"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

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2007 Academy Awards predictions & wrap-up

Ok boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, tonight is the 2007 Academy Awards show for movies that were released in 2006. This is the only awards show that I ever watch. So, being the movie buff that I think I am, I'm going to give a whirl at who I think will win each award. My picks are in blue.

Once the show is over, I'll update the post with the actual *winners* and see how accurate my guesses were.

Best Picture (presenters: Jack Nicholson & Diane Keaton)
Babel
The Departed *winner*
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Best Actor (presenter: Reese Witherspoon)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland *winner*



Best Actress (presenter: Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Penélope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen *winner*
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Kate Winslet, Little Children

Best Supporting Actor (presenter: Rachel Weisz)
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine *winner*
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Best Supporting Actress (presenter: George Clooney)
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls *winner*
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Best Director (presenters: F.F. Coppola, G. Lucas, S. Spielberg)
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Martin Scorsese, The Departed *winner*

Best Adapted Screenplay (presenters: Tom Hanks, Hellen Mirren)
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Children of Men
The Departed *winner*
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Best Original Screenplay (presenters: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst)
Babel
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine *winner*
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Best Animated Film (presenter: Cameron Diaz)
Cars
Happy Feet *winner*
Monster House

Best Art Direction (presenters: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig)
Dreamgirls
The Good Shepherd
Pan's Labyrinth *winner*
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The Prestige

Best Cinematography (presenter: Gwyneth Paltrow)
The Black Dahlia
Children of Men
The Illusionist
Pan's Labyrinth *winner*
The Prestige

Best Costume Design (presenters: Emily Blount, Anne Hathaway)
Curse of the Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Dreamgirls
Marie Antoinette *winner*
The Queen

Best Documentary Feature (presenter: Jerry Seinfeld)
Deliver Us From Evil
An Inconvenient Truth *winner*
Iraq In Fragments
Jesus Camp
My Country, My Country

Best Documentary Short Subject (presenter: Gael Bernal)
The Blood of Yingzhou District *winner*
Recycled Life
Rehearsing a Dream
Two Hands

Best Film Editing (presenter: Kate Winslet)
Babel
Blood Diamond
Children of Men
The Departed *winner*
United 93

Best Foreign Language Film (presenters: Cate Blanchett, Ken Watanabe)
After the Wedding, Denmark
Days of Glory (Indigènes), Algeria
The Lives of Others, Germany *winner*
Pan's Labyrinth, Mexico
Water, Canada

Best Makeup (presenters: Will Ferrell, Jack Black, John C. Reilly)
Apocalypto
Click
Pan's Labyrinth *winner*

Best Original Score (presenters: Hugh Jackman, Penelope' Cruz)
Babel *winner*
The Good German
Notes on a Scandal
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Best Original Song (presenters: Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, John Travolta)
''I Need to Wake Up,'' from An Inconvenient Truth *winner*
''Listen,'' from Dreamgirls
''Love You I Do,'' from Dreamgirls
''Our Town,'' from Cars
''Patience,'' from Dreamgirls

Best Short, Animated (presenters: Abigail Breslin, Jaden Smith)
The Danish Poet *winner*
Lifted
The Little Matchgirl
Maestro
No Time for Nuts

Best Short, Live Action (presenters: Abigail Breslin, Jaden Smith)
Binta and the Great Idea (Binta Y La Gran Idea)
Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)
Helmer & Son
The Saviour
West Bank Story *winner*

Best Sound Editing (presenters: Steve Carrell, Greg Kinnear)
Apocalypto
Blood Diamond
Flags of Our Fathers
Letters From Iwo Jima *winner*
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Best Sound Mixing (presenters: James McAvoy, Jessica Biel)
Apocalypto
Blood Diamond
Dreamgirls *winner*
Flags of Our Fathers
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Best Visual Effects (presenters: Robert Downey Jr., Naomi Watts)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest *winner*
Poseidon
Superman Returns


Special Awards
In Memoriam (presenter: Jodie Foster)
Lifetime Achievement Award (presenter: Clint Eastwood) Ennio Morrocone
Humanitarian Award (presenter: Tom Cruise) Shari Lansing

Well, the Oscars are done for another year. I guessed correctly on 11 out of 24 (46%) of the categories, which is not bad considering I did not see most of the films that were nominated.

