"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, August 28, 2007

No Pressure (Boston) v. Pressure (New York)

Clearly that depends on which side you're on in one of baseball's best rivalries.

In this case, I'm talking about the Boston Red Sox resuming their season series with the New York Yankees for the next three days at Yankee Stadium in da Bronx, beginning tonight.

Eight days ago, the Yankees had cut the Red Sox lead in the AL East down to just four games. Now the deficit is back at eight games after the Red Sox record setting demolition of the White Sox in Chicago and the Yankees demolition at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, culminating in a 16-0 loss last night at Comerica Park.

Clearly, if the Yankees want any hope of winning the AL East in 2007 and even staying within a manageable deficit in the hunt for the American League Wild Card, they must sweep this series, or at worst, win two out of three.

At best, the Yankees will end this series five games behind and at worst their deficit could be back to eleven games. Clearly, momentum and offensive production trends currently favor Boston. However, when these two teams meet, anything can happen. And it usually does.

The Red Sox currently lead the season series, 7-5, with the final three games to be played at Fenway Park, September 14-16.

Per my regular format throughout the season, this post will be updated after the completion of each game.

Pitching match-ups:

Aug. 28: Ex Red Sox hero Damon lifts Yankees: @ Yankees 5, Red Sox 3
Yankees deficit: 7 games.
WP=Pettite (12-7), LP=Matsuzaka (13-11), SV=Rivera (21)

Aug. 29: Ex Red Sox hero Clemens lifts Yankees: @ Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
Yankees deficit: 6 games.
WP=Clemens (6-5), LP=Beckett (16-6), SV=Rivera (22)

Aug. 30: Wang blanks Red Sox:
@ Yankees 5, Red Sox 0
Yankees deficit: 5 games.
WP=Wang (16-6), LP=Schilling (8-6)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

More retinal adjustments, please


Saturday, August 25, 2007

SNMR 3.23: "Casablanca"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Casablanca" (1942, NR, 102 minutes, B&W), starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Dooley Wilson, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz. This film won three Oscars in 1943 (Best Picture, Best Director & Best Screenplay) and was nominated for five more, including Best Actor (Bogart) and Best Supporting Actor (Rains).

The first time I ever watched this movie was in that wonderful film history/appreciation class in college. I've watched it many times since and will many more times, I'm sure.

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 179:
A kiss may be just a kiss and a sigh just a sigh, but there is only one Casablanca. This feast of romance and World War II intrigue is an all-time classic.

From Muze, Inc.:
World War II Morocco springs to life in Michael Curtiz's classic love story. Colorful characters abound in Casablanca, a waiting room for Europeans trying to escape Hitler's war-torn Europe. Humphrey Bogart plays Richard "Rick" Blaine, a cynical but good-hearted American whose café is the gathering place for everyone from the French Police to the black market to the Nazis. When his long-lost love, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), surfaces in Casablanca with her Resistance leader husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), Rick is pulled into both a love triangle and a web of political intrigue. Ilsa and Victor need to escape from Casablanca, and Rick may be the only one who can help them. The question is, will he? Top-notch performances include Claude Rains as the chief of the French police and the major authority figure in Unoccupied France, Peter Lorre as the doomed Senor Ugarte, Sydney Greenstreet as Senor Ferrari, and Dooley Wilson as Rick's loyal friend and the café's pianist, Sam. The mesmerizing musical score, by Max Steiner, along with the well-structured plot, flawless acting, and unforgettable dialogue makes this one of the best films of all time.

When lines like, "Here's looking at you, kid." (and many others) make it into the realm of Americana, you're talking about a cinema masterpiece. This is one of the best films ever made in any era. Period. What more can I say? Watch it. Buy it. A must have. Obviously, this film gets five out of five stars.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

32 more questions you want answers for.

1. The phone rings. Who do you want it to be? A beautiful woman who happens to be my significant other (girlfriend, fiancee', spouse - depending on the circumstances)

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Yes. I despise people who don't return carts. So I'd better do it or I'll hate myself... and I can't have that, you know.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? It depends on who I'm with or what social setting I'm in.

4. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? I don't know. Ask me when I get there. If I don't answer, then no, I wouldn't.

5. Do you like to ride horses? Don't know how. Never done it. Maybe I would. Maybe I wouldn't.

6. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yes, every summer from 1973-1988. Great experiences, all.

