Sunday, June 30, 2013

Super Quickie Review - Hitchcock

Brilliantly cast with Hopkins and especially Mirren absolutely amazing. Johansson, Biel & Darcy do their predecessors proud with subtle, yet meaningful roles (each plays in an integral poignant scene), with Darcy's portrayal of Anthony Perkins meeting Hitchcock easily the best scene in the film. Michael Wincott is stunningly eerie and amazing as Ed Gein.  Yeah, that Ed Gein.  The biggest problem with the film and forgive me Sir Anthony and Dame Helen, but it always feels like a TV movie. ***out of 5

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Movies I Can't Turn Off

I rarely write blogs on the weekends anymore, because instead of somewhere between 20-30 people reading them, I find that the number is usually under 10. That being said, I am bored and was thinking of a recent conversation about movies that end channel surfing, sleep and conversation.  Those movies that no matter where they are in the story, I'm watching til the end.  For sake of not boring anyone, I'll keep the comments minimal

  • Jaws - I'm pretty sure this is on everyones list and most people I know claim to have seen this somewhere between 50-100 times.
  • Apocalypse Now - This used to be my favorite "come home drunk but not tired" movie.
  • State of Grace - Second most underrated gangster film ever made (Miller's Crossing),with absolutely brilliant Ed Harris.
  • King of New York - Walken and Fishburne the bad guys and Caruso, Snipes and Argo as the good guys. Classic Walken.
  • Deep Blue Sea - Probably my biggest guilty pleasure movie.  It's awful and great at the same time.
  • The Boondock Saints - Another guilty pleasure that makes me unable to look away.
  • Groundhog Day - One of my favorite comedies.
  • Layer Cake - London underground with brilliant Daniel Craig
  • Zodiac - I'm thinking of not only writing a blog about this film, but possibly a book (no really) about it.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Home & Where My Heart Is

I think it was about this time two years ago when I went to spend some time with my grandmother during a little vacation/memorial service my father was attending.  My intention was to spend a week with her, helping out and then another week once my father returned. In the end, I think it was about 18 days. Tomorrow night will be three weeks I've been here.  Sadly, I don't have much going on this summer.  No work lined up, which needs to change, as I'm still holding on to one last paycheck, trying to milk it for everything it's worth.  Sure I could become a hermit and make it last three months, but what kind of life is that? Hoping for a bit of a miracle, but I'll take some luck instead, being I don't believe in those.

Today was the first day I really reflected on this time.  I thought about where I call home.  Home is the place you are supposed to feel free. Calm. Secure. Home is where the heart is, is it not?  Yet, my heart is anywhere but where I call home. My heart is here in Ithaca, sitting on a porch, darkness engulfing me, the soothing raindrops melodically entertaining me, knowing tomorrow will be coffee and bagels and light chatter before a day of leisure.  My heart is in Brooklyn, with its vibrant sounds and colors.  It's various cuisines and the hustle and bustle of a city, not as serious as Manhattan. Memories of car alarms and cooling off in an illegally opened hydrant.  My heart is in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the sounds of children whispering about their days,divulging secrets they believe only they can hear. The sounds of the city, so far away.

My heart is with people in my life and out. Memories of times spent around a fire, on a stoop, holding hands or clanking glasses while stars looked down upon us and we gazed back, relaxed, intoxicated by a powerful elixir known as friendship, sometimes love.  I left three weeks ago following time with friends in Boston. A different time, feeling, experience this time. Fun, but different.  Age changing my perspective, my needs.  I expected to miss people by now.  I expected to be missed.  I'm don't and I'm not. It's OK.

I've thought about it. My connections to this place.  A 25th reunion from a high school I despised, surrounded by creatures no more evolved than they were in '88.  I too haven't evolved like I wanted. I'm trapped or at least it appears.  Same faces and similar thoughts.  Wrinkles show on their faces, but the wisdom from time hasn't kept up.  It makes me look into that proverbial mirror and I see it's shattered pieces. Seven more years? How much longer can I take.  I have thoughts of three people. That is it. One the wise sage, the eyes, the ears, the shoulder at times. The other, youthful exuberance, reminding me of me, had  I strove and cared a little less what people thought. Finally there are the ones who would never expect it. The ones who keep me sane for little reasons. The tiny conversations, at times about nothing. It's important to speak about nothing, if that is what is important at that moment.

The rain is beginning to cease. That sound suddenly lost by the rare hum of a car engine. Taking me back to where I call home.  The noise, the clutter, the cramped confined space.  My home/my cell. Imprisoned by monotony and stagnation. Soon the birds will begin to chirp, awakening me, then mocking me. Reminding me  that I can't fly away with them, as they soar to places I'll never know.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NBA Draft Predictions - Abridged Version

With the influx of foreign players and my lack of cable, I'm a little out of the loop going into this draft, so I'll predict the top 10 and the two NY Teams.