Ellen DeGeneres did an okay job as host but nothing that, in my opinion, deserves an invite back next year. (Note to the Academy: bring back Billy Crystal or Steve Martin for next year, please? Even Chris Rock was a better host than Ellen was.)

The show once again ran past midnight on the east coast, which could have been avoided (barely) if the show had started at 8:00 instead of 8:30ish. Here's a plan for next year: show all of the red carpet entrances starting at 7:30 instead of 8 or not at all on ABC. Leave the red carpet crap to E! instead. Everyone knows that no one pays attention to the length of acceptance speech time limit, which is always blamed for why the show runs too long. I think the acceptance speeches are far more important and interesting than what people are wearing.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

SNMR 2.25: "The Maltese Falcon"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Maltese Falcon" (1941, NR, 100 minutes, B&W), starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr. and Ward Bond. The film was directed by John Huston. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1942 but did not win any.

The first time that I saw this film was in a film criticism class in college. The professor I had was a big black and white movie fan and introduced me to the films of Humphrey Bogart. Bogey easily became one of my favorite actors of the time. Some of the best movies ever made starred Humphrey Bogart.

From the DVD's dust case:
A gallery of high-living lowlies will stop at nothing to get their sweaty hands on a jewel-encrusted falcon. Detective Sam Spade (Bogart) wants to find out why - and who'll take the fall. This third screen version of Dashiell Hammett's novel is a film of firsts: John Huston's directorial debut, rotund Sydney Greenstreet's film debut, history's first film noir and Bogart's breakthrough role after years as a Warner contract player. An all-star cast (including Greenstreet, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook, Jr.) join Bogart in this crisply written sizzler that placed in the top quarter of of the American Film Institute's Fifty Greatest Films list. Many say it's the best detective drama ever. Each time you see it, you'll find it hard to disagree.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 701:
One of the all-time great movies, John Huston's first effort as director is the definitive screen version of Dashiell Hammett's crime story. In a maze of double-crosses and back-stabbing, Humphrey Bogart, as Sam Spade, fights to get hold of a black bird, "the stuff that dreams are made of."


I've always enjoyed this film, and even based one of my college television production projects on it. The script is adapted well from the book and the cast is generally superb. The only weak link being Mary Astor, but the star power of the other cast members more than makes up for it. Bogart, Lorre and Greenstreet have an on-screen chemistry that carries over into several films that they made together. This film popularized the pulp fiction detective story genre onto the big screen and is a classic that everyone should see- but only in the original black and white format. I'll give this film four and a half out of five stars.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dennis Johnson, former Celtic, dead at 52

It's a sad day for longtime fans of the Boston Celtics. Back in the day, when myself and another close friend followed the Celtics daily, we would always talk about the play of DJ. He was a vital part of arguably the greatest starting five in NBA history, (Bird, McHale, Chief and Danny) along with the best sixth man, Bill Walton on that 1986 NBA Championship team.


AUSTIN, Texas (AP/ESPN.com)-- Former NBA star Dennis Johnson (1954-2007) died today, the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office said. He was 52.
Johnson, who was part of three NBA champions, two with the Boston Celtics and one with the Seattle SuperSonics, had been coaching the Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League.
The cause of death is not known.
"He will be autopsied," said Mayra Freeman, a spokeswoman for the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office.
Johnson was the MVP of the 1979 NBA Finals, averaging 22.6 points as the Sonics beat the Washington Bullets in five games.
After a brief stint with the Phoenix Suns, Johnson joined the Celtics, where he teamed with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish for a glorious run in the 1980s that saw Boston win the 1984 and 1986 NBA championships.
Known throughout the league as "DJ," Johnson played in five NBA All-Star Games and was named to the All-Defensive First Team six times.
In 14 NBA seasons, he scored 15,535 points (a 14.1 points-per-game average) and averaged 17.3 points in 180 playoff games.

