday?"

Now let me be clear right up front: While I consider EK to be my friend, I am not in the least bit attracted to her for several reasons. The biggest of which is that I refuse to even consider dating any woman who is younger than my little sister (who is almost 14 years younger than me). That, to me, would just be creepy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer, summer, summer

Summer officially began here in the northeastern United States this morning at 8:26 AM EDT. That's right, it's the summer solstice, with 15 hours and 20 minutes of daylight. Curiously though, the Old Farmer's Almanac web page shows that Saturday, June 24th will have 15 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. I thought that the summer solstice was the longest day of the year. Hmmmmm. Oh well. I'll not squabble over a whole extra minute of daylight. True the days will now gradually get shorter until winter solstice in December, which is sort-of depressing. However, I shall enjoy the pool and bask in the heat of my favorite season until then.

I was going to post some lyrics from a summer themed song but couldn't find any to my liking. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I have decided...

...to not be productive again this evening.

But this time I shall waste the remainder of the evening hooking up and playing my Nintendo. Classic Nintendo, folks. I have not used my Nintendo since I moved into this apartment (November, 2004 in case you are wondering...)

YESS!!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

hmmm...

"Have you ever stopped to think and forgot to start again?"

----

This weekend was not conductive to writing at all. On Saturday we went down to the parent's house. I brought my laptop so I could work on some writing projects (read: God v. Darwin and another). But V and M wanted to use the pool. So I dutifully set up my computer outside on the deck, employing a long extension cord so I could save my computer's battery power. The problem was that the glare of the sunlight on the screen made it impossible for me to see anything. So no work was done.

Today was very nice. V and M each made me some cards and gave me plenty of Happy Father's Day hugs and kisses along with some more movie theater passes.

After church and a few errands on the way home, we all were anxious to go swimming in the pool here at the apartment for the first (of many) times this season. The temperature outside was hovering around 95° F and the humidity level in the 60's. Even now, at 22:10, the outside air temperature is still at 80° F and despite fans blasting in every room, its 86° F in my apartment with the humidity at a whopping 70.

Once my kids left, I figured I'd be able to get something accomplished - but the Red Sox happen to be playing on Sunday Night Baseball tonight. So I've obviously been distracted.

----

On Friday, V's class put on a talent show at school, which I went to. Watching all of these second graders speak in front of their classmates and assorted parents was highly amusing. There were snacks for all afterward, which is always good.

----

Tomorrow the kindergaerten classes at M's school are having a "graduation" ceremony, which I must also attend. I can't justify going to V's school thing without going to M's thing too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

SNMR 1.15: "Mr. Holland's Opus"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Mr. Holland's Opus" (1995, PG, 143 minutes), starring Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, Jean Louisa Kelly and Alicia Witt. The film was directed by Stephen Herek.

I can't remember exactly when I first watched this film in its entirety for the first time. I remember sitting at home with my (now) ex-wife and she was watching this movie on television. She suggested that I watch it with her and that I'd really enjoy it but I wanted nothing to do with it. I believe this was in 2001 or 2002.

From the DVD's dust jacket:

Acclaimed star Richard Dreyfuss goves the performance of a lifetime (1995 Academy Award nominee, Best Actor) in this uplifting hit cheered by audiences everywhere! Glenn Holland (Dreyfuss) is a passionate musician who dreams of composing one truly memorable piece of music. But reality intrudes when he reluctantly accepts a "day job" as a high school music teacher to support his family. In time, however, Mr. Holland realizes that his real passion is teaching and his legacy is the generations of young people he inspires. Also featuring Glenne Headly (2 Days In The Valley, Dick Tracy) and Olympia Dukakis (Mafia!, Moonstruck) - you're sure to find this electrifying motion picture both entertaining and unforgettable!
From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2006, p. 751:

In this wonderful family film, Richard Dreyfuss gives an outstanding performance as a music teacher who struggles to have a positive effect on the lives of his students despite complications at home. We don't want to give away any more of the story than this. Suffice it to say, this is a feel good movie in the best sense with accolades deserved by all involved.
I have no idea why it took me so long to come around to watching this film. Once I did I was hooked and it now ranks as one of my all time favorite films. Richard Dreyfuss is one of my favorite actors. He should have won the Best Actor Oscar for this role in 1995, but lost out to Nicholas Cage (Leaving las Vegas). Jean Louisa Kelly is excellent and has a beautiful singing voice. The casting for this movie is superb and the script is wonderfully written, moving at a good pace throughout. This is one movie where I always get the watery eyes at the end. Every time. You not only ought to watch this movie again, you should add it to your DVD collection. I'm going to give this movie a perfect five out of five stars.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Personality Profile for me

You Have A Type B+ Personality

You're a pro at going with the flow
You love to kick back and take in everything life has to offer
A total joy to be around, people crave your stability.

While you're totally laid back, you can have bouts of hyperactivity.
Get into a project you love, and you won't stop until it's done
You're passionate - just selective about your passions

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fun little quiz

Passing this quiz requires only 4 correct answers...a measly 40%.

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get catgut?

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George VI's first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?


All done? Check your answers below! Scroll Down for the answers.











ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats?
Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get catgut?
Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
November

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
Dogs

7) What was King George VI's first name?
Albert

8) What color is a purple finch?
Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
New Zealand

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Orange, of course.


What do you mean you failed???????
Pass this on to all of your "brilliant" friends.

-----

A man goes to the doctor with a swollen leg. After a careful examination, the doctor gives the man a pill big enough to choke a horse.

"I'll be right back with some water," the doctor tells him.

The doctor has been gone a while and the man loses patience.
He hobbles out to the drinking fountain, forces the pill down his throat and gobbles down water until the pill clears his throat. He hobbles back into the examining room.

The doctor comes back with a bucket of warm water. "Ok, after the tablet dissolves, soak that leg for at least 30 minutes."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quotes & forgotten words

Tending the Lawn
"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be."
-Robert Fulghum, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It.

"Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean."
-Christopher Reeve (1952-2004), Actor.

"The game of life is like the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy." -Florence Shinn (1871-1940), Writer.

"One never knows what each day is going to bring. The important thing is to be open and ready for it." -Henry Moore (1898-1986), Sculptor.

"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." -Thomas Dewar

"Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are." - Malcom Forbes (1919-1990), Publisher.

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SQUACKETT: To make any disagreeable noise with the mouth.
-James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855

CUNCTATIOUS: Addicted to delaying; prone to delay.... Adapted from Latin cunctationem, the noun of action from cunctari, to delay.
-Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1893.

TOPOLOGY: The art or method of assisting the memory by associating the objects to be remembered with some place, the parts of which are well-known.
-Robert Hunter's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 1894.

BOOKWRIGHT: A writer of books; an author; a term of slight contempt.
-Daniel Lyons's Dictionary of the English Language, 1897.

COW'S THUMB: Done to a cow's thumb, done exactly.
-Capt. Francis Groce's A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796.

MATRONIZE: To attend a lady to public places as a protector.
-Daniel Lyons's Dictionary of the English Language, 1897.

STRAM: Any sudden, loud and quick sound; so to stram the doors means to shut them with noise and violence. Hence, a bold and unexpected lie that greatly surprises the hearer is called a strammer, and hence also to strammer means to tell great and notorious lies.
-Frederick Elworthy's Specimens of English Dialects: Devonshire Glossary, 1879.

A story is told about a preacher who concluded his sermon one Sunday by instructing his congregation to read Mark 17 as background for his next sermon, whose topic was insincerity. The following week, when he asked how many had read the biblical passage in question, most congregants' hands immediately went up. The preacher looked both shocked and determined. "You are just the people I want to talk to," he declared, "as there is no 'Chapter 17' of Mark!"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Aren't they cute?

Yesterday, V, M and I walked to the park close to my apartment. We spent about an hour there and the kids got a chance to run around a bit. When we first arrived, there were a lot of people just milling around in the parking lot, which we had to walk through lengthwise to get to the playground area. We wondered what all the commotion was about.

As it turned out, all of the attention was focused on these two critters whose mother was nowhere to be found. Since cars driving down the road parallel to the park travel between 35-50 mph, the consensus was that momma got run over by a car, even though there was no evidence of roadkill nearby. So one woman stood between the 'coons and the road, following them but not getting too close, while her boyfriend called animal rescue and found an empty cardboard box.

