"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, September 30, 2007

Funny how life works sometimes

Back in mid-August I wrote about my two year e-Harmony (eH) experience and how I had decided to give it up because I was not finding the success there that I had been seeking.

One of the matches I had received in that last week of my membership (on August 13th to be exact) was a woman whose introductory information profile and pictures had piqued my interest. We had reached the third stage of communication, one stage shy of open communication, when my membership ended. Oh, well, I thought. Another wasted match. Such a disappointment.

Before I officially called it quits over there, I edited the last section of my introductory information profile in a round about way so that anyone who was interested, if they took the time to figure it out, could e-mail me outside of eH's guided communication system. My hope was that this one woman would somehow manage to contact me.

Now you have to realize that even though the goal of eH is to match people up, in the deeper areas of compatibility, for long-term relationships; there is still the possibility that the person on the other end of the match will not be who their profile says that they are. I know this for a fact because it had happened to me on a few occasions during my two year membership, where I was matched with- lets say- to be generous, women with the lights on and nobody home or women a few eggs short of a dozen. You get the picture... So with that thought in mind, I edited my eH profile to lead whomever would respond to my screen-the-fluff-away email address, because well, you just never know.

When I checked that particular email address on August 20th, sure enough there was an email in my inbox from an unknown person. As it had turned out, the email was from that woman on eH whom I had hoped would contact me [psych!]. She had actually taken the time to not only decipher my email address but literally proceeded to write me the longest email I have ever received (save possibly for the exception of some of AG's and my renowned "conversation").

Let me tell you something about this email:

It had to be one of the most carefully thought out, question-laced emails I have ever received. And one in which I needed to respond to twice, simply because when I had initially read it it was late at night and I hadn't had the mental capacity available to answer it properly. So my first response was that, yes, she had written to the right email address and that I would thoroughly answer her email in the next day or so.

Since that time, not only have we exchanged "real" email addresses but have used them extensively as we've exchanged over 175 emails to date. We've physically mailed each other a few packages, have chatted extensively on Yahoo Messenger and have talked over the telephone every day for over a month now, including our first conversation- a 7 hour 15 minute marathon all-niter that only ended because my phone died. Since that first whopper, our phone conversations have run about three hours per night. Per night. (Yes, it blows. my. mind. too.)

One of the many things we talked about that night is our skepticism of how well the eH matching system actually works. Based on the sampling so far, it has worked extremely well.

You should also realize that neither one of us is too keen on extended telephone conversations. Yet when we talk, the time flies by, literally and figuratively. The range of subject matter that we discuss never ceases to amaze me. And believe me, our conversations have run the gamut - from the serious to the small talk and just about every thing in between. But the weird thing is that our conversations are always different and never boring. If communication is key to any relationship of this nature then we certainly do have it.

She's also voluntarily and willingly {which still amazes me} read through every post on my blog - no small task considering I've left over 700 posts since June 2005. If that daunting task didn't scare her away, not much else will, I'm afraid... Brave soul, she is.

Some of you (hello, AG) may remember my highly unsatisfying Russian Woman experience of a few years ago and if you're worried about me here you need not be. That episode doesn't even hold a candle to this one. Not by a long shot. That being the case and having had my heart stomped on before made me a little leery of how things would proceed between she and I.

Little did I know how much I would end up falling for this woman but indeed I have fallen and fallen hard. And not just with physical desire, either. This woman is attractive to me in mind and spirit as well as body. The wonderful thing here is that I know she has fallen for me equally as hard and she has said as much. How refreshing it is to feel this way for someone and have those same feelings returned unequivocally.

Believe it or not, we have yet to meet physically. But we will - it's no longer a question of if we'll meet but when. The more we talk the stronger the desire becomes for us to do so. And I know it will happen because it is something that we both want to happen and have talked repeatedly about. With much anticipation, I might add. As many times as we've discussed this, I can't see how it's possible that we won't have good chemistry when we do meet - considering the chemistry we've generated in other areas and considering how much we've talked so far.

For better or worse, the impact that I've had on this woman is already evident. She has (by her own admission) begun to use some of the expressions that I use practically every day without even realizing it. I told her tonight that I would corrupt her in ways that she didn't even realize that she could be corrupted. [And it's working!]

Neither she nor I know where our relationship is ultimately headed or how far it will go but early returns are looking real promising...

Oh, yes!! After a few weeks of canoodling1 on my part, she started her own blog at the beginning of September. Some of you have seen her comments here on my blog and some of you have found her blog yourselves, read it and left comments of your own. Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce to you to Esther!

1(v. tr. - To win over or convince by cajoling or flattering; wheedle: "his matchless ability to charm, bamboozle, or canoodle most of his political associates." (Timothy Garton Ash).
canoodle. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/canoodle (accessed: September 30, 2007).

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

SNMR 3.28: "Mary Poppins"

Julie Andrews celebrates her 72nd birthday on Monday, October 1st, so I thought it would be appropriate for SNMR to review her first major movie role, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1965. That film of course is "Mary Poppins" (1964, G, 139 minutes), starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Ed Wynn, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber. The film was directed by Robert Stevenson.

Who hasn't seen this movie at least once? Not me, that's for sure. This is one of V's favorite movies and together we've watched it dozens of times. V's even watched it dozens of times without me.