2/23 update: AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- A public memorial service for Dennis Johnson will be held Sunday in Austin before the former NBA star is buried March 2 in Los Angeles.
Johnson, part of three NBA championship teams with Seattle and Boston, died Thursday after collapsing following a practice with the Austin Toros, the NBA development league team Johnson coached. He was 52.
The Travis County Medical Examiner's Office said autopsy and toxicology reports won't be released for several weeks.
In a statement posted on the Toros' Web site, a public memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at the David Chapel Baptist Church. The Toros said they will later release further details about Johnson's private service and burial in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bible Character Quiz

Last week, when I went out for dinner with G and P, G presented us with a copy of a quiz that he prepared for his students. He wanted to see how we would do, just for fun. This year, G teaches math, social studies and Bible to 6th, 7th and 8th graders in a private Christian school in the town where he lives.

Take the quiz for yourselves and see how you do. The correct order will be given at a later date, in a future post. There are no prizes for completing the quiz, just the satisfaction of knowing that you know you can do it.

Instructions:

Number these Bible characters from earliest to latest:

Noah

Samson

Moses

Paul

Isaac

Jesus

Adam

Joseph

Solomon

Pontius Pilate

Saul (son of Kish)

Joshua

Abraham

Jacob

David

Daniel

Ezekiel

Abram

Simon Peter

Hezekiah

Abel

Methuselah

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Profile: a little to the left works for me

I thought it was high time to post a new mugshot of yours truly for y'all to look at, since my last profile pic had been updated about a year ago.

This time, instead of framing myself upside down for my profile photo, I'm content to be sideways until the next updating, maybe a year or so from now. AND, I'm not shirtless this time...



Do I still look like Kevin Bacon? That was the assessment of the masses last year. Here's a comparison photo of the actor... you be the judge.

There are worse people to resemble and he's actually a decent actor, so I'm okay with that. Though, he does have a definite height advantage (4") over me. He is also more than 11 years older than I am, so youth is on my side...


Unrelated milestone: As of today, I've either been closed out by (in most cases) or closed out myself, a total of 1,500 eHarmony matches, since I joined in July, 2005.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nailed it, yes I did.

I knew that she'd like it. Really, I did.

Twenty years ago it was one of her favorite television shows. Season One came out on DVD for the first time this past Tuesday and when I found out about it two months ago I knew that was what I'd give to her for her birthday.

The show is Beauty and the Beast, starring Linda Hamilton (of Terminator fame) and Ron Perlman. Twenty-two episodes on six DVD's.

She's already finished the first three episodes already...

Unfortunately the show was cancelled halfway through its third season.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

SNMR 2.24: "The Running Man"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Running Man" (1987, R, 101 minutes), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Conchita Alonso, Richard Dawson, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura, Dweezil Zappa and Mick Fleetwood. The film was directed by Paul Michael Glaser. I'm watching the two disc Special Edition.

This was one of those films that I first watched many years ago when I was working for the Burlington Mall General Cinema. Because one of my jobs there was to usher and clean up the theater at the end of every showing, there are scenes from this film that I have seen more times than I can remember.

From the DVD's dust case:
The Year is 2019. Television is now ruling people's lives. The most popular "audience participation" game show is "The Running Man" - where convicts can win pardons instead of "parting gifts" by defeating murderous henchmen called "stalkers." The stalkers haven't had much of a challenge lately... until Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) comes along.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 970:
In this silly but exciting outing, Arnold Schwarzenegger is an honest cop who is framed for a crime he didn't commit and forced to fight for his life on a bizarre 21st century game show. Another successful variation on the big guy's standard film formula.

This is one of my favorite early Arnold films which is based on a novel by Steven King, writing as Richard Bachman. I think the concept of the movie is wonderful. Quite frankly, Richard Dawson, playing off of his Family Feud persona and fame, is absolutely brilliant in the role of the in love with himself, obnoxious game-show host. Arnold is, well, typical Arnold in a typical shoot'em up role. This is a cool sci-fi action film that kept me on the edge of my seat 20 years ago and it was exciting to watch again after not seeing it for such a long time. When I saw the two disc special edition in the store the other day, I had to snatch it up (for under $12) for sentimental reasons. I'll give this film three and a half out of five stars.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day 2007 - eHarmony update

That's right. Another Valentine's Day is almost over and I'm still officially flying solo.

