"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Friday, February 29, 2008

Books of The Month 2007 archive page

Today is that wonderful extra calendar day that we only get to see every four years.

Do you know anyone that actually celebrates a birthday on February 29th?

The most famous name I came up with is Alieen Wuornos (b. 1956), the Florida prostitute turned serial killer. She was executed by lethal injection in Florida State Prison on 9 October 2002. She was gruesomely portrayed by Charlize Theron in the film "Monster" (2003) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2004.

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With the March 2008 Books of the Month post set for tomorrow, I thought today would be a great day to clean up the template a bit and archive the selections I recommended in 2007:

  • December 2007: Wizard's First Rule and Confessor by Tery Goodkind.

  • November 2007: Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah, The Doctrines of Grace by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken and Grace - an Exposition of God's Wonderful Gift by Lewis Spery Chafer.

  • October 2007: I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek and Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller.

  • September 2007: The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel and 3:16 The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado.

  • August 2007: Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott and The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias.

  • July 2007: 3 Seconds by Dr. Les Parrott and Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels.

  • June 2007: What have they Done With Jesus? by Ben Witherington III and Evidence for Christianity by Josh Mc Dowell.

  • May 2007: The Biblical Basis for Modern Science by Henry M. Morris and The Big Argument: Does God Exist? edited by John Ashton and Michael Westacott.
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    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    BB9, extra days and sad news

    Here are the links to Big Brother 9 episode 6, episode 7 and episode 8.

    I was sad to see Alex/Amanda get evicted last night but was more happy that Matt/Natalie got to stay. I'm a little concerned that Joshuah/Sharon won this week's HOH. I like Sharon but can't stand Joshuah. My guesses for the nominated couples this week are Adam/Sheila and James/Chelsia. I just don't see any alliances between the HOH and those two couples forming. Though I do miss out because I don't subscribe to the 24/7 live feed on cbs.com or BBAD on Showtime 2. My judgments are solely based on the Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday regular episodes on CBS.

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    V and M have been on their February school vacation this week. As a result of that and due to a meeting K has at work at the hospital tomorrow, I have agreed to take the kids for an extra day and a half this weekend, so I'll have them this afternoon through Monday morning. It'll be good to have them for the extra time but sadly I get less done when they are here. Ah well, such is life. V and M are great kids and I love them dearly.

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    I'm not sure she'd want me to say anything, but I will anyway since she has had not the time or energy to do so herself: Please pray for and/or send good thoughts or whatever your belief system allows you to for our dear blogger friend Esther, whose father passed away on Tuesday. She'll be heading out of town Thursday or Friday for the wake and funeral this weekend. More than that I'll not say. Whatever, if anything, she chooses to share about it on her blog in the coming weeks will be entirely up to her.

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    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Oscar turns 80!

    Didn't we just do this, like a year ago?

    This year's Academy Awards show is being hosted by Jon Stewart for the 2nd time (1st time was in 2006).

    Just like last year, I'm going to give it my best shot and see how many of the 24 major awards I can guess correctly and see if I can beat last year's percentage [11-24; 46%]. Looking at the list of nominees, I can already tell I'll be shooting from the hip on most of my predictions. Presenters and actual winners noted in red and added afterwards.

    BEST PICTURE: Presenter- Denzel Washington
    “Atonement”
    “Juno”
    “Michael Clayton”
    “No Country for Old Men” WINNER
    “There Will Be Blood”

    BEST DIRECTOR: Presenter- Martin Scorsese
    “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
    “Juno”
    “Michael Clayton”
    “No Country for Old Men” WINNER
    “There Will Be Blood”

    BEST ACTOR: Presenter- Helen Mirren
    George Clooney in “Michael Clayton”
    Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” WINNER
    Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
    Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah”
    Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises”

    BEST ACTRESS: Presenter- Forest Whitaker
    Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
    Julie Christie in “Away from Her”
    Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” WINNER
    Laura Linney in “The Savages”
    Ellen Page in “Juno”

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Presenter- Jennifer Hudson
    Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
    Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” WINNER
    Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War”
    Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild”
    Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton”

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Presenter- Alan Arkin
    Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”
    Ruby Dee in “American Gangster”
    Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement”
    Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone”
    Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” WINNER

    BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Presenters- Josh Brolin & James McAvoy
    “Atonement”
    “Away from Her”
    “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
    “No Country for Old Men” WINNER
    “There Will Be Blood”

    BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Presenter- Harrison Ford
    “Juno”WINNER
    “Lars and the Real Girl”
    “Michael Clayton”
    “Ratatouille”
    “The Savages”

    BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Presenter- Amy Adams
    “Atonement”WINNER
    “The Kite Runner”
    “Michael Clayton”
    “Ratatouille”
    “3:10 to Yuma”

    BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Presenter- John Travolta
    “Falling Slowly” from “Once” WINNER
    “Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted”
    “Raise It Up” from “August Rush”
    “So Close” from “Enchanted”
    “That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted”

    BEST EDITING: Presenter- Renee Zellweger
    “The Bourne Ultimatum” WINNER
    “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
    “Into the Wild”
    “No Country for Old Men”
    “There Will Be Blood”

    BEST ART DIRECTION: Presenter- Cate Blanchett
    “American Gangster”
    “Atonement”
    “The Golden Compass”
    “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”WINNER
    “There Will Be Blood”

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Presenter- Cameron Diaz
    “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
    “Atonement”
    “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
    “No Country for Old Men”
    “There Will Be Blood” WINNER

    BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Presenter-
    “Across the Universe”
    “Atonement”
    “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”WINNER
    “La Vie en Rose”
    “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

    BEST MAKEUP: Presenter- Kathryn Heigl
    “La Vie en Rose” WINNER
    “Norbit”
    “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

    BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Presenter-
    “Persepolis”
    “Ratatouille” WINNER
    “Surf's Up”

    BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Presenter- Jerry Seinfeld
    “I Met the Walrus”
    “Madame Tutli-Putli”
    “Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)”
    “My Love (Moya Lyubov)”
    “Peter and the Wolf” WINNER

    BEST DOCUMENTARY: Presenter- Tom Hanks
    “No End in Sight”
    “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience”
    “Sicko”
    “Taxi to the Dark Side”WINNER
    “War/Dance”

    BEST DOCUMENTARY- SHORT SUBJECT: Presenter- Tom Hanks
    “Freeheld” WINNER
    “La Corona (The Crown)”
    “Salim Baba”
    “Sari’s Mother”

    BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Presenter- Penelope Cruz
    “Beaufort” - Israel
    “The Counterfeiters” - Austria WINNER
    “Katyń” - Poland
    “Mongol” - Kazakhstan
    “12” - Russia

    BEST SHORT FILM - LIVE ACTION: Presenter- Owen Wilson
    “At Night”
    “Il Supplente (The Substitute)”
    “Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” WINNER
    “Tanghi Argentini”
    “The Tonto Woman”

    BEST SOUND EDITING: Presenter-
    “The Bourne Ultimatum” WINNER
    “No Country for Old Men”
    “Ratatouille”
    “There Will Be Blood”
    “Transformers”

    BEST SOUND MIXING: Presenter-
    “The Bourne Ultimatum” WINNER
    “No Country for Old Men”
    “Ratatouille”
    “3:10 to Yuma”
    “Transformers”

    BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Presenter- Duane "The Rock" Johnson
    “The Golden Compass” WINNER
    “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”
    “Transformers”

    IN MEMORIAM: Presenter- Hilary Swank

    IRVING G. THALBERG MEMORIAL AWARD: winner-
    Presenter-

    JEAN HERSHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD: winner-
    Presenter-

    THE HONORARY AWARD: WINNER - Robert Boyle
    Presenter- Nicole Kidman

    SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL AWARDS: (presented by Jessica Alba on 2/9)


    WRAP-UP: I did much worse this year than I did last year making my predictions. I only got 6 out of 24 correct, which makes for an anemic 25%. I really need to see more movies in the theater to make more educated guesses. Or I should read more buzz from H-wood about who is favored and who is not. Good thing I wasn't involved in any Oscar pools - I'd have lost bigtime. I really wasn't impressed with Jon Stewart as host. His attempts to be funny were lame and most of his jokes were flat. I missed the first hour of the show (BB9, ahem, was on another network.) so if anyone has the names of presenters I missed, I'd appreciate some fill in knowledge if you have it, so I can add the names appropriately. I know who the presenters were (a list of names was provided) just not which awards they would present.