  1. Cavaliers - Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown. Absolutely nobody has Porter going first, but he fills the biggest need and is a beast. Nerlin Noels would be the obvious pick, but he does not have an NBA ready body after his injury last season.
  2. Magic - Victor Oladipo, SG, Ohio St. A do everything player with huge upside. The Magic need a face of the franchise and this could be it.
  3. Wizards - Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV. Small for PF, but a beast on the boards. This may be a reach, but he will be an immediate starter and Noels won't be.
  4. Hornets - Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas. Might be the best player in the draft, but only a freshman.  too good to pass up.
  5. Suns - Nerlin Noels, C, Kentucky. How do you pass on a guy slated to go first in the fifth spot, even when you need a shooter more?  You can't.
  6. Pelicans - Trey Burke, PG, Michigan. Exciting player for a team that needs everything.
  7. Kings - Sergey Karasav, SF, Russia. Kings need a 3 man desperately and he's the best available.
  8. Pistons - Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse. Don't be surprised if they use him at the #2 spot next year.
  9. Timberwolves - C.J.McCollum, SG,Lehigh. Great shooter and a huge need.
  10. Trailblazers - Steve Adams, C, Pittsburgh.  Worst bench in the NBA gets a little size in the middle.
With the #22 Pick the Nets will take Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan. Doesn't fill their SG or PF needs, but as we saw in the finals, the 3-ball is crucial.
With the #24 Pick the Knicks select Shane Larkin, PG, Miami - I think the Knicks may actually trade up to get the PG of future.

Best player right away - Oladipo
Best career - Porter
Sleeper - C.J. Leslie, F, NC State - likely 2nd rounder with amazing athleticism.
Bust - Noels

Racism Today

When Martin Luther King Jr's name rings out, we white people say what a great man he was. We admire his courage, his fortitude, his achievements.  Then we go back to our lives and think of ourselves as good people. We can't, make that don't, want to think about what he struggled with or what he really was fighting for.  Equality was see as a given, because we believe instinctively that we have it.  We don't.  We don't have equality until we're all equal.  Our differences are what should make us shine, not be the things we are persecuted for, no matter what they may be and more importantly, no matter what we or others may think of them.  There was a man who wanted everyone to be equal and the same and his name was Adolf Hitler.  Sadly, we have a lot more than a few little Adolfs running around these days.

Marriage equality, Voting Rights Act and Abortion rights have been at the forefront of the news and our justice system and law makers are battling.  That's right, battling. The GOP spent $3 million dollars of tax payers money to prevent marriage equality.  Some of that money came from gays.  The Supreme Court overturned an act, passed over forty years ago, that paved the way for minorities to vote.  I won't get started on Roe v. Wade, because then I'd have to explain it to bigots like Sarah Palin.

I'm going to speak about racism and the most telling story to come out of the news in years. Surprisingly, I won't be speaking of the Trayvon Martin murder trial, although racism is prevalent in that case too.  I'm going to speak about Southern sweetheart and butter loving celebrity cook Paula Deen.  I won't bore anyone with what happened, because it's all over, but basically Paula used racial epitaphs towards blacks 30 years ago and doesn't seem much better today.  I mean literally, TODAY!  The show in which she stated she is who she is and doesn't need to change.  This after blaming her use of the N-word on her upbringing.

Between posts on Facebook, Twitter and some comment sections of news articles, I've been attacked for my self righteousness and my reverse discrimination, although I happen to be white.  An anonymous person told me only God can judge and I am not God. This is true, but who exactly is this person to assume Mrs. Deen's innocence.  Isn't that a judgment? I had another person tell me that I didn't grow up around the word so I wouldn't understand, yet they never met me and don't know that I heard it every day.  They don't know how angered i have been my entire life by whites and blacks who use the word.  And then there are the apologists.  She said  she is sorry, so why can't i cut her some slack, they say.  Hmm, shall we cut Hitler, Bin Laden, Papa Doc, Idi Amin and other tyrants some slack?  If not, why not? If God is what you fear, confess and all is forgiven.

The one that bothered me the most and is most representative of today's racism, came from a friend. I posted something snarky about Deen and he countered with "why isn't Sharpton  a racist?" Now I could pretty much end the blog here and anyone who isn't racist would understand the blatant racism in the question in context.  This was followed up with some inside information into Paula Deen's loving heart and Sharpton's hatred of everything white. I then asked this person a series of questions, which he refused to answer, but then confronted my work schedule.  Now anyone that has taken a debate class, this is white flag #1 and the most obvious and immature way to shield oneself from imminent defeat. It should be noted that this person soon after disappeared from commenting.

Now the above maneuver isn't what bothered me the most.  It was the fact that this same person has done this before, accusing Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Eric Holder, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and president Obama, among others of being racist.  Normally, I should add, the issue of race was not the topic of debate. Are there black racists?  Yes, but their upbringing might have been a little more traumatic than Mrs. Deen's.  Then in the middle of this debate, this person made an analogy.  He compared Deen's actions and apology with the actions and apology of Michael Vick. This was when I insinuated he might  himself be a racist.  To which he implied I didn't know him.  He seems unaware that I have read much worse comments on conservative Facebook threads. Much worse.