From the DVD's dust case:
Experience the extraordinary animation, dazzling special effects and award-winning music of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins in this fully restored and remastered 2-disc 40th Anniversary Edition!
Join the "practically perfect" Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) for a "Jolly Holiday" as she magically turns every chore into a game and everyday into a whimsical adventure. Along the way, you'll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the multi talented chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke).
Unpack Mary's magical carpetbag full of bonus features, including an all-new animated short, games and a never before heard deleted song. You won't need a "Spoon Full of Sugar" to love every moment of this timeless Disney classic!


From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 716-7:
Here's Julie Andrews in her screen debut. She plays a nanny who believes that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Andrews is great in the role and sings ever so sweetly. The song and dance numbers are attractively laid on, with Dick Van Dyke, as Mary's Cockney beau, giving an amusing performance.


Despite Dick Van Dyke's merciless butchering of the Cockney accent, this film definitely is a classic. The script is wonderful and the acting is excellent, if not cheesy and over the top in most places. The songs are syrupy but memorable. David Tomlinson gives a highly underrated performance as Mr. Banks, the beleaguered father and wanna be bank executive. Dick Van Dyke's dual role as the senior Mr. Dawes is brilliant. This DVD should be part of anyone's collection, even if you have no children. I'll supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly give this film five out of five stars.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

2007 American League East Champion Boston Red Sox

Twelve Years.

History was made tonight as the Boston Red Sox won the American League East for the first time since 1995, beating the Minnesota Twins, 5-2, while the Yankees collapsed in Baltimore, losing 10-9 in 10 innings, after leading 9-6 heading into the bottom half of the 9th inning.

The Red Sox division championship snapped a nine year streak of the Yankees finishing in first place, which they had done every year since 1998.

The Red Sox had occupied the top spot in the standings since April 18 and at one time held a 12 game lead on the Yankees.

The Red Sox win and Yankees loss, combined with the Indians winning tonight, means that the American League Division Series match ups are now set. The Red Sox will host the Los Angeles Angels and the Cleveland Indians will host the Yankees in best-of-five series beginning either Wednesday or Thursday next week. Of course I'll have up to date Red Sox Playoff information over on the sidebar, as I did with the Red Sox schedule throughout the season, so stay tuned.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Recommended Reading List #2

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 second 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.

  • 11. What Have They Done With Jesus?


  • 12. The Truth War


  • 13. If Animals Could Talk


  • 14. Did God Use Evolution?


  • 15. Mere Christianity


  • 16. The Screwtape Letters


  • 17. The Beginning of the World


  • 18. Science and the Bible


  • 19. Darwin's Black Box


  • 20. The Lie: Evolution
  • Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Nuggets of wisdom

    I recently saw these on Ben Witherington's blog and asked him if I could use them myself. Obviously, he said yes.

    Most of these are soooooo true and all of them are funny in that you can relate to them in some sort of way yourself.


    1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

    2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

    3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

    4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

    5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

    6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

    7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

    8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

    9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

    10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

    11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

    12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

    13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

    14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

    15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

    16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

    17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

    18. There are two approaches to arguing with women. Neither one works.

    19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

    20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

    21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

    22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Personality test

    I took this quiz a few months ago and just took it again earlier today. Just goes to show that some people are hard to define, since I got slightly different results (ISFJ v. ISFP). For the most part, I think both types apply to me.


    You Are An ISFJ

    The Nurturer (and my comments.)

    You have a strong need to belong, and you are very loyal. (Yes.)


    A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways. (True.)

    In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through writing, art, cooking, and music. (Uh-huh.)

    You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for. (Yes I would.)

    In love, you express your emotions through actions. Taking care of someone is how you love them. And you do it well! (Thank You.)

    At work, you do well in a structured environment. You complete tasks well and on time. (Yes. Well, for the most part anyway.)

    You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist. (I don't want to do any of those things professionally.)

    How you see yourself: Competent, dependable, (Definitely on both) and detail oriented. (Some things more than others...)

    When other people don't get you, they see you as: boring, dominant, and stuck in a rut. (Interesting observations...)




    You Are An ISFP

    The Artist (and my comments.)

    You are a gifted artist or musician, though your talents may be dormant right now. (You might'n be sayin' that.)

    You enjoy spending your free time in nature, and you are good with animals and children. (I agree.)

    Simply put, you enjoy beauty in all its forms and live for the simple pleasures in life. (Right on the mark.)

    Gentle, sensitive, and compassionate - you are good at recognizing people's unspoken needs. (Good to know...)

    In love, you are quiet and sweet yet very passionate. You love easily. You have an underlying love for all living things, and it's easy for you to accept someone into your heart. (Closet romantic? Yes.)

    At work, you do best in an unconventional position. You express yourself well and can work with almost anyone. (and I have...)

    You would make a good veterinarian, pediatrician, writer or composer. (hmmmmm...)

    How you see yourself: Sympathetic, kind, and communicative. (I'll buy that!)

    When other people don't get you, they see you as: Incompetent, insecure, and overly sensitive. (Don't rush to judge...)


    What's Your Personality Type?

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    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Middle Name game

    I found this on Lee Ann's blog a few weeks ago.

    The Rules:
    1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
    2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have.
    3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.
    4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.
    5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.



    D- Diligent - Always giving 100% in whatever I do - or attempting to do so, anyway... ;>)

    E- Exuberant - Generally in a good mood. No gloom and doom here.

    A- Ally - If I count you as a friend, then I've got your back. No better ally could you have than I.

