"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

Monday, April 28, 2008

the phone always rings....

Isn't it true that the phone always seems to ring when you're in the middle of eating dinner or when you're sitting on the hopper or at some other inopportune moment?

If you're one of the lucky suckers whom this doesn't happen to, then I congratulate you on being... weird.

So here I am in one of these inopportune moments (at 23:15 tonight, actually) when my cell phone rings. Of course my cell phone is in another room, well out of reach. I generally try not to let people who call me leave a message because, well, messages usually die in my voice mail box waiting for me to answer them.

Anywho, my phone rings, and I quickly stop what I'm doing and rush over to it to answer. What follows is the conversation that ensued:

CALLER: (weak grovelly voice) "Hello? Is Darlene there?"

ME: (serious, fatherly tone) "First of all, it's 11:15 at night and you shouldn't be calling so late. You might wake someone up. Second of all, no she's not. You have the wrong number."

CALLER: (indignant voice, demonstrating extreme intelligence) "F%$# You!" [CLICK]

ME: (laughing loudly) "!!!"

Now I may be crazy but how cool is that!!!!!!!

[I wasn't going to turn my computer back on to share this with y'all but I just had to. Too funny.]

In case you were wondering or even if you're not; my phone rings, quite loudly, to the opening theme from Star Wars and I love it!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Big Brother 9 Wrap-Up

So here's what you missed since the last time I posted about Big Brother 9:

Episode 30, Episode 31, Episode 32 and the finale, Episode 33.

Before I comment on tonight's show, I have to say that I was very upset when Sharon got evicted last week. Disappointed actually. I think she played a very good game and handled herself with class, dignity and honesty throughout the game, which is not easy to do in such an environment.

I was not shocked or upset when Sheila got evicted, since she was horrible at the competitions and only won HoH because endurance queen Natalie gave it up in a truly classy move that ended up in her getting evicted.

If I had been in the final three, I'd rather have gone into the final two with an attractive woman rather than another guy, knowing that there would be no competition to determine the winner. Ryan lost himself votes at the end I think with the way Sharon got back doored. I would not have liked to face the questions from the house guest jury panel like Ryan and Adam had to. That would not have been fun.

If you had told me at the beginning of the season that Adam would win and by a final vote of 6-1, I'd have thought you crazy. Yet that's what happened.

Now we get to look forward to Big Brother 10, which will begin on Sunday, July 13th with 16 new contestants. I wonder what twists will be involved next time?

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

SNMR 4.24: "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956, PG, 120 minutes), starring James Stewart, Doris Day, Bernard Miles, Brenda De Banzie, Ralph Truman and Christopher Olsen. The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

I went to the library a few months ago to look for some more Jimmy Stewart films that I had never seen before. There were so many choices. This was one of them.

PLOT SUMMARY: James Stewart and Doris Day, in a rare dramatic role, are superb in this brilliant suspense thriller from the undisputed master, Alfred Hitchcock. Stewart and Day play Ben and Jo MacKenna, innocent Americans vacationing in Morocco with their son, Hank. After a French spy dies in Ben's arms in the Marrakesh market, the couple discovers their son has been kidnapped and taken to England. Not knowing who they can trust, the MacKennas are caught up in a nightmare of international espionage, assassinations and terror. Soon, all of their lives hang in the balance as they draw closer to the truth and a chilling climactic moment in London's famous Royal Albert Hall.

MY OPINION: I thought this film was good but not great. It is definitely better than Hitchcock's original 1934 film of the same name. The script is decent and the story moves relatively quickly, but the story is predictable at times. Most of the film was shot on location in Morocco and London. Still, this is a very watchable film and is capably directed by Hitchcock and held together by the talents of Stewart and Day. I had never watched anything with Doris Day in it before that I was aware of. She's a decent actress with a remarkable singing voice.

Alfred Hitchcock makes his trademark cameo appearance in the Moroccan marketplace watching the acrobats with his back to the camera just before the murder.

*** out of *****

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Friday, April 25, 2008

didn't feel like it this year

The 2008 NFL Draft takes place in New York tomorrow and Sunday.

Normally, I'd be posting my entry into the Patriots Football Weekly Mock Draft contest.

Not this year though. I just didn't feel like doing it.

