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

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

SNMR 7.21: "Adventures in Babysitting"

GREEN'S "I'M A FUGITIVE NOW" REVIEW:

Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) is going on a big date with her "boyfriend" - until he cancels at the last minute. Which leaves Chris open to babysit for the Andersons, Brad (Keith Coogan)and Sara (Maia Brewton), a totally depressing come down. All plans for a quiet evening dissolve when Chris' best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) needs rescuing from a downtown Chicago bus station, forcing Chris to take the kids into the city where the fun and adventure begins...

This is one of those rare movies that came out in 1987, when I worked at the local movie theater, that I had no interest in seeing because the title alone made the movie seem a waste of time. I don't remember the circumstances in which I saw this film for the first time but it was years later. When I saw it in the $5 DVD bin about a year ago I couldn't help buying it just for kicks. I recently suggested my daughter watch it and she enjoyed it immensely.

What I found from the start was a movie that had a good music soundtrack and was actually quite funny. Yes, the situations in the film are quite comical and unrealistic, but that's okay. You need to watch this film with the mindset that it's a good bit of fluff.

The main cast give excellent performances for such young actors, especially annoying best friend Daryl (Anthony Rapp). The supporting cast is also good - like John Ford Noonan, who plays Handsome John Pruitt.

This film is the debut of Chris Columbus as a director, after some earlier success as a writer (Gremlins, The Goonies). While Columbus will never be accused of being an Academy Award winning director, his films usually do pretty well at the box office. This film provided the base for a successful directorial career. I'm actually looking forward to watching the first Percy Jackson film this year, which Columbus directed.

This remains writer David Simkins only foray into feature film writing as most of his career has been writing for various television series. It's a decent script, continuing in a genre that had really only begun to be explored by the late John Hughes, who made a career of films about teens.

One of the neat things about a film like this is that, in a cast of virtually unknowns, we get to see early versions of those actors who have actually put together decent careers in the 22+ years since this film was first released in July of 1987, such as Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bradley Whitford and Penelope Ann Miller.

If you haven't watched this movie lately, may I suggest revisiting it? I think you'll enjoy it.


***½ out of *****

Adventures in Babysitting (1987, PG-13, 102 minutes), starring Elisabeth Shue, Keith Coogan, Anthony Rapp, Maia Brewton and Penelope Ann Miller. Written by David Simkins. Directed by Chris Columbus.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baby Talk

My 12 year old daughter emailed this to me yesterday and I thought I'd share.

Baby Talk

What your baby would tell you if he could talk:

1. I have my blankie, you have your caffeine. Enough said.

2. Don't be jealous, but I think I'm in love with the ceiling fan.

3. I know where the remote control is, but it'll cost you.

4. To you, it's just an empty egg carton; to me it's PlayStation 2.

5. Actually, I don't mind sitting in a bathtub that I've peed in.

6. Bang a screwdriver slowly and steadily into your gums. That's what teething feels like.

7. Two words I'd rather not hear from you: rectal thermometer.

8. There's no point in teaching me to say "mama" or "dada." My first word is going to be "hat."

9. I've told you five times what cow says. If you can't remember, I'm not telling you again.

10. There is no question that I can cry longer than you can listen.

11. I'm not just wildly throwing my food. I'm exploring the laws of gravity, estimating mass, and testing wind velocity.

12. If you wanted a good sleeper, you should have gotten a cat.

13. Who dat baby in the mirror you keep asking me about?

14. If my bottom is so darn cute, why is someone always trying to cover it up?

15. Who are you two to tell me how important it is to sleep alone?

16. What you secretly believe is true: I am much smarter than other babies.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nothing much going on

There's not much going on this week that is worth blogging about. Monday was unusually warm and rainy, which allowed much of the snow on the ground to melt. I'm always all for that.

The days seem to go by quickly. Seems like I just got out of bed and now it's getting dark already.

I had a nice exchange with some of my Facebook friends today, even though they live in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Both cities are in the United Arab Emirates for those of you geographically challenged. This is one of the benefits I find useful with Facebook, though one of them I 'met' by reading her blog a few years ago (and hopefully she will start blogging again). Technology truly is wonderful, allowing virtually instant conversation almost half way around the world with wonderful people I otherwise would not even be aware of.