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    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    SNMR 4.15: "Down With Love"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "Down With Love" (2003, PG-13, 101 minutes), starring Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce and Sarah Paulson. The film was directed by Peyton Reed.

    I'd seen this DVD in the store and at the library and thought it would be a good movie to watch, since I like the lead actors from other films. So when I saw it on the library shelf, I couldn't resist, not knowing entirely what to expect.

    PLOT SUMMARY: Set in New York in 1962, Catcher Block (McGregor) is the playboy journalist, man about town extraordinaire that all the girls love and whom he loves back. Barbara Novak (Zellweger) is a strait laced, feminist novelist out to bring down the world of romance with her new book called "Down With Love" that becomes a bestseller. Novak's publicist/editor Vikki Hiller (Paulson) sets up Novak to do a cover story with Block for the men's magazine "Know", owned by Peter MacMannus (Pierce). After being snubbed three times by Block, Novak refuses to meet with him. Block is offended and decides to take Novak down a few notches by getting her to fall in love with him so he can write a damaging expose. Who knew that in the process he would fall madly in love with her.

    WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE: This movie never takes itself seriously and is set as a spoof for the prepackaged fluff romance movies of the early 60's with Rock Hudson and Doris Day. The script is witty and charming. The actors are purposefully cheesy, which adds to the comedic value of this film. The costumes, styles and colors are vibrant. The music enhances the story. This movie does not take place in real life New York but New York through the lens of a 1960's movie. The DVD extras were excellent, including eight production vignettes, an HBO Special, bloopers, deleted scenes and more.

    WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: Can you say a little too much cheese? That's about it, though.

    ***1/4 out of *****

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    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Snow flies

    I despise snow flies, don't you?

    They're supposed to be flying around pretty much all day.

    Most of them went away but now they are back tormenting me yet again.

    Driving through snow flies is never fun. Gotta do that today too.

    No way around it. None that I can see, anyway.

    6"-10" when all is done, or so say the weather gnomes on television.

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    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Lunar Eclipse and BB9 updates

    The moon entered and emerged form the Earth's shadow during a total eclipse over Titusville, Fla., in this composite photograph. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)


    Were you able to see that really cool total lunar eclipse last night? For once the weather cooperated and here in the Boston/Manchester, NH area we had a clear starlit sky and unobstructed view. Saturn and the star Regulus flanked the eclipse, which started at 20:43 and ended at 00:09 this morning. The eclipse was total from 22:00-22:52. I watched it for a while at the beginning and end of the full stage. Before I went to sleep at 00:20 it was all done. You can see some more pictures here (including the one above) from The Boston Globe.

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    Big Brother 9 updates: episode 4 and episode 5.

    Well it certainly was an interesting week in the Big Brother house. I figured that Jen/Parker would get evicted and they did by a 3-1 vote. That's too bad. I liked them as a couple. Jen however, sealed their fate when she secretly told Sheila that Ryan was a racist. Of course that gossip soon got back to Ryan who was understandably upset. She's dating Ryan in real life - why would you say something like that about your boyfriend and then deny you said it if you really care for the guy?

    Amanda may be the house gossip queen but Chelsia and Joshuah's remark about the noose was dirty play. I don't like Joshuah at all and I'm beginning not to like Chelsia, either. This doesn't bode well, since Chelsia and James won the new HoH competition and get to nominate the next couples for eviction. I wouldn't be surprised if Alex/Amanda and Adam/Sheila were the next couples nominated.

    Going back to episode 4 for a minute - at the very beginning it was revealed that Neil, Joshuah's partner, left the game for personal, family reasons and because this is a couple's game, Joshuah was allowed to invite back in either Jacob or Sharon, who were the first couple to be evicted last week.

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    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Weekend wrap

    K called me yesterday afternoon and advised me that she was sick and had called out of work last night. That meant that I had to bring V and M back to her house last night instead of meeting her at the hospital this morning. Though it was less time with the kids this weekend, none of us had to get up at 05:30, our usual time on Monday. V and M had school today even though it was President's Day. They had last Friday off due to a teacher development day and have February Vacation next week.

