"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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

SNMR 2.30: "The Cider House Rules"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Cider House Rules" (1999, PG-13, 125 minutes), starring Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine, Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd, Kate Nelligan, Kieran Culkin. The film was directed by Lasse Hallstrom.

I had never watched this movie until about four weeks ago, when I watched it for the first time - I borrowed it from the Nashua Public Library. I had wanted to see it for a while, but there was always something better to watch.

From the DVD's dust case:
Honored with two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actor for Michael Caine and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Irving), The Cider House Rules tells a compelling and heartwarming story about how far a young man must travel to find the place where he truly belongs! Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire - Pleasantville, The Ice Storm, Wonder Boys) has lived nearly his entire life within the walls of St. Cloud's Orphanage in rural Maine. Though groomed by its proprietor, Dr. Larch (Caine), to be his successor. Homer nonetheless feels the need to strike out on his own and experience the world outside. Then, while working at an apple orchard, Homer falls for the beautiful Candy (Charlize Theron - Reindeer Games, The Devil's Advocate) and learns some powerfully indelible lessons about life, love and home! Based on John Irving's best-selling American classic and featuring a sensational all-star cast including Delray Lindo and newcomer Erykah Badu, this entertaining motion picture earned raves from critics and moviegoers everywhere!

From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 205:
A young man (Tobey Maguire) leaves the orphanage where he grew up, working in an apple orchard, and falling for his best friend's girl while the friend is off fighting in World War II. John Irving's novel becomes a sincere, sagacious film about lessons taught and learned among the forests and orchards of Maine. Irving won a well deserved Oscar for his smooth, intelligent script, as did Michael Caine, equally deserving for his performance as the compassionate doctor who runs the orphanage.


This is a good movie, though not my favorite. I'm glad I was able to watch it without paying for it, though. The story is good and the script was adapted well, but I don't necessarily think it was Oscar worthy (though I don't recall who the other nominees were for best adapted screenplay that year). The cast is good. Tobey Maguire is very underrated as an actor and you can put Charlize Theron in any movie you like and her presence alone will make it better. I'll give this film three out of five stars.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

When I'm an Old Man

When I'm an old man, I'll live with each kid,
And bring so much happiness just as they did.
I want to pay back all the joy they've provided.
Returning each deed. Oh, they'll be so excited.
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

I'll write on the wall with reds, whites and blues,
And I'll bounce on the furniture...wearing my shoes.
I'll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I'll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they'll shout.
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

When they're on the phone and just out of reach,
I'll get into things like sugar and bleach.
They'll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
And when that is done, I'll hide under the bed.
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

When they cook dinner and call me to eat,
I'll not eat my spinach, peas, salad or meat.
I'll gag on my green beans, spill milk on the table,
And when they get angry, I'll run if I'm able.
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

I'll sit close to the TV, through the channels I'll click,
I'll cross both my eyes just to see if they stick.
I'll take off my socks and throw one away,
And play in the mud 'til the end of the day.
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

And later in bed, I'll lay back and sigh,
I'll thank God in my prayer, then I'll close my eyes.
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
and say with a groan, "He's so sweet when he's sleeping."
(When I'm an old man and live with my kids.)

-- Over the Hump Real Estate Section, May 2005, p. 90.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Time Management

This has never been one of my greatest skills or assets. In fact, lack of said skill is one of the reasons why I'm such a great procrastinator. That and my Attention Deficit Disorder.

Why do I find it hard to get motivated to do anything these days?

I'm not happy with the status-quo of my life and I know that, yet my internal drive for some reason is short circuiting. Maybe it's because I'd almost rather be in a dentist's chair having teeth pulled without an anesthetic rather than looking for a job.

I said almost.

I mean, I have goals. And I know that in order to achieve them I need to get off my ass and get a job. But here's the thing: do I look for a job from the newspaper that will pay like crap and still not allow me the kind of money I need to make ends meet or do I hold out and keep looking for that job which will meet my financial needs?

In fact, here are the top five things I absolutely hate doing. There may be more but I can't think of them right now. They are listed in no particular order (aside from #1):

1. sitting in a dentist's chair having teeth pulled without an anesthetic.
2. looking for a job.
3. anything to do with packing/unpacking and moving.
4. folding laundry/making my bed
5. getting up before 8:00 in the morning.

I actually gathered up enough energy and went to a job fair on Monday, which was almost a waste of time. The entire fair involved companies that were looking for computer programmers, technical people with engineering degrees and technical sales people. None of these skills or degrees do I have.

The woman at the registration desk asked me for my resume upon sign in and after quickly scanning it looked at me like I had six heads.

Registration Desk Lady: "Your specialty is finance and accounts receivable?"

Me: "Yes it is."

RDL: "Did you know that this is an engineering and technical job fair?

Me: "Yes I did. But last I looked, all companies have some dealings with customers, money and finances - and that's where I come in."

RDL (reluctantly hands me a registration sticker for my shirt): "Well, I suppose you can go in, but the companies inside are only looking to fill specific engineering and technical positions today."

