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Showing posts from April, 2013

2013 NHL Playoff Predictions

Let me state two things about this blog.  One, I know absolutely nothing about hockey other than the playoffs are awesome. Secondly, this is my first blog about hockey and I actually had to look up the NHL playoff format before writing this.   I'm basing my predictions on math and gut feelings.  So here it goes.

Eastern Conference
Pittsburgh (1) over Islanders (8) 4-0
Montreal(2) over Ottawa (7) 4-2
Rangers (6) over Washington (3) 4-1
Boston (4) over Toronto (5) 4-2

Pittsburgh over Rangers 4-3
Boston over Montreal 4-2

Pittsburgh over Boston 4-1

Western Conference
Chicago (1) over Minnesota (8) 4-0
Anaheim (2) over Detroit (7) 4-3
San Jose (6) over Vancouver (3) 4-1
Los Angeles (5) over St Louis (4) 4-1

Chicago over  San Jose 4-1
Los Angeles over Anaheim 4-3

Chicago over Los Angeles 4-2

STANLEY CUP WINNERS
Chicago Blackhawks 4-3

Conn Smythe Trophy to Jonathan Toews
I actually read earlier today that it's been over a decade since both #1 seeds made the finals and it's the firs…

Quickie Review - Get Low (A Personal Impact)

Just saw a beautiful movie. A movie that most people wouldn't ever rent or buy, because it lacks a cyborg or a spaceship.  There are no dancing cheerleaders, killer fish or vampires.  It's five a handful of lives that are all connected by a common thread.  The movie is just about as perfectly cast as any I've seen. Robert Duvall is amazing as the old curmudgeon Felix Bush.  Murray ads charm and wit to the role of Frank Quinn.  Sissy Spacek, who is one of the greatest and most underrated actresses of our time, brings out so much of the strong male characters, as Mattie Darrow.  Lucas Black has come a long way since Slingblade and is so impressive in how he subtly portrays, us the viewer, in the role of Buddy.  A lesser known character actor named Bill Cobbs, plays Rev. Charlie Jackson and his is quite the scene stealer.

The movie is about a hermit of 40-years suddenly walking into town one day and asking for a funeral.  His condition: He wants to be there, alive.  Murray an…

Am I American? Food Edition

I don't like pot roast, but love sauerbraten, brisket, bouef bourginion.
I don't like mac and cheese, but love cheesy risotto.
I don't like cherry pie, but love most fruit pies.
I don't like prime rib, but love mutton chops.
I don't like lobster, but love crabs.
I don't (really) like chocolate, but I love white chocolate (I know it's technically not chocolate).

I haven't bought American Cheese in about three years.
I haven't bought pasta in almost three years.  Eaten it about six times in last two years.
I haven't bought a slice of pizza in almost six months.
I haven't bought a loaf of sliced bread in seven years.
I haven't bought candy (aside for my kiddies), in many years.
I haven't bought ketchup in almost three years.
I haven't bought alcohol or beer for my home in nearly eight years (except for cooking).
I haven't bought soda for my home...ever.

I have had fast food three times in the last two years.
I have had cake abou…

They Come & They Go

All people come and go.  Some leave us because of death, some because of location.  Some leave us for reason we can't understand and some leave us because they no longer fit into our lives.  Today I was reflecting on my life and it's many changes.  My core values and most major aspects of my being are still the same, but many things have changes.  I despise talking on the phone lately, which is funny, because this was a major part of my life for the first forty years. I now find that I am the one telling people that I have to go, as I sit staring at a cup of coffee like it is some kind of urgent responsibility.  Due to this new aggravation, I have lost touch with a lot of my distant friends.  I still consider them to be close friends and long for the days when we can sit on a patio, a deck or a dock and catch up on our lives.  Facebook and Twitter have kept us in touch, but the human contact, the shared laughs, the hugs, this is what I miss.

Many people have left my life becau…

2013 NFL Draft

Trust me.  I know absolutely nobody cares about my predictions, but me. I used to actually do a pool with some friends and it made the draft a hell of a lot more fun.  We'd make our picks, develop a point system and drink, play poker and eat like animals.  Those days are over sadly and I'm left to my own devices.  So here it goes and remember, I know absolutely nothing about this, but one year I actually did pretty well and had about 15 of the picks right, so I'm an authority in my own head.  I am actually going to include trades this year, just for the hell of it.  Which will make this a complete mess..


Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. Need line help for Smith and ground attack.Jacksonville Jaguars - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. Might go DE, but I think he's too good.Oakland Raiders - Sarrif Floyd, DT, Florida. Will grab Fisher if Jax goes for defense.Philadelphia Eagles - Dion Jordon, DE/OLB, Oregon. Most drafts have him going 2nd.Detroit Li…

Let Me Clear A Few Things Up About Me

Today, during one of my usual political battles, I was accused of using numerous gay and racial slurs before my "born again" revival.  I was also accused of skirting an issue and dancing around a subject that I clearly answered, pointing out the accusers bigotry in the process.  So ignore this if you want as some sort of self promotional propaganda or read this and learn a little about me.

I grew up in a home where if I was to use a racial slur, I'd have probably been beaten to death.  If I used a gay slur, the same would happen.  If I degraded someones religion in front of them, death might have occurred or my parents would have just beaten me severely.  I once made an innocent comment about Jews to my Jewish mother and was asked to leave the dinner table and not return.  That was the last one I made about any religion.  My growing up consisted of my parents constantly having people over and attending parties.  Two of my parents best friends and my two "uncles"…

Real Quickie Review - Sinister

Take the Michael Mann thriller Manhunter. Make the profiler a true crime writer and substitute Lechter a combination of a goody deputy and a weird college professor, then put a supernatural occult twist instead of a regular occult (sort of) twist and then you have Sinister.

The movie has so many mistakes that are supposed to add to the horror, but they just make the characters appear stupid.  If you hear bumps in the night, six nights in a row and the power went out the first night, wouldn't you have a flashlight on you at all times....or maybe flick the actual lights on?

People love the found footage genre, but other than REC, I'm not that big a fan of it. Ethan Hawke once again gives of his best constipated performance.  The man has one facial expression and that is of someone in need of an ex-lax.  This movie, based on it's original premise had me hooked, but when it got silly, so much so as to give away the ending, one scene....one scene before the actual ending, it co…

Free Writing - Take 21

Cute 101 - young boy bagging his mother's groceries. Can falls on the ground. Mother asks the child needs help.  Boy tells mother "I can do it, I promise."
Neighboring 101 - super of building sees you putting laundry in washing; goes on to monopolize dryers for two hours, then leaves dry clothes in dryer for another 20 minutes.
Driving 101 - two people have a green light, both attempt to make left turns without signaling and almost crash at the intersection.
Aging 101 (a) - walking up a hill and being passed by a guy with a cane. In my defense, I was texting. Aging 101 (b) - kid with shoelaces untied asks me to tie them, As I limp over to him, mother walks over and does it, saying "It's easier for me."  
Parenting 101 - a child misbehaves and then misbehaves again.  The mother asks the kid to promise not to ever do it again.  The child smiles and asks if he does, will he get ice cream.  "Yes Honey, of course."  Lesson learned?
Dining 101 - nothin…

Quickie Review - May

Lucky McKee is not a very popular guy with two girls I've recently become friendly with on the Internet. They write their own blog called http://gorelovingladies.blogspot.com/ and feel his misogynistic views are offensive.  My only other viewing of a McKee film was my recent viewing of The Woman. While I found The Woman to be a better movie, it was mostly due to a clever switching of the typical roles for good and evil. There was also such a wonderful ridiculousness to it, that made it a good horror flick.  May is a different  animal altogether. May is a young woman, played by Angela Bettis, who seems to be one of McKee's muses (could be because her husband tends to assist in producing).  We are told she is different, but her difference in the real world is so minor it would never produce the side effects it does.  We're given a very quick glimpse into a sheltered upbringing and we're supposed to believe she has lived her entire life without a friend.