Okay that's not entirely true. On Tuesday night I bought the draft magazine I get every year and I skimmed through it during lunch and my breaks at work on Wednesday. I was going to fill out my entry form online last night (entries had to be received by 17:00 tonight) and work out my picks. By the time I remembered last night that I wanted to do it it was too late and I was too tired to make educated guesses on which players each team needs and whom they might select.

Sure, I'll still watch the draft tomorrow afternoon. It will be fun to see whom the Patriots pick (LB help, please?) and which team selects Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan (Atlanta, Kansas City or Baltimore - all need QB's and have picks in the top 8). I think the Falcons will take him at #3 but I hope he drops to #8 and lands with the Ravens.

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Can you believe that next weekend is Derby day? We'll get to see which horse will attempt to win the Triple Crown, which hasn't been done in 30 years. More on that next week.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

emotionally invested

I'm done. Finished.

And I'm totally satisfied with the way it ended.

Still, I'm quite sad that it's over and that there is no more anticipation of wondering what's next.

What am I talking about, dare you ask?

Let me give you a [not so subtle, perhaps] hint with two stills from the finale....

You may have noticed over the past two months or so that I've been watching the television series "Friends" on DVD, courtesy of my little sister. I've also kept you updated on my progress throughout over on the sidebar.

I finally finished the last episode of season ten on Monday night. It was so awesome that I watched the last two episodes again on Tuesday night. Then I watched the special features on the fourth disc which were fantastic!

I watched the last two episodes again tonight...for the third time! Actually I've watched the final episode a total of four times because I watched it once on Monday with the producers commentary audio that goes along with it.

You know what? I got all watery-eyed every time. I'm not ashamed to say it. Even after the first go-round, when I knew what was going to happen, I still got all misty eyed.

The producers knew going in that season ten would be the last season of the series and so they were able to cleanly tie up all of the loose ends in the story throughout the eighteen episode final season.

I think there were several reasons why this show lasted for so long and was so popular. First, the cast and crew were extremely talented as evidenced by all of the awards and nominations this show won over the years. Second, there was a great chemistry and camaraderie that developed between the actors in real life and it translated into their performances. Third, the writing was consistently great which is always important. The producers and writers were willing to be flexible with the scripts and change them during filming when scenes weren't working or when a joke wasn't funny enough. Fourth, the majority of the show was filmed before a live studio audience (Wish I could have been there!) which gave even more energy to the actors performances.

Finally and most importantly, this was a show about the relationships between the six friends. These were characters that we watched grow throughout the series. We cared about them and became emotionally invested in the lives of Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Monica Geller-Bing (Courtney Cox Arquette), Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), Dr. Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston).

For me the most compelling story was between Ross and Rachel, not just at the end but throughout the whole series. If you're a true fan of the series, you'll know and understand what I'm getting at here.

I still can't believe that I never once, in 238 episodes over ten seasons, watched any of this series when it was on regular television. Oh what I was missing!

I can definitely tell you that I will, eventually, be adding this series to my DVD collection.

Gee, my birthday's coming up in June, just two short months from now. Kewl for you because now you know what to get me. Talk about advanced planning! Coordinate, people!

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

SNMR 4.23: "Music and Lyrics"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Music and Lyrics" (2007, PG-13, 105 minutes), starring Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Kristin Johnston, Haley Bennett and Brad Garrett. The film was directed by Marc Lawrence

PLOT SUMMARY: First you're hot, then you're not... and then you're Alex Fletcher (Grant), washed up, has been 80's pop sensation. Alex is great writing music but can't write decent lyrics to go along with his music. When tween sensation Cora asks Alex to write her a song for her tour, he agrees - but only has a few days to complete it or else she'll choose someone else's song. Enter Sophie Fisher (Barrymore), the fill in water-the-plants lady who has a green thumb for composing lyrics. Together they pursue songwriting happiness and discover that the task is easier when you're actually in love.

MY THOUGHTS: Any time you can make fun of the silliness that was the 1980's is good. Hugh Grant is believable and highly amusing as a washed up 80's musician. A character like Sophie is believable as one who writes song lyrics with ease but not as a romantic interest for Fletcher, simply because of the age difference between the two. I was unimpressed with Drew Barrymore in this role and feel that they could have plugged any actress in the role and it would be a better film, or at least not lose a beat. The script is weak and unmemorable. I did find it amusing that the tween sensation Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) is clearly meant to imitate a younger Britney Spears with the skimpy costumes and erotic dancing like you find at a Britney concert. Kristin Johnston (3rd Rock From the Sun) plays Rhonda Fletcher, Sophie's sister and Flanagan groupie in a basically non essential filler role. What a mismatch, pairing the 6'0" Johnston next to the 5'4" Barrymore.