I got a book in the mail today that I ordered from amazon.com marketplace, though I thought I was buying the hardcover book and instead was sent the softcover version. I've put an email in to the seller to hopefully be able to make an exchange. For books that I want to keep as part of my personal library I prefer in hardcover because they last longer than the paperback editions, if properly taken care of.

I always tell my kids that you can never have enough books, and I am living proof of that mantra. This also applies to movies and television shows on DVD.

I'm going to try and have a new profile picture taken tonight - one that I can upload to Blogger and Facebook. The picture I currently have was taken in July 2008 and I discovered recently, has been in use as my profile picture for exactly one year today.

I need to try and write at least one movie review tonight, maybe two.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

SNMR 7.20: "In the Name of the King"

GREEN'S "I'M GONNA KICK YOUR BUTT WITHOUT WEARING ANY ARMOR" REVIEW:

Farmer (Jason Statham) is a man who wants no part of fame or fortune. He just wants to protect and provide for his family. When his farm and village is ransacked by evil beasts called Krugs, Farmer is forced into action to rescue his wife from the clutches of the evil sorcerer (Ray Liotta) and avenge the murder of his son. Why does Farmer haunt the dreams of the evil sorcerer? Hmmmm....

I borrowed this movie from the library for two reasons: the first being I liked Jason Statham in the remake of "The Italian Job" and I have a soft spot for movies set in the medieval period of history. I'm glad I didn't pay to see this movie.

Films set in medieval times are either really good or really bad. I don't know of any that fall somewhere in the middle. While this movie is typical medieval themed fare it falls short due to a mediocre script and some odd casting choices. Statham is believable as Farmer, but the fact that he fights using martial arts moves and wears no armor is a bit curious. It's nice to see Ron Perlman au-natural, instead of all made up, as in the Hellboy films (remember the 1980's TV series "Beauty and the Beast"?) John Rhys-Davies gets a pass based on reputation.

Here's where the casting gets weird: Ray Liotta is a decent enough actor but is out of place as the evil sorcerer seeking world domination. Burt Reynolds makes for an odd choice of king, nowhere near as credible as Bernard Hill's Theoden in "LOTR" or Sir Sean Connery in his "Robin Hood" cameo.

The female cast is fine, including Leelee Sobieski, Kristianna Loken and Claire Forlani. The actor who steals this movie is quite unexpected. Matthew Lillard - the dude who played Shaggy in those abhorrent Scooby-Doo live action monstrosities - absolutely takes his character to the next level, sort of like a Mordred in the King Arthur legend but with an evil-jovial slant.

German director Uwe Boll does a fine enough job keeping everything together, given the material. The film's run time of 127 minutes seems a bit long.

The behind the scenes featurette included on the DVD is worthwhile to watch. If you're not expecting too much then this is a decent enough movie, I suppose.


** out of *****

In the Name of the King (2008, PG-13, 127 ninutes), starring Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys Davies, Claire Forlani, Kristianna Loken, Burt Reynolds, Matthew Lillard and Ron Perlman. Based on the video game "Dungeon Siege" by Chris Taylor. Story by Jason Rappaport, Dan Stronack and Doug Taylor. Screenplay by Doug Taylor. Directed by Uwe Boll.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Barack Obama: Let Year 2 Begin!

It is incredibly unrealistic and just a wee-bit unfair to think that one year of the Obama Administration can fix all of the stuff gone bad (understatement o' the century) in eight years of George W. Bush as prez.

I do believe, given the full scope of Obama's term(s) as President, that history - 40 or 50 years from now - will show him to have been one of our country's better Presidents. The problem now is that yokels want to judge the whole of Obama's Presidency based on the first year.

Can't do that.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010)

Springfield, Massachusetts native Robert B. Parker,77, died suddenly yesterday of an apparent heart attack, while sitting at his writing desk inside his Cambridge home. Tests are pending to determine the official cause of death. Parker was best known for his Spenser novels which accounted for 37 of the 65 books he had published during his career. His writing idols included Raymond Chandler, whose tough hard boiled style Parker emulated. For three seasons Spenser: For Hire (1985-1988) was a popular television show, starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks, which I watched regularly as a kid.