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    One downside of being divorced with children: Missing vacations. K, V and M are going to Disney in Orlando at the end of April (during V and M's April vacation) and I'm not invited. K's off and on boyfriend R and his daughter are going. While the kids are disappointed that I'm not going, I told them that there will be vacations that we'll take together where K will not be involved. V, sweet soul that she is, has vowed to bring me back a souvenir, even though I told her not to. I'm bummed that I'm going to miss seeing my kids reaction to their first airplane ride and the Disney experience. They're going to have a great time.

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    Finally stopped procrastinating and did my 2007 federal income taxes over the weekend and e-filed them. I'm happy to report that I'm due for a larger refund than I expected. This is good news, because I need to buy new glasses. I've had my current prescription since February, 2005. I can tell I need them because I normally have to wear my glasses all of the time to see but lately have had to take them off when doing close up work, like reading or typing on the computer. Distance vision (like for driving) has not been an issue yet. I've had glasses since the summer before I started sixth grade.

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    The beginning of March will be the start of something I've requested for several years. The first small group men's Bible Studies at my church are set to begin the week of March 3rd. Since the church congregation is rather large, there are going to be four or five different groups meeting through out the week to accomodate different schedules. I've signed up for the Tuesday night group. This is the book we'll be reading in additon to relevant passages from the Bible, of course.

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    The third episode of BB9 was on last night. Click here for the official recap.

    My thoughts are these: It's no surprise that Ryan/Allison and Jen/Parker are the two couples nominated for eviction last night with the revealing to the whole house that Ryan and Jen have been dating outside of the house for ten months. The whole Jen/Ryan issue will go away when one of them gets evicted. I feel bad for Parker and Allison, whose fate is tied up in this mess. They didn't ask for it and one of them will be eliminated because of it. I personally like Jen and Parker and would love to see them avoid being evicted. But I think they will be the next couple to go simply because I sense a growing resentment toward Jen forming in the house, especially among the other women. I'm not liking Allison right now. I think she whined too much over what really shouldn't have been that big of a deal. I have no problem with Ryan. He's handled his business without making waves.

    Frankly, the producers of the show erred when they didn't pair up Jen and Ryan to begin with. What would have worked better is if they had paired Sharon with Ryan and Jen with Jacob, leaving Parker and Allison as a couple. Then their little setups (Jen/Ryan and Jacob/Sharon) may have had a better chance to last longer.

    Sheila has got to chill out. Adam may not be her type but does she have to insult him so much? I think they're on the short list for eviction unless they can gain HoH soon. He may be a jerk, but she's no better.

    So far my favorite couples are Alex/Amanda and James/Chelsia. Jen, despite her big mouth and that nasssty tounge piercing (gross!), is the best looking woman in the house. She and Parker would be back at the top of my favorites, if they manage to avoid eviction.

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    Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.

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    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    SNMR 4.14: "The Departed"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Departed" (2006, R, 151 minutes), starring Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese. The film won four Academy Awards in 2007 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing).

    I've wanted to see this movie ever since I first saw the trailers for it but never got around to it until now. I would love to have watched some of the special features in the 2 disc version. Unfortunately my library didn't have that one. I'm going to add this movie to my DVD collection as soon as I can. You should too.

    PLOT SUMMARY: Rookie cop Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) grew up in crime, which makes him the perfect mole to infiltrate the mob, run by Frank Costello (Nicholson). No one knows Costigan is a cop but his handlers (Sheen and Wahlberg). If he's discovered, it will mean a bullet to the head. SIU SSgt. Colin Sullivan grew up knowing Costello and is now the perfect mole inside the Massachusetts State Police. Dr. Madolyn Madden (Farmiga) is the state police psychologist who loves both Sullivan and Costigan and is torn between the two until betrayal and two bullets solves her problem.

    How these covert lives cross, double cross and collide is at the ferocious core of this widely acclaimed film of crime and consequenses. Hold onto your seat for a gripping, fantastic ride.

    WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE: What is not to like about a movie that has gangsters, cops, dirty cops, guns and plenty of blood and guts violence? I mean aside from the gangsters, cops, dirty cops guns and plenty of blood and guts violence? After one viewing, this has become my favorite gangster movie. The all-star cast is superb. Nicholson speaks for himself. Damon and Dicaprio are sensational and convincing. Wahlberg continues to gain my respect with every role I've seen him in. Some of Scorsese's films can be slow and boring. Not this one, folks. Also, I love films that are entirely shot in my home state of Massachusetts, even if they portray the slimier underside of life in the big city. The script is wonderful and fast paced for a 2 1/2 hour movie. Even the music, with it's typical Irish themes, and soundtrack add to the excitement of this movie. [***Disclaimer: I'm not saying that if you're Irish that you're connected to the Boston mob. Boston has a definitive Irish/American heritage, which the music in the movie wonderfully brings out.]

    WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: If you're oversensitive to foul language then you may be put off by this film. But I ask you, how can you have a gangster/dirty cop movie without it? There really is nothing to dislike about this film.

    ***** out of *****

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    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    V-day

    Since today is Valentine's Day, I briefly did some surfing on the internet (no excuse needed to do this, really) and found some articles that those of you un-single folks might actually find helpful or at least worth a look-see. Even single folks, such as myself, might find them interesting. (Obviously I did, since I posted about them....)

    The Cost of Showing You Care. It's crazy that Valentine's Day has become almost as commercial of a holiday as Christmas. I don't really think it matters how much money you spend on your partner today but the quality of the gift itself. Maybe the gift doesn't/won't matter at all. Maybe it's the quality of time you spend with your partner today that will matter most.

    Be Irresistable. I think this is a good list for the women. I haven't found a similar list for the guys, though. Does such a list exist?

    11 Things Women Don't Know About Men. Secretly though, I think women do know these things since they, as a general rule, are more perceptive on these things than men are. They just don't like us to know they know these things. There are some men who are exceptions to the rule and they know it. There are also men who, while not exceptions, do show some promise in such things (someone like myself, perhaps...). ;>)

    As I said last week, being someone's Valentine shouldn't be a one day deal, anyway. It's a 24/7/365¼ adventure that you share with your partner every day of your life together.

    I may not know everything about relationships and I may even know nothing at all. I'm fairly certain that this is true though - or it should be.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

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    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Big Brother 9 on CBS

    "'Til Death Do You Part"

    Last night was my first actual foray into the world of Big Brother. I've never watched this show in any of its first eight seasons, primarily because I have a hard time getting into this "reality television" thang. But this show does look interesting, based on the season premiere...

    This year they've thrown a few twists into the mix. Instead of competing as singles, the housemates have been paired off into couples. The couples will form teams and work closely together. Even though they just met, they'll share the same rooms and the same beds. The sixteen contestants are split into seven male/female couples and two homosexual men make up couple #8. Furthering the twist is that a real life couple, Ryan and Jen (not paired together), are going to try and secretly cause trouble among the housemates. Two other housemates (Sharon and Jacob) just ended a 12 year relationship and have been reluctantly and unknowingly reunited on the show and as a couple for this season.

    After the introductions and pairing of the couples, the first competition was held, called "Falling for You", where each couple was suspended in the air, holding on to rach other for dear life. As the couples separated and the bottom partner fell onto the mattress, they were eliminated from the competition. The last couple hanging, Jen and Parker, won $10,000 for grabbing a heart pillow and negotiating with another couple for the win, promising that they'd be safe. The winning couple is the first BB popwer couple and will themselves decide the first couple to be evicted from the house. Jen already mentioned in an interview the possibility of those two being evicted first. We will see tonight @ 20:00.

    My guess is that Sheila and Adam will be the first to go, since she is vocally unhappy (a whiner and likely would upset the house dynamic) with Adam as her match and is 16 years older than he. Plus, they were the last couple paired and did not get a bedroom, meaning they'll have to share a sleeping bag on the floor.

    I'll throw in an update after tonight's show. If you miss anything during the season, go to cbs.com and find out what you missed.

    23:00 update: Open your mouth and get yourself kicked off the show. What a dumba** Jacob is. Talking trash about Parker, saying someone else said it and then refusing to rat out who did. His subsequent silence did him in, since it seems that he did the trash talking himself. Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing how Jacob and Sharon would get along this season with the tension of their past relationship simmering constantly. Sheila and Adam would have gotten the boot otherwise, and they know it. Weird though is that during the "Tunnel of Love" game tonight, they seemed to be getting along better. Perhaps they talked at some point and formed some sort of truce. I wonder who will claim Sharon and Jacob's bed out of the two sleeping bag couples.....

