"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, July 28, 2008

cha-ching

I thought this article was interesting. It talks about the 10 most expensive cities to live in in the United States.

You want to know which cities made the list? Read the article and click on the link that lets you go to the picture tour of these places.... nah, you don't have to. I'll tell ya.

The top two should be obvious. but here's the list anyway:

10. Washington D.C.
9. Boston, MA
8. Houston, TX
7. White Plains, NY
6. Chicago, IL
5. San Francisco, CA
4. Honolulu, HI
3. Miami, FL
2. Los Angeles, CA
1. New York, NY

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

SNMR 5.7: "The Simpsons Movie"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Simpsons Movie" (2007, PG-13, 87 minutes, animated), starring the voice talents of Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Pamela Hayden, Tress MacNeille and Albert Brooks. The film was directed by David Silverman.

PLOT SUMMARY: Homer has messed up again and has to try and fix his mistake to win back his family and the residents of Springfield before it's too late.. Polluted Lake Springfield can't take anymore waste. when Homer can't bring his silo of pig crap to the dump he hastily tosses it into the lake, turning it from polluted to toxic. When the residents of Springfield (and the EPA) find out, Homer and his family are forced into exile outside of Springfield. Meanwhile the EPA has domed off Springfield as hazardous waste and plans to annihilate the city.

MY OPINION: Three times as long does not equal three times better. It also doesn't mean three times worse, either. As far as The Simpsons go, we're dealing with the same stuff you'll find in the weekly show on television. If you're looking for something more, you're not going to find it here. When The Simpsons first debuted on television in 1989, I was a regular viewer. In the last 10+ seasons I've watched the show only occasionally; sporadically at best. Watching this movie was like going back in time that way.

As usual, the voice cast is excellent, ably helming the characters that have made The Simpsons part of American television history. If you've ever liked The Simpsons, then you'll like this movie. If you can't stand the television series, just go about your business like this movie never existed.


**½ out of *****

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Yankees - Red Sox @ Fenway part II

Any time the Yankees and Red Sox play, it's good entertainment.

Such is the case this weekend, as the Yanks make their 2nd of three trips to Fenway this season. So far this year the Red Sox hold a 5-4 series edge and are three games ahead of the Yankees in the standings entering tonight's action.

The pitching matchups for the weekend (results updated throughout the weekend):

July 25: Yankees 1, @ Red Sox 0
WP= Chamberlain (3-3), LP= Beckett (9-7), SV= Rivera (26)


July 26: Yankees 10, @ Red Sox 3
WP=Pettite (12-7), LP=Wakefield (6-8)


July 27: @ Red Sox 9, Yankees 2
WP=Lester (9-3), LP=Ponson (6-2)


After this series, the Sox will travel to New York for games August 26-28 and then Yankees will close out the regular season at Fenway, September 26-28.

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Plus, Patriots Training Camp opened on Thurdsay, in preparation for the 2008 season. Providing it doesn't rain, V, M and I, aong with my dad will be traveling to Foxboro on Sunday morning to check out the situation.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Big Brother 10

Big Brother 9 was amusing enough for me to be interested in seeing what Season 10 would offer.

Big Brother 10 House Guests



The point of the game is simple. A bunch of strangers are sequestered in a house and have to live together 24/7. Each week a Head of Household (HOH) is crowned. The HOH must nominate two other house guests for eviction. There are all sorts of competitions within the house each week, for HOH, for food perks vs. eating slop and for the Power of Veto (POV). POV is important because that person can decide to veto one of the HOH's nominations, forcing them to choose a replacement or not to do anything, leaving the nominations the same. Each week, one of the nominees is voted out of the house in a majority wins situation. The nominees are not allowed to vote and the HOH can only vote as a tiebreaker. Evicted house guests are sequestered for the rest of the season in separate locations. After the first five house guests are evicted the remaining evicted house guests form the jury, which will vote for the winner. The house guest left standing at the end wins half a million bucks.

The show airs on CBS three nights per week, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

We're two weeks into the summer edition of Big Brother. Thirteen new house guests, two of which have already been evicted.

