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Showing posts from February, 2012

Quickie Blog: Black Swan

The entire time I was watching Black Swan, I was thinking about Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion and in a smaller way Tom Courtnay and Albert Finney in The Dresser.  The film is definitely flawed in many ways, but the manifestation of the character's mental problems and their parallels with her performance are fascinating and terrifying. Portman and Kunis play the ying and yang to perfection.  Cassel is brilliant, as always and Hershey is perfect as the domineering mother.  While I think it played out perfectly, some may not like the violence in the sexuality of the movie and others my grow tired of the endless dance sequences, but they both are integral in the story telling.  Another beautifully filmed story by Aronofsky.

The Oscars

Almost every year, I stay home and watch the Oscars.  This year will be no different, I presume.  My love for film holds my interested, although my disdain for Billy Crystal has made it difficult at times.  Billy Crystal is a talented man, but to be completely honest, he's not very funny.  He's likable and that's about it.  That is not the point of this though.  I watch every year, yet rarely have I seen any of the movies.  Last year, I had actually watched Winter's Bone and was distraught when it didn't win anything.  That being said, I still haven't seen all the movies and actors and actresses it was up against.  I have a few at home actually lying in wait.

The real reason the Oscars was always special was because I watched it every year with my mother.  I remember we'd sit every year and cheer on this one or that.  I remember on year, my father decided to sit in.  They were about to announce the Best Actress Award and we all had out choices.  I wanted Jo…

Lent

Every year I hear friends of mine tell of their sacrifice for Lent.  They give up cigarettes, pizza, Big Macs, candy.  Usually things that are generally bad for them anyway and nothing that could really be called a sacrifice.  It's usually something they've wanted to give up anyway and choose to do it during Lent, because it sounds like a good idea. Very rarely do I hear them speak about the prayer aspect or the alms-giving. I guess this would make it a little more inconvenient.  I also find it amazing how people think the abstaining is to take place from Ash Wednesday until Easter.  It is from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and doesn't include any of the Sundays in between.  These are days, you are allowed to have whatever you want, in celebration of Jesus' ability not to give in to temptation and sin, while in the forest.

As someone who is not religious, I believe people can choose to observe any way they want, but I do find it comical at times, the…

10 Years Old

A few months into my tenth year, my brother was born.  I remember how happy I was.  A year prior, my parents had adopted a baby girl and due to a law which allowed the biological parents to take her back within thirty days, I was devastated.  My brother came along and after the month of worry, things were great.  We lived in a four story brownstone and our bedrooms were on the top floor.  There were four bedrooms, my parents, my brother's, mine and a guest bedroom.

I remember one morning, I heard my brother chatting away and laughing.  I walked in to his room and he stared up at me and smiled.  I picked him up and placed him on the changing table.  Put a new diaper on and put him into some clean clothes.  I carried him downstairs and placed him in his playpen.  He sat and watched as I filled a pot with water on the stove and heated his bottle.  I then tested the bottle to make sure it wasn't too hot.  I brought him into the living room and sat on the couch, cradling him in my…

The Ten Greatest Acting Performances: Male

The other day I presented my list for the top performances by actresses and got a few reactions.  I am sure, I will receive more from my actors list, as some classic characters will not make it.  I will start by saying there will be no Andy Dufresne or Citizen Kane.  There will be no Corleone's or Indiana Jones.  There will be no Pacino.  No Brando.  No Deniro.  No Welles, Grant or Stewart.  This list was actually smaller to start than the list for the actresses, despite having many more quality roles to choose from. 

The hardest part was getting the numbers down.  How can one leave off Brando when he's been so amazing in On the Waterfront or as Stanley in Streetcar Named Desire?  How can 12 Angry Men be the second greatest film of all time on my list, but not one of the actors in it makes the list?  Before I sat down to type this, I realized I had left someone off.  Someone who will probably make the top five.  I made the list late at night and I am not sure if there are othe…

Jeremy Lin

Yesterday I watched more NBA basketball than Ive watched in most of the last few seasons.  I had to get a glimpse of the phenom.  Linsanity is plaguing everyone I know and I had to see it.  I had watched Friday nights game, but was drinking and talking and didn't get the full effect.  After Friday, I was unimpressed.  So yesterday, against a quality team, I was excited. 