Me (as I take sticker and walk away): "Okay, thank you."

Sure enough, each company inside had a sign in front of each booth listing what positions they were hiring for and only two of them had finance listed. But I did get a booklet with ads from each company present and looking through it, found at least 10 companies that have financial positions listed. All of them in the booklet have addresses and web addresses, so that's something.

It took me 30 minutes all told to talk to RDL and walk the room. I only spoke to two people at booths. The time spent wasn't a total waste, since I got the booklet and a neat faux leather pocket size business card holder. I was disappointed though that I was not able to stock up on the free pens and assorted give-aways at each booth.

Good thing the job fair was at a local hotel in town, so getting there and back only took 5 minutes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Autopsy results are in

Well, the media frenzy can finally cease, can't it?

Sure it can. But will it? I don't know.

You may recall that last month I wrote about the death of Anna Nicole Smith on the day that she died.

Well, the autopsy report has been released and, to bring closure to my coverage of the story, I wanted to bring you links for stories concerning said autopsy. Here and here are two related Associated Press stories that I found this morning.

Definitely an avoidable tragedy. It's a sad story no matter which way you slice it.

Let the casting begin for the (I can almost guarantee) soon to be written (if not already) made-for-television movie about Anna Nicole's life that I predicted over a month ago.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Guess I'm not so smart after all...

Usually when I write sports related posts, the comments I receive are minimal.

And that's fine, since it's inconceivable or at least highly unlikely, that most people are as passionate about their favorite sports teams as I am about mine.

Tonight I must confess to you that I was wrong and cut myself a piece of that humble pie sitting over there, and it doesn't taste too good.

In a sure sign of spring, the NFL publishes the schedule of games for the upcoming season, either in the last week of March or in the first week or so of April. They also publish, in advance of the full schedule, the nationally televised games for both kickoff weekend and Thanksgiving.

At the end of the 2006 National Football League season, I wrote a post predicting what I thought would be no-brainers for the 2007 schedule. Turns out I was wrong on both accounts.

The NFL today released said schedule for the games I predicted and my team didn't get any love whatsoever from the NFL powers-that-be.

I thought that the New England Patriots would be the logical choice to play the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts for the first game of the season, considering the heated rivalry of the two teams in recent years and given the results of that stunning AFC Championship game. But instead, the Colts opening opponent will be the New Orleans Saints on September 6th. Apparently the NFL wants to save a game of this magnitude for the November sweeps period, probably in the same week of the season that the last two regular season meetings have been played. If that's the case, at least it makes some semblance of sense.

But this one baffles me, and admittedly I had a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong. Instead of the Patriots traveling to Dallas to play on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys get to host the New York Jets instead.

Neither did the Patriots get one of the two games for the opening Monday Night Football doubleheader.

Perhaps, as the rest of the schedule comes out in the next 10 days or so, the Patriots will get more love shown them during the regular season on either Thursday (after Thanksgiving), Sunday or Monday Night Football. Usually the NFL likes to put its best teams on prime time television more often than its not as successful teams.

Regardless, I'll be sure to post both the Patriots schedule directly (in a post and on the sidebar) and provide you with links to the full schedule, as soon as they become available. I do this because I know that, deep in your heart of hearts, you want to know this crucial information.

That you need to know it, so that you can plan your fall Sunday afternoon schedule around your favorite team's games.

But more importantly, so that (in such cases as applicable) you can inform your non-sports-fan significant other (and kids, where applicable) well ahead of time when you will not be available for outside yard work, going to the opera, going shopping or any other activity that does not involve your butt in the couch or recliner with a soda/beer and bag of chips in your hand.

And even better - by knowing this information well in advance, you can invite your significant other and/or kids (where applicable), that they are more than welcome to join you in front of the tube, in the good cause of family bonding and quality together time.


So, without further ado, here's the television lineup, as released by the NFL today:

Sept. 6- New Orleans @ Indianapolis, NBC, 20:30 EDT

Sept. 9- Chicago @ San Diego, FOX, 16:15 EDT
Sept. 9- New York Giants @ Dallas, NBC, 20:15 EDT

Sept. 10- Baltimore @ Cincinnati, ESPN, 19:00 EDT
Sept. 10- Arizona @ San Francisco, ESPN, 22:15 EDT

Nov. 22- Green Bay @ Detroit, FOX, 12:30 EST
Nov. 22- New York Jets @ Dallas, NBC, 16:15 EST
Nov. 22- Indianapolis @ Atlanta, NFL Network, 20:15 EST

Saturday, March 24, 2007

SNMR 2.29: "Starship Troopers"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Starship Troopers" (1997, R, 129 minutes), starring Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Busey, Patrick Muldoon and Michael Ironside. The film was directed by Paul Verhoeven.

The first time I saw this film was when I rented it sometime in the late 1990's. I had rented it solely because both Dina Meyer (12 episodes in '93-'94) and Casper Van Dien (7 episodes in 1994) had small roles in the TV series "Beverly Hills 90210", which I was heavily into at that time. I had never read Heinlien's novel or even heard of it before watching this film. I have watched it a few times since, for one reason only.