This is an average film at best that had potential but goes nowhere.

** out of *****

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

BB9 update (two weeks left)

Here are your BB9 updates for the week: Episode 27, Episode 28, and Episode 29.

I can't say that I'm sad that Natalie got evicted this week. She had it coming after playing everyone in the house and not being very secretive about it. It's getting down to the end - there are only four people left in the house.

The CBS show showed James arrival at the Juror house and his venting on Chelsia and blaming her for his eviction last week, saying that the way she decided to leave the house was the final nail in his coffin. That his ties to her ultimately led to his undoing. He did later apologize to her. I think his outburst was uncalled for.

The real reason he was voted out was that he is a strong competitor in competitions and would have been a real threat to win the game if he was left in the house. I can understand why they wanted him gone.

Better for me, as a viewer because I thought he was annoying. Just as annoying as chatty Natalie was at the end.

Ryan won HoH this week, so that bodes well for his secret alliance with Sharon and neither Adam or Sheila have a clue about.

My favorite remaining house guests are Sharon, Ryan, Adam and Sheila.

I think it's odd but when I started to leave these BB9 posts, I thought for sure that Adam and Sheila would be gone soon into the season. Somehow they've both managed to stick around until the final four.

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Well, I'm plugging along and am almost finished with season 9 of "Friends." Soon I'll be starting the 10th and final season and I'm looking forward to it.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sox and Yanks, briefly

The Red Sox make their first trip to Yankee Stadium tonight to begin a brief, two game series with the Evil Empire. The Red Sox won 2 of 3 last weekend at Fenway.

I'll update the post after each game.

April 16- @ New York 15, Boston 9
WP= Hawkins (1-0), LP= Tavarez (0-1), SV= Bruney (1)
Yankees score most runs v. Red Sox @ Yankee Stadium in 54 years.

April 17- Boston 7, @ New York 5
WP= Beckett (2-1), LP= Mussina (1-3)
Ramirez hits homers 494 & 495 in Sox win.

The Red Sox now lead the seaon series 3-2. The next time these arch-rivals meet is July 3-6 back here at the House That Ruth Built.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2008 Patriots Schedule

The National Football League released the 2008 Schedule today. Here's what matters to me. Can the Patriots go 16-0 again? Can they get back to the Super Bowl and avenge last season's heartbreaking defeat to the New York Football Giants?

As I did last year, I've put the schedule over on the sidebar, with links to every opponent's team web site.

2008 New England Patriots Schedule (HOME GAMES IN BOLD CAPS)

9/7 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
9/14 @ New York Jets
9/21 MIAMI DOLPHINS
10/5 @ San Francisco 49ers
10/12 @ San Diego Chargers
10/20 DENVER BRONCOS
10/26 ST. LOUIS RAMS
11/2 @ Indianapolis Colts
11/9 BUFFALO BILLS
11/13 NEW YORK JETS
11/23 @ Miami Dolphins
11/30 PITTSBURGH STEELERS
12/7 @ Seattle Seahawks
12/14 @ Oakland Raiders
12/21 ARIZONA CARDINALS
12/28 @ Buffalo Bills

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Monday, April 14, 2008

No man is an island

Or so the saying goes.

But I very well could have been last Thursday when I had to go to court.

Yes, even I have to appease the powers that be occasionally, and the US Government, too.

No, I didn't go to court to fight a traffic ticket like last time.

This hearing was for child support adjustment.

I'd known about the date since mid-February and was justifiably nervous about it because you never know how these things will go. Back in January, K's attorney sent me a financial affidavit form, which I was to fill out and return, so my child support payments could be calculated.

Doing what seems to come most naturally, I procrastinated and didn't fill the thing out until a week ago Friday, so I could drop it off at the lawyer's office personally on my way to pick up V and M. Plus I had to get it notarized, which I also planned to do on my way north.

I lost some sleep on Tuesday, alternately thinking about the hearing and what I would say to the judge, what I had just watched of Friends, and what situations Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross could get themselves into and out of next.