I had an English teacher once (can't remember which grade I was in) who knew and was a classmate of Mr. Parker. She mentioned his work many times during class.

Here are the links to both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald stories, reporting on his death:

Boston Globe

Boston Herald

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

SNMR 7.19: "Inkheart"

GREEN'S "DUCT TAPE... I LOVE DUCT TAPE" REVIEW:

A couple of months ago I watched this movie with my kids. I recently watched it again in order to write this review.

Mortimer Folchart is a rare person sometimes referred to as a Silvertongue. They are people with the gift (or curse) that when they read out loud, the characters from the stories come to life and out of their world into ours. The problem is someone from our world is sucked into the story world. Mo is an old book doctor who restores old books, in part so he can look for a certain book and find his wife who disappeared nine years ago. Now Mo must get help from other characters in the story in order to defeat Capricorn and his gang, as well as the author himself.

Andy Serkis is wonderfully wicked as the evil Capricorn. Young Eliza Bennett shows excellent promise for the future as daughter Meggie Folchart. The rest of the cast, including Brendan Frasier as Silvertongue, Paul Bettany as Dustfinger and Helen Mirren as are good but not great. Director Iain Softley is adequate as director here, a bit of a letdown from his previous directorial effort.

Apparently the children's book of the same name, by Cornelia Funke, is immeasurably better. I have it but have not read it yet. The film seems to be missing something that I can't readily identify that would have made this a much better movie. Maybe if they made movies out of the other two books in the trilogy they would be collectively better as a whole.

It's not the best movie you'll ever see, but it's not the worst either.


**½ out of *****

Inkheart (2008, PG, 106 minutes), starring Brendan Frasier, Eliza Bennett, Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent and Rafi Gavron. Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire and based on the novel by Cornelia Funke. Directed by Iain Softley.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

NFL playoffs

I think the Saints will win 31-27.

I think the Colts will win 28-20.

I think Dallas will win 35-28.

I think San Diego will win 42-21.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

First time for everything

They've visited me before. I've even been known to invite them in to talk on occasion. But in all my life, never have two Mormon women come a knocking at my door. It's always been two men (or boys), church "elders" who most often have not even started shaving yet. Even though its a robust 25 degrees outside, I still went out and talked to them for a good five minutes. I probably would have talked to them longer had I warmer clothing on or maybe even invited them in out of the cold.

If you know me, you know that I don't generally shy away from a good religious conversation.

Imagine that. Mormon women going door to door. How progressive.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Car maintenance sucks.

Last night I finally had the means to buy a new battery for my car. Today my brother helped me install it (I'm mot very mechanically inclined when it comes to cars.) and it worked. Sucker started up on the first try!! WOOT!!

Then I went to an auto parts store that advertises free starter and alternator checks, except for the kid couldn't get a good connection to the battery and told me I needed to replace it. "Yeah right, kid." I told him that the battery was brand new and was definitely not the problem.

Next I tried the repair shop that has worked on my car before. This time the guy told me that the alternator and starter units were working fine but that I needed a new battery. To which I repeated the same new battery story. Why in the heck do they need to make car batteries with the terminal connections on the side? And then jam all kinds of crap real close so the terminals are not easily accessible or downright hidden from view? Topping it off, my car's engine has the washer fluid reservoir right above the battery and an engine support bar on top of that. What a dumb ass engine design that is. No wonder why GM vehicles generally suck.

But I digress.

The bad news is what the auto repair garage guy tells me next: that the AC Compressor is making noise and is on the way out AND that it could eat away at the belts in the engine sooner rather than later. And if the belts go, I lose all engine control and power steering. Niiice! Just what I don't need.
New AC Compressor installed... $765.00. {ack!}

OR... they can install a bypass pulley and avoid the AC compressor all together for $275.00 including a new belt.

With over 134K miles on my eleven year old car, can you guess which way I'm going?

Seriously, I never use the AC even on the hottest of days. I'd rather roll down the window in the warm weather anyway. This repair will have to wait until next week. Appointment already made for next Wednesday.

Just so happens that this garage is within 100 yards of Five Guys in Nashua, and it was lunchtime, so off I went while my car was being analyzed and diagnosed. Good eating.

Also went to get my $9 core charge back for returning the old battery and stopped to get a much needed haircut. Finally a car wash for the salty vehicle before....