I knew two things going in.  One, it was in MSG and the game of the week, so the refs would keep it close. Two, the Knicks were home and being it was a Sunday game, the celebs would be out.  Neither disappointed.  Now here's my thing about the NBA.  We all know it's fixed.  The ref that got nabbed for gambling basically said who was dirty and that left about three ball boys and one exec out.  Anyone who gambles, knows you never bet basketball, because the fix is always in.  Home teams win at an alarming rate and you can track the over under by who is referee.  So the Knicks won.  Got one call in the fourt…

The Ten Greatest Acting Performances; Female

I've made my lists of the best films by decade and was thinking about the greatest performances.  For the women, I made a list that came out to be 24 roles.  I narrowed it down to ten, which was nearly impossible.  To give you an idea of what it was like, here are some that didn't make the list.  Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter, Better Midler in The Rose, Emma Thompson in Remains of the Day and Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour & Repulsion.  Actresses like Jessica Lange, Judi Dench, Bette Davis and Helen Mirren didn't make the list.  That's how tough it was.  So here it is.

10. Noomi Rapace - Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Trilogy).  Rapace is beautiful and tough in this masterpiece trilogy.  It's quite possible that nobody has ever taken a role and made themselves that person more than Rapace. Ironically, the film is being remade with Rooney Mara who was nominated (Rapace was not). The other tw…

Do You Believe?

A few months ago I was at a friend's house and she told me there was a ghost in the house.  I rolled my eyes and probably said something sarcastic.  A month went by and no boogie men, no weird sounds or bumps in the night.  Then one day, she was away and I was at her house feeding her cats.  I also had asked if I could do some laundry while she was away.  She said yes and one night, while going to check the cats, I brought over some laundry. 

So I'm watching TV and doing laundry and I walk down to put some stuff in the dryer.  It was hot out that night, so the basement was rather balmy.  As I headed back upstairs I noticed a large box and some papers leaning against a wall.  I walked by them, turned around the wall and headed upstairs.  I turned the light out and went back to watching TV.  About an hour later I headed back to get the clothes out of the dryer.  I opened the door and flicked on the light.  At the bottom of the stairs there was a mess.  The box and the papers wer…

Odd Food Observations

Twice in the last week, I've gone 36 hours without eating.
I have had fast food only twice in the last year.
I used to have breaded chicken cutlets for lunch/dinner almost 3 times a week.  Haven't had them in a year.
I've eaten pasta only 3 times in the last year and a half.
I used to cook about 10 meals a week.  I've cooked about 10 times in the last seven months.
Everyone I know grabs a slice of pizza at least once a week.  I have probably had pizza once in the last six months (not counting Celeste pizza).
I used to get cold cuts for lunch at least twice a week.  I've eaten any type of cold cuts only two times in the last six months (once was a charcuterie plate).
I drink on average about 80 ounces of water a day. The only other non-alcoholic drink that I regularly consume is coffee.  Which I drink about 64 ounces a day of.
Sushi/Sashimi is one of my favorite things to eat.  I've had it once in the last year.
I have only eaten inside of an Indian restaurant …

Things I'm Thinking At 6:57am

I recently devised a system for rating players, but I don't know what the validity is for using it to rate careers, because it doesn't take into account, the era, comparison to the average player, etc.  That being said. Johnny Bench who is the benchmark (no pun intended) had an average around .770.  Berra was around .790.  Recently deceased Gary Carter was barely over .700.  But here's two scary stats.  Posada is between Bench and Berra, while Piazza is 50 pts above Berra.  Starting to rethink my stance on Posada and the hall. More research needs to be done.