Last time I had to go to court, I had trouble finding the courthouse and was almost late because the dumpy building it's located in doesn't look much like a courthouse, even though I had directions. Not to mention that parking meter happy Nashua has crappy parking around the courthouse and I had no quarters.

Wednesday night, I made sure that I had accurate directions and plenty of quarters for the parking meter. I also made sure I got plenty of rest so that I would be nice and alert for the hearing, which was scheduled to begin at 09:00 Thursday morning.

Because I was all prepared with the periphery, I was able to get to the courthouse with no problems. I arrived in the parking lot at 08:00 and decided to write out an outline of what I wanted to say. All of these things I had been rehearsing in my head for the week prior were now flowing easily onto the paper. I'm glad I wrote stuff down, 'cuz I get all nervous in situations like this when I have to speak in my own defense and may have forgotten something. I finished what I wanted to write at 08:30 and headed into the courthouse.

Entering the building, I had to empty all of my pockets and walk through the metal detector. Once I got through it and reassembled myself, I asked one of the security guys where the child support hearings would be. He suggested I go through the doors and into the juvenile court area. I repeated my question to the woman behind the glass who said that she didn't know either, but she thought it might be over at the other courthouse. She volunteered to call over there and find out for me, which was really helpful. The only problem was that she had to leave a message and told me she didn't know how soon they would return her call. I thanked her and decided to hurry my butt over to the other courthouse, on Spring Street. It was now 08:45. I had 15 minutes to get there.


View Larger Map

The other courthouse is the Hillsborough County Superior Courthouse, next to the Nashua Post Office. I ran the whole way and was quite winded when I got there. The route I took is shown in the map above.

It would have taken me two minutes to get there by car, so why didn't I drive, you ask?

For one, I had less than fifteen minutes to get there and parking there is worse there than where I was. Plus, I had just pumped almost all of the quarters I had into the meter and there was no way in heck I was going to lose out on all that time!

As I approached the courthouse, I knew that this was where I was supposed to be, as the building looked familiar. I had not had the need to go back to this courthouse at all since 2004, so it's not surprising that I went to the wrong building.

Once again I was required to empty out my pockets to get through security, which I did. Sure enough, posted on the wall immediately in front of me were signs listing the schedule for the day for each court room. I found out where I was supposed to be, which was courtroom five on the third floor. Fantastic. I'm out of breath and now I've got to climb six flights of stairs. It was 08:56. Four minutes to spare!

K and her attorney were obviously already there sitting in the hallway outside courtroom #5 when I arrived and deep in conversation. When they noticed me, K's attorney handed me the paperwork outlining her financial information and how much she was asking for per month. The attorney told me that if I agreed to it then she'd give the court the paperwork and we wouldn't have to go before the judge.

While I was still reading, the Bailiff called everyone into the court room for roll call to begin the day's proceedings. When my name was called I made sure that they knew I was there because the last time I went to court, I was almost counted as a no-show, even though I was there.

My eyes moved back down to the papers in my hand and I finished reading. I could not sign the agreement as it was written, so the three of us left the courtroom and went into a side room and worked out our differences. Not exactly to my liking, but good enough.

We still had to go back inside the court room and wait to be called, which took about 45 minutes. There were two other cases that were now ahead of us. These were divorces at the beginning of the process and were not nearly as cordial. They were, however, very interesting to watch.

Once we were called, it took less than three minutes to take care of what we came to do. After K's attorney left, we stood outside the courthouse for about 20 minutes talking. Even though the negotiation didn't go as well as I would have liked between K and me, and even though I didn't get a chance to use the bit that I had prepared to say to the judge, I'm okay with the way it went. Sure, I may have to pay more than I want to but I really can't put a dollar value on having a cordial, peaceful, non-combative relationship with my ex.

When I got back to my car, there was no ticket on my windshield and an hour and seventeen minutes left on the meter. It was a beautiful spring day in southern New Hampshire, pleasant but not too chilly. Best of all I had the rest of the day before me, as I took the whole day off from work.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

SNMR 4.22: "300"


Tonight's SNMR feature is "300" (2006, R, 117 minutes), starring Gerard Butler, Leona Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro and Vincent Regan. The film was directed by Zack Snyder.

I had wanted to see this film in the theater, but like many movies, never got around to it. Finally got a chance to see it the other day when I checked it out of the library.