From the DVD's dust case:
From the bridge of the Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga, with its sweeping galactic views, to the desolate terrain of planet Klendathu, teeming with shrieking, fire-spitting, brain-sucking special effects creatures, acclaimed director Paul Verhoeven crafts a dazzling epic based on Robert A. Heinlein's classic sci-fi adventure. Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Muldoon and Michael Ironside star as the courageous soldiers who travel to the distant and desolate Klendathu system for the ultimate showdown between the species. "Sensationally exciting! Like Star Wars, it's ground zero for a new generation of thrill seekers!" -Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 1074:
Some truly awesome special effects do not make up for the lack of dramatic punch in this sci-fi adventure about a group of cadets who graduate ot find themselves thrust into an intergalactic war. The film only begins to get interesting at the end, where an abrupt ending seems to suggest that the filmmakers ran out of money.


This film is a piece of sci-fi fluff which in no way can be compared to Star Wars on any level. The story has promise but is largely disappointing because of the abrupt ending and unfulfilled potential mentioned in the review above. The special effects are very good, though a bit gory if you don't like blood and guts films. The cast is overall adequate and performs to the level of the material. For me, there's only one reason to revisit this film on occasion - the beautiful, sexy and highly underrated Dina Meyer. If what you're looking for is mindless, bloody entertainment then this movie is for you. I'll give it 2 1/4 out of five stars.

It's a small world after all...

In order to save time this morning, I decided that I would go to the warehouse sale by myself. As it turned out, I got some good summer reading material, since the next sale isn't until September 8th. I spent a little over an hour there and immediately headed up north afterwards.

I managed to get to the studio in time to see all but 30 minutes of the 2 1/2 hour Taekwando testing that V and M had this morning and was very impressed. M is one of the youngest students in the school of about 200. After the testing was finished and people were leaving, I got a chance to meet and speak with the owner of the studio, an 8th degree black belt, who first started learning Taekwando in 1959.

After lunch, my kids and I went to the playground at the local elementary school that AG and I attended in the 1970's. M and I played catch with both a tennis ball and a football, but not at the same time. V was playing on the swings nearby while M and I were throwing the balls around. Turns out she started playing with a 3 1/2 year old boy, whose parents were nearby and taking turns holding their 6 month old son.

When M and I were done we went over to where V was playing with the little boy. After M joined in the fun, which included a little football (soccer), I started talking to the woman. I asked her if they lived in Burlington and she said yes, for about four years, and that they lived on a certain street relatively close to the school. I told her that one of my best friends used to live on that street when we were growing up and told her the street number. She then said that they live in that very same house, which they bought from a couple who bought it from the previous longtime owners in 1999.

And the previous longtime owners of this very same house happen to be AG's parents.

Neat.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reunited - and it feels so good.

Reuters reports that, ten years after the award winning film "Titanic", Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio will be reunited in an upcoming film based on a 1961 novel by Richard Yates. The film is scheduled to be directed by Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes.

---

Happy 39th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Looking forward to the weekend...

....as always.

This weekend I don't pick up my kids until late morning on Saturday, as opposed to the normal routine of Friday evening.

They are testing on Saturday morning for their green stripe. See, both V and M take Tai-Kwon-Do classes twice a week with their mom. The order of the belts goes like this: white, white with yellow stripe, yellow, yellow with green stripe, green.... (which stripe comes after green I'm not entirely sure) but you get the idea. My ex already has her green stripe and they all want to test together when it comes time to go for the green belt.

It's something they enjoy doing - something I have no interest in pursuing myself. The hard part for me will be getting up early enough to drive up there and watch them test, since from here it's over a 90 minute drive. Since testing begins @ 9:00, I have to leave no later than 7:30 which means I've got to get up earlier than that... on a Saturday, no less... :>(

Afterwards, we're going to attempt to go here for the first time this year. Something we've all been looking forward to, since we missed the last opportunity in 2006. And especially now that my daughter knows how to read and has discovered the wonder of books... I've always enjoyed going there and have been many times. I need more reading material. You can never have enough books, in my opinion.

Sunday will be routine - going to church in the morning. Then it gets weird. My parents have a pot-luck dinner on Sunday afternoon at their church, so I'm responsible for cooking Sunday dinner for me, my brother, his two kids and my two kids. Perhaps I'll post that recipe too, if it comes out good.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring will spring.... TODAY!!

Yes, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen - your Vernal Equinox 2007 is set for 8:07 PM EDT tonight, a mere 7 hours from now!!

Aaaah, spring is here and not a moment too soon. Here in New England, it's supposed to be cold and windy tomorrow, with a high of 38. Thursday and through the weekend the high temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 60's.

We've had a light winter in the southern New Hampshire and greater Boston areas, with only two significant snow events to speak of.

And that's perfectly fine by me, thank you very much.

Bring on Spring!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

From the Green man's kitchen...

This is what I made for dinner tonight. If I can make this, so can you. Believe me.