    N- No-nonsense - I can fool around with the best of 'em, but when it comes to important things that really matter to me, I'm all business.



    Required tags (see above mentioned rules...): Dabich, Esther, Autumn and Nunzia.

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    G-R-E-E-N

    GGregarious
    RResponsible
    EEnchanting
    EExciting
    NNormal

    Name / Username:


    Name Acronym Generator
    From Go-Quiz.com

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    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Marking the seasons

    Today is the first day of autumn here in the United States. THe Autumnal Equinox officially began at 05:51 EDT this morning.

    It's sad but my favorite season, summer, is over for another year. I do like fall, because of football season but on the same hand I don't like fall because the weather gets progressively colder. And we all know how much I looooove cold weather....

    I'm also not a big fan of dead colored leaves once they've fallen off of the trees. Some foliage views are fantastic, but once you've seen one orange, yellow or red leaf, you've seen them all. And you definitely don't want to see the leaves once they turn a dead brown.

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    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    SNMR 3.27: "Catch and Release"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "Catch and Release" (2007, PG-13, 124 minutes), starring Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Sam Jaeger, Kevin Smith and Juliette Lewis. The film was written and directed by Susannah Grant.

    I had wanted to see this film in the theater when it came out, simply because I am a huge Jennifer Garner fan. When I saw it in the library recently on the new release shelf, I couldn't resist seeing what I had missed.

    From the DVD's dust case:
    After the death of her fiancee, Gray (Jennifer Garner) moves in with her late love's best friends. While Sam (Kevin Smith) and Dennis (Sam Jaeger) do their best to cheer Gray up, Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) doesn't seem to care. Once Gray breaks through Fritz's defenses, however, she finally sees why her fiancee thought so highly of him. As they spend more time together, Gray learns that her chances for love have not died out with her fiancee. But when some surprise guests show up on their doorstep, it'll take the love of all her new friends to help Gray learn that life may be messy, but love is messier.


    From Muze, Inc:
    Screenwriter Susannah Grant makes her directorial debut in this tale of love, loss, and finding new love. Gray Wheeler’s (Jennifer Garner) wedding day is not going as planned. Instead of walking down the aisle in her wedding gown, she is at the funeral of her fiancee, Grady, following his accidental death on a trip meant to be his bachelor party. To make ends meet, Gray puts her things in storage and moves in with Grady’s roommates, levelheaded and attentive Dennis (Sam Jaeger) and quirky yet lovable Sam (Kevin Smith). With childhood friend Fritz (Timothy Olyphant) in from L.A. and crashing on the couch, it’s a full house. Inhabiting Grady’s old room, Gray soon learns that her fiancee had been keeping some big secrets from her and may not have been the man she thought he was. Perhaps more importantly, she discovers some surprising things about herself, and her ability to heal and love again. Each of the characters in this film has to find a way to survive the devastating loss of a man who held them all together. Garner effectively conveys Gray’s heartbreak and confusion without going over the top. As Fritz, Olyphant pulls off the role of the mystery man who is always charming but often misunderstood. Jaeger is earnest and heartfelt as Grady’s roommate and business partner. But Smith is the scene-stealer here, with deadpan delivery and great timing as a Celestial Seasonings employee spouting philosophical quotes from the herbal tea company’s packaging. Juliette Lewis appears as a sexy, slightly flaky, Californian massage therapist who is also a skeleton in Grady’s closet.


    Clearly this is not one of Jennifer Garner's best roles. There are too many holes all over this film to pin its shortcomings on the main star. The premise of the story is interesting: how you deal with the sudden death of your soon-to-be spouse, then what do you do with the rest of your life? The script is mediocre at best and the direction is far from stellar. The story had so much potential but left me feeling flat and uninspired. I did not like Fritz, played by Olyphant, in this film. I think they could have cast anyone else in his role and the film, as it is, would have been better. I would only recommend this film if you are a die-hard fan of Garner's and then only if you have nothing better to do. I generally like romantic comedies, but I'm glad I was able to see this one for free, after all. I'll give this film two out of five stars.

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    Friday, September 21, 2007

    bo-ring

    I had a temp job yesterday that lasted five hours, as a "working interview".

    Thank God for small miracles that the shift only lasted five hours. This job was so boring and tedious it was almost funny.

    Almost.

    The staffing agency woman told me to get there at 8:45 to start at 9:00. Since the job was local, there was no real commute in order to get there on time. So far so good, right?

    I ended up sitting in the conference room for an hour or so all by myself, with no watch on or clock in the room to help pass the time. Everyone else, it seemed, was told to come in for 10:00. Good thing for me I brought a book to read, just in case. I'm always prepared that way. If I hadn't brought something, I would have walked out. Maybe I should have.

    I was in a training class with about nine other people for about an hour or so learning the ins and outs of data entry for this particular company. Then we went out onto the floor where there was about 25 other people busily typing away.

    I got put on a project where I entered basically the same information over and over again, excepting some date changes. Now I realize that data-entry, in and of itself, is not an exciting job - but this was just pure idiotic. They even said we could bring in a walkman/ipod/portable music device to help pass the time but even that wouldn't have helped much.

    I actually worked for three hours typing in stuff and absolutely can not see how people can do this job for eight hours a day, five days a week. I picture this job being the kind that would lend itself to some frustrated current or former employee walking out of the elevator and blowing everyone away with an Uzi or something.

    Scary that that imagery would even enter my mind.... but it did.