Before I comment further, you ought to catch up on what you missed:

Episode 6
Episode 5
Episode 4
Episode 3
Episode 2
Episode 1

My impressions of the first two weeks:

The house decor is much better by far than what the house looked like in season 9.

Evicted week one: Brian (voted out 9-1)
Evicted week two: Steven (voted out 9-0)

I don't like Renny, Jessie or Libra.

My favorite house guests so far for the guys: Ollie, Jerry and Memphis. Dan is OK. You have to appreciate Jerry, a 75 year old ex-Marine, swimming with the kiddies.

My favorite house guests so far for the girls: Keesha, April and Angie. Even though Michelle is from Rhode Island, she does nothing for me.

This week's HOH: Keesha
I think she'll nominate Renny and Jessie this week. Just a guess, though.

I'm trying to stay away from these spoiler web sites. I don't get Showtime, so I can't watch BBAD and I don't care enough or have enough time to subscribe to the 24/7 Internet feed. Three hours a week - the regular network airings is enough BB for me.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From cardinals to robins... nature at work

Last Saturday my daughter discovered the robins nest. And when she told me about it I warned her not to touch it and not to get too close for fear she might be attacked by some extremely defensive birds. There were three small blue eggs in the nest, the warm summer sun keeping them warm. Meanwhile momma and poppa robin were out doing whatever it is that momma and poppa robins do with an expectant family on the way.

At least the cardinals of last summer had enough sense to build their nest in a thorny vine, out of reach from any predator of a mind not wanting to get pricked. These robins have no such sense. They built the nest in a large bush which happens to be next to the deck at my parent's house. Instead of building the nest safely in the middle of the bush, where we'd be none the wiser to its presence. This nest is in a place where any predator can get at it. Predatory birds, like blue jays, raccoons or even possibly enterprising squirrels or whatever. Any one of the people here could reach in and grab the nest and easily destroy it, if we so choose.

I can tell you that when I was taking these pictures, there was a lot of loud chirping going on and flipping about the trees adjacent to the nest. I think the robins deem me too large of a predator to attack, since I had to get really close to the nest to even attempt a decent picture.

Sometime between Saturday and today, all three of the eggs hatched. I went outside today and took these pictures as best as I could with a crappy cell phone camera. The picture of the robins nest with eggs in tact is not the nest in my yard. I found it on Google to share with you, since I had no camera available to use last Saturday.

One thing is good, though. When the robins are finished with the nest, recovery of it will be a snap.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures.








Semi-related wildlife note: we have several cardinals living in the trees here in the yard. I wonder if they are any of the birds from last summer's brood.

Unrelated wildlife note: We seem to have at least two rabbits nests in the yard somewhere, as there are wild bunnies in the yard almost constantly. One of the nests is under the first shed and the other is next to the house in the front yard, though I can't confirm that for certain. Rabbits are harmless. I like having them in the yard.

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Estelle Getty, 84

Estelle Getty, 84, died today in Hollywood, California, three days shy of her 85th birthday. Getty is best remembered for her role as Sophia Petrillo on "The Golden Girls" (1985-1992).


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

SNMR 5.6: "Bruce Almighty"





Tonight's SNMR feature is "Bruce Almighty" (2003, PG-13, 101 minutes), starring Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell and Catherine Bell. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac.

PLOT SUMMARY: Bruce Nolan (Carrey) is a television reporter who believes the entire universe is stacked against him. In a life-altering encounter, the Big Guy Upstairs (Freeman) endows Bruce with all of his divine powers and challenges Bruce to take on the big job to see if he can do it any better.

MY THOUGHTS: I've never been a huge fan of Jim Carrey. That being said, he seems to star in roles that are tailored to his very physical comedic style. This is a good thing because it would be hard to take Carrey seriously if he were to have a serious role in a dramatic film. I don't have to tell you that I'm a Jennifer Aniston fan (oops!!) because you already know that. This isn't her best role, but its certainly not her worst. She does nothing to mess it up, either. What can I say about Morgan Freeman? One of the best actors working today does a fantastic job in his role as God. I don't know of a lousy movie that he has been in or gives anything less than a top notch performance. Carrey's performance is enhanced in that this is the third film he and director Tom Shadyac have done together ("Liar Liar" and "Ace Ventura"), and they work well together. The script is good, but not great.