So here's my problem. Is it really possible that racists don't know that they are racist. Can upbringing really outshine intelligent thought? Are words laced with hate ever really a mistake? One which a simple apology is acceptable? Hate is a learned process and that is very important to understand.  One doesn't wake one morning and hate broccoli, spinach or black people. It is either learned through experiences, learned through observation of one's surroundings or it is a manifestation of ignorance. My friend doesn't feel very fondly of Muslims, but swears he does.  He finds gay marriage to be a sin, yet says he loves gay people. He is against a woman's right to control what is done to her body, yet says he loves all women.  He says time and again how blacks are racist and uses things he's heard, seen and been taught to justify this, despite having very little contact with real black America. What would you call someone who loves everyone, but doesn't accept their    rights, religious beliefs and thinks they hate him?  I only know one word, but he laughed and mocked me. White flag #2 when someone has you on the ropes in a debate.

In the end, let's hope the people who see color, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation as what defines us, find intelligence and acceptance.  Let's hope they stop hiding behind this false sense of being a victim, hiding behind their god, waving a flag for all the wrong reasons and thinking that who we love is a choice.   Let's hope that we end this downward spiral into an abyss of ignorance and hate and come together.  Let's stop accepting everyone's apologies for atrocity and let them suffer like they made others suffer, whether it be through actions or "mere" words.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reality TV, Celebrity and My Confessions

I'm so painfully out of the loop when it comes to this new brand of celebrity. Reality TV is not for me.  It is one, not reality and two on TV.  I care not.  Due to this aversion, I'm discovering people that have been around for years and some new, by different avenues.  I don't know if I'm in a minority or majority with these   feelings.  So here are some thoughts about people I've recently discovered or have become more aware of.

Channing Tatum - a feast for the ladies' eyes?  Does it bother anyone what a terrible actor he is?
Sorry Ladies, he's taken and his wife is super hot.

Emma Watson - I have seen her on screen for about two minutes, as a child and knew nothing about her. Saw a picture a few weeks back and she's turned into a Audrey Hepburn-esque beauty.

Lana Del Ray - OK, I'm lying, I was one of the first to post how great she was when I heard Video Games. She's even better than that. Amazing vocal talent, lost in a pop world.

Miley Cyrus - Hannah Montana doesn't fit my standard as a beauty, but I loved her style and understanding of gala at the MET celebrating punk fashion.  People much older didn't get it.

One Direction - I don't get how the music aspect of this group means nothing to people. They are average looking guys with absolutely no singing talent.  Why aren't The Wanted the big current boy band. They can actually sing.

Mad Men - Absolutely, positively one of the worst written and acted shows I've ever been unfortunate to watch. Everything about it is repulsive and yet people, even women, go on an on about it. I'm infatuated with Christina Hendricks and even she can not make me watch this show.

30 Rock - Despite my love of Tina Fey and respect for Alec Baldwin as an actor, this show was terrible. I admit to only seeing three to four episodes over it's tenure, but they were all exactly the same.  I vote Tracy Morgan as the unfunniest man on the that a thing?

Parks & Recreation - Love everyone on this show....hate the show.

Game of Thrones - saw ten minutes of this and was bored to tears. Might give it a try down the road, but not my cup of tee.  I've already seen I'Cladius and read Shakespeare, so maniacal kings and queens don't impress me these days.

I had never heard of Demi Lovato until she was on X Factor and I saw a clip. She looked like this and I thought meh

Then I saw this pic of her on twitter, where she was urging her fans to go without makeup and post their true beauty.  

Now that's a beautiful girl....and then she did a cover of Rihanna's Stay, that was better than Rihanna's Her vocal range is amazing.

John Oliver - Jon Stewart's temporary replacement is absolutely killing it in his new role as host of the Daily Show. His dry British wit adds another dimension to the shows sarcastic humor. His early bits are rivaling some of Stewart's best.

Farrah Abraham - Apparently this woman was on a show called Teen Mom. Never saw it and never heard of her and then I saw a R rated version of a porno she shot with a real porn star. According to reports she has sex, in every way possible and is now the butt (lots of pun intended) of tons of jokes. Here's the thing.  The girl is a mom. She sold her soul to be made a laughing stock out of for MTV. Now she's collected nearly a million dollars for having sex on camera. She's a pretty girl and if she has guidance and smarts, she and her baby are set for life. No fault in doing whatever it takes to give your child a good life.

Michael Fassbender - This guy has almost stole my man crush status away from Ryan Gosling. Why aren't ladies going nuts over this talented actor. See Shame and then get back to me.