    Yikes.

    Once I got out of there I called the woman at the staffing agency and politely told her that I would not be going back for a second, full day of boredom and that my time, mind and talents can be better spent in other pursuits.

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    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    slippery little suckers

    Easy come, easy go, I guess.

    I'm referring to jobs, that is. Specifically my jobs.

    Once again a temporary assignmet I had this week ended prematurely. Unlike a temp job that I had earlier this summer which lasted one day, this one lasted two days, so I'm making progress....

    Truth be told, while I was enjoying the training at this job, the hour plus commute and the gas used wasn't doing anything for me. So I really didn't see that position as a long term fit, even though I liked the job that I would have been doing.

    I am glad that the temp agency called me this morning before I left, because if I had made the commute there and then had to waste another hour driving back, I would not have been a happy camper. Not at all.

    I do need to look at the bright side here though but am having trouble getting my hands on it.

    If adversity makes one stronger, before I know it, I'll be Superman! Look out Lex Luthor...

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    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (1948-2007)

    It's never a good thing when a fellow writer dies, and a Christian one at that.

    Otherwise known as Robert Jordan, who authored several books in the "Conan the Barbarian" series and "The Wheel of Time" series of fantasy novels, died on September 16th at 14:45 in Charleston, SC. He was 58.

    Jordan's 11th novel in the "Wheel of Time" series came out in 2005, and a prequel to the series was published in 2004. He was reportedly working on the 12th and final book at the time of his passing.

    Though he was a good author, Jordan was certainly not my favorite and I would hardly put him in the same class as J.R.R. Tolkien, as some already have. To me, he dragged out his fantasy series way too long and should have been able to complete it in less volumes. Still, I've read the first ten books in the series and own the prequel and vol. 11 but have not read them yet.

    However, I now wonder - as many of his fans I'm sure do - what will happen to the final novel in "The Wheel of Time" series? I certainly hope that his widow, along with some other author, acting as ghostwriter, can take up the task of finishing it, using any notes Jordan may have left behind.

    Here are some obits regarding Jordan's passing:

    From the Charleston,SC Post and Courier.

    From the Associated Press, as seen here from the USA Today.

    Robert Jordan's brief biography and list of works, from Barnes and Noble.

    The author's photo is by John Petter Reinertsen. "Winter's Heart" is the 9th book in the series.

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    Monday, September 17, 2007

    coming clean

    Sometimes the truth hurts.

    Especially when you haven't been truthful to someone whom you care about.

    The above statement applies to me, and for better or worse, as I write this, the person I deceived is now processing my confession.

    I had thought about coming clean for quite some time now, but for whatever internal reason just wasn't able to do it. I have said in a few places here in this blog that I do not want to make the same mistakes from the past. This, sadly was one of those mistakes that I had made before.

    I'd like to say that in the grand scheme of things, this deception is minor, but that would be shifting the blame away from myself, which I can no longer do. It's incredibly easy to deceive yourself, but throw another person into the mix and that changes the entire complexion of the matter. Entirely.

    The late, great Dr. Seuss once wrote something like this in, I believe, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: "A lie is a lie, after all, no matter how small."

    The good Doctor certainly was correct.

    So when you read this, dear one, know that I am truly sorry for not playing it straight with you from the start. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me and we can move on from here. But if you can't, I will know that I brought it upon myself.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    SNMR 3.26: "A Bug's Life"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "A Bug's Life" (1998, G, 96 minutes), starring the voice talents of Dave Foley, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, Richard Kind, Phyllis Diller, Roddy McDowell, Denis Leary, Jonathan Hyde-Pierce, Jon Ratzenberger, Jonathan Harris, Madeline Kahn, Bonnie Hunt and Brad Garrett. The film was directed by John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton.

    As soon as this film came out on video, I bought it for V and M (and for me, too). Then I bought it on DVD. I've seen this movie many times with them. I'm really surprised that this is the first Disney/Pixar film that SNMR has
    reviewed.

    From the DVD's dust case:
    Journey inside the world of bugs in this Epic of miniature proportions. Crawling with imaginative characters, hilarious laughs and colorful animation. Walt Disney Pictures' Presentation of A PIXAR Animation Studios Film, A Bug's Life, will delight everyone - young, old or six-legged.


    From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide, p. 158:
    The story features an industrious worker ant whose inventive talents place his colony in peril from a band of marauding grasshoppers, Determined to compensate for the trouble he has caused, the little fellow undertakes a dangerous journey to "the city", where he hopes to find some resourceful "warrior bugs" for a final reckoning with the grasshoppers. This film is witty, humorously animated and lots of fun.


    This is Disney/Pixar's second full length feature film offering and it is just as good as Toy Story. The script is excellent, the voice cast is awesome and the computer animation is top notch. Even though this is a kids movie, there is plenty for an adult audience, too. This film get five out of five stars.

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    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Yankees - Red Sox @ Fenway

    The New York Yankees meet the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the final time during the regular season this weekend, starting tonight.

    Entering this series, the Yankees are 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in second place in the American League East. If the Yankees are to overtake the Red Sox, they must sweep this series in order to be just 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. If the Red Sox sweep, the lead would be 8 1/2 games and for all intent and purpose the division race would be over. The Red Sox magic number is 11. Any combination of Red Sox wins and Yankees losses reduces this number.

    The Yankees are currently 3 1/2 games ahead in the wild Card standings. The Yankees lead the season series with the Red Sox 8-7.