The movie takes …

Blog Entry #600

Wow!  This little exercise in self therapy has been one long journey.  I've quit.  I've used another site at one point, but I keep coming back.  The past seven days has been trying and I've not written a single word.  A problem with a parent that infuriated me, might come full circle today, as I have the child in my Tuesday class.  The bombing and subsequent manhunt kept me mesmerized into the morning hours on Friday.  The weekend, a planned quiet one, was anything but.  The incessant noise from a little dog a few windows from mine has my quiet nook on the planet in complete chaos.  I value my quiet time, but this rude neighbor thinks nothing of leaving this dog to bark all day.  And then there is today.  A morning off with time to get some laundry done, but someone feels it necessary to monopolize the machines.  My wet laundry has sat for two hours while another has felt it necessary to monopolize the dryers.  The social contract which we all should abide by is no longer.…

Free Writing - Take 21

This week the emotions are all over the place. Monday's events had a personal affect on me, which very few of my friends know about.  The events in Boston and those all over the world, where people are blown up by suspicious bags and worse are going to haunt my dreams for the next few years, because one of the most important people in my world is joining the military's bomb squad.  I can't comprehend this decision, but then again, I can't comprehend someone joining the armed forces during times of war.  It's not my life to live, so I accept it and despite what people might think who are angered by my views, it was a choice and with choices come consequences. I just hope it's never the ultimate one. I've tried to keep my mind on other things, but I keep falling into the rut of realization that things are pretty awful in my life right now.  You'd never know it to speak to me and I will keep it that way.  I do it for my kids, my friends and those who might…

Super Quickie Review - The Tall Man

To tell anything about Pascual Laugier's The Tall Man, would be to give away major parts of the movie.  The movie centers on a small town called Cold Rock, where there is a history of child abductions.  The town is very poor, it's inhabitants fairly simple and uneducated and the disappearance are being blamed on a shadowy figure called The Tall Man.  The main character is a young nurse, who is played brilliantly, yes I said brilliantly, by Jessica Biel, who obviously, eventually has her child taken. I'll leave it at that as far as an explanation or synopsis of what happens, because to tell, would be to let the movies secrets out.

What I will tell you is that the movie is unlike any others you've seen. It's very political in it's nature and some might actually be offended, by the stance it takes.  What I found interesting was that I didn't feel it took a stance, but presented both side of an argument in a way that makes you believe both are right.  The movie…

Reaction

Yesterday afternoon was a  beautifully crisp spring day.  In Boston, the annual celebration of Patriots Day took place, with a late morning Red Sox game and the running of the Boston Marathon.  At about 2:30, I checked the Internet and found out the winners names and their times.  The Sox had won and as I stood outside waiting for my cab, I breathed in the magnificence of the day.  It finally felt like spring.

Roughly two hours later, the grey taxi pulled up and I entered.  "Hey, what's up?" I said. "Did you hear about the bombing at the marathon?" The driver said.  I told him I had not and then listened intently as the commentator discussed the carnage in Boston.  I left the cab and stopped off to visit a friend who was working at a bar.  With no intentions of staying for a drink, I found myself fixated on the television.  The numbers were vague, but they estimated 23 people had been hurt and two were deceased.  I left shortly after, walking slowly down the st…

Gun Deaths Since Newtown

My Facebook status from moments ago

I know when I write anything over ten words, most people ignore it. They, most likely are the one's who will disagree with what I'm about to say (take that for what it's worth). This afternoon I signed on to Facebook around 1pm I scrolled down and much to my frustration, I counted 22 memes posted by pro gun rights friends. Of the few that quoted the constitution, all were inaccurate or stretched the meaning of the 2nd amendment. Of those that cited statistics, all were false. Some did nothing more than show a beautiful woman holding a gun with a silly slogan atop or below. Did any of the posters verify the validity of these memes? Obviously not. I would assume nobody is stupid enough to post inaccurate information on purpose. At least I'd hope not. They are victims of brainwashing and that makes them the majority. I am not judging them, for it takes effort to verify information and as that lovely woman said "Nobody got time for …

Quickie Review - End Of Watch

Let me start by saying I absolutely hated Training Day and wouldn't have watched this had I know it was written by the same guy.  This film, much like Training Day, had more plot and continuity holes than most wheels of Swiss cheese.  That being said, it's not a bad movie at all, but hardly deserves the multiple star reviews it has received.  It manages to entertain despite being painfully and I mean painfully predictable.  There is so much good and so much bad, I honestly don't know where to start.