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Five things I love about Spring

    I wasn't tagged, but saw this on Dabich's blog and wanted to participate myself. My answers are going to be similar to hers in some cases, me thinks. What a smashing idea, looking forward to Spring...

    Here are da rules to play da game:

    1. The post most be titled, "5 Things I Love About Spring". And you'll have to list the 5 things you most love about spring.

    2. You must announce that only those who wish to take the challenge need apply, those who don't- that's fine.

    MY LIST:

    1) EASTER: The most important Christian holiday celebrates the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Easter also happens to fall on my parents 40th wedding anniversary this year. Convenient.

    2) SPRING TRAINING: For the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, pitchers and catchers report to Florida on Thursday the 14th (in two days! Some players are already there). The beginning of Spring Training means that another baseball season is fast approaching, which means that my ultimate favorite season - summer - isn't far off. Though the games don't matter until April, being able to read a boxscore and all the happenings of my favorite team is a good thing. Trust me.

    3) NATURE COMES OUT OF HIBERNATION: That means buds on the trees, lawns that turn from dead brown to vibrant green, flowers in all their various colors. Birds, bees, squirrels and other small rodents are seen wandering around the yard, which goes hand in hand with #4.

    4) WARMER TEMPERATURES: This makes for more outdoor activities, like walking in the woods, going to the park with my kids, helping my dad open the pool at his house, playing catch with M (and V when she feels like it), and cooking out on the grill to name a few. I also find that I have more energy as the weather gets warmer. Bring on the heat!

    5) NFL DRAFT, FREE AGENCY and RELEASING OF THE SCHEDULE for THE UPCOMING SEASON: The only thing better than football season itself is the anticipation and preparation for the next football season. I love participating in the draft contest, seeing which college players my team selects and who they sign/trade for. I also love it when the schedule comes out - seeing who plays who and when and setting up my pick sheets. How many prime time games dos my team have? Guessing what their record will be. All of that good stuff to fill the football-less void.

    BONUS: The 3rd Anniversary of this here blog you're reading, coming up sometime in early June (yes, that's still spring for all you Northern Hemisphere types...) Can you believe it?

    So there you have it, folks. Play along if the mood strikes you - or not. If you do play, let me know so I can come and read your answers!

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    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    SNMR 4.13: "The Mists of Avalon"

    Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Mists of Avalon" (2001, NR, 183 minutes), starring Juliana Margulies, Anjelica Huston, Joan Allen, Michael Vartan, Samantha Mathis, Edward Atterton, Hans Matheson and Caroline Goodall. The made for television miniseries was directed by Uli Edel.

    I had taped this miniseries when it originally aired on TNT in 2001 but never got around to watching it. Then, having lost the VHS tape, I saw the DVD version in the bargain rack at the store about four years ago and couldn't resist buying it, especially because the film was released in WIDESCREEN format on the DVD. Strangely, I never got around to watching it until this week. I'd seen the novel in the bookstore and had always wanted to read it, too but never did.

    PLOT SUMMARY: Based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, this is the accounting of the Arthurian Legend, told from the female perspective of Morgaine (Margulies), elder brother of Arthur Pendragon (Atterton). The tale involves the intrigues of Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake (Huston), Morgause (Allen), Igraine (Goodall) and the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot (Vartan) and Gwenwyfar (Mathis).

    WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE: I thought this was an interesting and overlooked aspect of the King Arthur legends. The script is good and seems to stay focused for the most part, though I don't know how far it strays from the novel. Production values are excellent, and the casting is top notch. The length of the film is decent for a one sitting viewing, considering it probably aired originally over two nights with lots of commercials.

    WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: With Arthurian Legend, there is always more of the intrigue that can be told. It would have been nice to know a little bit more background on why the mysterious incestuous sexual encounter between brother and sister that produces Mordred (Matheson) is necessary. We see Lancelot's marriage but there is no background to it and nothing further is offered.

    ***1/2 out of *****

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    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Biggest Hallmark holiday going

    Poking around the web this morning, I came across this article.

    With less than a week before Valentine's Day, these kinds of articles will appear all over. A sampling of some of the over 600 comments left gave mixed reviews for the article.