HISTORICAL NOTES: King Xerxes (his Greek name) reigned from 486-465 BC. He is also known as Ahasuerus (in Hebrew) and Khshayarsha (in Persian). The events of this film take place between chapters 6 and 7 of the biblical book of Ezra. The Biblical book of Esther, in which Xerxes is a major character, takes place in Susa (or Shushan), one of the ancient capitals of Persia, from 483-473 BC. Susa was located in what is now the southwestern area of modern day Iran.

PLOT SUMMARY: A retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, in which King Leonidas of Sparta (Butler) goes to battle with 300 of his bravest, toughest soldiers against the legions of Persians under King Xerxes (Santoro). Back in Sparta, Queen Gorgo (Headey) must deal with the treacherous and treasonous Theron (West) and convince him to authorize the main Spartan army to join Leonidas in the battle against the Persian forces before it's too late.

MY THOUGHTS: I'm glad I waited and got to see this movie for free, rather than see it in the theater. The movie is graphically stunning with the combination of live action and CGI enhancements. The battle scenes are stunning and extremely bloody. The script is fair and the actors are good. Butler makes for a convincing Leonidas and Headey is excellent as the Queen. I wonder how accurate the movie is with the actual written history of the battle. What liberties did the writers and director take? There was, however, something unsatisfying about the story that just bothered me, though I can't say exactly what it is.

*** out of *****

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Friday, April 11, 2008

A Rivalry Renewed in 2008

The Yankees make their first appearance at Fenway Park this weekend. It's the first three of 18 games this season. The Red Sox will play a quick two games at Yankee Stadium next week. Both teams enter the series with 5-5 records.

As I did last year, I'll update this post with the results of each game.

April 11: New York 4, @ Boston 1
WP= Wang (3-0), LP= Timlin (0-1)
Wang hurls 2 hitter in series opener.

April 12: @ Boston 4, New York 3
WP= Beckett (1-1), LP= Mussina (1-2), SV= Papelbon (4)
Manny's 3 RBI pace Sox.

April 13: @ Boston 8, New York 5
WP= Matsuzaka (3-0), LP= Hughes (0-2)
Matsuzaka escapes with win, offense & bullpen bail out Sox.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

This week on BB9

In case you missed any of them, here's a summary of this week's episodes: Episode 24, Episode 25 and Episode 26.

James is out! It's about time, too. They should never have voted him back into the house. Now it's down to five: Sharon, Ryan, Natalie, Sheila and Adam. I have a feeling that Natalie is in danger of being nominated this week, because she's been playing all sides, with her alliance (of Ryan, Sheila and Adam), trying to strike a deal with James before his eviction and also trying to get a girls alliance going. She was telling everyone what they wanted to hear and everyone knows what she's been up to.

I'll admit, I cheated and looked on the BB9 cheater blog to see who won HoH this week, since it was an endurance competition and was going on long after the show ended last night. Sharon fell quickly. Ryan held on much longer but dropped after about three hours and then it came down to Sheila v. Natalie. Sheila won because Natalie gave up after a bit of negotiation. It will be interesting to see who Sheila nominates this week. I'd be surprised if she nominates Adam, since she told him that she would never do that to him after he nominated her last week. I have a feeling it's going to be Sharon and Natalie on the block this week but we shall see.

My favorite remaining house guest is still Sharon, whom they profiled on the show last night. She seems like a really caring person who would just about do anything for anyone. Some of the commenter's on the BB9 blog don't like Sharon's game but I think she's doing great. She's not making any waves, not lying behind other people's backs and not playing off of anyone. I think it's cool that she and Ryan have a secret alliance, which, as secret alliances should be, has remained a secret.

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I'm still flying through Friends and am now halfway through season 8, anticipating and enjoying every episode tremendously. I can tell you this - I have gained a great deal of respect for the acting ability of David Schwimmer, whom I used to think was way too whiny.

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I returned three DVD's to the library today that I never watched. Had them for two weeks, too. Hate it when I do that. So what did I do? Signed out four new DVD's, that's what. Maybe I'll watch one tonight for a later SNMR review....

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston, 84

One of the most iconic actors in American film history has died.

Charlton Heston, 84, passed away last night, unofficially from complications from Alzheimer's Disease. Official cause of death has not been released.

Heston was best known for his roles as Moses in "The Ten Commandments" (1956, shown below parting the Red Sea) and Ben-Hur in "Ben-Hur" (1959), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar in 1960. Heston also starred in the original "Planet of the Apes" (1968).