I'll start with the good. The dialogue is crisp and not contrived like Training Day. People actually speak the way the characters speak and it gave it a bit of authenticity.  The four main characters are ridiculously likable.  The two women, Martinez and Kendrick are stunningly beautiful and ridiculously cute and play off their male counterparts beautifully.  The two mains, Gyllenhaal and Pena have incredible chemistry and it's nice to see Pena finally get a major role …

Movie Review - The Secret in their Eyes

"If you keep going over your past, you'll end up with a thousand pasts and not future."

When I first rented this, I had no idea it was the 2009 Oscar winner for best foreign film.  I had seen the trailer and decided to give it a shot.  The movie takes place in Argentina in two different times, 1974 and 1999.  It involves a detective, played by Ricardo Darin, who is given the case of a brutal rape/murder.  At the same time, he is introduced to his new boss, a lovely woman played by Soledad Villamil.  As the movie goes on and the case becomes more complicated, so does his relationship and feelings for his boss.  The movie is essentially two movies in one.  A romance and a thriller, but trust me, this isn't some silly James Patterson novel, this story is near flawless.

The movie does take aim at some political unrest, especially within the police force, during the early 70's, but knowing this doesn't matter.  The story is about two things, the detective's r…

Super Quickie Movie Review - Klown

Klown is a Danish comedy based on a popular TV show by the same title.  It has often been referred to as the Danish Curb Your Enthusiasm, but based on the movie and the one show in the special features, I found it to be much funnier, much more original and completely more raunchy.  So raunchy in fact, that my initial thought when the credits were rolling was "did the guy from The Hangover completely rip these guys off?"  It turns out that this movie was made a year later, but the idea, stemming from the TV show, leads me to believe he's seen it before.  Then I find out, he's bought the rights to remake it. No coincidence there I assume.

I can't even explain the story, but it involves two guys in different ridiculous stages of relationships and one's attempt to prove to his wife he can take care of a child.  He tries to do so by basically kidnapping the child and bringing him on a canoe trip.  A canoe trip which involves stopping to smoke weed, enter a brothel…

Quickie Review - [REC]

My sincere apologies to George Romero and the makers of Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, but [REC] is what Romero wished The Crazies had been and the others wish their hand held nausea fest turned out like this.  The movie tells the tale of a TV reporter, played by the lovely Manuela Velasco, spending an evening following a firefighting team.  The first twenty minutes is purposely boring, explaining that this is what happens when they don't have any excitement. Then men then get a call regarding a woman trapped in a building.  When they get there, this woman seems a little different.

The movie then turns into a complicated tale. Is the woman crazy or sick.  We don't find out truly what is wrong with the woman and the following victims, but this is basically a zombie flick with a huge twist.  Almost all of the movie takes place in this one building, which seems to have a huge lab in the basement, but it's tenants are what really intrigues us.  One could say, why…

Things People Might Not Know About Me Part 2 - Brushes With Fame

A few years back, I wrote a blog about ten things people might not know about me.  It was all very personal stuff, but things I felt were easy enough to let on about and maybe, if anyone read it, they might have some insight into who I am or why I am the way I am.  Here's a link if you're interested. http://hopsthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/08/ten-random-things-people-might-not-know.html

I was thinking about things the other day and thought about the people I've met and the places I've taken for granted, that are in fact, part of me.  So here's a list of some other things people might not know about me.  I won't go into great detail, like in the other blog, but just some interesting notes on my life.

One of my neighbors in Brooklyn, Noel Pointer, was a grammy nominated jazz musician.

At different points in my life, I went to the #1 rated school (St Ann's in Brooklyn) and worked at the #1 sleepaway camp (Pierce Camp Birchmont) in the United States. I went to St…

Quickie Review - Argo

Argo is a near perfect film. This is not to say it is the best film you will ever see, but is perfect.  If you are my age, you lived through the Iran Hostage Crisis and you know the impact it had on everyone.  This sub-story was a tale that wasn't nearly as hyped when it happened as it was today.  What makes the film so wonderful is that you know the result.  There is nothing that will happen in the movie that should shock you, yet it does. Much like movies like Midnight Express, the tension is so perfectly executed, it doesn't seem fabricated.  The levity during the first half, let's us know that these are still real people.