Sadly, I can't even think of anyone else to talk about other than Kim & Kanye and I don't want to.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Free Writing - Take 25

5:35AM. I've been up for two hours now after roughly 90 minutes of sleep. I awoke, atop the sheets, sweat pouring down my head. It wasn't the drink. Four beers, that is all.  The room smelled of heat. A musky scent that I deplore. My own body, burning. The feeling that overcame me earlier; Envy. I don't like it. Not envious of materialistic things, but of simplicity. It dawned on me today, through little signs, that my life will never be complete in the way that I want it. I'm not trying to be cryptic, but the things we assume will happen, never will.  The things we all crave and eventually achieve, through accidents, happenstance or just being in the right place at the right time, escape my grasp. I know not what to do to change it.  Fate is an odd  thing. It is not given enough credit in my book. We all think we work hard and are rewarded by some celestial being, yet those I know and have known who have worked the hardest, have not had fate shine kindly upon them.  What just, omnipotent presence would do such a thing to those who strive for nothing more than contentment.  We all come to a fork in the road at different times in our lives and how ironic, that two fork, not in a road, resonated so loudly with me. A laugh, a scream, a simple question.  Made me realize there is an emptiness. I saw it filled by different things, by different people. I heard sounds and saw subtle nuances in their pleasure and realized I have none.  I reached out, the kind words came back, but it was as if it were scripted. A late night movie, alone with coffee and my thoughts.  Is this it? Is this my path? Envious of a situation most would see as dead end.  Envious of the smells, the touch, the laughter. Bring me October, so I can continue the masquerade from the truth.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why Don't We Talk Anymore?

One of the things I love about coming to Ithaca, especially when visiting with Grandma, was the relaxed vibe here. Sure, there was the time spent helping her, but that was a privilege to do at her age.  What I mean is during the down time. Sure when she was younger she liked walks on the beach or on some path, but she also loved to chat.  I think I'm probably more like her than anyone else in my family.

When I go away on vacation with a group of people, it's always fun when we're doing group events and playing games, but the special times, the reason why I keep going back, is the times late at night when it would be me and one other person, just shooting the shit.  Things would be said, maybe revealed is more apropos, that might not be said in a passing conversation.

So many of us make plans to go to dinner, to have our stories interrupted by waiters or other diners, chiming in and not quite getting where you are in the world or what you mean.  Why can't people just sit and talk.  I've found more and more, as technology increases and out connections to multiple people and groups becomes easier, that our ability to communicate lessens.  People rush each other off the phone, with empty promises of picking up where they left off the next time.  People feign exhaustion or make up errands in order of getting out of talking it seems. People just aren't comfortable with face to face conversations anymore.

A few months ago I met a friend for lunch.  As the time ticked by, it dawned on me that minutes had turned to hours and the years that I'd known him, had been surmised on that time.  What I found fascinating was that as well as I knew him, he became someone else in that time.  He reiterated the things about him I'd already known, but he opened up so much of himself to me that I felt I knew him better after those three hours than I had over 27 years. It was because of talking and sharing.  Something that seems lost on people today. And no, it's not a generational thing. I see the same irreverence in those who are older as I do with those who are young.  I see it with those who are close to me and those who I've just met.  It saddens me that our greatest attribute isn't being used.

I remember about a year and a half ago.  I had a conversation with someone about everything under the sun. We talked about music, art, sports, kids, movies, science, religion, politics, and everything in between.  There were differences of opinion and there were shared beliefs.  As we spoke, we drew closer and closer. Ending up with a hand on each other's knees. Mere inches away from each other.  A connection had been made and it was one of the best nights I'd had in years. She was younger, very attractive with one major "flaw."  She was married and apparently happily so.  As the evening drew to a close, we both knew what had to be done.  We finished speaking, exchanging or thanks and our appreciation for one another. We then said our goodbyes, embraced and went our separate ways, never to speak again. We couldn't. It would have thrown both our lives into something neither one of us wanted for the other. We didn't scuba dive or go on a hike.  We didn't dine at a five star restaurant or go to a Broadway play.  We sat and we talked and experienced two lifetimes together. Something I will covet and hope to do again, but maybe more than once.

Super Quickie Review - Taking Chance

Taking Chance is an HBO movie starring Kevin Bacon as Lt.Col. Mike Strobl of the US Marine Corps. The movie is about his volunteering to deliver the body of a young man he didn't know who grew up in his hometown.  The movie is incredibly powerful and painfully sad, but shows the dedication, camaraderie and honor that those who have served (and those who are in any way touched by those who have) display.

Bacon is absolutely brilliant (as he almost always is) and the characters along the way, many very recognizable, are equally as good.  The movie is a mere 75 minutes long, so even if you find it mundane as some have referred to it, it's over quickly.  Sadly, it's a true story and there are way too many like it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

People I Will Never Understand (Seriously)

People who say they like yogurt - Listen, I'll pretty much try anything two or three times before writing it off. I've got a pretty discerning palate and despite it coming off as snobbery at times, I know food. I grew up around gourmet food and the restaurants I went to as a child weren't the typical places parents would bring children.  I didn't always like what I ate, but as time went on, I started to realize the complexities of some foods.  Some it took me forty years to appreciate (Oysters, mushrooms, Uni), but my need to try everything more than once opened my eyes.  That being said, there is not one food I've tried more times and in more varieties than yogurt. For the life of me, I can't understand how anyone can genuinely like it, other than for it's health properties. It's chalky, bland and leaves a taste in your mouth similar to licking an envelope.  Just now, I had some Fage yogurt and had to add a berry pie insides just to stomach it.  Barely. 