Chicken with Hollandaise Sauce
serves 4-6. Prep time 30 minutes. Cooking time- about 12 minutes.

you will need:

6 large half chicken breasts, boned and skinned.
1/2 cup all-puropse flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. butter or margarine

for Hollandaise sauce
you will need:

6 egg yolks
4 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup butter, melted, very hot.
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional)
parsley or parsley flakes (for garnish)
1 lemon, sliced into six thin pieces (for garnish)

Preparation:

1. Lightly pound chicken breasts with the fist of your hand

2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper.

3. Dip each chicken breast into the beaten egg, then into the flour mixture to thoroughly coat.

4. Melt 3 tbsp. butter in a large skillet. Saute chicken until brown on both sides. Cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a heated platter. Cover and keep warm.

5. For sauce, in a food processor, (I used a whisk and a bowl which worked fine enough), combine egg yolks and lemon juice. Mix until combined. Melt 1 cup of butter. With motor running, add melted butter in thin stream. Sauce will thicken as you pour the butter in. When all the butter is poured, turn off motor.

6. Lightly stir in Tabasco sauce, if used, for flavor (and a little kick!)

7. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired.


This is the recipe that I used, though there are variations which you can find online and elsewhere. It's really good. If you make it, I'd be interested to know what you think.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SNMR 2.28: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

Fifty-eight movies in fifty-two weeks. And what fun we've had reviewing them all just for you.

Tonight marks the FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF SNMR, here on this blog. Marking the occasion in a truly off the wall sense is why the good people (okay, it's just me) who bring you SNMR every week without fail have chosen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1974, PG, 89 minutes) as this week's film. The film stars, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland and Neil Innes. The film was directed by Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and some llamas.

I've watched this film in its entirety or parts of it or quoted lines from it so many times that I can't even begin to tell you. I probably first watched this film in those glorious pre-high school, be the first on your block to own a VCR, halcyon days of the 1980's. And will likely watch it many more times in the years to come.




From www.amazon.com:

The movie starts out with Arthur, King of the Britons, looking for knights to sit with him at Camelot. He finds many knights including Sir Galahad the pure, Sir Lancelot the brave, the quiet Sir Bedevere, and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot. They do not travel on horses, but pretend they do and have their servants bang coconuts to make the sound of horse's hooves. Through satire of certain events in history (witch trials, the black plague) they find Camelot, but after literally a quick song and dance they decide that they do not want to go there. While walking away, God (who seems to be grumpy) come to them from a cloud and tells them to find the Holy Grail. They agree and begin their search. While they search for the Grail, scenes of the knight's tales appear and why they have the name they have. Throughout their search they meet interesting people and knights along the way. Most of the characters die; some through a killer rabbit (which they defeat with the holy hand grenade), others from not answering a question right from the bridge of Death, or die some other ridiculous way. In the end, King Arthur and Sir Bedevere are left and find the Castle Arrrghhh where the Holy Grail is. They are met by some French soldiers who taunted them earlier in the film, so they were not able to get into the castle.



From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 758:

The Monty Python gang assault the legend of King Arthur and his knights in this often uproariously funny, sometimes tedious, movie.


From Muze, Inc.

This classic Monty Python comedy, directed by Pythons Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, is a hilarious send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages as told through the story of King Arthur and framed by a modern-day murder investigation. When the mythical king of the Britons leads his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail, they face a wide array of horrors, including a persistent Black Knight, a three-headed giant, a cadre of shrubbery-challenged knights, the perilous Castle Anthrax, a killer rabbit, a house of virgins, and a handful of rude Frenchmen. In addition to the set pieces, the film also includes the same kind of surreal animation that Gilliam contributed to the television series. Throughout the irreverent adventures, the Python crew eschews realism in favor of anachronistic social satire, a recipe it later returned to in the 1979 biblical farce MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN. Melding the ridiculous with the sublime, the film quickly inspired a cult following, generated a host of quotes, and even inspired a computer game 20 years after its release. The numerous songs and hysterical vignettes are sidesplittingly unforgettable.


This is absolutely one of the funniest films ever made. The Monty Python crew have a wonderful way of ripping any subject. Though some, just don't understand the British sense of humor, which I quite frankly can't understand, and will think this film is just plain dumb. A joke is a joke, right? The script is fantastic and each of the main players does a wonderful job in their many different roles. What more can I say than this is a classic film which should be watched, quoted from and owned by everyone. I'll give this film five out of five llamas, um stars. Yeah stars.

Friday, March 16, 2007

nearly two hours...

That's how long it took me to drive back to my parent's house this afternoon after picking up my kids for the weekend at our standard meeting place. This is normally a drive that takes in the ballpark of 40 minutes to make but was considerably longer due to the March nor'easter that struck New England today. The snow started at about 13:30 (and much earlier in the day for eastern Massachusetts) when I was coming out of the Merrimack Public Library on my way to pick up V and M. Fortunately they had an early release from school today for whatever reason, so I was able to pick them up earlier than usual. The wonderful snow is supposed to cease around 10-11:00 on Saturday morning. leaving this area between 6-10" of the nasty white fluff. You have to love the inconsistency of late winter/early spring New England weather as this past Tuesday saw quite balmy temperatures in the mid 70's.