All in all a decent waste of 102 minutes of your valuable time.

*** out of *****

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Friday, July 18, 2008

No post no problem, eh?

I've had serious motivational issues this week when it comes to blogging. So many movies to watch and reviews to write, a post or two kicking around the old noodle for GvD and last weekend's adventures among other things.

Fortunately for you, I'll get to it all eventually.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

SNMR 5.5: "Alfie"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Alfie" (2004, R, 105 minutes), starring Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Omar Epps, Nia Long, Susan Sarandon, Jane Krakowski and Sienna Miller. The film was directed by Charles Shyer.

PLOT SUMMARY: In this updating of the 1966 Michael Caine film of the same name, Alfie (Law) is a man who loves women. Lots and lots of women. Problem is he's afraid of commitment. When Alfie makes the mistake that costs him his best friend, he does some serious soul searching. What does he discover about himself and his life?

MY OPINION: The only redeeming quality about this film is that Alfie gets exactly what he deserves. Jude Law gives his usual decent performance and the supporting cast of women (Tomei, Sarandon, Miller, Long and Krakowski) are very good in their limited scenes. I found it a bit disconcerting and annoying that the Alfie character talks directly to the camera for a good part of the film. The script isn't particularly well written and the talent of Law and company carries this film as far as they can - which isn't far.

*1/2 out of *****

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Hopefully it won't rain...

I'm going to see them tonight.... and have dinner at the Gator Pit, which is the barbeque/cookout area underneath some of the seats. All you can eat hot dogs, sausages, chicken wings, spare ribs, steak tips, salad, macaroni salad and corn on the cob, plus soda all for $25 and you get to see the game, too. What a deal!

I will tell you how the game went at some point with a nice, tidy update of this here post. Ciao!

The Lowell Spinners are the class A (short season) minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. There are actually four class A minor league teams in the Red Sox system, and Lowell is the second lowest level which means these are kids pretty much fresh out of college that likely won't have an impact in Boston for 3-5 years.

The Lowell Spinners (10-11) lost, 10-3 to the Jamestown (NY) Jammers (13-6), who were clearly the superior team tonight.

Still, it's good to get out to the ball park once in a while and have fun. And fun we had! We go to one Spinners game a year, with members of my mom's senior citizen program.

And towards the end of this month, V and M will get to experience their first live baseball game. More on that later.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

SNMR 5.4: "The Italian Job"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Italian Job" (2003, R, 111 minutes), starring Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland. The film was directed by F. Gary Gray.

PLOT SUMMARY From the DVD's dust case: The plan was flawless. The execution was perfect. Charlie Croker puled off the crime of a lifetime. The one thing he didn't plan on was being double crossed. Now he wants more than the job's payoff... he wants payback. Now, Croker and his team take off to re-steal the loot and end up in a pulse pounding, petal to the metal chase that careens up, down, above and below the streets of Los Angeles.

MY OPINION: When I first borrowed this DVD from the library I wasn't sure what to expect. I borrowed it primarily because Charlize Theron was in it. Even though the library copy was scratched and skipped a lot, I absolutely loved this movie - so much that I bought a copy for myself. Mark Wahlberg has quickly become one of my favorite actors. I've been impressed with his performance in every film that I've seen him in and this film is no exception. The cast overall is superb, with Charlize Theron, Ed Norton, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland. F. Gary Gray does a great job directing this film. The script is well written, fast paced, filled with action and has wonderfully filmed chase sequences. This film reminds me a lot of Ocean's Eleven - a smart, exciting caper film with a phenomenal ensemble cast. Personally, I can't see the appeal of driving a small death trap-like car like the Mini Cooper, but in this film they definitely are cool.

The special features on the DVD are excellent with five making of-type featurettes each focusing on a different part of the production and some interesting deleted scenes.