People who wont watch movies with subtitles - To me this screams out, I'm uneducated and lazy.  The whole "I want to relax, not read" I find comical, because these are the same types that will read Star magazine cover to cover while laying on the beach.  In my life, I'd probably say a quarter of my favorite films are foreign and subtitled.  How can someone just cast aside all these wonderful film. To live a life missing out on movies like The Seventh Seal, Cinema Paradiso or The Seven Samurai, just to name a few, is mind boggling to me.  I implore people to give these masterpieces a chance. I have become so accustomed to subtitles, I sometimes use them for American films.

People who wear jeans outside in the summer - How is this comfortable?  I know I'm a freak, but I don't like wearing jeans in the winter, let alone the summer. Something about sweating with jeans on scares me. It's one of the most uncomfortable feelings I've ever experienced.  It's almost a claustrophobia for me. Unless you are one of those types who never sweats, I just don't understand how a pair of cotton shorts isn't the go to apparel.

People who believe in a god with no question, but can't accept things that have been proven to be true - Now I fully admit, I think religion is the single biggest problem in our world today.  It divides us like no other man made device has ever done before and ever will.   It is important to realize that whether or not you believe in a higher power, that organized religion is a man made institution.  Very important to understand that.  It's also important to understand that faith, in it's most simple definition is nothing more than an absolute belief in what can not be proven. I would argue that advanced intelligence and faith have a negative correlation.  I have faith in one thing and one thing only and that is, one day I will die.  Nothing else that I've experienced has taught me anything else to be true. I contend that to believe anything more than that is delusional at best.  I'm not saying I don't respect other's religion, but I'm skeptical about how easily they can or will be swayed and that always brings some trepidation when it comes to trust. How can anyone trust someone who repeats quotes from someone who claimed to be the son of God, who didn't write these things down, but people who surrounded him, yet some born after his death are professing their validity?  Even some men and women of the cloth have told me they are skeptical about many parts and as to who wrote them.

People who answer a question with a question  - As someone who took a class on public speaking and debating, we learned little secrets and tells and one is, if someone answers your question with a question they are doing one of two things; stalling until they can come up with something or deflecting the question to mask their ignorance.  Now obviously, this isn't to say if you ask "what is your favorite Batman movie?" and someone says "Do you mean the ones with Christian Bale?" that they are doing either.  Now, if you say "What other reason do you dislike Obama other than the fact he's black?" and they respond with "Why do you hate Mitt Romney, because he's a Mormon?"  they are either embarrassed because they are prejudiced or they are trying to think of some reason other than the one you asked to give as an answer.  Body language, especially eye movement and reactions to questions very often tell a much bigger story than the words being relayed.

People who lie about unimportant things - I try not to lie ever.  Don't get me wrong, I've lied about not feeling well, when in reality I made plans with a girl I met the night before. I've lied about being sick, when I've been hungover, as to gain an hour or two before going to work, knowing the boss would tell me to stay home. That being said, I rarely lie. In all honesty, it's probably gotten me in more trouble being truthful than any lie has. I've questioned people's parenting skills, friendship and devotion to numerous situations. I've lost more friends along the way being honest than I have by lying.  I just feel I can sleep better at night knowing I was truthful.  Plus, telling the truth means never having to remember what you said.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sitting On The Porch In Ithaca - A Running Commentary

Well, I'm out on the front porch. It would be a lovely, cool, quiet day, if it weren't for the fact that my father's next door neighbor has a friend working on his house and this work has been going on for the better part of a year.  No apparent changes to the house, but the guy sure can make noise.  So I've decided to start writing whatever I see from this window looking out into the surreal world that is Ithaca.

2:45 - Neighbor across the street playing Frisbee with his dog.  Why is he wearing a batting glove?

2:52 - Ted Nugent's twin brother just walked by, leather hat, denim, Brillo hair.

2:54 - A beautiful cardinal just landed on a fence and immediately took off. I just passed gas. I'm one with nature.

2:57 - A student driver just did a perfect three point turn. I stood and applauded. They hit the curb.

3:01 - Two people who each weighed about 320lbs walking with a wiener dog. Hope they make it home before lunch.

3:03 - Hello college girl....for the love of god I hope she's in college.

3:11 - Guy with button down shirt and khakis, with a camo backpack just walked by doing about 30 mph. In a big city, this would be a terror suspect.

3:20 - It dawns on me that karma is setting in. Yesterday, a rainy day, a million people walked by. Today, nothing.