We stood by and watched as one 'coon temporarily got his head stuck in the fence, and followed as the 'coons eventually made it to the woods bordering the park. V and M wanted to get real close but I warned them to keep their distance. Even though the babies were cute, they are still wild animals and can bite or scratch in defense if threatened.

After a while V and M went off to play on the swings and such, while I took a seat at a nearby picnic table to watch them and read a book. As far as I know, the 'coons were not removed from the woods and animal rescue didn't come in time to get them. Hopefully these raccoons are old enough to survive without their mother.

Check this out...

Found this on bardwell's blog and had to steal it from him (and the AP also):

Sat. June 4, 2006 WEST MILFORD, NJ (AP) Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

"We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear," owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

Dickey, who feared for her cat, then called Jack home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," Dickey said.

Bear sightings are not unusual in West Milford, which experts consider one of the state's most bear-populated areas.


LINK

Sunday, June 11, 2006

SNMR 1.14: "{proof}"

The second of our SNMR double feature weekend is "{proof}" (2005, PG-13, 99 minutes), starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hope Davis and Danny McCarthy. The film was directed by John Madden.

This is another DVD that I bought when it came out and have not watched until tonight. I bought this movie solely becasue Gwyneth Paltrow has long been one of my favorite actresses. She's again teamed up with John Madden, under whose direction she won the 1998 Oscar for Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love. Paltrow is reprising the role of Catherine that she played on stage in London's West End. This movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

From the DVD's dust jacket:
From the acclaimed director of Shakespeare in Love, Proof stars Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor, The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), along with Hope Davis (About Schmidt) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarhead). It's a powerful story of a young woman haunted by her father's past and the shadow of her own future. Catherine (Paltrow) has devoted years to caring for her brilliant but mentally unstable father, Robert (Hopkins), a mathematical genius. But when his genius slips away, he leaves behind a mystery that affects her life... and her own sanity.


I didn't hate this movie, but didn't love it either. What bothered me about this movie was the shifting through time from one scene to the next, not really sure right away if you were in the present moment or in a flashback sequence. While I was watching this film I wondered how it looked on stage in the theater, and how much changed from the stage to the screen. Some scenes I thought could have been left out without affecting the story, or perhaps handled in a different way. I didn't like the character of Claire (Hope Davis) because she was whiny and annoying. But maybe that was the point of the charachter. The writing was uneven. I think the premise was good but sometimes had nowhere to go. While this was not Paltrow's best work, it certainly wasn't her worst, either. I'll give this film 2 1/2 out of five stars.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

SNMR 1.13: "Superman"

The first of this weekend's SNMR double feature is "Superman" (1978, PG-13, 154 minutes) starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Glenn Ford, Valerie Perrine and Marc McClure. The film was directed by Richard Donner. I'm watching the special edition with several extra added scenes.


I first saw this movie when it came out in the theaters in December, 1978 when I was an impressionable 9 year old boy. This movie, proving that a comic book to big screen adaptation can be successful at the box office, paved the way for all of the other excellent comic book adaptations that have come to the big screen in the last twenty years. I remember being excited to own the soundtrack for this film on a 33 1/3 RPM vinyl record.

From the DVD's dust jacket:


Soaring even higher in a state-of-the-art digital transfer from restored elements and with dynamically remixed digital audio, the Academy Award-winning adventure also now includes eight minutes integrated into the film by director Richard Donner. Enjoy more footage of the Krypton Council, a glimpse of stars of prior Superman incarnations, more of Jor-El underscoring his son's purpose on Earth and an extended sequence inside Lex Luthor's gauntlet of doom. Christopher Reeve (Superman/Clark Kent), Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Luthor), and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) give indelible performances that fuel the film's aura of legend. Looks like a swell night for flying. Why not come along?


From Martin and Porter's DVD and Video Guide 2006, p. 1107:
After a somewhat overblown introduction, which encompasses the end of Krypton and Clark Kent's adolescence in Smallville, this film takes off to provide some great moments as Superman swings into action. The action is complimented by fine tongue-in-cheek comedy.