    As always, this post will be updated at the completion of each game.

    Sept. 14: Yankees 8, @ Red Sox 7
    Red Sox bullpen gives up 6 runs in 8th inning, lose. Yankees deficit: 4 1/2 games.
    [WP=Bruney (3-1), LP=Papelbon (1-3), SV=Rivera (27)]

    Sept. 15: @ Red Sox 10, Yankees 1
    Red Sox Beckett wins battle of Cy Young candidates. Yankees deficit: 5 1/2 games.
    [WP=Beckett (19-6), LP=Wang (18-7)]

    Sept. 16: Yankees 4, @ Red Sox 3
    Jeter's homer sinks Red Sox. Yankees deficit: 4 1/2 games.
    [WP=Chamberlain (2-0), LP=Shilling (8-8), SV=Rivera (28)]

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Spy games or gamesmanship?

    This week has been rough for me as a fan of the New England Patriots, hearing my team be bad-mouthed and labeled as cheaters. Such is the case and being that they are my favorite team and were accused and found guilty, I felt the need to pontificate about it. DWI.

    Even though the Pats won convincingly last Sunday against the Jets, they were caught doing something against the rules and are paying a stiff price for it. It is against NFL rules to have someone unauthorized by the league video record another teams defensive signals during a game. The obvious thinking behind this is that it would give a team an unfair competitive advantage. This is what the Patriots were accused of once last season and again last Sunday, when they were caught - turned in by former Patriots assistant coach and current Jets head coach Eric Mangini.

    All week, I've read stories in the paper and on-line, listened to various talking heads spew about how this could give an advantage or not, how often spying goes on in the NFL in the name of gamesmanship (as it admittedly has been for years), and the whole range of possible penalties that Commisioner Roger Goodell could levy against a team for doing such a thing with videotape. As a result, BB was fined half a mil, the Patriots organization as a whole $250,000 (hello, Robert Kraft) and that the Patriots will forfeit their first-round draft pick in 2008 if they make the playoffs this year or second and third round draft picks if they don't.

    But this issue raises a few questions in my mind:

    The first was brilliantly echoed in Jackie MacMullan's column in yesterday's Boston Globe. Why would Belichick authorize this? He's clearly been regarded for years as one of, if not the best, coach in the NFL today and is a sure fire HOF'er when he retires, despite this black-eye.

    The second question is this: What if one of the league's consistently bad teams was caught doing this? For example, teams such as the Texans, Browns, Cardinals or Lions? Would the penalty have been as stiff? Clearly, this is a precedent setting, statement punishment, which would make other teams think, "Hey, if the Commish can do that to them, imagine how such a punishment would affect my team?"

    The severity of this punishment is most definitely due to the fact that the Patriots currently are one of the league's marquee teams and have some of the best players and coaches in the league. They are widely considered by the "experts" (including yours truly) not only an odds on favorite to get to the Super Bowl this year but win it handily, if there is such a thing as an easy win in the NFL.

    However, the Commish clearly stated in his letter to the Patriots that this incident did not affect the outcome of last Sunday's game, and clearly it didn't. But it could have and that's the point of the discipline. It's one thing to steal signals but no matter how much information teams have, the players still have to go out and play the game on the field.

    All of this is not to say that the Patriots should not have been disciplined, because clearly, rules were broken. Do I think that the penalty was too stiff, with the loss of a potential first round draft pick? Yes, I do. I would rather have seen the Commish suspend Belichick for one or two games this season, one in which the Pats have a legitimate chance to win it all and, I believe, such a punishment would have affected the Patriots playoff chances this year.


    Here is the full text of the statement issued by Bill Belichick in response to the punishment handed down by the Commish:

    "I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight's ruling. Once again, I apologize to the Kraft family and every person directly or indirectly associated with the New England Patriots for the embarrassment, distraction and penalty my mistake caused. I also apologize to Patriots fans and would like to thank them for their support during the past few days and throughout my career. "

    "As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week's game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress."

    "Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect."

    "With tonight's resolution, I will not be offering any further comments on this matter. We are moving on with our preparations for Sunday's game."


    And a statement from Patriots owner and CEO Robert Kraft:

    "This has been an extremely difficult week for our organization. The most troubling part for me, personally, is the impact these actions have had on our fans. We have spent the last 14 years developing and building a franchise that people could embrace and support. The loyalty of our fans has been the most rewarding aspect of owning the team. I am deeply disappointed that the embarrassing events of this past week may cause some people to see our team in a different light.

    "After reviewing the facts of the past weekend, the commissioner has made a determination that our franchise engaged in activities that violate the league’s rules. He has determined the punishment and I accept it.

    "I believe that Coach Belichick always tries to do what is best for the team and he is always accountable for his decisions. He has been a very important part of what our organization has accomplished over the last seven years. In this case, one of his decisions has resulted in a severe penalty for our franchise. He has paid a heavy price and so has our organization. He has apologized for his actions. I accept his apology and look forward to working with him as we move forward.

    "It has been a distinct privilege to be involved in the National Football League since 1994. I am passionate about the league because it represents the ultimate in competition. To this end, the integrity of the game and competition between the 32 teams is of paramount importance to me. Whenever the commissioner believes that the integrity of the league’s competition is compromised, he must act decisively to protect it.

    "In addition to our fans, I also feel for our players. I know how hard our players work and prepare for every game and their accomplishments speak for themselves. I look forward to returning all of our focus and energy to the field.”