I definitely want to check out the original film with Michael Caine and I'm looking forward to seeing the sequel for this film,"The Brazilian Job" (scheduled for 2009 release), since it will have the same director and main cast back for another go-round.

Back to this film: Rent it, buy it, borrow it. Whatever. If you like action flicks, then you need to see this film. Really, you do.

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

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

With the weather here in this part of the country being cool and overcast with some light rain today, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to see the fireworks with V and M tonight.

Sure it's the 232nd birthday of the United States - that little thing we call Independence Day. And what fun would this holiday be with out fireworks? Then I decided that we should go, since the last time I watched fireworks was with V and M - in 2005 and they were really looking forward to going with me.

The fireworks in Nashua began at 21:00 at Holman Stadium. We had to park about a mile away since the main parking lot and all of the streets close to the stadium were full. It took us about 30 minutes to walk to and from the stadium, which was actually fine, since it was good exercise and it did not rain the whole evening.

The fireworks actually lasted for a full 30 minutes and were excellent. Lots of bright colors and lots of loud noise. I was worried that we wouldn't get good seats on the lawn surrounding the stadium but we actually managed to find great seats. So good in fact that the fireworks were going off literally above our heads. We managed to have some of the firework debris/ashes land on our blanket and in our hair.


The pictures here are not from the fireworks display we saw tonight but rather just some random pictures I found when I googled images of fireworks tonight for this post.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July celebration, where ever you are.

===

Today is also Aphelion, which is when the Earth is as far away from the sun as it will get this year, a distance of 94,513,190 miles.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Red Sox @ Yankees for the holiday

The Sox and Yankees haven't played since April and meet this holiday weekend for four games at the Stadium in New York. This is the first time since 1997 that a Sox Yankees series hasn't featured one of the two teams in first place. The Sox are in 2nd place by 3 1/2 games and the Yankees are in 3rd place, 8 games behind the surprising Tampa Bay Rays.

The Red Sox hold a 3-2 series edge so far in the season series entering tonight's game. As always, I'll update the post throughout the weekend

The pitching matchups:

July 3: Red Sox 7, @ Yankees 0
WP= Lester (7-3), LP= Pettite (9-6)

July 4: Red Sox 6, @ Yankees 4
WP=Beckett (8-5), LP=Rasner (4-7), SV=Papelbon (25)

July 5: @ Yankees 2, Red Sox 1
WP=Mussina (10-6), LP=Masterson (4-3), SV=Rivera (23)

July 6: @ Yankees 5, Red Sox 4 (10)
WP=Rivera (3-3), LP=Papelbon (3-3)

These two archrivals will play three more at Fenway, July 25-27.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Six unspectacular quirks o' mine

At some point in the past, I borrowed this from dabich.
I'm not posting any rules, since no one follows them anyway,

Six "unspectacular" quirks that I have.


Here we go:


1) I don't get creeped out by many things, but someone else's stray hair stuck to the bar of soap in the shower gives me the heebie-jeebies. Someone else's stray hair stuck to the wet shower walls are almost as creepy. I make darn sure none of my stray hair remains on the soap (or on the walls of the shower for that matter) when I'm done washing myself. Please extend me the same courtesy. Oh, and no stray visible hair clogging the drain, either. That's just as bad as stray hair on the walls.

2) My ex-wife asked me once if I minded sleeping on floral-patterned sheets. I promptly told her that I do not care one bit if the sheets I sleep on are flowery, striped, polka-dotted, solid, checked, plaid or whatever. I go to bed (primarily) to sleep, not to look at the linens.

3) Nightlights and wall clocks that tick loudly/make noise: Can't stand either of them. Like Dracula, I need total darkness and total peace and quiet when I sleep. (One exception would be my (eventual) partner lightly snoring next to me - that and the warmth of a female body next to mine is actually quite soothing.) Nightlights blare like the midday sun in a room I'm trying to sleep in. Little ambient noises like clocks ticking or water dripping seem magnified in a quiet dark room. Both of these things will keep me awake. I needs mah beauty sleep, goshdarnit! Can't you tell it's not working!!