 So what makes it "perfect?"  The direction.  Ben Affleck, for all his quirks and failure, delivers such a seamless picture that the two hour running time feels like a half hour TV drama.  There is not one wasted scene.  No superfluous moments of fear or panic.  It is a very simple movie about a moment in time where nearly everything had to …

Quickie Review - Oshima's Taboo

When the late Nagisa Oshima passed earlier this year, the name didn't immediately jump out.  Then I saw the title Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence within the obituary and immediately knew who he was.  Oshima truly blew me away, during a film class, when I was lucky enough to view his masterpiece of dark comedy, Death by Hanging.  Oshima is not afraid to take risks, showing violence, showing actual sexual relations and in many cases, tackling social taboos head on.  In the aptly named Taboo (Gohatto), he looks at homosexual love among the shogun militia.

The movie stars the effeminate yet powerful Ryuhei Matsuda, as Kano, the new samurai to the clan. He is thought to be having an affair with another new member, Tashiro (played by Tadanobu Asano.  The film is viewed mostly from the eyes of Captain Hijikata, played by the force of nature Takashi 'Beat' Kitano  Sadly, most Americans only know him from the dubbed comedy game show Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, known in Japan…

Long Day/Life

I am angry and know that sleep will escape me as it has all week.  Two hours a night the last two nights, two cat naps, that actually rejuvenated me, but still, my body feels fatigued.  I'm angry at what I feel is a lack of respect.  A common courtesy was not paid to me and I feel I deserved it.  I feel anyone would. You live somewhere for eight years.  You pay rent in advance on occasion, two, sometimes three months in advance. You deal with outlets not working, holes and leaks in the ceiling that mysteriously never get fixed and then you forget to send your rent in one month and you're served court papers. No phone call asking where the rent is, but a court document.  Here's the kicker.  They apologized for the mistake, but now want me to pay for the deposition.  $300.  What is my recourse?  My rent was late, but give me a break.

This combined with the crazy cost of getting too and from work is killing me.  So far this week, I've spent $90 to get two and from four mi…

MLB Predictions 2013

Every year I make my predictions.  I used to have a formula that in all honestly was pretty damn accurate, but I've become too fidgety to spend the time to do it.  When I did, I usually got at least six of the eight playoff teams (before they added the 5th in each league) and even got a couple of award winners correct.  Now I'm basically winging it, but there is still some thought going into it.  So here it goes.

AL East
Toronto Blue Jays* - most improved team since last season
Boston Red Sox* - their rotation could be the best in the majors if healthy
New York Yankees - early season injuries might be too much to overcome
Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Maddon is a genius, but the division is too good.
Baltimore Orioles - Would be a contender in another division.

AL Central
Detroit Tigers* - The team to beat in the AL.
Kansas City Royals - rotation is 10x better and young talent will be hungry.
Cleveland Indians - Tito has team playing up to par.
Chicago White Sox - age is setting in on …

People: The Good & The Bad

While taking the bus up to Ithaca, I noticed a man get off the bus, then while returning he started to walk past his seat.  The woman sitting next to him reached out, touched his side and said "here."  The man thanked her and sat down.  At the next stop, she explained she was getting off and he thanked her again.  I moved over to save the girl next to me from being squished and noticed the man standing outside with a walking stick used by blind people.  When he returned, he tapped the bottom of the seats, obviously counting to find his seat. When he got off the bus, a gentleman who had been sitting near him asked him what his bag looked like and helped him get it from the storage area.

Monday afternoon I watched as a woman who lives near me cleaned up all the little pieces of paper trash that were in front of her house.  She picked up every last one and then proceeded to walk to curb, away from her house and throw all the trash into the street.

Today a kid came up to me duri…

Free Writing - Take 20

Subdued. Bus Rides take a lot out of me.  It's not the boredom, but the pain. The sharp pain, tingling down my legs, reminding me of age, of times ago, where I'd bounce back from anything. The silence of my father's house, my grandmother's old room, where I slept, is gone. The hiss from the pipes outside my door, the boilers hum and the occasional park of a dog or a car horn all distract me from even the most minor thoughts. All those noises, muffled by the deer filled hill and houses, filled with respectful neighbors.  A town with two colleges, yet there are not radios blazing or tires screeching. A civilized world unlike mine. Cab rides to look forward to and their incredible costs.  The math is mind boggling. It upsets me actually. Life isn't fair in so many ways, but everyone wants to make a buck, then when they have a buck, they want two.  The world's greed makes it so hard to get by. Missed is the taste of the veal chops, the rib eyes and the scallop dinn…