On Sunday, Adele won a slew of Grammy's including Best album.  It's fresh, so maybe I'm jumping the gun, but I'm gonna say it right now.  It's the best complete album to even be nominated since Fallen by Evanescence in 2004 (which lost to another great album SpeakerBoxx/The Love Below by Outkast).  Similarly to Evanescence was special, because nothing like it before ever sounded like it.  I think 20…

Dodgeball: Then & Now (More Than Just Dodgeball)

How times have changed.  I was discussing the politics of Valentine's Day and the new socialist regime happening in Kindergarten classes.  Everyone gets a Valentine, everyone is happy and nobody cries.  Why is it OK for this behavior with kids, but conservatives think this is the devil's work when it applies to adults.  Why should kids be coddled, but adults let to suffer?   Well this discussion made me think of the differences between dodge ball then and now.  I loved dodge ball as a kid and I teach (run) a class now.  So I decided to break down the game from beginning to end.

Picking sides
1982: The two best kids picked teams.  Friend loyalty was a sign of weakness.
2012: The teacher picks teams as evenly as possible, while trying to make the kids happy.

The Balls
1982:  A hard rubber playground ball
2012:  Squishy foam balls about half the size

The Rules:
1982: Get hit with a ball - you're out
2012: Get hit with a ball - you're out

1982: Throw a ball and it's ca…

My Shows: Making The Best Out Of Nothing

Back in September, or whenever the new television season started, I made myself a promise.  I was going to stay in more.  I've always been a movie person, but decided that I would start watching a little more TV.  The reason was simple.  I don't have many cable stations to watch sports or movies, but I'm still paying about $40 a month for the damn thing.  So it began.  A quest to find one show a night to watch. 

Prime Suspect was the first show that grabbed me. The American version of the English hit was the best show on TV.  Then like anything which might have good acting, great dialogue and a need for the slightest bit of intelligence to "get," it was taken off the air.  Not even finishing season number one.  So aside from that failure, I've gotten caught up in exactly one show per evening.  It should also be noted, that most of them I normally forget to watch and then catch them On Demand.  So with the exception of one, they aren't all that wonderful.

The Day After

"In jealousy there is more self-love than love." - Francois de la Rochefoucald

Have you ever said something and in your mind you completely meant it.  Then when confronted with the fact that your well wishes came true, you immediately felt anger and betrayal.  This isn't like me.  I've never been a jealous person.  I've never been one to care that there are haves and I am a have not.  I have never coveted what others have.  If they are friends, I am happy for their success and happiness.  If they are people who I don't know, I assume there must be something good about them for their achievements are a sign.  Unless proven wrong, I believe people have things for a reason.  It may not always be the best reason, but who am I to question it.  So how did I fall prey to this feeling?

When you love something, to lose it is tough.  There is a healing process that begins and then you learn to cope.  These coping skills allow us to continue relationships that at one ti…

Valentine's Day Alone

I got picked up from the school today from a friend.  We went to Dunkin Donuts, our daily ritual, and then sat and watched as all the pussy whipped men walked to their cars with flowers, candy and balloons.  We laughed at the silliness of the day and spoke of the horrible restaurant experiences on silly Hallmark holidays.  I remember once going to Friendly's with a girl I had been with for years and we laughed when we saw other couples who had been dating for a while doing the same.  It is silly to even contemplate dining out on Valentine's Day.

I came home and started a few loads of laundry.  I decided to treat myself to my midweek meal of Chinese food.  I had contemplated going to get some pizza, but decided it wasn't in the cards.  I wanted to something with leftovers and Chinese always works.  I folded my laundry and ate some of my dinner.  I stopped to watch a show and then jumped on the computer, finishing a little more of my food.

I didn't really think about val…

Little Rant

Last night I posted a status claiming I had written something which would have cost me about 200 of my Facebook friends.  I doubt that is true, but it would have been a lot.  I decided to write it here, because I figure less people read it, it's a way to vent and the people who care to comment can do so anonymously.

Facebook and Twitter allow us to make comments a little more freely than we would in person.  That is true and not true.  There is absolutely nothing I would write on Facebook or in the blog that I wouldn't say in person.  Nothing.  That is definitely not the case for everyone. Many hide behind their computers and write nasty things about people, knowing their contact with those people are remote.  I try never to be too personal, but would have absolutely no problem voicing my displeasure with anyone.