    Though I'm no expert, I would say that there's no set list of what to get or not get for your significant other on this "holiday". You know him/her best and what they like or don't like. I think what gifts you give or get from your partner will greatly depend on how long you've been together. You certainly aren't going to get someone you've just started dating the same thing as you would for a person you've been married to for 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50+ years.

    Looks like I'll be flying solo once again this Valentine's Day. Believe it or not, I'm fine with that because I'm hopeful in the future and confident that my "valentine" is out there somewhere. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be in a relationship again. It will happen when the time is right.

    Being someone's Valentine shouldn't be a one day deal, anyway. It's a 24/7/365¼ adventure that you share with your partner every day of your life together.

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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Tax time...again.


    I need to do my income taxes for 2007. I have my H&R Block Tax Cut software and all of my W-2's and 1099's all set to go.

    So why am I hesitating?

    It's just plain depressing to do the taxes when I have a gut feeling that my refund will be so small that I'll need a magnifying glass to find it.

    Maybe I'll be surprised, but somehow I doubt it.

    20:15 update: I don't think I'm going to use the H&R Block tax software after all. I went here and discovered that I can file my taxes online and e-file them for free. That's going to save me the $39.95 for the software that I got in the mail. See, H&R Block sends out their software for free and only charge you when you load the program onto your computer. Plus, if I remember from last year, they charge an extra $15 or so for e-filing. Hurrah for saving money better spent elsewhere!

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    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Hopping on board the O-train

    Well folks, Super Tuesday is here and I promised you that I would tell you today whom I'm now supporting in this here election thing, since John Edwards is out. Some of you probably figured it out already. Even so, I thought I'd make it official.


    I'm not telling you how you should vote because only you can decide which candidate you think will make the best President, come January 20, 2009.

    What I am telling you is that you need to get out and vote, no matter who your candidate is. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain.

    May the best Democrat (not named Clinton) win.

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    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Super Bowl XLII


    New York Giants (13-6) vs. New England Patriots (18-0) (-12, 54 1/2 O/U) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona 18:30 - FOX.



    The New York Giants enter this game as only the third team in NFL history to win three playoff games on the road to reach the Super Bowl, joining the 1985 Patriots and the 2005 Steelers. The Patriots enter this game as the only team to reach the Super Bowl undefeated at 18-0 and could become only the second team to end the season absolutely perfect, joining the 1972 Dolphins (17-0). The Patriots are 3-2 all time in Super Bowls and tie for the second most Super Bowl appearances (6 with Denver and Pittsburgh. Dallas leads with 8). The Giants are 2-1 in Super Bowls and are 4-11 in NFL Championships prior to the Super Bowl era.

    These two teams played in Week 17 at the Meadowlands, where the Patriots eeked out a come from behind 38-35 victory. Even though the Giants lost, they played a superb game and it gave them tremendous momentum in the playoffs. The Giants need to get pressure on Patriots QB Tom Brady and make him throw before he wants to. They also need to contain WR Randy Moss who had 6 catches for 100 yards in that game, by jamming him in the first five yards. If the Giants double team Moss then look for WR's Stallworth, Welker, Gaffney, Brown, TE's Watson and Brady, RB's Maroney and Faulk to have huge games.

    On offense, QB Eli Manning needs to continue to play mistake free football as he has in the Giants three playoff wins. It would be helpful if the Giants could control the line and run the ball, chew up clock and keep the Patriots offense on the sidelines. The health of Giants WR Plaxico Burress is huge. He's a big threat and could have a huge impact on the outcome if his balky knee can handle it. No one expected the underdog Giants to be playing in this game so they should be loose and laying it all out.

    What can you say about the Patriots? Most prognosticators and football "experts" (including yours truly) picked them to not only play in this game but win it handily... back in April. The Patriots are gunning for their fourth championship in seven years. They are the epitome of cool.

    Here's a comment I made on another blog this week. The blogger stated that the Giants were the only team to give the Patriots a close game all season:

    Ahhh, how they forget that, in addition to the New York Giants, the Patriots also came from behind late at Indianapolis and also had trouble with Baltimore and Philadelphia before winning. The Patriots are no stranger to winnning close games.