From the opening credits through the very end, this film is a winner. Like Star Wars, the opening music sucks you right in to the experience. The only cheesy part comes at the end, with the method Superman uses to reverse the death of Lois Lane. The writing is excellent and the story moves along briskly after Smallville. The bulk of the cast is excellent but the casting of Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as Luthor is, quite frankly, brilliant. So great was the performance of Brando as Jor-El in this movie that, 28 years later, archive footage of Brando from this film will be used in the upcoming Superman Returns, coming out later this year.

I picked up my copy for less than $7 at Sam's Club. So should you.

I'm going to give this film four and a half out of five stars.

Anticlimactic Belmont Stakes

With no Triple Crown contender again this year, and the winners of the other two Triple Crown races, Barbaro and Bernardini, not even entered into today's race, the 138th Belmont Stakes, longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 1/2 miles, was just another horse race. Granted that there was an exciting finish and an unexpected winner, Jazil, finishing by 1 1/4 lengths in come from behind style, still something was missing....

Maybe next year we'll have a contender to root for.

Here's espn.com's reporting on the race.

Friday, June 09, 2006

More of the same...

Today marks the first anniversary of the founding of this wonderful and highly insightful blog that you are now reading.

Last year, on June 8th, I had sent my real life friend of 30+ years an email asking him about his family and how they were doing in the land of Oz. I also asked him how his dad and sister were doing, since I had not heard from him in a while nor seen them since his mom's funeral in December, 2002.

I received an email in reply a day later, in which (among other things!) he told me that he had started a blog and was enjoying writing for an audience. He suggested that if I left a comment on his blog that I should not refer to him by his real name, using his alias, in order to protect his 'secret identity.' He also suggested that I start a blog myself.

Which I did, obviously.

I'll admit, for the first few months I had no audience and was daily fighting with myself to keep it going. On the other hand, I had always enjoyed writing and this blog thing was giving me a chance to be creative on a daily basis, or as often as I wished. Plus it was and still is addictive.

Soon enough, by leaving comments on other people's blogs, those other people came over to mine and became my first regular readers.

At first, and to a large extent now, my blog is still a journal of sorts. A place for me to write about the things on my mind and the everyday existence of the exciting life that is green.

It's not easy being green. (Okay, just had to write that...)

So what have I learned in the past year?

Well for one, I think I have become a better writer through this blog. Sometimes I've forced myself to post, even when the thoughts and ideas were not there or were still thoughts in process and progress. Though as you know, fellow bloggers, writing is a craft that is always challenging and one in which we are always learning and trying to perfect.

I've learned how to write a bit of html code, what with updating the sidebar on my template and including links occasionally in posts.

I've come to appreciate the close-knit family that is the world of bloggerland. Even though I hardly know ye, but from the pixels on the screen in front of us, I am honored to be a small part of your lives, and you a small part of mine.

I've also used this forum and that of God vs. Darwin as a platform to share my beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ with you, and the evidence and reasons why my faith is what it has become. This open, public display of my faith would not have happened six or seven years ago, but I thank God it has and will continue to be, as the occasion arises.

So what can you look forward to in the year to come???


More of the same, I'd expect.

Glad am I to have you along for the ride, as long and as far as you'd like to go.

---

Also, as is my tradition, I've got to recognize a birthday today. My little sister C is 23 today. Happy Birthday, sis.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

SNMR Bonus Weekend

Since this is supposed to be another rainy, drizzly, cold, crappy weather weekend here in New Hampshire, I've decided that I'll review two movies for my SNMR feature this weekend. You'll have a bonus review on Sunday in addition to the regular Saturday review.

----

In the next seven days I have a potentially fantastic change of career opportunity, the details of which I'll keep on the down low for now. However I will tell you that it does involve writing, which is a good thing, since that's what I like to do. But it won't be easy and there are no guarantees...

Red Sox-Yankees summary

June 5: @ New York 13, Boston 5

June 6: @ New York 2, Boston 1

June 7: POSTPONED due to RAIN. Likely to be reschesuled for September.