Here's my real gripe.  People have to start thinking for themselves.  They have to stop bashing things and praising others, because it's the consensus, it'…

Quickie Blog: Grammy Night

Adele won all the important awards.  Foo Fighters won the rock stuff.  I don't even know half the "rap" songs nominated and Taylor Swift got robbed for the country album award.  So who really cares about the awards, it's about the show.  Well, the show sucked.  I missed the first 20 minutes and about 30 minutes in the middle, but what I saw was pretty bad.

Adele, Swift and the Foo Fighters rocked.  Alisha Keys & Bonnie Raitt's homage to Etta James was awful.  Jennifer Hudson's rendition of I'll Always Love You was feeble.  Paul McCartney, rocked it for an old guy, but sucked.  Katy Perry was awful. Nicki Minaj was a train wreck.  I missed Glenn Campbell, but I heard the old guy hit a home run.  Tony Bennett sounded 85. 

The show had three highlights for me. Rihanna in that long black dress, LL giving a shout out to Don Cornelius after the In Memory section of the show seemed to have left him out and Adele proving her voice is back!  Aside from that, i…

Celebrity Deaths & Facebook

Before Facebook, when a celebrity died it was mentioned on the news and then there was a brief morning period and that was it.  End of story.  I remember as a child, playing in the street, when suddenly parents called all of us in from our game. We all ran home and watched the news about Marvin Gaye's death, at the hands of his father.  I was fourteen and I cried.  I remember when Thurman Munson died a few years earlier, it was the same routine.  My mother cried.  A day later it was back to normal.  They were gone, but not forgotten.  What has happened to us since the Internet?

I've noticed that when a celebrity dies, there are four different people that spring up.   There are the people who suddenly act as though they and the celebrity had this bond that nobody can understand.  There are those who immediately exaggerate the person's talents and praise them regardless of whether they were a horrible human being or a great one.  There are those who simply don't care, be…

Whitney Houston

Last night it was reported that Whitney Houston died.  While the initial feeling was one of shock, I did not share the terrible sorrow that some others did.  To me, she had become another statistic.  Someone who had some talent, but couldn't handle it.  So many of us would love to be able to sing like she could, but most of us would not throw it all away on drugs.  I don't know what caused the downward spiral in her life, but it always seemed avoidable.  I've made jokes about her death, but please do not be confused.  I am not applauding her death, but finding humor in how pathetic her life had become.  She did not suffer from a disease.  She was not taken from us do to some horrible disease.  She killed herself a long time ago.  She, like Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse and so many others, chose to do things to themselves that can't be explained.  To have that much talent and throw it all away is something i can't comprehend. 

So many of us struggle with our eve…

First Thoughts

I don't know why this is, but the first thing I think about when I wake up is usually the most ludicrous or brilliant thing I think about all day.  Take for example today. I had a dream that I was in a situation where a girl wanted to have sex in a lake, but I knew there was a shark in the lake.  So I got some kids to go water skiing so I could sneak into the lake and the shark wouldn't bother me.  I woke up when the shark attacked me, so the logical thing to have as my first thought was this: I can't remember the last time I saw a Broadway play.  I think it was Diary of Anne Frank with Natalie Portman in it.

The thoughts aren't always nonsensical, but usually they are.  I always do a NCAA basketball pool and this year and the other morning I woke up and the first thing I thought of was to do the pool differently this year and for some reason the mathematical part of figuring it out was already mapped out in my head.  This after waking from a dream where I could contro…

Valentine's Day: Don't Misunderstand

I've had some funny Valentine's in the past.  When I was younger a girl gave me a bag with a box of chocolate and a Teddy Bear.  When I got home, I stopped at my garbage chute and inadvertently threw the presents down the chute and held on to the empty bag.  I bought her an ankle bracelet.  OK, I admit it, in 1989, I was kicking it Jersey Shore-ish.  I made a romantic dinner for another girl one night, with less than stellar cooking skills.  Nothing says romance than a dining room filled with smoke, filet mignon and potato skins.  I've had ex-boyfriends call my at-the-time girlfriend before 8am to wish them a happy "17th" Valentine's Day.  I've also ordered beautiful flowers, only to have them delivered on the 15th.  They ended up paying for them and giving me a gift card, so that was cool.