I got home and was reminded that I was on dinner duty tonight. {sigh}

But I tell you, it's nice to have my car back in a reasonably working condition.

What a day...

Early day tomorrow, too...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

J-j-j-job F-f-f-fair

It stinks not having a working vehicle. That fact made yesterday a more tiring day than it needed to be. But that's a story for another post.

The job fair I went to yesterday was at the Colonnade Hotel in downtown Boston, from 11:00-14:00. I hadn't had a reason to go to Boson in quite some time. Always interesting when you visit a big city.

I packed my book bag with my resumes, job fair info, bus schedules and some reading material for the trip the night before so I'd be all ready to go in the morning.

When I walked out of the house yesterday morning at about 08:15, the first thing I saw was six or seven squirrels on or around the bird feeder. They pretty much scattered to the surrounding trees when they saw and heard me coming.

It was very cold and windy yesterday morning, 19°F, and a great day for a walk (NOT!). I didn't want to wear a hat and mess up my carefully combed hair (yes, I need a haircut in the worst way), but I brought one with me. I certainly didn't want to give myself hat head before the fair, so my head and ears froze quite quickly during the mile walk to the bus stop. About halfway there I realized I forgot to bring a small packet of tissues. Cold induced runny noses suck.

The bus came after about ten minutes. I pumped my quarters into the fare counter and found a seat at the back of the bus. The bus driver must have driven like a madman because we arrived at the bus terminal/subway station about nine minutes ahead of schedule. After I bought a fare card for the subway, I had no problem changing lines and getting to my destination by 10:15. Good thing for me the entrance to the hotel was right in front of me as I exited the subway station. Man, when that wintery wind starts whippin' through those city streets, surrounded by all those tall buildings.... brrrrrr.
After about twenty minutes of waiting, we were told that a line was forming for entrance into the ball room where the exhibitors tables were set up. The line started in the cocktail room right outside the ball room, wrapped itself around the walls and out the door into the corridor. Good thing for me I got there early.

Waiting in line there was an above average looking woman standing in front of me, with her hair combed back into one large unbraided ponytail, who apparently was married and didn't speak English as her primary language. I believe it was French she was speaking but not quite sure. The woman behind me was even better looking, with just below shoulder length straight brown hair and large, penetrating blue eyes. I never spoke to her but made excuses to look behind me several times so I could check her out. She would have been about my height, if not for the black heels she wore. She seemed intent on texting someone from her cell phone keyboard. She looked to be 10 or more years younger than me, maybe more. Hard to tell sometimes.

When the doors finally opened and we were let in, the room filled up fast. I made two circuits around the room in about 45 minutes, talked to about ten people - some longer than others, gave out four or five copies of my resume, got some nice free pens, a mouse pad, water bottle and other free stuff exhibitors always bring to these events.

Most of the companies represented were looking for the dreaded sales people. Commission-only based sales, which I simply have not the personality or skill set for. One guy was even looking for cold-call telemarketers. Now that's a rough gig. Been there done that - briefly.

I would say that it was worthwhile to go to this job fair, even if the most promising conversation I had was with another staffing agency, one of whose areas of expertise is the career field I can't seem to get away from. Another company was a radio broadcasting group, whose two current stations play hip hop and dance music. I heard the guy I ended up speaking to tell another guy that they were going to convert another station they owned into a news/talk format. That interested me because back in the day I was the afternoon news guy for a small AM station.

I was out of there by 11:45, happily donning my warm, head and ear covering bunny fuzz hat, since now I didn't care if I messed up my hair or not. If I had looked at my outbound bus schedule I would have left about 10 minutes earlier. By the time I got through the subway and back to the bus terminal it was 12:25. The bus I needed left at 12:20 with the next bus not scheduled until 13:20.

Here I was thinking how nice it would be to have my car working, so I wouldn't have had to spend time waiting for the bus. I could have just gone up to where my car was parked and would have gotten home by 13:30 at the latest.

There was no wind in the semi protected bus terminal, but it was still cold sitting there on the bench. I'd have waited down below, back where it was a little warmer (closer to the subway train) if there had been any place to sit.