4) When I sleep alone on a large mattress, I tend to lay diagonally.

5) Doesn't bother me to have uncoordinated towels/washcloths in the bathroom. Nor do the pillowcases on my bed pillows have to match with the sheets. See #2.

6) More on linens/sheets: I absolutely cannot fold them neatly when they come out of the dryer, so my sheets are usually wrinkled ( I can fold the pillowcases, though). Just like the patterns, wrinkled sheets bother me not (see #2). AND I make my bed all nice-and-neat-like only once a week when I change the sheets. Otherwise the covers get hastily pulled up in the morning.

BONUS QUIRK: I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I like to put grape jelly on top of my grilled cheese sandwiches. Speaking of cheese sandwiches, please - any cheese but American. Swiss or Provalone are the preferred cheeses for sandwiches.


There are a few people I'd love to see do this but I'm not tagging anyone. If you're gonna do it, do it! Ultimately, I'd love to see you all play along but I know that's not gonna happen.

Do it, don't do it, whatever. However, please let me know if you DO do it, so I can visit and read your responses! If you did it already because you were tagged by someone else, let me know that too, so I can read your responses also.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Books of the Month - July 2008

The last time I featured one of John Stott's books was back in August 2007.

Honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World," John R. W. Stott is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). He has written many books which have sold millions of copies around the world and in dozens of languages. A hallmark of Stott's ministry has always been expository preaching that addresses the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women. Here is a book written by one who for a lifetime has followed Christ with heart, mind, soul and strength.

The first selection this month is "The Incomparable Christ."



Stott examines four viewpoints of Jesus:

The Original Jesus-- How does the New Testament witness to Jesus in the Gospels, Acts and Letters?

The Ecclesiastical Jesus-- How the church has presented him from Justin Martyr, Benedict and Anselm, to Thomas á Kempis, Luther and Jefferson, to Guitierrez, Wright, and the Edinburgh and Lausanne missionary confessions of the twentieth century.

The Influential Jesus-- How he has inspired people from St. Francis to Tolstoy, from Gandhi to Roland Allen, from Father Damien to William Wilberforce.

The Eternal Jesus-- How he challenges us today through ten visions from the book of Revelation.

In recent years numerous books have been written on Jesus, books that are shaped by faith or skepticism or follow the Western academic quest for the historical Jesus. The result has been a kaleidoscope of Jesuses, a thicket of viewpoints, some troubling to faith, some puzzling to the intellect, and a few that enrich our vision as they explore familiar terrain from new and promising angles.

But the criteria of Scripture's testimony and the effective power of Jesus in lives and history point to a multidimensional Christ who defies categorization and measurement. Jesus is the one figure who, like no others, has changed lives, shaped culture and offers one sure hope for the future. He is the incomparable Christ.

This is the Jesus who is like no other--worthy
of our worship, our confession and our obedience as we follow him into the future.

Purchase your copy here and here.

The second selection this month is "The Cross of Christ."




Stott says, "I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross... In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?"

With compelling honesty John Stott confronts this generation with the centrality of the cross in God's redemption of the world---a world in which our world is shaken everyday by tragedy of some sort.

Can we see triumph in tragedy, victory in shame? Why should an object of Roman distaste and Jewish disgust be the emblem of our worship and the axiom of our faith? What does the cross mean for us today?

In his eminently readable style, one of the foremost preachers and Christian leaders of our day brings a contemporary restatement of the meaning of the cross. The cross where the majesty and love of God is disclosed, and the sin and bondage of the world exposed. More than a study of the atonement, this book brings Scripture into living dialogue with Christian theology and the twentieth century. What emerges is a pattern for Christian life and worship, hope and mission.

* A masterpiece from one of the most respected Christian teachers which explores all the facets of the cross and its implication for our lives.

* A classic study on the heart of the Christian faith that examines Scripture, tradition and modern experience with regard to the cross.

* Biblically precise, thoughtful, thorough and filled with practical passion.

Purchase your copy here or here.

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