7. What was your favorite board game as a kid? Monopoly, Risk and Trivial Pursuit. Still are.

8. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was taken what would you do? Stop. Wait for them to catch up. LOL

9. Are you judgemental? In comparison to whom? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

10. Do you know how to shoot a gun? No. Never tried. Looks simple enough though.

11. If your house was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab? My kids and my laptop. Books and such can be replaced.

12. How often do you read books? As often and as many as I can.

13. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Good question. I have no clue.

14. What is your favorite children’s book? Tie: "Trumpet of the Swan" and "Charlotte's Web", by E.B. White.

15. How tall are you? 67 inches, suh.

16. What are the keys on your key chain for? To unlock and lock stuff. My car and the house, mainly. I've got a bunch of other keys I have no idea what they are for anymore. Problem is, I dare not throw them out.

17. What did you do last night? Watched the Red Sox lose among other things.

18. What movie do you want to see right now? Bourne Trilogy

19. What will you do for New Year’s? How the heck should I know in August???

20. Do you own a camera phone? Yes. But I hate this particular model. Can't wait to get a new one.

21. What’s the first letter of your middle name? D

22. How many hours of sleep do you get at night? 6-7 on average. I'm always tired, though.

23. What do you sleep in? A bed, silly. What did you think?

24. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Yes. I live here so it's all big all the time. 24/7 baby!!

25. Is your tongue pierced? No, no, no, no, no, no.

26. Who is the funniest person you know? ME. I'm a freakin' riot!! HA!

27. Do you like funny or serious people better? Definitely funny... but serious can be good, too.

28. Did you eat a cookie today? Yes I did. More than one. Several, actually. Ssshhhhh, don't tell, okay?

29. Do you use cuss words in other languages? No. I can't even speak English properly.

30. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? Don't do that. I'm an old fart, CD guy. I don't even own an ipod.

31. Is your cell phone usually on Vibrate or ring? Neither right now, cuz it's not working.

32. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend? Need? No. Want? Yes. Will have in good time. Patience is key or so they tell me.

Saw this on ee's blog & had to do it for myself. Had to. Yes, I did.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Football season, anyone?

But really, this was a baseball game.

Here's the recap. You can see the boxscore by following the link in the recap.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Retinal adjustments, please.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

I've had enough.

I give up.

Honestly I do.

My two year anniversary with eHarmony passed on July 27. When I changed checking accounts after Christmas, I managed to finagle three weeks of free membership with them, and my membership was supposed to renew on the 18th. Except that this month I didn't do it.

Let me be clear: I enjoyed being an eHarmony member. More often than not I would eagerly anticipate reviewing the six or seven new matches I'd get on a daily basis. But recently I discovered that the joy in it was no longer there. When that happened, I knew the time had come to hang it up and move on.

I still think e-harmony is the best "relationship" website out there (and I've tried most of them) and have no complaints with the number of matches I received. Nor did I have a problem with the quality of the women I actually got to communicate with. Since you have to be a paying member in order to communicate, there were very few "tire kickers" like you see all over the place on those other personals web sites...

Unfortunately, during my 2+ years of membership, I've had minimal success. A grand total of 2,877 matches were provided for me by eHarmony through their matching system. With that many matches you would think that I'd have been able to arrange a few physical meetings, right?

Nope. Not a one.

I'm not talking purely sexual encounters here, I'm talking dates. Dinner and a movie. You know, simple look her in the eye, reach my hand across the table to hold hers kind of dates. The kind of dates that lead to second, third and fourth dates - which lead to long-term relationships.

I did get to exchange emails outside of eHarmony with a handful of women. But there was only one with whom I had any extensive email conversation on a regular basis. We even exchanged phone numbers and talked weekly for about two months, sometimes more. Unfortunately, she lives outside of Portland, Oregon and I don't live anywhere near there. Along with being a single mom, she also had employment concerns and was dealing with the worry and hassle of trying to get all of the government paperwork together to bring her parents to this country permanently from Russia.