Good thing I had something to read while waiting. I had also brought some Powerade and granola bars and spent some time amusing myself by throwing some crumbs at the two dirty, fat pigeons walking the floor near where I was sitting. Why do pigeons have to move their heads back and forth every time they take a step? All that head bobbing was near to giving me a head ache.

The final bus ride was uneventful. I read for most of it but then found myself dozing off, enough for a 15 minute snooze. By the time I completed the mile walk home it was about 14:45.

Long day for all of 45 minutes. Longer than it should have been. Lousy car.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Not sure I like this

The first three films were excellent. With the main cast and director returning for the fourth installment, what could go wrong?

Apparently everything.

Now I'm totally questioning the wisdom of the proposed franchise reboot, set for the summer of 2012, with a new cast and new director.

Maybe Sony Pictures ought to be satisfied with three successful movies and concentrate on something else.

Until I read otherwise, I'm definitely skeptical. Maybe I'll be proved wrong - maybe not. Lots of variables, too many questions.

Only time will tell....

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

SNMR 7.18: "Don't Say A Word"

GREEN'S "YOU'RE BETTER AT THIS STUFF THAN I AM" REVIEW:

Dr. Nathan Conrad (Douglas) is a brilliant psychologist who is asked by a colleague (Platt) to take a case pro-bono. That case is Elisabeth Burrows (Murphy), a young girl stuck in a psycho hospital since witnessing the murder of her father ten years prior by the bad guys. Conrad's daughter is kidnapped by the baddies, who stole a little red diamond/ruby ten years earlier and was stolen from them by Elisabeth's father, which now they want back. In order to retrieve the jewel they need a seven digit number which only Elisabeth knows and knows what it is for and refuses to tell.

The main reason I chose this movie to review now is directly related to the death of 32 year old actress Brittany Murphy a little less than a month ago.

I remember renting this movie shortly after it came out on VHS, probably on the strength of Michael Douglas being on my top ten list of favorite actors. I bought it on DVD a few years ago when I saw it in the irresistible $5 bin at the store.
This is not one of Douglas' career best performances but he's a good enough actor that he can still be believable. Famke Janssen and Jennifer Esposito are good in their roles as the immobile wife and brave polive homicide detective trying to solve a seemingly unrelated murder case. Sean Bean has made a career out of playing the misunderstood bad guy and does it quite well. Of course, this movie was another breakout role for Brittany Murphy, who is very convincing as the psych patient.

Director Gary Fleder seems to be a competent director, having helmed films such as Kiss the Girls before and Runaway Jury after making this movie, both of which I liked.

The DVD version I watched had a plethora of short but well-made extras, including cast and director interviews and a neat storyboard vs. live action sequence of two scenes.

I've not read the book but apparently it and the movie have major differences, or so I read somewhere, which is not unusual in book to film adaptations. It is a decent enough movie, despite the many plot holes ably pointed out by a viewer who commented on IMDb in 2007. The run time is a tidy 113 minutes; not too short and not too long. It is definitely worth borrowing from the library if you haven't seen it in a while.


*** out of *****

Don't Say A Word (2001, R, 113 minutes), starring Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Jennifer Esposito, Oliver Platt and Skye McCole Bartusiak. Based on the novel by Andrew Klavan. Screenplay by Anthony Peckham and Patrick Smith Kelly. Directed by Gary Fleder.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 NFL Playoffs - Wild Card Weekend



#5 New York Jets (9-7) at #4 Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) {-2½; O/U 34}:

This game is one of three rematches from last week's regular season finale. This time the game is being played in Cincinnati, rather than in the swamps of New Jersey. With virtually nothing to play for the Bengals got a whuppin handed to them, losing 37-0.

"I'm excited about the playoffs," says Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer. "We've got a very resilient team. We're ready to make a playoff run. There's no better way to rectify a loss than to beat that same team the next week."

I think Cincinnati has the advantage this week simply because home field advantage in the NFL is huge. The Jets had over 250 rushing yards last week which will not happen this week. Cincinnati will put 8 or 9 in the box and force Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez to beat them by throwing the ball. The Bengals are counting on rookie mistakes leading to turnovers.

Defensively the Jets will be tough to run on but Bengals RB Cedric Benson didn't play last week. Benson has solidified the Begals rushing attack all year. The main weapon for the Bengals in the passing attack is #85, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson. He needs to have a big day against Jets All Pro CB Darrelle Revis.