But the prospects are getting better in that hopefully flying solo will be ancient history by this time next year.

For those of you who aren't aware, I have been a member of eHarmony since July 2005. I thought it would be appropriate on this day to update you on how its going, since there is positive progress to report...

Since I've been with eHarmony there have been a few women that I've been matched with, with whom I've really wanted to get to know beyond the safe environs of eHarmony's communication process. All of which have ended up in the closed match stage for one reason or another.

Except for one. One with whom I've exchanged email outside of eHarmony. One that I have spoken to on the telephone on several occasions over the last two weeks or so. One who makes me bubble with excitement when we talk and one who seems to enjoy speaking with me as much as I do her. And our conversations seem to get longer each time we talk. {Update: When we talked tonight (in the wee-hours of Thursday morning for me), our conversation lasted for almost two hours, ending at 03:00.}

One whom I never would have had contact with if not for eHarmony.

One who I thought, when we were first matched in the middle of January, would have closed me out right away because of how far away we live from each other (think east coast vs. west coast), because many of my matches were closed based solely on geography and well before any communication began. But one who, much to my surprise and delight, did not do that.

I'm hopeful that when we finally meet face to face, the chemistry that we share on the phone will translate into chemistry in person. And my confidence is growing that it will.

My brother said to me the other day that I need to find a local woman to date. To which I replied in disagreement that what I need is to find someone that will be a perfect match for me no matter what part of the country she or I live in. So that this time I can get it right from the start.

And perhaps this time I have.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Holy Cow, I'm going to be Great Uncle Green!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... The first thing I heard as I walked in the door late tonight was that I, your humble correspondent, am - in nine months time- to become a great uncle.

Can you believe that?

Quite frankly I can, considering the news comes from the most dysfunctional part of my wonderful family.

You see, my idiotic and highly irresponsible 16 year old nephew, got his idiotic and highly irresponsible 16 year old girlfriend pregnant. If there is any silver lining in this cloud of irresponsible idiocy is that they, in conjunction with her parents (I suppose {and hope}) have decided to keep the baby and not opt for an abortion, which is, in my opinion, murder at any stage of fetal growth.

My first reaction upon hearing the news is that I hope they decide to put the child up for adoption, which is the sanest option, since neither my nephew or his girlfriend are in any way, shape or form, ready to be parents. (Heck, I don't really think I was quite prepared for full-blown parenthood at 27, when my daughter was born in 1997, and she was a planned pregnancy. Nearly 10 years later, I am still dumbstruck by this more often than I care to admit.)

Apparently they are frowning upon the adoption path because neither one of them can handle having a child out there that they don't know and would always wonder about. I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail in the next nine months and this will be the conclusion that is reached. I know that I will suggest this to my nephew when I see him, whenever I see him, repeatedly if I have to, even if my opinion is not asked for (which it won't be, I'm sure).

I'm told that my sister's reaction and my ex-brother-in-law's reaction were quite rational and level headed. Though I doubt it, especially in regard to my ex-brother-in-law, who is the polar opposite of level headed in any sense of the term. I question my sister's reaction too, though I can reasonably assume she handled it in a much better fashion than he did.

It will be interesting to get her take on the situation when I talk to her next.

Seriously can't wait for that conversation.... [sigh]

Out with the boys

I'm out with my buddies, G and P, tonight. Good food and good fellowship with two good guys.

Be back later tonight.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Still my favorite


Same as last year, Abraham Lincoln gets my vote as my favorite President in United States history. I only mention this becasue today is the 198th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.

And unless something within me changes, old Honest Abe will still be my favorite historical figure in United States history next year and the year after and the year after that, etc., etc, etc.

The man was, quite frankly, a brilliant, yet humble God fearing man. What he had to deal with on a daily basis during his Presidency would make a lesser man crack. What he had to deal with in his private, family life would drive most people mad.

I can only imagine how American History would have been different, if Mr. Lincoln had lived beyond the ripe old age of 56.

If only....