3:21 - Just as I say it, two people run by, Joan Benoit and Forrest Gump are training together.

3:23 - Booming Stereo (a first around here) and it sounds like rap music....White 30-something in a maroon Volvo. Gangsta!

3:25 - Little kid walks by and stares at me. Wonder what everyone is wondering. "It's 3:25, when does he plan on brushing his hair?"

3:31 - Crazy hot woman just walked by, but not the norm here. Cowboy boots and skin tight jeans. Maybe she's lost.

3:32 - I'm listening to Kate Nash and I think I need to date a European singer who doesn't lose her accent when she sings.  Are you listening Kate Nash, Ellie Goulding, Lily Allen, Dolores O'Riordan?

3:52 - Some kid just walked by and gave a really goofy smile and paused. He's either a little goofy or he really loves Taste of Honey's Boogie Oogie Oogie.

3:53 - Two brothers just rode by on bicycles. I never did that with my brother.  Probably because my brother was beating 21 year olds in races at 16 and I was 26 and could barely walk.

4:03 - It's like a village of Gumps. Six joggers in a row.

4:11 - Note to self.  There's a blind spot from my Dad's porch to the sidewalk. No bedroom eyes to mother's who are talking to themselves, it might just be their young child.

Films You Haven't Seen, But You Should - For The Ladies Version

Ok, so last night I put together of testosterone laced movies for the fellas to watch this summer.  It was aimed for the guys who like action, but might not have ventured into my types of movies.  Now some were foreign, so if that's not your thing, you might not like my list. I hate generalizing, but it seems females are much less willing to watch subtitles than men.  This is not to say most men will, they won't, but it's an observation.  So what is my criteria for the ladies films??  I'm putting in a few movies you might not have seen that either have some eye candy, some serious relationship aspects or have an incredibly strong female lead.  Trying not to be too stereotypical with this list, but here it goes.  Remember, these aren't the movies everyone's seen, so no Notebook, no Mean Girls or Erin Brockovich.

Veronica Guerin - Cate Blanchett plays a tough as nails journalist who pokes her intuitive head into places she shouldn't while investigating Dublin's drug trade. Colin Farrell appears in a minor role as a street kid informant.

Layer Cake - This movie is also in my men's list, but I think the inclusion of Daniel Craig and Tom Hardy in this exciting underground drug world in London might peak some ladies interest.  Plus, my female movie muse loves this movie.

The Fountain - This is one of my favorite movies that nobody has seen. Hugh Jackman & Rachel Weisz star in this sci-fi love story that spans hundreds, maybe thousands of years.  It's all about someone willing to spend eternity searching for a way to spend that time with the woman he loves. This movie is beautifully filmed and is almost like a hallucination, but in a good way.

Lars and the Real Girl - Ryan Gosling plays a slightly off young man who isn't very social. He buys a real life sex doll and then starts to come out of his shell, but the problem is, he bring the doll with him.  It sounds like a kinky film, but it's really a simple film about all of our desires to love and be loved. I have watched this movie three times and bawl like a little kid with a scraped knee every time.

Bonneville - Three women get into a car and travel across the country when one is widowed. They each find a part of themselves.  This is like a happier version of Thelma of Louise, with actually better acting. Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and the amazing Joan Allen star.

Lemon Tree - Story of a strong Palestinian widow whose home and lemon grove are threatened when there is a security breach against her neighbor, an Israeli defense minister.  Movie is a study of strenght under adversity and immeasurable odds.

Hard Candy - Not for everyone, because of the subject matter, but Ellen Page (Juno) stars as a 14-year-old who is contacted by a pedophile, whom she meets and goes home with.  Let's just say, this isn't the outcome you'd expect. Girl Power is on full display in this one.

The Snapper - A young Irish girl gets pregnant and becomes the focus of vicious rumors.  Her father (Colm Meaney) takes offense and all hell breaks loose in this hilarious story about a pretty serious subject.

Once - Since it hit Broadway, tons of people have seen the original, but many haven't.  Beautiful music accompanies this love story that is probably more realistic to what happens in life that what we're used to.

Winter's Bone - Arguably the best movie of the last five years, this stars Jennifer Lawrence (you might not recognize her) as a tough single mother trying to save her home and her family, when her father goes missing and is needed and bills need to be paid.  This movie is very dark and at times unsettling, but Lawrence is brilliant.

Amelie - Parisian Pixie finds a chest of toys and wants to return them to their owner. Beautiful film from start to finish. About as quirky as a film can get, but definitely worth the ride.

Films You Haven't Seen, But You Should - This One Is For The Fellas

Most of my viewing pleasure comes from foreign horror, odd documentaries and movies that are so outside the box, people in the know, don't know them. Every once in a while however, I like to sit back, grab some popcorn and watch some testosterone filled craziness.  So for a change of pace, I'm going to give my guy friends a nice little summer movie list.  These aren't movies you'll need to be deep in thought to appreciate and who knows, maybe you have a thrill seeking girl by your side who will enjoy them as much as you do.  So here it goes. This one is definitely aimed at the fellas who need that Red Bull feel, while sitting on the couch.  I;m also going to try and leave off any with plot twists, where you might actually have to use your brains.