The warmer weather that we had earlier in the week allowed me to syphon a good portion of the melting snow and ice layer on top of the pool cover at my parents house. I'd estimate that pool cover was supporting at least 100 gallons of ice and water. Good thing too considering it's once again a snow covered mess.

Ten minutes extra at the Nashua Public Library this morning has cost me an additional $10. I needed to return a DVD that I had signed out of that library last week. Once I dropped my quarter into the metered library parking lot I had 30 minutes to take care of my business. Once the movie was returned I had to meander downstairs to sign into one of the library's computer rooms to feed my email addiction. But that's not what killed me. Stopping to use the restroom on my way out put me over the top. When I got back to my car I found a nice little parking ticket on my windshield from the ever efficient meter maids employed by the Nashua Police Department.

I couldn't have been much more than ten minutes longer than my time on the meter allowed. I suspect the meter maids hover over that parking lot during the day because they likely accrue a small fortune in parking fines for the city's coffers by doing so. Next time I shall either mind my time better, bring more quarters to feed the meter or just limit my time at that library to after 17:00 on weekdays or weekends, when parking in that lot is free. What I'm debating now is should I attempt to fight the ticket or just write out the check and send it off to the greedy people at City Hall.

Do any of you remember that Lion Force Voltron cartoon from 1984-85? I've been getting my kids into it again after a failed attempt this past summer. There are two collections, in blue and yellow lion tins, currently out on DVD comprising the first 30 episodes of the show and a bunch of special features with each. The third set (either red or green lion is supposed to be released n May, containing episodes 31-45). My failed attempt from the summer came on one of my few unsuccessful eBay transactions. I purchased bootleg copies of the program recorded onto 8 DVDs, most of which my player couldn't read - probably because the copies I bought were corrupted and the jerk who sold them to me probably knew it (and stated in his ad an 'all sales final, no return policy). Oh well. I haven't had many bad transactions in three years of eBay buying and selling.

Well, that's enough rambling for tonight. I'm going to go read for an hour and then go to sleep.

Ah, heck with reading before bed tonight.. I can already feel my eyes getting heavy... zzzzzzz

We did actually get about 10" of the white fluffy stuff - before it turned to rain and made the snow into wet, heavy, hard to shovel, half frozen slush. For those of you living in the northern states, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you living in the southern states, you're lucky you missed the mess! Though I must comment that, just this past Tuesday, we had temperatures that topped out around 75. Hopefully, spring is on the way in more ways than just on the calendar.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why do I do that?

It seems like 99.9% of the time (a thoroughly non-scientific analysis) I type the word "because" wrong on the first try. It always comes out as "becasue" and no matter how hard I try to type it correctly on the first attempt I usually repeat the same typo. I have no logical reason why I do this. I could understand it better, perhaps, if these letter keys were next to each other on the keyboard but obviously they are not...

So that leads me to wonder what words you have trouble spelling most often when you type (before using spell-checker of course) that you notice right away?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Scanning the news, and my opinions about it.

In no way do I consider myself a news junkie, but here are some of the stories in the news that caught my eye this afternoon.

Brad Delp, 55, lead singer of the rock band Boston died on March 9th of an apparent
suicide, according to his family. Delp and his family lived in Atkinson, NH, a small town on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. This is another sad story of one dying relatively young. It'll be interesting to see what the autopsy report will show as the official cause of death. It's also a selfish thing to do, leaving your family like that.

A perspective on the
US Housing Market. Oh well, I'm not ready to buy a house yet, anyway.

See, AG, there's hope for you and any political aspirations that you may have. All you have to do to run for political office is do what this guy apparently did. Get rid of every public statement you've made in regards to your atheism, and wait until you get elected before revealing your true position.

Should General Pace have expressed his opinion publicly, openly and as bluntly as he did about
homosexuals serving in the military? Absolutely he should have and I applaud him for sharing his opinion and not apologizing for it. More people should be willing to go out on a limb and express their views, even if they are not popular. Now before any of you paint me with the wrong size brush, let me choose it for myself. I think homosexuality is immoral and wrong because that's what the Bible teaches and goes against the natural order of things. Does this mean that I think homosexuals should be banned from serving in the military? No. I totally support the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that the US Military currently holds because that's really the best policy for both sides. Someone who is qualified to serve in the military and has the desire to do so should be allowed to do exactly that, no matter what their sexual orientation may be, just like someones skin color should not prohibit them from serving if that's what they want to do. Quite frankly, I don't really want or need to know what someone else's sexual orientation is or is not.

Count me among the
79% of American Christians who believe in the second coming of Jesus and in the 20% of that group of Christians who believe that the rapture is an imminent event that will happen during their lifetime. Imminent meaning that there are no signs that will precede this event before it happens. But this doesn't mean that Christians who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible ought to live with their heads in the clouds, as some atheists think we do. Instead, Christians should have a heart of compassion for reaching the lost and a desire for evangelism, sharing and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. Like it or not, believe it or not, God's program will happen with or without cooperation or permission and on His schedule and time line, whether we are ready or not.