The winner of this game will likely play at Indianapolis next Saturday night.
MY PREDICTION: @ Cincinnati Bengals 24, New York Jets 20; ACTUAL RESULT: NY Jets 24, @ Bengals 14




#6 Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) @ #3 Dallas Cowboys (11-5) {-4; O/U 45}:

This game is the second of three rematches from last week's regular season finale. This game is once again being played in Dallas.

How hard is it to beat a team three times in one season? Very hard. Dallas won in Week 9 at Philly 20-16 and last week 24-0. I believe Dallas will win this game. Philadelphia, if it had won, would have been the NFC East champs, the NFC's #2 seed and on a bye this week. Instead they are back in Dallas playing their hated rivals again.

"There’s a positive amongst the negative," says Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who is 4-0 in the Wild Card round. "The positive is that you’re in the playoffs and very seldom do you have an opportunity to play a team that just beat you. We have that opportunity to correct ourselves. I expect everyone, coaches and players, to figure out the problem, get back out and execute. That’s what we have to do."

If you are Philadelphia, how can you get motivated for a game like this? For one, not wanting to lose a third game to your arch rival in the same season, especially after playing so poorly the week before.

QB Tony Romo has to continue to play well if the Cowboys are to win their first playoff game since 1996. The Eagles need to get DeSean Jackson back on track. He's the best receiver they have.

MY PREDICTION: @ Dallas Cowboys 27, Philadelphia Eagles 21; ACTUAL RESULT:







#6 Baltimore Ravens (9-7) @ #3 New England Patriots (10-6) {-3 1/2; O/U 43}:

This game is a rematch, not from Week 17 but from Week 4. The Patriots won 27-21, also at Gillette Stadium, holding on to thwart a late Ravens drive. This is the first playoff meeting between these teams. The Ravens are 0-5 lifetime vs. New England.

The Patriots are without Wes Welker due to a torn ACL/MCL knee injury suffered last week. There is no doubt his absence will hurt this week. The Patriots still have offensive weapons which they must utilize because it's a given that the Ravens will double cover WR Randy Moss. That means that screen passes to RB Kevin Faulk and the other running backs and more use of TE's Ben Watson and Chris Baker.

"We’re in the same position as last year where we had to win to get in," says Ravens RB Willis McGahee, "Once we get in, we know we can do damage. And now we’re in the playoffs."

Defensively for the Patriots the key is stopping RB Ray Rice who is speedy and elusive running and catching the ball. The Ravens also have RB Willis McGahee and a good bunch of receivers that will challenge the Patriots secondary.

One benefit for the Patriots, I believe, will be the cold game time temperatures, though no snow is in the forecast for Sunday.

The Patriots are a perfect example of a team that benefits from the home stadium, being one of two teams to have a perfect home record this season. Never bet against a Tom Brady led offense and a Bill Belichick coached team. They rarely lose home playoff games, though it won't be easy.

MY PREDICTION: @ New England Patriots 31, Baltimore Ravens 27; ACTUAL RESULT:










#5 Green Bay Packers (11-5) @ #4 Arizona Cardinals (10-6) {E; O/U 47 1/2}:

This is the third rematch from Week 17 where Green Bay won 33-7 at Arizona. I wouldn't put much stock in that result because the Cardinals rested may of their front line players, knowing they could not get anything higher than the #4 seed.

Arizona QB Kurt Warner has won a Super Bowl and would have won another last year if not for a miraculous last second catch by Steelers WR Santonio Holmes. The Cardinals have a potent offense and will benefit from playing at home.

"To me, everything starts now," says Arizona QB Kurt Warner. "It’s time to go play football. It’s one and done. You don’t show up and play, you go home."

However, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is playing as well as anyone in the league. The Packers flew under the radar this season with all of the attention focused on the Vikings early success and near end of the season collapse. Green Bay also has an excellent offense.

I expect a much closer game with the Packers winning.