Trivia on Charlton Heston (from imdb):

His favorite food was peanut butter, and he took some with him everywhere, even overseas.

Was chosen to portray Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956) by Cecil B. DeMille because he bore an uncanny resemblance to the statue of Moses carved by Michelangelo.

Accepted the role in Ben-Hur (1959) after Burt Lancaster turned it down.

Has two films on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are The Ten Commandments (1956) at #79 and Ben-Hur (1959) at #56.

The actors he admired the most were Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Cary Grant and James Stewart.

In 1981, Heston was named co-chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Task Force for the Arts and Humanities. He served on the National Council for the Arts and was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild six times.

Heston has often been compared with his friend Ronald Reagan. Both actors started out as liberal Democrats but gradually converted to conservative Republicans, both served as Presidents of the Screen Actors Guild, both went into politics (Reagan as President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and Heston as President of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003), and both suffered from Alzheimer's disease in later life. Heston attended Reagan's state funeral on 11 June 2004.

During the Waco standoff in 1993, Heston was hired by the FBI to provide the voice of God when talking to David Koresh in an attempt to reason with him. The plan was never used. (That is so cool! It probably would have worked, too.)



Some of Heston's quotes (also from imdb):

(From a taped announcement concerning his having symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in 2002): "For an actor, there is no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can't part with you, which is why I won't exclude you from this stage in my life. ... For now, I'm not changing anything. I'll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring to my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you'll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway."

"What cannot be cured must be endured." (From his final televised interview in December 2002, regarding his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease)

"If you need a ceiling painted, a chariot race run, a city besieged, or the Red Sea parted, you think of me."

"There's a special excitement in playing a man who made a hole in history large enough to be remembered centuries after he died."

"If you can't make a career out of two de Milles, you'll never do it."

"You can take my rifle ... when you pry it from my cold dead hands!"

"Here's my credo. There are no good guns, There are no bad guns. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people."

"I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses. If that doesn't create an ego problem, nothing does."

"I've been killed often, on film, the stage, and the television tube. Studios insist the audience doesn't like this. It's been my experience that it makes them unhappy, but that's not the same thing. In any event, they often attend those undertakings where I come to a violent end even more enthusiastically than they do those where I survive. There may be a message for me somewhere there."

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

SNMR 4.21: "Kate & Leopold"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Kate & Leopold" (2001, PG-13, 118 minutes), starring Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer and Bradley Whitford. The film was directed by James Mangold.

This is one of those films that I always wanted to see, first in the theater and then on DVD, solely because of Meg Ryan. Since I had done neither of those until recently, this pick made sense when I saw it on the library shelf a few weeks ago.

PLOT SUMMARY: Duke Leopold of Albany (Jackman) is swept up in a "time portal" from 1876 to 2001, where he meets his great, great, great grandson Stuart (Schreiber) who is an inventor and his ex-girlfriend Kate (Ryan). Kate, a Manhattan advertising executive, lives in the apartment below him. She runs into Leopold and eventually they discover they are romantically attracted to each other but deny that they are in love. Leopold can't stay in the future though. He must go back to his own time, before the portal closes. Just before Kate is to receive a big promotion at work, she realizes that she loves him. But what will she do? Is it too late? Is he gone forever in the past?

MY THOUGHTS: This is a film that wisely focuses on kismet, etiquette, and fading traditions of chivalry rather than on time-travel.

It's not enough.

This film does put a slightly different twist on the old time travel theme, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, except in this case it is, because that whole aspect of the film is nothing more than an ignored plot-device to bring two improbable, unlikely characters together. Overall the script is weak and lackadaisical performances from the leading actors doom this film to a forgettable death on store shelves. Buy this DVD only if you are a woman who likes the Hugh Jackman eye candy.

I don't know if I was more disappointed in Ryan's performance, the hideous result of a nose job gone horribly wrong and too much botox in the lips or both. Please don't misunderstand, I can appreciate actors looking older from age and wanting to look younger, but I can't when a vain attempt to look younger goes horribly wrong. Meg, when you ruin your beautiful, memorable face with unnecessary plastic surgery, all you're left with is exactly that - a memory of what you had. Hugh Jackman's character is convincing in that his accent is British but that's it. His character adapts way too easily from 1876 New York to 21st century New York and to the use of modern technology that simply isn't realistic in such a short time span. The best actor in this disaster, um... film is Liev Schreiber who plays Ryan's ex, Stuart. Sadly he disappears for the middle of the film due to an "accident" and only reappears at the end because he's the scientist/inventor "time" guy and can fix everything.