Here's a breakdown, by communication stage* of my eHarmony membership:

Of the 2,877 Closed Matches -

I reached Open Communication with 135 women (4.70%).
I reached stage 4 with 43 women (1.49%)
I reached stage 3 with 165 women (5.74%)
I reached stage 2 with 106 women (3.68%)
I reached stage 1 with 2,428 women (84.39%)

*eHarmony uses a guided communication system, graded into five communication stages.
Open Communication means that members exchange email through eHarmony.
Stage 4 means that members have exchanged three open ended questions.
Stage 3 means that members have exchanged lists of Must Haves and Can't Stands.
Stage 2 means that members have exchanged five multiple choice questions.
Stage 1 means that members have reviewed each others introductory information.

I'm not giving up on the fact that there is someone special out there for me, just that I'm not going to find her there on eHarmony. Not now, anyway.

Am I holding out for the right woman?

Absolutely. I know she's out there somewhere.

I've been married once, which didn't work out as I envisioned, even though I have two beautiful kids from that relationship. I know a successful marriage takes a lot of hard work and the rewards are worth it. I made some mistakes the first time, probably was way too immature and took it for granted. Should I ever get the chance to be married again, I won't make the same mistakes I did the first time, I can promise you that. And distance won't be a problem, either. I'll go where I need and do whatever it takes, in order to find it.

These days long term marriages are a dying breed, but they do exist and are possible. In my family I had one set of grandparents who were just a few weeks short of their 70th anniversary when my grandmother died in 2001. The other set of grandparents were sweethearts from around 14 years of age and were married for over 45 years when my grandfather died in 1985. My parents celebrated their 39th anniversary this year. I have three sets of aunts and uncles that have been married longer than my parents have.

That's the kind of long lasting relationship I want.
It's frustrating waiting for her (I'm not getting any younger!) but it will be well worth it when all is said and done.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

SNMR 3.22: "North By Northwest"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "North By Northwest" (1959, NR, 136 minutes), starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau, Jessie Royce Landis and Leo G. Carroll. The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

The first time I saw this film was at college, during that history of film class I took. This film was my first exposure to the acting of Cary Grant. I hadn't seen this film in over fifteen years before checking it out of the library recently.

From the DVD's dust case:
Cary Grant teams with director Alfred Hitchcock for the fourth and final time in this superlative espionage caper judged one of the American Film Institute's "Top 100 American Films" and spruced up with a new digital transfer and remixed Dolby Digital Stereo. Grant plays a Manhattan advertising executive plunged into a realm of spy (James Mason) and counterspy (Eva Marie Saint)and variously abducted, framed for murder, chased and in another signature set piece, crop-dusted. He also holds on for dear life from the facial features of the Presidents on Mount Rushmore (back lot sets were used). But don't expect the Master of Suspense to leave star or audience hanging.

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 812:
Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint star in this classic thriller by the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock, who plays (or preys) on the senses and keeps the action at a feverish pitch. The story is typical Hitchcock fare - a matter of mistaken identity embroils a man in espionage and murder.

This is one of Hitchcock's best films. The script is well written and flows well. The film is excellently suspenseful and will keep you on the edge. Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint have an excellent screen chemistry and exchange witty dialogue. The supporting cast is fantastic as well. Nearing fifty years old, this classic film has stood the test of time well. Hitchcock gives his trademark cameo near the end of the opening credits. A must see for film lovers of all ages. I'll give it five out of five stars.


Friday, August 17, 2007

You're missing out

A litle more than halfway through August and no one has showed any interest in this month's Book of the Month giveaway. Amazing.

Having just finished this book myself, I can tell you that you're missing out on a good one. Especially if you question life and your place in it.

I've got four copies of "The Grand Weaver" to give away and I mean to do it.

So get off the schneid and get your copy now.

(Oh, and I'll have another excellent selection to give away in September, which you won't want to miss, either.)

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Twenty-two Rules to Live By

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married. {It takes at least this long to plan a proper wedding...}

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "God bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

TWENTY-TWO. Read your Bible and pray to God daily, thanking Him for the blessings you receive every day.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If you were a... survey

I can't remember on whose blog I found this survey or when exactly I found it. It seemed interesting and useful on a day when I needed filler, cuz I got nothin' else for you today. I'm not tagging anyone else to do it, so play along if you feel the urge.

If You Were a... Survey
A Vegetablecorn
An Animalbald eagle
A Fruitorange
A Colorblue
A Household Objectlamp
Article of Clothingt-shirt
A DrinkMountain Dew
A Famous PersonHarrison Ford
A Film CharacterIndiana Jones/Han Solo
A Cartoon CharacterBugs Bunny
A CarNissan Xterra
A CityWashington DC
A CountryIsrael
A Mythical Creatureminotaur
A Chocolate BarReeses Peanut Butter Cups
A BookThe Bible
A SportAmerican Football
A Wordschmooze
One of Your Familymyself
One Of Your Friendsno one

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What a difference 20 years makes.