Let's hope this new Palestinian government works. I still support Israel and their long term God given right to ownership of that land. But warring with Hamas and Fatah doesn't benefit anybody. And infighting between Hamas and Fatah is equally unbeneficial for everyone. Since neither Israel or the Palestinians are going anywhere, they should try to coexist.

Monday, March 12, 2007

27 questions

Tagged again by the still incomparable bluez.

1. Who was your best friend?
My best friends in High School were SP and RB. My best friend growing up was PM, whom I've sadly lost touch with over the years. His parents and my parents still live on the same street, though.

2. What sports did you play?
None. I was too short and too skinny to play. I didn't even watch my high school or college sports teams because they usually sucked bad enough without my participation. Funny though, my college football team once had the longest losing streak in all of NCAA Division III. The one Saturday afternoon that I had an opportunity to go was the day they actually got off the schneid and broke the streak. I've always been a pro sports fan, though. I'd go to see the Red Sox or Patriots over college sports any day.

3. What kind of car did you drive?
The first car I owned on my own was a silver 1981 AMC Eagle. What a cool looking car that was. Too bad it briefly became one with a telephone pole in 1992 (10/8, one week after I became engaged.) Snapped that sucker clean in two, though! Good thing I was wearing my seatbelt. The only injury I sustained was a fractured left ring finger. The aftermath provided me with my only ambulance ride to date (strapped to a neck brace and body board, though.)

4. It's Friday night; where are you?
Back in High School I was probalbly home, at a friends house or at the Mall. In college either studying or hanging out with G and P.

5. Were you a party animal?
Absolutely!!!!! NOT.

6. Were you considered a flirt?
No way. I was way too reserved and shy.

7. Ever skip school?
Once. Senior skip day. Though my friends and I got the date wrong and skipped school a few days early, so when the "sanctioned" senior skip day arrived and we all showed up our teachers were a bit confused. As aparently were we. When we skipped we went to Rockport, MA and hung out at the beach and on the rocks at the coast. I also remember that I drove one of the vehicles (my parent's crappy 1986(?) Ford Escort, which as I parallel parked for lunch that day noticed that the odometer was sitting at exactly 20000.0 miles.)

8. Were you in any clubs?
Yes. In high school - Audio Visual and Media Club. (Remember Mr. Hayes, AG?? And the filing cabinet and the...well all of that stuff.) In college I was in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

9. Suspended?
Never.

10. Can you sing the fight song?
We had a fight song in high school???

11. Who was your favorite teacher?
In high school my favorite teacher was my homeroom teacher Mr. Del Duca - Latin teacher extraordinaire and King of the Cheapo Scum. (Aaaaaah, you cheapo scum, you...) In middle school it was definitely Mr. Sardelis.

12. What was your favorite class?
In high school - Public Speaking and any other class with Mr. Field.

13. What was your school's full name?
Burlington High School - the concrete monstrosity

14. School mascot?
Red Devil.

15. Did you go to dances?
Once or twice. Maybe. Not that I danced at all...

16. If you could go back and do it over again, would you?
Absolutely not. Though I may go to my 20th reunion this year, since I never bothered to attend reunions #5, #10 or #15.

17. What do you remember most about graduation?
Nothing in particular stands out.

18. Favorite memory of your senior year?
None, really. Maybe our Senior Skip Day.

19. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall?
No.

20. Where did you go most often for lunch?
The cafeteria, since there were no convenient restaurants nearby and leaving school grounds was frowned upon.

21. Have you gained weight since high school?
I certainly hope so.

22. What did you do after graduation?
Invested in the five year plan for college.

23. When did you graduate?
High School - 1987 and College - 1992.

24. Where are most of your classmates?
Don't know, don't care.

25. Did you have a high school sweetheart?
No. (see #6)

26. Have you changed since?
Changed? Changed how? DO you think I've changed?? Looks wise, not so much, except for the addition of facial hair. But yes, certainly in other more important areas.

27. Have you been to your high school since you graduated?
Yes, a few times. My brother and younger sister both graduated from there. I've been to a few high school football games since then because my younger sister was in the marching band all four years she went there and they performed at the games.

I'm not tagging anyone this time, so if you want to play along, do so.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

100 Books

Tagged by the incomparable bluez, so how could I not play along?

Read these instructions:

Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. If you are reading this, tag your it!



1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) **I tried to read this but couldn't get into it.**
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible (whole thing (over the course of one year) and in parts)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

SNMR 2.27: "The Scent of a Woman"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Scent of a Woman" (1992, R, 157 minutes), starring Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gabrielle Anwar. The film was directed by Martin Brest. Al Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1993 for his role in this film.