June 8: Boston 9, @ New York 3

Season Series: tied 5-5

Next series: Aug 18-21 @ Fenway Park. Five games in four days should be fun...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

06/06/06

Today in History
June 6
1523 Gustav Vasa becomes king of Sweden.
1641 Spain loses Portugal.
1674 Sivaji crowns himself King of India.
1813 The United States invasion of Canada is halted at Stony Creek, Ontario.
1862 The city of Memphis surrenders to the Union navy after an intense naval engagement on the Mississippi River.
1865 Confederate raider Wiliam Quantrill dies from a wound received while escaping a Union patrol near Taylorsville, Kentucky.
1918 U.S. Marines enter combat at the Battle of Belleau Wood.
1924 The German Reichstag accepts the Dawes Plan, an American plan to help Germany pay off its war debts.
1930 Frozen foods are sold commercially for the first time.
1934 President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Securities Exchange Act, establishing the Securities and Exchange Commission.
1941 The U.S. government authorizes the seizure of foreign ships in U.S. ports.
1944 D-Day: Operation Overlord lands 400,000 Allied American, British, and Canadian troops on the beaches of Normandy in German-occupied France.
1961 Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, one of the founders of modern psychiatry, dies.
1966 African-American James Meridith is shot and wounded while on a solo march in Mississippi to promote voter registration among blacks.
1982 Israel invades southern Lebanon.
1985 The body of Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele is located and exhumed near Sao Paolo, Brazil.
2006 Millions of people freak out for absolutely no reason whatsoever today because of the date 06/06/06 and some imagined connection between it and the biblical number of Satan and the beast, noted in Revelation 13:18.

Born on June 6
1606 Pierre Corneille, French author.
1755 Nathan Hale, American revolutionary.
1756 John Trumball, American painter.
1799 Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer (Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades).
1868 Robert F. Scott, British explorer.
1872 Alexandra, the last Russian Czarina.
1875 Thomas Mann, German novelist and essayist, forced into exile by the Nazis.
1902 Jimmie Lunceford, bandleader.
1907 Bill Dickey, professional baseball player.
1925 Maxine Kumin, poet novelist and children's author.
1934 Bill Moyers, American broadcast journalist, press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson.
1939 Marian Wright Edelman, first African-American woman to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar, founder of the Children's Defense Fund.

Monday, June 05, 2006

What's going to happen tomorrow?

Nothing unusual, that's what.

Tomorrow, as I'm sure you're all well aware is June 6, 2006 or 06-06-06. I've heard folks predicting something Satanic will happen because of the infamous 666, after the number of the beast, noted in Revelation 13:18.

Funny isn't it how folks don't want to take Revelation seriously until something comes up like this coincidental date. This number, 666, prophetically has no significance, YET.

So when will it? Good question. Let's take a look at this passage, Revelation 13:11-18:

The Beast out of the Earth
11Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. 14Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
(NIV)

The first beast mentioned is the Antichrist. The second beast is his right hand man, known as the false prophet. Apparently the antichrist will be killed and come back to life, sometime during the future seven year period known as the tribulation, imitating what Jesus already has done. A statue will be erected in the antichrist's honor and the false prophet will require everyone to worship it. Around this same time, the false prophet will require everyone to be marked with the 666 on the right hand or forehead, in order to buy or sell anything.


Where will I be when this happens? Not here, I'll tell you. Where will YOU be??

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Just as it should be

Tomorrow begins a four game series between the Red Sox and Yankees in New York. So far, the Red Sox hold a 4-3 lead in the season series, with the Red Sox holding the slimmest of leads in the AL East after today's games.

Are the next four games important? Absolutely. Last season is the proof. The Yankees won the division by virtue of their 10-9 season series win. All of the games between these two heated and hated rivals mean something and are exciting to watch.

Just as it should be.

----

Today V, M and I went to the parents' house after church. It was the first time we'd seen them since mid-May. Dinner was good, though a wee bit well done - but not as bad as Easter dinner was. My little sister's birthday is this week and we gave her her birthday present, which she opened while we watched. We gave her a DVD and a book. To see her reaction when she saw the title of the book was priceless, since it is a topic that makes her angry to discuss. Which is why I gave it to her, of course. I'm always the one to give the controversial gifts, the ones that rub just a little bit, it seems. Call me a trouble maker or an instigator or whatever.