When I recently emailed American Guy about our impending 20th high school reunion later this year, I had no idea he'd post about it. Furthering my surprise was that he actually lifted a picture of himself from our grande olde yearbook and posted that too.

Trendsetter that he is, I've done him one better. I've posted my high school yearbook pic next to a recent pic so I (and by extension y'all) could see me then and now, solely for comparison purposes. The picture on the left was taken sometime in either late 1986 or early 1987, (depending on when they needed the yearbook pictures by) and the picture on the right is a large version of my profile pic, taken and posted back in February. I'm so glad I still have a full head of hair...

Here's the challenge: How many of you have pictures of yourself, with the biggest time span you can find between them, that you'd be willing to post side-by-side for all of bloggerland to see?

If I can post my goofy mug twice in the same post, so can you. Ready, set, GO!!

I wonder how many of you will actually do it...

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Laying low

Normally I'm not a gloom and doom kind of guy. Far from it, actually.

I'm generally a very positive, optimistic and upbeat person. But... if I can be called superstitious about any one thing, today would be one of those days.

I know I've 'splained this somewhere on my blog before but I'll rehash:

The number 13 has always been given a bad rap for some odd reason and is viewed as a bad luck number by many.

Mondays are always bad because it's the first day of the work week and the weekend is officially over for the next five days.

Combine the two and you have a recipe for disaster. So today I recommend not making any waves and flying under the radar, if you will - just to be safe. That's the plan anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Now all we need is a little rain to add to the mood... which, according to the forecast, has a 40% chance of becoming a reality.

15:33 update: cue wind, thumbles of runder and RAIN!!! Perfect - in an end of the world kinda way...

On the plus side, this is the last Monday the 13th we'll have until October, 2008.

"And there was much rejoicing.


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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer Update

With the start of the 2007-08 school year just under a month away I thought I'd bring you up to speed on a few small things that have made this summer special, aside from the fact that it's my favorite season.

Swimming in the pool: While conditions have to be perfect for me to take any extended time in the pool, V and M will go in in virtually any conditions. They continue to progress in their swimming ability by leaps and bounds. This year neither of them need a floatation device in order to safely enjoy the water. V is able to stand flat foot in the pool and the water is just over M's head, so that he has to keep bouncing around in order to stay above. They both have become adept at holding their breath and going under the water. It is evident that they are both feeling more at home swimming under the water, which is fantastic. I've always said my kids resemble fish this time of year.

M's interest in playing sports: Starting last summer when M first asked me to play catch with him, his interest in baseball has grown. He's able to throw a lot better this year, though sometimes he doesn't look where he's throwing and does so wildly. This year he's caught on (pun intended) to the proper way to hold his glove and his catching ability has improved substantially in a short period of time.

M's current baseball glove is kind of small and rather than buy him a new one (which would have been cheaper), I decided to have my (circa late 1970's Jim Rice model) old glove re-laced for him, since tanned leather doesn't go bad under normal circumstances (unless it's abused, which wouldn't be normal I guess...) and it makes the glove become an heirloom. This place did a wonderful job and was very efficient in getting the work done and sending the glove back to me. Total turn around was about 10 days from the time I mailed it off. If you have an old baseball glove in need of repair, I highly recommend checking them out for yourself. Unfortunately, M's hand is still a bit too small for the bigger glove, so he'll probably start using it in earnest next spring.

M's interest in football is growing as well. He wanted to participate in his town's flag football program this year. He's in a league and on a team of 1st-3rd graders. Twice a week practices started last Tuesday and the coaches are teaching the kids the fundamentals of the game. His league will play games on Sunday afternoons in September.

Like father, like son: Last fall M had more of an interest in watching Patriots games on television with me on Sundays. This season should be better because he's more able to understand how the game is played. He even knows some of the Patriots players by name, position and uniform number. M has had an interest in the Red Sox since the start of the baseball season back in April. He's wanted to watch many games with me and he asked me to teach him how to keep score. As with football, M's knowledge of the game is improving the more he watches and he also too knows some of the players by name, position and uniform number.