Except for this film, of course.

*1/2 out of *****

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Weekly BB9 & Friends update

Here are the links to the recaps of this week's BB9 shows:

Episode 21, Episode 22 and Wednesday's Episode 23.

Going into the Wednesday show, Josh and Sharon are the nominees for eviction tonight. Sharon replaced James, who again won the PoV competition - mainly because Ryan didn't have confidence in his guesses - and obviously used the veto power on himself. I'll be seriously annoyed if Sharon gets voted off and Josh is allowed to stay. I cannot stand Joshuah. The kid absolutely drives me nuts. It will be interesting to see who wins the new HoH this week. Hopefully it will not be James, who I also cannot stand. I'd love to see Sharon get it, if she can manage to avoid eviction.

I'm so glad Joshuah is out and I'm glad Natalie didn't have to break a tie. Who knows how the vote would have gone if she would have had to do that? I was very pleased to see a bonding of the remaining women in the house. Once I saw that, I knew that Joshuah was outta there. I'm not surprised James was the only vote to keep Josh. I did feel bad for Sharon though, seeing her partner and friend get the boot. Oh, well, she'll survive.

Now its three girls vs. three guys and Adam has HoH for the second time in three weeks. Adam having the power makes it interesting, since I really have no clue who he might nominate this week. If I had to guess right now, I'd say James and Sheila. I like it that the pressure is constantly on James to keep winning veto to save himself. One of these weeks he's going to crack and lose the veto comp. James is one of the strongest players this season, even though I don't like him, so it's not a surprise that he's a target every week.

My favorite house guests as of now look like this: Sharon, Ryan, Natalie, Adam, Sheila and James.


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Well, I've just finished season six of Friends which ended with Chandler proposing to Monica. I wish they'd bring Ross and Rachel back together again... Please, don't spoil the final four seasons for me, ok? I have some vague ideas of what happens in these last seasons but not how it happens. That's the fun for me right now watching this series that has been off the air since 2004. The fact that I had absolutely no interest in this show before now absolutely baffles me, since the characters are around my age.

I definitely think I'm going to have to own this series on DVD myself someday. I did see the first five seasons at Wal-Mart for $20 a pop, which isn't a bad deal at all. I think that was a week or so ago, so we'll see if they still have them available for that price, when I get around to buying them.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Books of the Month - April 2008

The first Book of the Month selection for April is "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible", by Robert J. Hutchinson.



From the back cover: "The Bible was once regarded as the 'Good Book' ... but today is under attack from left wing academics, novelists and screenwriters to justify their own political agendas. But fear not: award-winning religious journalist Robert J. Hutchinson turns the truth about the Bible- as well as the latest biblical scholarship- against the mockers, skeptics and deniers to show that not only is the Bible true, but it is the source of Western ideas of charity, justice, reason, science and democracy. Hutchinson takes you on a fast-paced politically incorrect tour of the most important book ever written. The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible is a book that atheists fear and that honest inquirers and believers will relish."

You can purchase your copy here or here.

The second selection for this month is "The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail: The Misguided Quest to Destroy Your Faith", by Becky Garrison. This is the book that I received a free copy of for doing a little bit of price comaprison shopping, which I mentioned here.



From the back cover: "Restless from sitting on the sideline while the latest crop of New Atheists attempts to pulverize Christianity into oblivion, Becky Garrison - a professional religious satirist- has decided to throw down the gauntlet, pick up her pen and meet the anti-God gurus challenge head on in The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail.

Employing a whetted wit and unique spiritual perspective, Garrison wields her irreverent and insightful satire to turn aside the assaults of pop-atheists Dawkins, Harris and Dennett. The New Atheist Crusaders pours a cool, refreshing cup of reason on the most heated debates of our day, including:

Forget War- What is Religion Good For
God: Our Great Celestial Security Blanket
C'Mon, Religion and Science, Can't We Just Get Along?

As humorous as it is honest and as biting as it is poignant, this book will challenge your actions, reinforce your faith and inspire you to stand tall in your beliefs."

You can purchase your copy here or here.

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