The first time I watched this film was just after it came out on video and I've seen it several times since. I thought it was good, but it never became one of my all-time favorites.
From the DVD's dust case:
Al Pacino won his first "Best Actor" Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of an overbearing, blind retired Lieutenant Colonel who hires a young guardian (Chris O'Donnell), to assist him. It's a heart-wrenching and heartwarming tale of opposites attracting when they embark on a wild weekend trip that will change the lives of both men forever.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 988:
Al Pacino's over-the-top performance in this coming-of-age movie will delight some viewers and put off others. Pacino plays a foulmouthed ex-serviceman who takes high school-age companion Chris O'Donnell on a last hurrah in New York City, where the older man intends to wine, dine and have sex before committing suicide.


From the All Movie Guide
Driven by an extravagant, tour-de-force performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is the story of Frank Slade (Pacino), a blind, retired army colonel who hires Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a poor college student on the verge of expulsion, to take care of him over Thanksgiving weekend. At the beginning of the weekend, Frank takes Charlie to New York, where he reveals to the student that he intends to visit his family, have a few terrific meals, sleep with a beautiful woman and, finally, commit suicide. The film follows the mis-matched pair over the course of the weekend, as they learn about life through their series of adventures. Though the story is a little contrived and predictable, it pulls all the right strings, thanks to O'Donnell's sympathetic supporting role and Pacino's powerful lead performance, for which he won his first Academy Award. Scent of a Woman is based on the 1975 Italian film Profumo Di Donna.


Whenever an actor can effectively portray having a disability on-screen that they don't suffer from in real life is a tribute to the talent of the actor. If you had been seeing Al Pacino for the first time in this film, you would actually think he was blind. His performance here is reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman's in Rainman, in that Hoffman is not autistic, yet brings a realism to the disability. I thought the story was good and the script was excellently written, though I think you could have put any young actor in the O'Donnell role and he would have done just fine. There are some funny moments in the film which are balanced nicely by the solemn ones. James Rebhorn is a wonderful character actor in this and many other films. This is a good film to rent if you haven't seen it in a few years and a must own if you are an Al Pacino fan. I'll give this film four out of five stars.

Daylight Savings Time begins tomorrow

A new law goes into effect this year that adds an additional month to Daylight Savings Time.

Now, Daylight Savings Time will begin on the second Sunday of March and will last until the first Sunday in November. This year that's March 11 (tomorrow morning @ 2:00 AM) and November 4 for those of you playing the home game.

I prefer the extra hour of daylight that we get in the afternoon/evening than the regular old boring Standard Time. If I had my way, we'd scrap Standard Time all together and just go with Daylight Savings Time for the full monty.

Why not? Then we wouldn't have to remember the catch-phrase, "spring ahead, fall back" when trying to figure out if we gain or lose an hour every time.

So change your clocks back before you go to bed tonight. You're confused enough already without being an hour behind, too.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I've been working on the railroad...

No, actually I've been working on adding two new threads to AG's and my conversation of four years ago over on my other blog, On Christianity & Religion.

Because the exchanges are getting longer each time, you'll note that I've broken up part IV into three posts and part V into two posts. I've done this in an effort to make them a bit easier to read. Hopefully that is the case.

Posting these took longer than I had originally thought because I had to retype one exchange physically into blogger (ok, into the word processor first....). Apparently when I was transferring my files from my old desktop to my laptop four years ago, I missed copying one of the emails. Fortunately I made a hard copy of the text, so none of the conversation is missing.

As always, your comments on these conversations are welcome and encouraged. I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed bringing them to you.

There are still three more exchanges that I need to post before the thread is complete. Barring any unforseen retypings I should have them up for you in the next few days.

And, yes, I am working on a new post for GvD, so stay tuned for that.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Marvel Comic book hero dies at 66

Goodbye, Captain America, it's been nice reading about you over the years.

I'm not an avid comic book reader, though my friend G is. Or was when we were in college. I thought this was an interesting story to share with you all on an otherwise slow day.

---

Oh yes, must recognize and send along Happy Birthday wishes to the former Mrs. Green, even though she'll never read this blog to see them.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Green from A to Z

Aaaaah, peer pressure - real or imagined but none the less self inflicted.... I have no idea if I've ever done this particular one before. Thanks to dabich and scribe doing it, I felt like I needed to keep up with the Joneses (or the Scribes and Dabiches...)