The point is, Valentine's Day is not an exact science.  For us guys, it's a Hallmark holiday which we'd rather not waste our energy on.  Flowers on V-Day a…

Annoyed Beyond Belief: A Plethora Of Reasons

All day today, I've been trying to sign onto my blog.  I had wanted to vent all day long.  Instead, I spent a great amount of time, deleting and reinstalling programs onto my computer.  This always drives me crazy. I finally signed on, but I still don't have access to everything and I'm not even sure this will work.

That's not the only thing that bothers me right now.  Around 12:40, I received a letter saying I had to be at a mandatory meeting at 1pm today.  A letter, not an e-mail.  It was dated January 26th.  Amazing, just how efficient our government is.

I'm annoyed, because more bad things are happening to more good people that I know.  It's becoming a little crazy.  I never wish harm on people....well not usually, but this is unfair.  Too many good people are suffering.  I don't mean because they don't have materialistic things, but things that matter.  I want my friends and family to be well.  That is all.

I decided to stay in and have a quiet nig…

Quickie Blog: Best Line Of 2012 (So Far)

This past Saturday, my father threw a 99th birthday party for his mother.  I went up to Ithaca with my brother and his wife and we helped out and set the table with all the food.  My father had sent an e-mail out to all the invitees and explained that it would be an appetizers, wine and beer party from 2-4pm.  The plan was to end it early enough, so she could rest and we could go out for dinner.  I assumed she'd be a little more tired, but that isn't important.

The party was a smashing success and everyone mingled, making sure to take time out to say hello to the parties main character.  A little after 4pm, the crowd started to slowly dissipate and the at about 4:40, there was just my family, my cousins family and two three others.  I sat with my grandmother and my cousin and I asked her if she wanted to rest.  She leans over and says, "It's after four, let's get these people the hell out of here!"  I hope I'm as spunky at 49 as she is at 99.

Pain

Every morning I wake up in excruciating pain.  My knees are shot from tearing my ACL in both knees and never having surgery.  I have plantar fasciitis in my right heel.  I recently did something or have some degenerate thing going on with my hip, which is causing main to shoot down my right leg.  All this is causing my back to go out frequently.  I also have had some tendinitis in my right elbow and for years I've had a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder.  Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?

The funny thing is, only a few people even know this.  Sunday, I was getting off a bar stool during the Super Bowl and I honestly wasn't sure I could walk to the bathroom. I tried my hardest to hide the pain.  It was tough.  Today, a kid inadvertently hit my in the balls, which caused me to jump back and lung forward and tweaked my leg, so badly I was in agony for the rest of the day.  Not to mention I got hit squarely in the balls.

The easy solution, of course, wou…

Is The Super Bowl Really Super?

Take personal team allegiances out of the mix and ask yourself this question.  What did you answer?  If you're like me, which few are, your answer is no.  Two weeks of hype and hyperbole and we usually get close games that come down to a mistake or a fluke play.  Sometimes we end with a great play, but in an otherwise boring game.  Last Sunday's game was a good one, but far from great.  There wasn't one offensive play that dazzled and years from now, we're only going to remember Wes Welker's dropped pass.  Chase Blackburn made the play of the game and 90% of Giant fans didn't know who he was before the game.  So why is it so super?

Sure we've had great games.  The Steelers/Arizona game, The Patriots/Panthers game.  The Tennessee/St. Louis game.  These were the three best in the last 15 years.  Sadly, all I remember was Fitzgerald's TD with minutes left, but had to look up Holmes' catch for the win.  I couldn't remember who Brady's counterpar…

Quickie Blog: Hot Waitresses

Why is it men become idiots whenever there is a hot waitress serving them?  I don't care if they are hanging with the guys or with their wives or girlfriends, it is an involuntary action to immediately become an idiot. You look at the menu forty times to decide what you want and the second she comes over and asks for your order, you say something stupid.  You want the bacon cheddar burger, so it makes complete sense when you say "Cheddar, bur, bacon, burger with  cheddar.  Can I have bacon on it to?"  God forbid she tells you it comes with a choice of something.  All you hear is, "want to see me naked?" 