    That being said, it's time to move on with the football season.

    Bring on the Chargers on Sunday night!

    Go Pats!!

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Post #700: Let us remember and not forget

    What a coincidence (if you believe in such things) that today of all days, that this would end up to be my 700th post here on the ol' blog. Never thought I'd make it this far. Yowzers.

    Today marks the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, on the Pentagon in Washington, DC and the one failed attack which ended in that Pennsylvania field. All told 2,973 innocent people died in the attacks that day, plus the 19 hijackers.

    Even though no one I know personally was killed in the attacks, I remember where I was and what I was doing during this event, just like I remember where I was and what I was doing in 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.

    As an American, I was deeply affected by 9/11, just as we all were. But I fear that this event for many people has become just another day that we read about in our history books and that should not be.

    Here then, is text from globalsecurity.org, a narrative summary of the events of that fateful morning:

    "On Sept. 11, 2001, nineteen people, using knives and boxcutters, hijacked four transcontinental airline flights and flew them toward America's financial and political capitals of New York and Washington.

    Three reached their targets: The first two struck the towers of the World Trade Center, causing their collapse within hours, and the third struck the Pentagon.

    The pilot of the fourth plane crashed it into a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers rose up against the hijackers.

    American air defense fighters scrambled against the threats but were ultimately misdirected and had no effect on the attacks.

    In New York, where most of the nearly 3,000 fatalities took place, the dead included 343 members of the New York Fire Department, including the chief, 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department and 23 members of the New York Police Department. Of between 16,400 and 18,800 civilians in the towers on 9-11, 2,152 died; the rest were successfully evacuated. About 95 percent of the dead civilians worked in or above the floors where the planes impacted.

    The third plane came in low over the Arlington National Cemetery and struck the western face of the Pentagon, penetrating through three of the building's five rings. All 64 people on the plane, including the five hijackers, were killed; 125 in the Pentagon also died.

    U.S. suspicion immediately centered on al-Qaeda as well as Iraq, but intercepted terrorist communications pinpointed Osama bin Laden's network as responsible. Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders later took credit for the operation.

    CIA officers entered Afghanistan, al-Qaeda's home, almost immediately, to reestablish contacts with fighters opposed to al-Qaeda's allies, the Taliban, which controlled most of the country. The Taliban was ousted from power within a few months, but many al-Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, escaped to Pakistan and Iran.

    One of those leaders, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was the mastermind of the attacks. He proposed such an operation to bin Laden in 1996; in late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden approved it, and Mohamed Atef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and bin Laden began assembling the hijacker teams.

    Central to the plot was the "Hamburg Cell" a group of well-educated Muslims who had become radicalized while living in Germany. The three members -- Atta, Shehhi and Jarrah -- who could obtain U.S. visas piloted three of the four aircraft hijacked on 9-11.

    Also involved were two veteran al-Qaeda members, Mihdhar and Hazmi, who tried and failed to become pilots. They ultimately served as muscle on American Airlines 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. It was piloted by Hani Hanjour, another al-Qaeda recruit with flying experience who was added to the plot as it progressed.

    Providing the bulk of the muscle were 13 young hijackers, 12 of them Saudi, who were gathered and trained in Afghanistan. Many came from the poorer parts of Saudi Arabia; most were unmarried and had no more than a high school education. It is believed they were not briefed on details of the plot until they reached the United States.

    Other potential hijackers, comprising a slate of so-called "20th hijackers," either quit the plot or were not allowed into the United States."

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    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Football Baby!

    I love this time of year, as football season is in full swing, both on the college level and in the NFL.

    My Patriots thrashed the New York Jets, 38-14 today, in a record setting performance. CB Ellis Hobbs returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown to open the third quarter. The previous record of 106 yards was accomplished three times, but not since 1979. Randy Moss, the Patriots' much ballyhooed and controversial WR acquisition of the off season, had little impact on today's game, catching nine Tom Brady passes for 183 yards (a 20.3 yard per catch average), while Brady threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns.

    While that was good, it gets even better for this proud dad.

    M played his first flag football games this afternoon. Even though his team lost both games, 14-0 and 21-7, the important thing is not wins and losses but just learning the fundamentals of football and what it's like to play in an organized league for the first time. The games were 20 minutes long, with two ten minute halves. Each team was on offense and defense for one half at a time. There was a ten minute break between games.

    M played well today. He played running back on offense and on the very first play of the season, M took the hand off from the quarterback and ran for 10 yards. Except for one play when he went backwards, M always got positive yards. On defense he was playing out on the edge where a corner back would play and pursued well, though he was chasing some bigger, faster kids.

    If you know me you would not be surprised that I was cheering the loudest. Not just for M, but for all of the kids on his team and even when some of the other team's players made good plays.

    Even the cool weather, overcast skies and misty rain during the second half of the second game couldn't dampen the fun atmosphere for the kids and the parents.

    All in all it was a fun day.

    Oh, yeah, the Red Sox won, today too. Icing on the cake, baby.

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    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    SNMR 3.25: "Quills"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "Quills" (2000, R, 124 minutes), starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine and Amelia Warner. The film was directed by Philip Kaufman.

    This is a movie that I had always wanted to see, but never got around to it until I checked it out of the library two weeks ago. I've always been a fan of Kate Winslet, which is why I wanted to see this movie.