    As for predictions:

    Well, let's see, Giants WR Plaxico Burress predicts a 23-17 Giants win, which is totally insane considering the Patriots scored 38,38,38,34,34,48,49,52,24,56,31,27,34,20,28 and 38 for a league record 589 regular season points. Add in 31 and 21 so far in the playoffs (a 26.0 ppg average) which leads one to the conclusion that Burress is drinking some delusional kool-aid this week if he thinks the G-men will hold the Patriots to only 17 points.

    Let me remind you of what came of Anthony Smith's (Pittsburgh) and Igor Olshansky's (San Diego) guarantees for a victory. {umm, nothing.}

    Plus you're talking about a coach who is 15-3 in the playoffs (as a head coach - not including two SB wins as a Giants assistant) and a QB who is 14-2 in the playoffs. Brady lives for big games like this and rivals hero Joe Montana for cool under pressure.

    Despite a close game in Week 17, my prediction is:

    New York Giants 31
    New England Patriots 41


    ... and at least 7 of the Giants points will come in garbage time, when the outcome has long been decided.

    Sorry Eli.


    ACTUAL RESULT: New York Giants 17, New England Patriots 14: Wow, what a downer that was for Patriots nation. But if you're a football fan and you wanted a great game, you definitely got what you asked for. It certainly was one heck of a football game, no questions about it. The key was the Giants defense getting pressure on Tom Brady and preventing the Patriots from getting into any kind of offensive rhythm early on and for most of the game. Eli Manning played a clutch game, especially in the fourth quarter when championships are won. As hard as it is for me to write, I must give credit where it is due - the Giants fought hard and made the plays that they had to to win. I do think it's neat that the Manning brothers captured back to back Super Bowl MVP honors.

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    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    SNMR 4.12: "Groundhog Day"

    Since today is Groundhog Day, I thought it would be convenient for tonight's SNMR feature to actually review "Groundhog Day" (1993, PG, 101 minutes), starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky and Brian Doyle-Murray. The film was directed by Harold Ramis.

    I can't even remember how many times I've seen this film or when the first time I watched it might have been. So this must be the umpteenth time I've seen it. Probably will a good umpteen or two more times that I'll watch it in my lifetime.

    PLOT SUMMARY: Phil Connors (Murray) is a weatherman for a Pittsburgh television station and an arrogant, conceited, pain in the butt. He has to travel on assignment to Punxsutawney, PA to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities with his producer (MacDowell) and cameraman (Elliott). While there, Connors becomes trapped in his worst nightmare... reliving Groundhog Day over and over and over again, until he learns from the error of his ways.

    WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS MOVIE: This is one of the best performances of Bill Murray's career. His character is so annoying that you want to slap him upside the head, but at the same time are rooting for him to change. The script is excellent and original and is deftly directed by longtime Murray pal Harold Ramis. Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott and Stephen Tobolowsky are super in co-starring roles. My favorite scenes in the movie are when Murray is trying to teach the groundhog to drive and where Murray is driving in the car with the two drunks from the bowling alley.

    WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THIS MOVIE: There wasn't anything in this film that I really disliked. It's a good, clean, fun movie.

    ****1/2 out of *****

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    Friday, February 01, 2008

    Books of the Month - February 2008

    The first selection for February is by Dr. Werner Gitt.



    This book takes a fascinating look at information and attempts to answer two crucial questions: What is information and where does it come from? Does it originate randomly or is it the product of intelligence?

    The retired Dr. Gitt is an information specialist and was a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig), the head of the Department of Information Technology.

    Purchase your copy here and here.

    The second book of the month selection is "The New Answers Book", with Ken Ham as general editor. The book features contributions by Paul Taylor, Mike Oard, Mike Riddle, Dr. Andy McIntosh, Dr. Bryant Wood, Dr. Tommy Mitchell, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Dr. Jason Lisle, Dr. Monty White, Dr. Terry Mortenson, Bodie Hodge, Dr. David Menton, Dr. Andrew Snelling, and Dr. Clifford Wilson.



    The book takes on such topics as:

    millions of years
    the gap theory
    dinosaurs turning into birds
    local flooding vs. the great flood
    the Ice Age
    distant starlight
    carbon-14 and radiometric dating techniques
    the supposed proofs for evolution.

    Purchase your copy here or here.

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