Master of the Flying Guillotine - If you are my age and watched Saturday Kung Fu theater, you've already seen this.  The government hires the MotFG to get the famed one-armed boxer.  Starts slow, but the action is incredible and the movie features the coolest weapon of all-time.

Hero - Jet Li stars in one of the most visually stimulating action movies ever made.  If you liked Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon you will love this film.

Suspect Zero - Underrated film that is actually a film version (in a way) of Dexter....two years before Dexter came out.

Oldboy - If you're a guy and you haven't seen this yet, you might want to check your shorts and make sure you still have a penis. One of the best movies ever made, let alone action thrillers.  Part of Chan Wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy, with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance.

Domino - Keira Knightley as a fashion model turned bounty hunter. Wait, it's also a true story. Oh yeah, and Mickey Rourke is in it.

Layer Cake - Take the new James Bond and put him in the London underworld.  Shaken not stirred.

Battle Royale - Hunger Games is a complete rip-off of this masterpiece. A dozen kids are thrown into the wilderness and told that only one can survive.  Completely insane. Oh yeah and the cute little girl with the mace from Kill Bill is in it.

You Kill Me - Ben Kinglsey as an alcoholic retired hitman and Tea Leoni is hot.  Oh yeah, it's funny and a little violent and it's about 90 minutes long.

Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer - Don't watch this with your girlfriend or parents. Unless you plan on killing them.  Sick sick sick.

Severance - one of my personal favorite movies ever. Starts as a comedy, turns into a horror and then when you think it's almost over, it gets crazy!

Dead Snow - Very typical horror movie. Cabin in the woods. Beautiful Scandinavian women. Drinking, maybe some sex and zombies...that run really fast and are calculating.  Oh did I mention that they are Nazis?

Intermission - a whole bunch of stories that come together.  The opening scene with Colin Farrell is the most fucked up thing you will ever see.

Mesrine Part 1 (Part 2 is repetitious) - Vincent Cassell gets hot women, gets in trouble, rinse and repeat....another true story.

Frontiers - think you know horror movies.  Nope, you don't.  Not the best French horror movies, but if I suggested Martyrs, you'd never speak to me again.  Start with your way up.

The Raid: Redemption - arguably the best pure action, thin plot movie of all time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Open Prediction

OK, predicting golf tourney winners is probably the silliest thing ever. Pick Tiger Woods and go home.  So I'm going to do it a little differently.  I'm going to name ten golfers and I'm hoping five will come in the top ten.  Obviously I'll pick a winner, but I'm not too confident in that pick at all.  So here ya go.

  1. Graeme McDowell
  2. Kevin Streelman
  3. Adam Scott
  4. Brandt Snedeker
  5. Tiger Woods
  6. Matt Kuchar
  7. Steve Stricker
  8. Rickie Fowler
  9. Robert Garrigus
  10. Rory McIlroy
Not too much out on a limb, with six guy in the top 10 and seven in the top 20.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Cabin In The Woods (Not The Dumb Movie)

I keep having dreams at night about spending a year in the woods.  In my dream, I'm living in a tiny cabin. A bed, a chair with a desk, a word burning stove, a small bathroom and because, for the purposes of fulfilling the actual dream, I'm assuming some electricity to charge my computer and to light my simple, humble abode.

In the dream I have a handful of items. Soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, some towels, a few changes of clothes, utensils, a frying pan, a small fridge stocked with eggs, veggies and a small pantry filled with beans, rice and those instant mashed potatoes.  Of course, I have my laptop and a few bottles of whiskey and wine.  In the dream, I never run out of these staples and occasionally I have a visitor who brings me supplies and maybe stays the night.  Nothing lewd in this dream, just an occasional companion, to make sure I don't turn into that dickhead from Into the Wild.

I spend days wandering through the woods, setting my chair down by the river, washing clothes, dipping my toes and such.  In the winter, I look for logs for the fire and look in wonder at the various footprints that were set before me.  At night, after a nibble and a drink or two, I would sit down and write.  Not like this, so often mindless blog, but something substantial. A novel or a screenplay.  It's been a dream of mine for years, but the more I think about it, the more I procrastinate.  I am filled with self doubt when it comes to writing.  Are the thoughts and dreams in my head as exciting as they appear to me or are they just a poor attempt at comedy, horror or drama?  I have plenty ideas, with some of the story's endings already vivid in my head.  The winter would end, the spring would begin and I'd leave the cabin with something I could be proud of.  Something the world would want.  I have all of it finished in my mind.  I have all of it finished in my dreams. I just don't have the beginning in either.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quickie "Classic" Review - Caged

If I told you I watched a movie about women in prison, your first reaction would probably be, "Oh nice, which one? Chained Heat with Linda Blair and Sybil Danning or Black Mama, White Mama with Pam Grier and Sid Haig.  While I can't deny as a 13 year old, seeing Blair and Danning in the buff was quite an event in my life, I've grown and tonight I saw quite possibly one of the best prison movies ever made.