A- Available or Single? – Available. Officially. But maybe not depending on current events.
B- Best Friend? – G and P (no full disclosure of first names here), whom I've written about before.
C- Cake or Pie? – Chocolate Cake and Blueberry Pie! Need to add New York style Cheesecake, too.
D- Drink of Choice? – Mountain Dew.
E- Essential Item? – My Bible.
F- Favorite Color? – Blue, 'cuz I'm kewl.
G- Gummi Bears or Worms? – Actually, purple Swedish fish rock the gummi world, when you can get them.
H- Hometown? – I grew up in Burlington, MA. Live in Nashua, NH.
I- Indulgence? – Watching Patriots football and Red Sox baseball with my son, M, who just this past summer started showing an honest interest in sports. (And I love it!!!)
J- January or February? - Any month that is not winter is fine with me, though May thru September is king.
K- Kids and names? – Daughter V and son M.
L- Life is incomplete without? - Chocolate and Peanut Butter.
M- Marriage Date? – 10/1/1994 but more importantly 4/14/2004 (the date my divorce was finalized.)
N- Number of Siblings? – Three. (Two sisters and a brother).
O- Oranges or Apples? Oranges, definitely but apples are ok too.
P- Phobias/Fears? – Something bad happening to my kids or that I'll go blind one of these days.
Q- Favorite Quote? - "I'm extremely dangerous when I don't know what I'm doing." -Dr. Who (Tom Baker)
R- Reasons to smile? - V and M telling me that they love me and giving me hugs.
S- Season? – Summer, baby!!
T- Tag 3 people? – Okay - Kayla, Mellissa and AM.
U- Unknown Fact About Me? – I don't know. Pretty much an open book, I am.
V- Vegetable You Hate? – brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower.
W- Worst Habit? – Procrastination. Definitely.
X- X-rays You've Had? – Teeth, ankle, left hand, right hand, urinary tract (kidneys) and CAT scans of the head, neck, abdomen, and spine (courtesy of a car accident) {thanks for reminding me Kayla!}
Y- Your Favorite Foods? – American, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese
Z- Zodiac? – Year of the Rooster (Astrological sign - Cancer)

Monday, March 05, 2007

The dumbest thing I heard today

This morning, after I dropped my kids off at their mom's place of employment, I was listening to a local radio station. The morning show was doing a weekly feature called "Dilemma of the Week", or something like that, which is opened up to callers to voice their opinion on what should be done.

Here's the situation they gave: A family in Manchester, NH has a two year old gerbil named Johnny with two broken rear legs, apparently by one of the kids stepping on the thing or some other act which no one was willing to 'fess up to. A vet told the family that he could set the bones for $700. The father said no way while the mother (and likely the kids, too) says they should do it. So this is the question, should they or should they not pay?

Believe it or not, some callers actually thought it would be a good idea to spend the money on Johnny. Most of the callers I heard thought old Johnny should be laid to rest. And that was the majority vote of the callers - that Johnny should be left to die.

One woman called in with this semi-related story - that she and her husband had owned a bird that got sick and they were told by a vet that they could purchase $600 worth of antibiotics to give to the bird to help it get better. The couple debated the issue, and the wife who wanted to spend the money on the bird, won the argument. So the poor husband relented and stayed up all night to feed the antibiotics to the bird, which ended up dying the next day anyway.

Of course, I agree with the father in the gerbil story. I can think of a gazillion more productive ways to spend $700 than on vet bills for a gerbil, which has a short life span and would die anyway. Now if this were a dog or cat that we were talking about then maybe, MAYBE, I'd spend $700 at the vet for it, depending on the age of the animal and projected lifespan.

Do you know how many gerbils $700 can buy??

Saturday, March 03, 2007

SNMR 2.26: "Gattaca"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Gattaca" (1997, PG-13, 106 minutes), starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Gore Vidal and Loren Dean. The film was written and directed by Andrew Niccol.

The first time I saw this movie was after it came out on DVD for the first time. I've watched it several times since and just bought it recently because I like good science fiction stories and this is no exception.

From the DVD'd dust case:
Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law star in this engrossing sci-fi thriller about an all-too-human man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke stars as Vincent, an "In-Valid", who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. However, a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With a relentless investigator in pursuit and the colleague he has fallen in love with beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent's dreams steadily unravel.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 431:
Fascinating fable about a frightening future where the citizens are genetically engineered to be perfect. Into this world comes Vincent, an In-valid, one bred through conventional means. To fulfil his dreams of space travel, Vincent assumes the identity of a genetically perfect worker. Vincent's ploy goes unnoticed until a murder disrupts the training facility where he works. Well made and executed.

This is a well conceived and smartly written story that should fascinate you from start to finish. Even though the plot is predictable in some areas, it is a thought provoking film on many levels. The movie's pacing is crisp and the cast is excellent, including then relatively unknown Jude Law's breakout performance. I highly recommend this film, which you can buy these days for under $9. I'll give this film five out of five stars.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Recommended Reading List #1

Many of you know that I tend to read a lot of books in the course of a year. It seems like I'm always reading something and usually have more than one book going at a time. While by no means a complete list of everything I've read, here's the first list of books that I highly recommend to anyone. This list has appeared in the sidebar of this blog for quite some time and is now being moved here to make way for the next wave of my recommendations. For your convenience, each book in this list is linked to Christian Book Distributors, where you may purchase your own copy or copies if you are so inclined, at very reasonable prices.


  • 1. I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist


  • 2. God Doesn't Believe in Atheists


  • 3. The Chronicles of Narnia


  • 4. Breaking the DaVinci Code


  • 5. The Doctrines of Grace


  • 6. Jerusalem Countdown


  • 7. The Battle for the Last Days Temple


  • 8. Pontius Pilate: Portraits of a Roman Governor


  • 9. Experiencing the Cross


  • 10. Major Bible Themes