V's interest in playing baseball: While not as great as M's, V does enjoy playing catch with us on occasion. She even asked me if I'd get her a glove, which I did for her birthday in May. And she'll never have to share it because no one else in my family at present is a lefty. One more reason why V is so special.

One interest I'll never understand: This isn't particularly a summer thing, but both V and M love collecting and trading Pokemon cards with their cousins. They even like to play Pokemon video games. Harmless fun, I suppose, though I'll never understand the infatuation.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

SNMR 3.21: "Derailed"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Derailed" (2005, R, 107 minutes), starring Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, Xzibit and RZA. The film was directed by Mikael Hafstrom.

I checked this movie out of the library solely because of Jennifer Aniston's presence in it. I had never heard of it before, so had no clue what to expect. Suffice it to say I was pleasantly surprised.

From the DVD's dust case:

Married man Charles Schine (Clive Owen) meets Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston), a high-powered business woman, on a commuter train one morning. An innocent conversation leads to an evening drink. Before either one can stop it, their aroused passions lead to a sizzling one-night stand. Suddenly a stranger explodes into their world, threatening to expose their secret, and lures them into a terrifying game with more surprises than they saw coming.

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Movie Guide 2007, p. 290:

A tryst between would-be adulterers Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston is interrupted by a mugger who robs them, rapes the woman - then later blackmails the man, threatening to tell his wife of the aborted affair. The story's basic implausibility is exacerbated by several plot twists that fail to surprise and by a glum, unsympathetic performance from Owen. Aniston also seems miscast.

The basic premise is nothing new. A married man and woman meet, find each other attractive and decide to have an affair. Then all hell breaks loose. I have to disagree with the review given above. There are enough turns and twists in this film that jolt you to the edge of your seat just when you get comfortable and think you know what's going to happen next. The script is overall very good. There are very few spots in the film that don't seem to go anywhere and drag the film down, but then it bounces right back up like it didn't skip a beat. Owen is adequate in the lead role and may be the film's weakest link, Aniston is good in an atypical role for her. Vincent Cassel, though, is highly underrated and virtually steals the movie with his suave, sophisticated and excellent bad guy performance. I think you'll enjoy this film - I certainly did. I'll give it four out of five stars.


On Vacation....

No, not me silly. My parents.

V, M and I drove them to the airport this morning. They're off to Florida and the Caribbean for the next two weeks. Tomorrow they drive across the state to pick up their ship - a one week Caribbean cruise with my aunt, uncle and last surviving grandparent. Once they get back, they'll spend a week at my grandmother's condo before flying home on the 25th.

One of the reasons my parents went (aside from their need of a vacation) is because of my grandmother, who will be celebrating her 90th birthday on the 19th. This is her way of celebrating... with her son (my uncle) and daughter (my mom) and their spouses, since God only knows how many years she has left....

Next Friday, my sister is going to Florida herself. The parents of one of her high-school friends own a condo somewhere down there and she was invited to spend a few days.

I could use a vacation. I haven't gone anywhere on vacation in I don't know how long. My trip to Dallas in March 2006 was the last trip I took, but it doesn't count as a vacation, since I went down there for a purpose.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Schmooze Award - just for me!

Schmoozing as defined by Dictionary.com is the ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much.

I saw this graphic and definition on a random blog I came across and thought it was cool. Since schmooze is one of my favorite words, and something I'm good at, I decided to give myself this award.

Just because I can. And it feels great!

"On behalf of myself, I humbly accept this award...."

"I just wanna thank..." {pulls out 19 sheets of folded paper, written on both sides, from jacket pocket as audience begins to groan [SFX: canned groaning noises] at the prospect of a long acceptance speech.}

Feel free to award this to yourself as well, if you think you deserve it.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

what's your problem?

I'm stressed.

I'm worried.

I have a headache.

I'm frustrated.

I'm hot.

I'm tired.

I need a nap.

Did I mention that:

I'm stressed.

I'm worried.

I have a headache.

I'm frustrated.

I'm hot.

I'm tired.

I need a nap.

Oh, I did?

I feel better now.

(No I don't really feel better, but what do you care?)

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Monday, August 06, 2007

I had to laugh

As I was traveling on Route 93 South this morning, on my way to Everett, I was stuck in some traffic. (Big surprise if you frequent this road, eh?) But it was 9:30 and the morning rush hour traffic should have subsided, right?