Caged was made in 1950 and while it's not considered the first movie about women in prison, it's the first to be completely filmed while the main character is behind bars.  The film stars Eleanor Parker (who was nominated for best actress - take a look at who she was up against this year and you'll understand why she didn't win" as a 19-year-old widow, who's been convicted of armed robbery.  A crime in which her husband was killed and her only crime was running to his rescue. Sentenced to anywhere from 9 months to 10 years, she enters prison a naive young girl, who happens to be a few months pregnant. While she tries desperately to steer clear of trouble, she makes friends with the other inmates who don't like that she's being picked on by the prison matron, played brilliantly by Hope Emerson, who was also nominated, for best supporting actress.  The movie is also highlighted by performances from Agnes Moorehead as the kind hearted warden, Betty Garde, as the prison toughie, the lovely Jan Sterling as the films only comic relief and an older woman, who I sadly couldn't find her name, but she steals each scene she's in.

The movie is about one woman's transformation from a shy, naive young widow and expected mother, into a hardened, take no shit prisoner.  While the fair, beautiful Parker doesn't look like a toughie, she endures a lot,  on screen and off, including a scene, that for the time, was way over the top (and no, it is not sexual in nature).  The movie is in no way exploitative in the way the future movies looked at women behind bars.  The real story is how they try to remain strong and maybe more importantly, remain women.  A powerful film and one that should not be overlooked among the all-time greats of the wonderful decade that was the fifties.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Why Boston Is Better Than New York

The Red Sox
The city doesn't smell like sewage
Less crowded
Parks everywhere and such a clean city
Day drinking doesn't seem like a slacker thing to do
Their devotion to their sports teams is unparalleled
Chowdah and seafood everywhere for cheap
Restaurant servers are all so nice and don't feel entitled
Make a wrong turn and you're probably glad you did
Newbury St is like Rodeo Drive without the pretentiousness
Dropkick Murphys and Mighty Mighty Bosstones (among other more noted bands)
Everyone is attractive and in ridiculous shape
Happy Hour with not only drink specials, but food specials
Their Little Italy seems 10x cleaner than NYs
Accents of any type are sexy
Cab driver was friendly and gave me a free ride
Streets aren't straight so walking isn't as monotonous
Every place has some kind of food special
Hotels are cheaper
Everything is within four miles and you don't have to hit multiple boroughs to experience it
Sitting on the water doesn't involve smelling dirty water
People are so laid back
Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall
The T beats the IRT any day
Barely any traffic
Fenway Park - It's easy to get to and the area surrounding it isn't a shithole
Food carts on sidewalks don't look like they need to be hosed down
Getting from one end of the city to another can take as little as 12 minutes by cab and cost $15
Sirens seem like an oddity
Freedom Trail
Charles River
Did I mention the Red Sox, beautiful people and seafood while sitting on the water?

Quickie Review - Dark Skies

Unlike similarly marketed movies like Sinister and Insidious, Dark Skies goes into a completely different direction. To tell you would be too much of a spoiler. What is amazing about this film and what differentiates it from most supernatural/possession films, is acting.  The acting in this is actually really good, despite a pretty unremarkable script. Keri Russell is actually shockingly awesome and Josh Hamilton nails the "everyman" to a tee.  They are a family, like many, under immense economic pressure and blaming all the woes on these issues. Until one night they realize it might be something else.  As their problems become too much to handle and people starting asking questions, they are faced with a decision, both as parents and as a couple.

Dark Skies will not make you jump out of your seat.  It won't make you cover your eyes.  It won't make you scream.  What it will do is creep you out on a different level, because of the situation and the insinuation of its outcome. I know this is a vague review, but to be specific would give too much away.  Oh and if you are expecting an ending like Sinister or Insidious, you'll be sadly disappointing.  This one is smart and creepy.  I was amazed by it and thrilled they didn't go with the alternate ending.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Is there anything better than a really good nap?  I mean, I can sleep for six hours at night and wake up feeling  none the better, but there are those special occasions when you doze off for forty minutes and wake feeling alive.  Sure there are bad naps (I just had one), but even those leave you with a feeling of rest.  Some naps aren't planned, but those that are seem divine.  Middle of the day, sun is shining, as you peal the covers back and slip into the coziness.  The pillow holds your head like a mother would hold her child. You pull the covers up to your neck and your body soon takes on a fetal positions and all the grown up woes evaporate. You almost start dreaming before your slumber begins.  Thoughts of all the good in life seem to enter your mind and as you drift, all you desire fill your head and eases you into a deep brief sleep.  You awake and feel like anything is possible. And it is.