But that's the way I like it.

----

V learned a valuable lesson today. One she'll not soon forget. The lesson is, when Dad asks or tells you to do something, there's a good reason for it...

As we were leaving the parents' house this evening, my mom gave me the remaining half gallon of chocolate milk because this is V's favorite beverage. So I told her to hold on to the milk carton for me *so it wouldn't spill*. When I stopped at the end of the street, can you guess what happened and what my reaction was?

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Before they went to bed tonight I read V and M another chapter in the first Chronicles of Narnia book. Then M wanted me to read to him one of my favorite short Dr. Seuss books, which is "Fox in Socks". My other favorite short Seuss book is "Oh, Say Can You Say?" For the longer Seuss books, my favorite has always been "On Beyond Zebra".

Saturday, June 03, 2006

SNMR 1.12: "The Producers"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Producers" (2005, PG-13, 135 minutes) starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Uma Thurman and Will Ferrell. The film was directed by Susan Stroman.

This is a DVD I bought strictly on impulse and reputation based on the popularity of the Broadway play of the same name, when I saw it new in the store a few weeks ago. The cast was also a factor. I've enjoyed some of Matthew Broderick's past films and also like some of Uma Thurman's previous films as well. Of course, Nathan Lane provides the voice of Timon in Disney's Lion King and is a very funny actor.

From the DVD's dust jacket:

"Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to their award-winning roles in this hilariously funny film of the Broadway smash hit. Scheming producer Max Bialystock (Lane) and his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick), discover that under the right circumstances they could make more money by producing a Broadway flop than they could with a hit. But what will they do when their sure-to-offend musical becomes a surprise sensation? Co-starring sexy Uma Thurman and comedy genius Will Ferrell, The Producers is a fun-filled, side-splitting comedy.


I definitely enjoyed this film. Broderick and Lane have a good chemistry together, having worked together before. The musical numbers were very well written, lively and entertaining. Any Mel Brooks produced film is bound to be funny, which this one certainly was, though not side-splitting. I was impressed with the singing voices of all four leads (being that I can't sing well at all).

Overall, the story was interesting and moved along fairly well. I do think that the ending dragged on a bit longer than necessary. However, that's my only real complaint with this film. There are worse ways to kill two and 1/4 hours. "The Producers" is a worthwhile rent. I'll give it three out of five stars.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Annoying commercials

Most commercials are annoying. Some commercials are just plain stupid. When a commercial (or series of them) are both annoying AND stupid... Houston, we have a problem.

At the top of my annoying and stupid list right now are those Baccardi & cola ads. Absolutely can't stand them.

So, I'm curious what you think are the most annoying/stupid commercials that you've seen running right now.

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On a side note: time to break out the fish (my kids). I came home from work yesterday and found a note attached to my doorknob. The note included my 2006 pool pass and a letter outlining pool hours, safety instructions, etc. Weather permitting, the pool will open tomorrow. Unfortunately, this weekend will be cool and rainy both Saturday and Sunday.

I call my kids fish in this instance because, as readers of this blog last year will know, both of my kids absolutely love playing in the pool and made quantum leaps last summer learning how to swim. They are disappointed that the weather is not cooperating this weekend.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This is Your Chance...

... To vote.
....To make your voice and opinion known.

In honor of my all-time favorite actor's birthday on July 13, the SNMR feature of this blog will focus on movies starring Harrison Ford for the month of July.

There are five Saturdays in July, so I'm asking you to list your top five favorite Harrison Ford movies, by way of the comments section, that you would like to see be reviewed by me in the SNMR feature. You have exactly one month to think about it.

Once all of the results are in (to be tabulated on June 30th), I'll see which of his movies got the most votes and make my selections. Which movies will ultimately be chosen remain to be seen.

I already have some idea of the movies I want to review. But, as your humble public servant, I want to read what you, the masses, think. So please make this a worthwhile event by making your opinion known.

I won't guarantee that I'll use every selection made, because he's built quite the portfolio over 40 years of acting.

Try to guess the answer to this trivia question without referring to IMDb or any other source of information on Harrison Ford:

"In what movie did Harrison Ford make his first appearance?"