MY PREDICTION: Green Bay 28, @ Arizona Cardinals 17; ACTUAL RESULT:

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Positive Reinforcement

Sometime last year I was shopping in a store that I frequently spend money in. That's not the weird part. I very rarely, if ever, look at the posters this store sells, because most of them are useless teenage crap. So it was that I was surprised to actually be thumbing through the posters and actually finding one that I liked and wanted to buy because it reflected, to some degree, my life then and still does now. I've thought about posting this for months but, quite frankly, have been too lazy to bother. Sure the following is sickly sweet and overwhelmingly positive but who doesn't need that on occasion? I know I certainly do.

To ACHIEVE your DREAMS, remember your ABCs.

Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits.

Believe in yourself.

Consider things from every angle.

Don't give up and don't give in.

Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.

Family and friends are hidden treasures; seek them and enjoy their riches.

Give more than you planned to.

Hang on to your dreams.

Ignore those who try to discourage you.

Just do it.

Keep trying; no matter how hard it seems, it will get easier.

Love yourself first and most.

Make it happen.

Never lie, cheat or steal; always strike a fair deal.

Open your eyes and see things as they really are.

Practice makes perfect.

Quitters never win and winners never quit.

Read, study and learn about everything important in your life.

Stop procrastinating.

Take control of your own destiny.

Understand yourself in order to better understand others.

Visualize it.

Want it more than anything.

Xcelerate your efforts.

You are unique of all God's creations; nothing can replace you.

Zero in on your target and go for it.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Car trouble

Sometime before New Years Day, I did something stupid involving my car and it's turning out to be quite the annoyance.

What did I do, you ask? Well I'll tell you.

I accidentally left the glove box door open in my car overnight. That little light inside the glove box staying on all night, plus the frigid cold temperatures we've had this winter sapped my car's battery.

This little incident, plus other, separate issues I've been having with my bank have left me unable to get it fixed right away.

In the 2+ years I've owned this car, I've never had to replace the battery or do any major engine work. I'm the second owner of this vehicle and of course, I inherited no maintenance paperwork from the previous owner.

Which makes me wonder if I'll need to replace the alternator at the same time I'm replacing the battery.

I hate car repairs. But that is the trade-off in driving an older vehicle.

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

SNMR 7.17: "The Island"

GREEN'S "HE'S IN A CAN... TAKING A DUMP" REVIEW:


Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) lives in a Utopia-like, contained world due to contamination on the outside. For he and other "survivors," the motivation for living is the chance to win the lottery and a life outside on "The Island" which is the only uncontaminated spot left on the entire planet. Or so he's been told. After a conversation with his friend Mac (Steve Buscemi) from Sector Five, Lincoln finds a large flying insect and captures it, leading him to ask all kinds of questions. Then, when his friend Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) wins the lottery all hell breaks loose.

I borrowed this movie several weeks ago from the library as an afterthought along with some other DVD's. The library copy was scratched and skipped near the beginning and near the end of the movie. Still, I was impressed enough to buy it for myself and then watched it again on the day it arrived. I've watched it a total of five times now. I even convinced my parents and brother to watch it and they all liked it.

This may be action director guru Michael Bay's best movie yet. It provides a compelling story, plenty of action with stuff blowing up, chase scenes, bad guys, good guys, even a love story. Everything you could want in a movie - even a modern, relevant and highly controversial topic with underlying social and political significance.

The entire cast is superb. This is the film Ewan McGregor starred in right after Star Wars Episode III was released and he is excellent here, as is Scarlett Johansson, who may be this generation's Jean Arthur. The supporting cast includes Sean Bean (Dr. Merrick), Djimon Hounsou (Albert Laurent), Steve Buscemi (James "Mac" McCord), Ethan Phillips (Jones Three Echo) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Starkweather Two Delta).

Michael Bay's direction is excellent, blending CGI action with real life virtually seamlessly. The screenplay was written by Caspian Tredwell Owen, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It borrows elements from such movies as Logan's Run, The Matrix, Coma, The Sixth Day, Minority Report and Blade Runner but is far from a carbon copy of any of those wonderful films.

The DVD contains a well-done (but too short for my liking) how we made the movie featurette with some cast and crew interviews added in.

For the life of me I can't see how I overlooked this movie for four years. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it. This movie is a must see.


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

The Island (2005, PG-13, 136 minutes), starring Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou, and Steve Buscemi. The story was written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen. Screenplay written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The film was directed by Michael Bay.

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