Saturday, February 10, 2007

SNMR 2.23: "Aeon Flux"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Aeon Flux" (2005, PG-13, 92 minutes) starring Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Sophie Okonedo, Jonny Lee Miller, Pete Postlethwaite, Francis McDormand and Amelia Warner. The film was directed by Karyn Kusama.

I bought this movie solely because Charlize Theron was the star and had never seen either the comic books or the MTV animated series, so I had no idea what to expect and I was somewhat disappointed. Shortly after I watched this movie, I bought and watched the animated series and the premise for the film made much more sense. So I watched it again and I liked it better.

From the DVD's dust case:
Expertly Trained. Ruthlessly Efficient. Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (Best Actress, Monster, 2003) stars as Aeon Flux, the underground operative fighting totalitarian rule in the 25th century Earth's last living city.
Aeon is the rebels' best hope of overthrowing the oppressively sterile, "perfect" society. But while on assignment to gun down the government's leader, Aeon uncovers a web of startling secrets that could completely change the world's future in this gripping sci-fi action thriller based on the ground-breaking MTV animated series.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 11:
Five (actually four) hundred years in the future, a professional assassin (Charlize Theron) works with an underground army rebelling against an oppressive totalitarian society. The live-action version of the cult-classic comic book (and MTV animated series) has a sleek, streamlined look (with some great costumes for Theron), but the story is uninvolving, with too much solemn talk and not enough interesting characters or action.


This movie won't make much sense unless you've seen the comic books or animated series. If you have, you'll enjoy this film much more than if you haven't. Still, it's hard to make a good live action film from a comic book and short lived cartoon, so given the base material, this is a decent film. The special effects are good but probably aren't enough of them. The story has promise and could have been developed further but stays pretty faithful to the source material. All in all a fair film. I'll give it a two and three-qaurters out of five stars.

Obama makes it official

Now here's a candidate that I think I could get behind. So far what he says sounds good. Now, let's see over the next year plus how he does in the primaries and what he wants to accomplish if he gets elected to the Presidency.

With lame-o duck King George ineligible to run again, it will be interesting to see how the political field from both parties shapes up from now until the election.

No matter how smart Hillary Rodham Clinton may be, I do not think America is collectively ready for a female President. So, at this point, I think the best chance for another Republican to win the White House in 2008 would be if Hillary ends up as the Democratic nominee.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The root of the conflict is here.

Sadly, Jerusalem is in the news again and not for anything good.

This time, the fighting between Jews and Muslims broke out around the most disputed piece of land in the world. That is where the golden Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al-Asqua Mosques are located now. It is also where the two ancient Jewish Temples used to be, where the third and fourth Jewish Temples will be located in the future and the hill, known today as the Temple Mount {called both Mount Moriah and Mount Zion in the Bible}, is where Abraham was set to sacrifice his son Isaac. (Genesis 22:1-19) One of its outer walls, a retaining wall from the Second Temple — known as the Western Wall or Wailing Wall — is the holiest site in Judaism.

Rest assured, the root of the modern and contemporary Arab-Israeli conflict lies over the dispute over control of this sacred ground. There are two particularly excellent books, (buy both of them
here and here for under $20) that I've recommended and written about before in this blog that helps to explain why this place is so controversial. They were good reading then, and they still are good reading now. So go get yourself a copy of each. Trust me, they're real good. What are you waiting for?

I have been to Israel and have walked some of the Jerusalem streets. I have visited this particular site and I can tell you from personal experience that once you visit this beautiful place and this beautiful city, they will be close to your heart forever.

Psalm 122 (NIV)

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD."
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, O Jerusalem.

3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.

4 That is where the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statute given to Israel.

5 There the thrones for judgment stand,
the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.

7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."

8 For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."

9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith, dead at 39

Anna Nicole Smith died suddenly this afternoon in Hollywood, Florida. She was 39. The title of this post is a link to an AP story regarding her death.

I've never been an Anna fan and personally thought she had as much talent (maybe a wee-bit more) as Paris Hilton. Like her or not, no matter your feelings regarding this tabloid star, it is a tragic story. No one likes to read of another person's demise, especially at such a young age. It will be interesting to hear what the autopsy report will say about the cause of her death, when the findings are released. The autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. Anna's mother now says that drug abuse will be found as the cause of death and that her daughter looked stoned in her last television interview. Hmmm.....