    From the DVD's dust case:
    Academy Award winners Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine join Oscar nominees Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix in this provocative film filled with delicious desire and wicked wit. Rush gives a tour-de-force performance as history's most infamous sexual adventurer, the Marquis De Sade. A noleman with a literary flair, the Marquis lives in a madhouse where a beautiful laundry maid (Winslet) smuggles his erotic stories to a printer, defying orders from the asylum's resident priest (Phoenix). The tittilating passages whip all of France into a sexual frenzy, until a fiercely conservative doctor (Caine) tries to put an end to the fun, inadvertently stoking the excitement to a fevered pitch.

    From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 912:
    It's 1794. French pornographer and felon Marquis de Sade is incarcerated in an insane asylum, but has several nasty tales to share. A laundry maid smuggles his literary spasms of lust, sexual fantasies, blasphemy and overripe prose into public domain while men of science and men of the cloth try to curb the feverish scribe. This lush production explores hypocrisy, censorship, and the dark side of eroticism with only partial success.


    I thought this was a very good film. Geoffrey Rush's performance is over the top and he was nominated for Best Actor in 2001, but lost out to Denzel Washington. The rest of the leading cast give decent performancesbut nothing spectacular. The script is good, but could have been better. The period costumes and set pieces are excellent. Overall, this is a worthwhile and enjoyable movie to watch despite the depressing ending. I'll give it three out of five stars.

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    Friday, September 07, 2007

    Green's 2007 NFL Predictions

    Well here we are again at the start of another season of the National Football League (season #88 all told). And since I consider myself to be one of the "experts", I'm going to let you know how I think the season will unfold, by division, then I'll give you my predictions for the playoffs and for Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, come February 3, 2008.

    NFC East

    1 Philadelphia Eagles (if Donovan McNabb stays healthy.)
    2 Dallas Cowboys* (strong Dallas team, despite Wade Phillips coaching ineptness.)
    3 Washington Redskins (improvement from last season, but not enough for playoffs.)
    4 New York Giants (Poor Tom Coughlin. Good coach, bad team and he'll get fired for it.)

    NFC South

    1 New Orleans (despite last night's season opening beatdown, this is the best team in a weak division.)
    2 Carolina Panthers* (rebounding nicely from off year in 2006.)
    3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (poor Jon Gruden. Good coach, aging team and he'll get fired for it.)
    4 Atlanta Falcons (questionable team with Michael Vick, no chance without him. Poor Bobby Petrino.)

    NFC North

    1 Chicago Bears (best team in weak division, despite QB Rex Grossman.)
    2 Detroit Lions (best finish in long time, 8-8 is realistic but no playoffs yet.)
    3 Green Bay Packers (swan song for one of NFL's all time greats in QB Brett Favre.)
    4 Minnesota Vikings (young team with promise for 2008.)

    NFC West

    1 Seattle Seahawks (better than 2006 record due to horrific injuries to key players.)
    2 San Francisco 49ers (Good coach, getting back to franchise respectability - look out in 2008.)
    3 Arizona Cardinals (New Coach shines as does offense - scary thought from this team.)
    4 St. Louis Rams (I'm just not impressed. This year's Carolina Panthers very underachieving.)

    AFC East

    1 New England Patriots (missed Superbowl XLI by a very narrow margin. Improved to scary good this year.)
    2 New York Jets (Gang Green overachieved last year. 8-8 is realistic.)
    3 Buffalo Bills (Offensive promise, defensive problems.)
    4 Miami Dolphins (Defensive promise, offensive problems.)

    AFC South

    1 Indianapolis Colts (defending champs too good not to win weak division.)
    2 Tennessee Titans (look out league, VY is scary good in year two.)
    3 Houston Texans (will finish with between 6-8 wins, viable for playoffs in 2008.)
    4 Jacksonville Jaguars (mutiny on the bounty... Jack del Rio loses control, gets fired.)

    AFC North

    1 Baltimore Ravens (underachieved in 2006 playoffs, best team in strong division.)
    2 Cincinnati Bengals* (sleeper for playoffs this year. Could win division with a few breaks.)
    3 Pittsburgh Steelers* (new coach = same Steelers.)
    4 Cleveland Browns (poor Romeo Crennel. Good coach, bad franchise. Gets one more year in 2008 to prove he can win here.)

    AFC West

    1 San Diego Chargers (despite Norv Turner, still have the weapons to be scary good.)
    2 Denver Broncos (miss playoffs on tiebreakers - what a shame.)
    3 Kansas City Chiefs (Poor Herm Edwards. Good coach, bad and aging team.)
    4 Oakland Raiders (NFL's version of hell ain't getting any cooler. Offense wanted.)

    Playoff Predictions:

    byes: Patriots, Colts, Saints, Bears. *-Wild Card team.
    Wild Card- Chargers over Bengals, Ravens over Steelers, Panthers over Eagles, Seahawks over Cowboys.
    Divisional- Colts over Chargers, Patriots over Ravens, Seahawks over Bears, Saints over Panthers.
    Championship- Patriots over Colts, Seahawks over Saints.

    Super Bowl XLII - Patriots over Seahawks.

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    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Red Sox rookie throws no-hitter

    Last night at Fenway, 23 year old Clay Buchholz, making only his second major league appearance and start, became the first Red Sox rookie to toss a no-hitter.

    Avowed Red Sox fan as I am, guess how much of it I watched?

    Not one single pitch. Nothing.