Well indeed it had. The back-up was for something else.

At this juncture, Route 93 is four lanes wide on both sides of the highway. As it turns out there was a truck that broke down in the second lane from the right. Right in the middle of traffic. Right in the lane I was in. A Massachusetts State Police Cruiser was behind the truck, flashers going and we all were trying to get around the obstruction. Once we did, the traffic thinned out nicely.

Anyway the funny part of the story is this:

Once I got onto the highway and merged into my lane, I noticed a State Police Cruiser in the far right (slow) lane. Traffic allowed me to pass him when my lane was moving faster than his. He passed me again eventually and not more than two minutes after he did there was a person who was trying to be a smart-ass and beat the traffic by driving in the break-down lane (or shoulder, depending on where you're from.)

Can you guess what happened next?

Yup, you guessed it...

Unaware of his presence, as soon as the unlucky driver passed the state trooper, the blue lights came on and BAM!!! Instant traffic ticket! Instant bad day!!

Now I know it's not nice to laugh at the poor person's misfortune. But I did.

Do you want to know why?

Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn't have read this far.

I've been known to be impatient when sitting in traffic. This is just the kind of dumb-ass stunt I would pull, if I were impatient enough. And you guessed it, normally I would be the guy to get pulled over, considering the kind of luck or karma that I lack in these situations...

So {insert evil grin here} I was laughing because, for once, the traffic "gods" weren't out to get me. And I did nothing to incur their wrath, either.....

On a side note - I've noticed that the New Hampshire State Police have moved away from the standard, ugly, Ford Crown Victoria as the Cruiser vehicle of choice. They are now replacing the Fords with the remodeled Dodge Charger. Those snappy NH State Troopers are definitely driving much cooler looking vehicles with a lot more power under the hood.

Apparently New Hampshire is not the only state whose police departments are changing vehicles...

Look out, they may be coming to your state!

[photo: Barry Chin, Boston Globe]

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cardinals... in the yard.

At my parent's house, there's a thorny vine that grows on some lattice work on their chimney. Perched in those thorny branches is a cardinal's nest. (This is not the nest in their yard, just an example of the cardinal's nest and what cardinal eggs look like.)

Mrs. Cardinal has been spending quite a lot of time in that nest over the last few weeks, leading us to believe that some baby birdies are soon to be hatched.... My brother believes that the brood has already hatched, but I listen as close to the nest as I can possibly get and don't hear anything. Nor do I see any bobbing baby bird heads peeking out of the nest looking for mommy and food. So I just can't tell. If they are going to hatch it will be very soon, if not already. Strange though that Mr. Cardinal hasn't been more visible during this whole process...

From what I've been able to find out, cardinal eggs hatch in 11-13 days and fledge within 7-13 days after that. The common number of eggs is between 1 and 5 with 3 being the average nest size. What's cool is that, since cardinals are non-migratory birds, we might end up with more of the beauties living in or around my parents' yard or at least frequenting the bird-feeders more often.

I wonder, though - do cardinals make a new nest every year? I certainly hope so. The lattice work that is supporting the nested vine is falling off of the chimney. For fear of spoiling the new cardinal family, we've just let it hang. The lattice work will definitely need to be fixed before it snows and breaks off all together...

When we are able to repair the lattice sometime in the fall, my dad has said he wants to preserve the nest and I agree.

(19:30 update - I've seen the babies myself. I saw at least two maybe three bobbing heads chirping like crazy and neither parent was around. I have also seen Mr. Cardinal more frequently going to and from the nest over the last 12-24 hours or so. I wish I could get some decent pics for you...)

8/8 update: There are definitely two cardinal chicks, possibly a third. I saw Mr. Cardinal feeding them today and they were chirping and bobbing like crazy. It's so cool when you can witness nature first hand like this...

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

SNMR 3.20: "You've Got Mail"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "You've Got Mail" (1998, PG, 119 minutes), starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Dave Chappelle and Dabney Coleman. The film was directed by Nora Ephron.

Since I reviewed "The Shop around the Corner" last week, I thought it would be neat to follow it up with a review of the modern remake of that classic film. I've seen this movie dozens of times in the nine years since its release. It's one of my favorite romantic comedies because Ryan and Hanks have such a great screen chemistry. This is the third film they've appeared in together.