I feel bad for her five month old baby. No child should have to grow up without a mother.

The one thing about her death that I dread is, in this me first age of pop-culture and made-for-television movies, is how soon her life story will actually become one of those dreaded made-for-television movies? And which current actress will vie for the right to star in the Anna role? I'm guessing within a year, if that. Someone's probably writing the script for it as I write this!!! (Sounds like a job for our resident scribe-o-rama!!!)

Seriously, what hits home to me is that she was only 39 years old. Thirty-nine freakin' years old!! [Ahem, I'll be 38 this year...] Her sudden death just makes me realize that life is a gift from God and you never know when your time will be up...

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Can't really say for sure, but there's gotta be. Now we just hafta find the darn thing!

2/10 Update: More tests needed... (from AP)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Some scams are more obvious than others

I received this in one of my email addresses this morning. Obviously it is a scam. My prior experience has made me more aware of them but even gullible old me wouldn't have fallen for this one.


Dear Friend.
My name is Flora Mamba,I am sorry if this mail will come to you as an embarrassment or a suprise,I just felt like empting myself to you,I decided to confide in you,as am faced with total frustration and hardship. My ernest prayer is that you find this mail in good health and blessings. I am presently residing in Abidjan,Cote d'Ivoire.I left my country with my father after the death of my mother during the war in our country and we came here because my father owned a business here,(cocoa business), during the going political crisis here which has turn out into a civil war since 2003,my father was attacked and killed here at the hit of the crisis as the rebels were killing prominent foreigners with the reason that they were financially supporting the government against them and the rebels are accusing the government of doing the killing.
Presently,I am staying in a REFUGEE camp assisted by the Red cross organisation,due to the war which the camp is securized by united nations forces and after the death of my father,our house was set ablaze,I was unable to meet my needs pay my bills and accommodation and in my dilemma which was another reason for going to the camp,where I could at least feed and sleep as I did not know anyone here.
I take permission to go to the town where they have internet access to enable me mail you.
Secondly,my late father concealed some amount of money in a trunk box and deposited it in a safe keeping house to the sum of $27.3 million dollars which I will want you to help me move out of this country because of the war here.But the safe keeping house does not know the true content of the trunk to be cash as my father declared upon deposit as containing art craft for export.My father confided so much in me after the death of my mother,we were so close that he never did anything without my knowledge and opinion.All that I want is your sincere and genuine help in helping me safe guide this trunk which means that you will have to come here so that we can meet face to face first before proceeding with this claim,as we have to do the claiming of the trunk which the money is concealed claimed out of the safe keeping house first and the money moved out of this country as I am the named next of kin to this deposit.I cannot allow the money remain here while because of the war here which possess a great risk to as my life and future solely lies on it.If you have heard from the news for the past few months now there has been intense fighting and bombing by the French troops which I will like to live here as soon as we have this money moved out of this country.
I will also like upon your arrival here to open an account in any of the international banks of your choice here where this money will be lodged into for transfer to your country,I know that this is our first mail,but I have decided to confide in you .I want you to know that for years now,I have lived in absolute frustration,tires and pains without any person around me,no parent,uncles or friend,but God had kept me until now,which I believe that I will smile once again.
Thirdly, I intend you helping me to claim this money as I intend living for your country to start an entire new life and complete my education,as you will have to help in the investment of this money.But I really need your help at this trial and difficult time of mine.
I am totally frustrated that my whole mind for now lies on my survival which is securing this money.Please I am confiding completely in you and I really need your assistance at this point of my life as you alone knows of this venture.
I wait to hear from you.
Thank you for your corporation.
Yours Sincerely,
Flora.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

On to 2007


Now that the Super Bowl is over, it's time to prepare for the events leading up to the start of the 2007 NFL season. Next up is the Pro-Bowl, which is a waste of a game in my opinion, then scouting combines, player draft, schedule release, minicamps, and training camp.

You read it here first: Even though the NFL won't release the 2007 schedule until sometime in early April, you can take it to the bank on what the first game of the 2007 NFL season will be. Circle your calendars for Thursday, September 6th.