    Can you believe that?

    Neither can I, actually. On a night I chose not to watch any baseball, I miss an historic game.

    Can you also believe that I have no regrets about missing it?

    Well you should, because I don't.

    I'm picturing the scene from "Good Will Hunting," where Robin Williams is reliving Game 6 of the 1975 World Series to Matt Damon and that he had tickets for the game... but opted instead to talk to a woman at a bar.

    Well, exchange that exciting World Series game for last night's exciting game and drop the bar scene from the equation and you basically have a picture of me and what I was doing last night.

    My dad even told me what was happening in the 8th inning, and I still didn't turn the game on. I did catch some of the post game report but not much of it, so much fun was I having.

    I'm almost sure that NESN, the carrier for Red Sox games, will repeat this game in it's entirety at some point, so I'll catch it then.

    Meanwhile, here's a bunch of links to the game:

    Recap and Box score

    no-hitter notes

    no-hitters in Major League history

    -----

    Other happenings: I thought M was supposed to have his first flag football game today. The coach emailed me this morning to tell me that today's game was cancelled due to the holiday. You'd think they would have not scheduled any games on the last long weekend of the summer, when many people are on vacation.

    M's games will take place on the four remaining Sundays in September. The kids got their game t-shirts last weekend and posed for team pictures. M chose #12 because that's the number QB Tom Brady wears for the New England Patriots.

    Speaking of football, the college football season started in earnest yesterday and the 2007 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night.

    Boston College knocked off defending ACC Champion Wake Forest yesterday, 38-28.

    My Patriots visit the New York Jets next Sunday at 13:00. I can't wait.

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    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    SNMR 3.24: "Ocean's Eleven"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "Ocean's Eleven" (2001, PG-13, 116 minutes), starring Brad Pitt. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner. The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh.

    The first time that I saw this movie was sometime in 2004, when I rented the DVD. I've seen it a few times since.

    From the DVD's dust case:
    The plan is set. The rules are clear: Danny Ocean's grifters will hurt no one and will play the game like they have nothing to lose. If all goes right, the payoff is $150 million. Divided by 11. You do the math.

    The skill of Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh combines with enough star power to light up the Las Vegas strip in this classy caper. George Clooney plays Danny, defying the odds in a split-second heist of three Vegas casinos - all owned by a magnate (Andy Garcia) who is dating Danny's ex-wife (Julia Roberts). A fixer (Brad Pitt), a pickpocket (Matt Damon), a blackjack dealer (Bernie Mac), a flimflammer (Carl Reiner) and others in well defined roles are with Danny. Are you in or out?

    From Martin and Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 819:
    Upon his release from prison, career thief Danny Ocean begins planning the caper of a lifetime: the robbing of three casinos in Las Vegas. Unbeknownst to the team of ten specialists he assembles to do the job, he has a personal reason for pulling the heist, one that has more to do with matters of the heart than a desire for money. This stylish, thoroughly involving souffle of pure entertainment more than eclipses the 1960 original. Expert use is made of the big name cast, with adept touches of character added to what easily could have been caricatures.


    This is a thoroughly engrossing film. I really wasn't sure if I would like it when I first rented it because usually great casts like this don't get enough individual screen time and get lost in the shuffle of characters. Not so here, mainly because the script is excellently written and has a crisp pace to it, thanks to the direction of Soderbergh. Chances are you'll like this movie very much. It's a good way to spend a few hours. I'll give this film four and a half out of five stars.

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    Books of the Month - September 2007

    This months Book of the Month selections are really good and come highly recommended.
    I'm trying to get the publishers to send me some free copies to give away, as I've done in the past few months. We shall see.

    The first selection this month is Lee Strobel's "The Case for the Real Jesus"




    Former atheist and investigative journalist Lee Strobel uses in depth interviews with experts to thoroughly discredit six modern myths as to the identity of Jesus, who he was and what he taught.

    Strobel tackles six tough questions:
    1) Is a different Jesus seen in ancient documents, such as the Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic texts accurate?
    2) Has tampering by the Church changed the scriptures and how the Bible views Jesus?
    3) Do new explanations disprove the resurrection of Jesus?
    4) Did Jesus fulfill Messianic prophecies as recorded in the Bible?
    5) Did the first Christians get their ideas about Jesus from pagan religions?
    6) Is it reasonable today that people should pick and choose what to believe about Jesus?

    Strobel concludes that all of these seemingly daunting challenges crumble under close examination by scholars and experts using facts, logic and evidence.

    If you've liked any other of Lee Strobel's books, The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator or The Case for Faith, you will enjoy this book. Stobel's investigative question asking skills get right to the heart of the matters at hand. His writing style remains engaging and is very easy to read and understand.

    Purchase a copy for yourself here or here.

    The second selection this month is a book that will be published on September 11th and was written by Max Lucado.



    You find it displayed on billboards and at sports' games. John 3:16. Perhaps the best-known verse in the Bible, its 26 words encapsulate the fundamental truth of Christianity, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son ...." In 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, bestselling author Max Lucado delves into this "hope diamond of the Bible" phrase by life-changing phrase. Concluding the study, a 40 day devotional snapshot of Jesus' life, taken from Max's writings, grounds the verse in the greater context of who Jesus was. Whether you're a newcomer to the Bible or a veteran believer, explore the implications of God's parade of hope: He loves. He gave. We believe. We live.

    Purchase your copy here or here.

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