There's always one friend at the table who plays it cool after seeing his other friends make idiots of themselves and he thinks he's got a shot.  The reality is, she's going to be as nice to you if you look like a supermodel or if you have a horn growing from your head.  She's working.  It's the strip club mentality. You just emptied your co…

Bullying

A lot of people are up in arms over the apparent suicide for the 14-year-old from Ursuline in New Rochelle.  It's a tragic event and I'm happy to see so many people joining in the effort to stand up to bullying on Facebook.  I do find it hypocritical though, when I see people who bully themselves making these posts.  I'm not trying to call anyone in particular out, but if you discriminate because of the color of someones skin, it's bullying.  If you are against a gay person's right to marry, it's bullying. If you feel that someone who is poor doesn't deserve the government's help to have health care, it's bullying.

We all grow up grabbing toys away from our friends. If our parents do the right thing, think we are scolded and we never do it again.  We then move on to teasing people, and if our parents do the right thing, we are made to apologize and we never do it again.  Then we get to high school and/or college and we haze, to do allow someone entr…

Happy 99th Grandma

Every morning we wake, stretch our bodies and make our way through our days.  Tomorrow my grandmother will do this for well over her 36,000th time.  Just to put that in perspective, if you count all the time you spent in school between kindergarten and graduating college, you haven't spent half that number....in hours.  If you work a forty hour week, you'd have to work for over 17 years to work as many hours as this woman has lived days.  It's pretty amazing.

She's seen two world wars.  Many others.  She's been alive for 18 of our presidents.  She was born in the last month of William Howard Taft's tenure. The Gettysburg Address was only 50 years old.  Harriet Tubman died the year she was born.  Now we have a black president. There were only 16 amendments to the Constitution.  There are now 27.  Stainless steel was invented and the Federal Reserve was created.  Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were born.  Rosa Parks and Jesse Owens were born.  As were Burt Lancast…

Pet Peeve: Bad Meals

There are very few things that bother me more than a bad meal.  Especially one in which I've spent some time thinking about it.  I remember, every Sunday waking up on Garth Road and knowing i was going to have a bagel from Scarsdale bagels.  Most often it was a sesame or an everything, with Philly cream cheese, Nova Scotia lox and a big thick slice of tomato.  Perfection.  Always lived up to the hype. 

When my mother cooked dinner, regardless if it was moussaka or breaded chicken cutlets, I knew it was going to be stellar.  When I go to Piper's Kilt, I know the burger will not let me down. I know the chili will be delicious and the nachos (especially now with real cheddar), will be exceptional.  This is not always the case and in terms of going out, it can be a monetarily devastating blow.

On Saturday, I was out at the Quarry in Tuckahoe.  I decided to have the White Clam Flatbread.  I hoped it would be good and it was very good.  I was thrilled.  Later that night, I ended up …

Strange February So Far

From the title, you would think something crazy happened in the first three hours, but the reality is it's been very quiet.  As usual, I can not sleep and I'm not the least bit tired.  I had a very uneventful last day of January and squandered the beautiful weather.  To be honest, I'm a little angry at myself.  It would have been a great day to spend outdoors and originally I had planned on spending today in NYC, hitting up some restaurant for Restaurant Week.  Instead, I sat around all day doing pretty much nothing and my fine dining consisted of an English muffin with cream cheese, a salad of lettuce, tomato and tuna fish and the night was capped off with a Celeste pizza.  I am starting a diet next week and I'm going to track all my calories.  I figured today would be a good test run...A little less than than 800 calories, about 25 grams of fat, 70 carbs and 50 protein.  When I start, I want to cut down that carb number and hike up the protein intake.  We'll see.