For the last several years, the Super Bowl Champion has hosted the opening game on prime time television on a Thursday night. That puts the game in Indianapolis for 2007. Your matchup will be my New England Patriots vs. the Indianapolis Colts at the RCA Dome. Not only is this the most appealing game on the Colts home schedule but a rematch of an excellent 2006 AFC Championship game, now featuring a battle of two former Super Bowl MVP's in Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Trust me, the NFL brass loves matchups like this one.

I'll also predict that the Patriots will play the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day this year. I say this because every Thanksgiving, Dallas and Detroit host games on Thanksgiving and alternate each year hosting an AFC team. Last season Detroit hosted an AFC team, so 2007 is the Cowboys year to do it. The only AFC teams on their home schedule are the Patriots and the New York Jets, so I've got a 50/50 chance of being right.

In anticipation of these games, I've marked them on my Patriots Opponents list over there on my sidebar. When the rest of the schedule is released, I'll update it with dates, times and TV info.

SUPER BOWL XLI


Indianapolis Colts (-6 1/2; o/u 48 1/2) vs. Chicago Bears @ Dolphin Stadium, Miami, FL

The Bears are the NFC's #1 seed and the Colts are the AFC's #3 seed. This is supposed to be Peyton Manning's chance to rid himself of his remaining playoff ghosts and validate his career. I'm not buying it. Rex Grossman is the most maligned Super Bowl Quarterback since Trent Dilfer played for the Baltimore Ravens in XXXV.

Indianapolis offense vs. Chicago defense: Strength vs. Strength. This matchup will decide the game. Will the Bears defense be able to keep up with the Colts high powered offense? The key will be Chicago's secondary matching up with WR's Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark. If the Colts can get favorable matchups it will open up QB Peyton Manning's play action and the Colts running game. A rainy field generally favors the Bears running game vs. an offense built on speed on the turf in the Hoosier Dome. Edge: Indianapolis.

Chicago offense vs. Indianapolis defense: The Colts defense is built on speed and quickness, not on size. The Bears have a very good o-line. Pressure for the Colts will be the key, to try and rattle QB Rex Grossman into mistakes. When Rex is bad, he can be very bad. For the Bears, they want to control the line and run the ball on the suspect Colts defense. Keeping the Colts offense on the sidelines will be just as important as any other facet of the game. Edge: Even

Tony Dungy vs. Lovie Smith: Lovie wins the battle of the names easily. These two coaches are making their first Super Bowl appearances. Never before has an African-American coach been able to lead his team to the big game and now one will win it for the first time.. It will be a great day when the race issue does not get mentioned at all. Both of these coaches are classy men and are best of friends off the field. Both coaches deserve to win this game. Edge: Even

Indianapolis vs. Chicago special teams: The Colts have Mr. Clutch Adam Vinatieri, arguably the best field goal kicker in NFL history. The Bears have excitng KR/PR Devin Hester and a pretty good K in Robbie Gould. This matchup would be even or slightly to the Bears but if the game is on the line, I'll take #4 any day.

As always, teams who make the fewest mistakes usually wins. The Colts offense is awesome and so is the Bears defense. The Bears do not want this game to become a shootout, because they will lose. I see this as a relatively high scoring affair and a very close game. Take the Colts to win but the Bears to cover. Go with the over in either case.
My prediction: Indianapolis Colts 30, Chicago Bears 27 . Actual Score: Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17. The second Super Bowl Championship for the Colts franchise (V, 1970 vs. Dallas, when the franchise played in Baltimore) in three Super Bowl appearances (lost in III, 1968 vs. New York Jets). This was the first Super Bowl loss for the Bears (won XX, 1985 vs. New England Patriots) in two Super Bowwl appearances. That lousy interception return for a touchdown by the Colts in the fourth quarter blew my prediction for the Bears to cover the spread. Typical ending to a lousy postseason for my predictions. The game didn't start out too well for the Colts, allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown on the very first play. The weather was horrible and that did not help either team because there were eight turnovers committed in the game (five of them by Chicago), most of which were attributable to the constant rainfall throughout the game. Adam Vinatieri missed a normally makeable field goal and had an extra point snap and placement botched due to a wet football. So now the questions about Rex are legitimate after such a poor performance. Will Chicago look for another QB or stick with train-Rex?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

SNMR 2.22: "The Truman Show"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Truman Show" (1998, PG, 102 minutes), starring Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Peter Krause and Holland Taylor. The film was directed by Peter Weir.