From the DVD's dust case:
You've Got Mail delivers all the wit, charm and warmth you'd expect from a reunion of the stars (Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan) and director Nora Ephron of Sleepless in Seattle. Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton and more talented co-stars add perfect support to this valentine to modern - to modem - romance in which superstore book chain magnate Hanks and cozy children's bookshop owner Ryan are anonymous e-mail cyber pals who fall head-over-laptops in love, unaware that they are combative business rivals. You've got rare Hollywood magic when You've Got Mail.

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 1286:
Meg Ryan rules the screen in this mostly delightful update of Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner. She's the owner-proprietor of a much-beloved children's bookstore tucked away in New York's Upper West Side while Tom Hanks, the apparent villain- owns a monolithic book superstore poised to open it's newest branch across the street. But the slash-and-burn campaign soon to erupt is only half the story: our two heroes have been maintaining a strictly anonymous e-mail correspondence with each other despite other romantic ties and the certain knowledge that they'd hate each other on sight should the truth emerge.

This updated version is easily far superior to the original, reviewed last week in this space. This film respectfully pays homage to it's predecessor in several key scenes. The overall story here though, is better. Any problems the script might have are easily washed away by the skills and chemistry of the lead players. The supporting cast is excellent, especially Dave Chappelle and Dabney Coleman. Parker Posey's character is annoying. The music soundtrack is good and blends in well with the film, complimenting it perfectly. This is an excellent film that should be part of any movie fanatic's collection. I'll give it five out of five stars.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

I have a confession to make...

I actually like the novels that I've read by Nicholas Sparks.

Yes, you read that correctly [shock, horror]. After chatting with another blogger about two months ago and discussing some of our likes and dislikes, I decided to take up the unspoken(?) challenge and give them a whirl. It wasn't much of a shock (to me anyway) that I do indeed have a soft underside. Yeah, I'm a sensitive guy. Wanna fight about it? ;>)

So much so that when I went to the library on Monday, I checked out two more of his books. Not a tough choice since I'd only read those two. Plenty more to choose from.

Granted, they are not my standard fare of reading material but it's always good to expand your horizons, right? That's what I thought, too.

These are the books I picked this time:

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Books of the Month - August 2007

The first selection this month was written by John R.W. Stott and first published in 1958. It is a classic work detailing what Christianity is and what Christians believe. While the material is quite deep, at 142 pages, it's also compact and Stott's writing style is very easy to read and understand.

"A remarkable resource from one of our most beloved leaders! In Basic Christianity John Stott clearly explains the fundamental claims of the Christian faith and explores how these beliefs impact the lives of believers. This volume is perfect for seekers who are desperate to know whether Christianity makes sense and believers who long for a deeper understanding of Christian belief."

Purchase a copy for yourself here or here.

For the second selection this month, we turn to Ravi Zacharias, one of the best authorities on Christian Apologetics (from the Greek apologia, meaning "in defense of") teaching today.

This month, Zondervan has again set me up with four free copies of this book, which I'll give away to the first four readers who email me that want one. For those of you interested, it'll work the same as last month: If you are among the first four to email me with your name and mailing address, I'll send you a copy. Pretty easy, right? Sure it is. The only thing I ask is that you send me $3.00 for each book, which will cover my cost in mailing supplies and postage. The book is actually free... As always, in the sidebar (on the left at this time) is a link to my email address.

"How differently would we live if we believed that every dimension of our lives---from the happy to the tragic to the mundane---were part of a beautiful and purposeful design in which no thread was wrongly woven? That's what best-selling author and internationally-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias, explores in The Grand Weaver.
As Christians, we believe that great events such as a death or a birth are guided by the hand of God. Yet we drift into feeling that our daily lives are the product of our own efforts. This book brims with penetrating stories and insights that show us otherwise. From a chance encounter in a ticket line to a beloved father's final word before dying, from a random phone call to a line in a Scripture reading, every detail of life is woven into its perfect place. In The Grand Weaver, Dr. Zacharias examines our backgrounds, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our beliefs, and explains how they are all part of the intentional and perfect work of the Grand Weaver."

If you're not lucky enough to get your free copy, then you can purchase your own here and here.

9/25 Update: Esther asked for two copies of this book and the other two copies I had for the giveaway were donated to my church library at MVBC and the church library at the Salvation Army in Lowell, MA, where my parents attend.