I can't remember if the first time I saw this movie was in the theater of if I rented it shortly after it came out on video. Not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not a huge Jim Carrey fan - it seems like you either love his work or he is incredibly annoying but hardly ever in between.

From the DVD's dust case:
All eyes are on Burbank - Truman Burbank, that is. And you'll want to join the masses in taking a fresh new look at this marvel of a movie from Peter Weir (Gallipoli, Witness) in this Special Collector's Edition DVD! Truman (Jim Carrey) is about to discover just how abnormal his seemingly "normal" life is. What he doesn't realize -just yet- is that his whole life is a reality TV show, televised and broadcast for the world to see! The creative genius of Jim Carrey (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) will amaze and thrill you in this groundbreaking film...


From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 1182:
Profound and wildly outrageous bit of "theater of the absurd" boasts a cleverly crafted script, a frankly astonishing performance from Jim Carrey, and shrewd directing by Aussie Peter Weir. Carrey's Truman Burbank lives the American dream in a postcard-perfect small town, little realizing that he's the "star" of his own life, being broadcast 24 hours a day to an engrossed world. He's the only one who doesn't know it... although his suspicions are mounting.

I found this movie to be compelling from start to finish. Even though I knew what the premise of the film was, I still found myself rooting for Truman to figure it all out and get out of his bubble. The cast is excellent and the script is original and well-written. The story's pacing flows well and I think this is one of Jim Carrey's best performances. Ed Harris is super as Christof, the director/god controlling Truman's world. Director Peter Weir does an excellent job seamlessly moving from the real world to Truman's world. This is a very enjoyable, heartwarming film. I'll give it four out of five stars.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Six Weird Things About ME

Yesterday I was tagged by tink to come up with six weird things about me.

Coincidentally, it was a year ago today that dabich tagged me for the very same thing, except hers asked for only five weird things about me, not six. In the true spirit of laziness or I just can't think of anything else weird enough about myself, here's both the link from last years post, in case you don't believe me and the cut & paste version below:

The Rules: "The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits" of yourself and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals."

I had to take a few and think about these things, so here goes:


1) I usually sleep on the right side of the bed (when someone else is there with me). Since October 2004 though I've been laying diagonally across the mattress. I sleep in the same position every night.

2) I have to sleep on two goose down feather pillows, preferably king sized. I take them with me whenever I go on trips. (Yep, they'll come to Dallas with me.) Once you sleep on a goose down pillow, you'll never be able to sleep on a foam pillow again. Just ask my ex: got her hooked real good, I did.

3) I always put jelly on my grilled cheese sandwiches. It looks gross but tastes really good.

4) When I sign my name, my initials are always obnoxiously large, non-cursive letters. When I just sign my initials, I always partially circle them.

5) I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can tell you what uniform numbers some of my favorite Red Sox players wore 30 years ago. I can also read the sports page once and basically recite the entire thing back to you.

6) If I see an actor in a movie, even if it's a minor charachter, I can usually tell you what other movies they've been in. I can also identify obscure movie quotes repeated back to me - if I've seen the movie. I can do this even if I haven't seen the movie in a long time.



And, as tink recently pointed out, I'm extremely fussy about my blog, to the point of neuroticism, actually. I don't think that's weird, considering I've put a lot of effort into it over the (however long it is) that I've been in the blogging business.


I'm not going to tag anyone this year, so play along if the mood strikes you.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is anyone having the same problem?

I'm getting really frustrated with this new version of blogger.

The old version of blogger occasionally gave me problems when I'd try to upload a photo.

Now that I'm on the new version of blogger, I can't even get the window for adding pictures to come up on my screen. Every time I click on the icon above the post editor, I get no response what so ever.

I've gone to blogger help and tried some of the suggestions they recommend but with no positive results.

I'd like to throw my computer out the window about now...

but I won't.