Friday, December 23, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
One of the things that continually confounds me is the greed that keeps popping up in the world like a rabid gopher.
Quite to the contrary of the famous line quoted by Michael Douglas's character Gordon Gekko, "Greed is good", (Wall Street, 1987). No Mr. Gekko, greed is not so good.
On Tuesday, December 20, the Transport Workers Union began a labor strike in New York City. During contract negotiations, the TWU rejected raise offers made by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). Those offers were reported to be annual raises of 3, 4, and 3.5 percent. Another troublesome issue was the raising of eligibility age for a full pension, from 55 to 62.
Are these proposals made by the MTA fair? I don't know. I'm not up on labor practices, appropriate wages and so on. The point is, someone is being greedy. Either the labor union is asking for too much, or the Transit Authority is not offering enough. It's a very simple concept.
Two more contract offers were made this week. One was for 40 million dollars, paid out over four years. I'd say that's bloody awesome!
Johnny Damon didn't think so. He rejected that Red Sox offer.
He preferred the offer made by the (spitting sound) New York Yankees, 52 millionfluckingdollars over four years.
Get this though, Johnny's agent, Scott Boras was asking for 84! Million. 84 millionbloodyflucking dollars for a seven year deal!
Oh - by the way - Mr. Steinbrenner, you might want to give the MTA a phone call, I think they're a little short on cash.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I have a great imagination, and this is part of what fuels me as a writer. What else fuels me is my concern for the world, for the direction it’s going in. You put the two of those together, and there’s a good chance for my inner conspiracy theorist to emerge, thrusting me up on a soapbox to yell about the sky falling or something.
What concerns me today, is not caused by imagination, nor is it a conspiracy theory, but some scary facts.
A conference was held this week in Lowell, MA to discuss the very real possibility of an avian flu pandemic. So far this virus is not spreading human to human, but medical experts state that there is likelihood that it could do just that. The CDC goes into detail here.
Now, I’ve never received a flu shot; never saw the need. I’m still not crazy about the idea; it seems sort of, strange, to me. Yet for the last two years, in late winter/early spring – I’ve become sick with something that took hold, and didn’t let go for a long, long time. Its not like I was sick for months, more like 2 or 3 weeks, but no one needs that aggravation.
The article that I referenced above (Lowell Sun, December 7, 2005) described how the state needs to prepare -- logistically speaking – in the event that this virus did hit Massachusetts. As a matter of fact, this article began with statements from a local Health Department director, voicing his concerns about how to deal with the deceased. As in storage, as in filled to capacity morgues.
If this sounds too much like a “Movie of the Week”, just remember that a massive weather system that could demolish a major US city sort of sounded like a piece of fiction as well.
Wash your hands. Please.
Monday, November 28, 2005
I'm wrapping up an article on Christmas, so I've had all these things on my mind even earlier than usual. But what the crux of my article is about - finding what really is significant behind our holidays -- buzzes in my mind like a cheerful but persistent goody-two-shoes. Remember the movie Animal House? When Pinto has the girl in his room, and is getting advice from his conscience? The Devil saying...."F#*k her! And the angel ...Well, saying not to.
I keep hearing the angel (how fitting) telling me.."Remember the good!" The angel also says, "remember the Alamo", but that I don't' quite get. But really, I have this voice in my head, reminding me that there is something wonderful coming. OK VOICE --You got a good point there! I get it! I'll try to be of good Cheer!
So, voice not withstanding, I continue bravely into the fray of the holiday season. (cripes, my wording isn't exactly sweetness and light is it? 'bravely'? 'into the fray'? Could I be any more, pessimistic?
Anyway, today I wasn't in the best mood when I was out on errands, but I swear this did NOT color my reactions to what I saw.
There's a new decoration in town kids. Yep, right here in River City. You probably have seen these fancy huge blow up type things that have been popular the last few years. They have pumpkins, witches, turkeys, Snowmen, elves, the works. Sadly they don't work so well for the condo set. Anyway...
There's this twist on the blow up decoration. One word: SnowGlobe. OK maybe that's two words, sorta. But really, there are now these big blow up snowglobe thingies. Yeah, exactly! It's some sort of holiday figure, with a HUGE (plastic I guess) sphere, and real stuff blowing around inside. I'm pretty sure it's not real snow.
Today I saw three of them.
It's really pretty amazing, but immediately I knew I would never EVER get one.
Too expensive? I don't know. Too gaudy? Ah, maybe, but it IS pretty cute.
Perhaps, toooooo trendy?
Yeah, I'm weird like that. If everyone else has one, I develop an immediate distaste for it. Maybe I'm just jealous because I didn't think of it first. Could be. I'm not sure. All I know is that why do I want to copy someone else? Why do I want to do the cookie cutter thing? ::Shiver:::. Remember those outdoor Christmas lights that give a sort of icicle effect? You affix them so they hang off the edge of the roof. Sort of neat looking, but once I saw more than one display, I made the mental note to not include it in any sort of holiday decorating theme EVER in my lifetime. EVER.
Kind of funny, especially if you know me and have been to my house. Yeah, I do follow fashion somewhat. I have hung on the coattails of some sort of decorating trend or another. My clothes are not terribly outdated. I have a DVD, MP3, GPS... I buy brand names. I wear Eddie Bauer and Victoria's Secret. I have not yet uttered, "that's how I roll", and now that I typed it, it's just too silly, but I try like heck to keep up.
Just not with the Joneses.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
(First posted on Blogcritics.org)
The morning started out tense – trying to get the four of us out the door for a 9:00AM showing of the long-awaited Harry Potter flick. I know, Nine O’clock A-bloody-M. It was a school deal you see. My fifth grade son came home with the news a few weeks ago, that his school had a deal going with a local theater to get all us ‘muggles’ tickets for this special showing. It seemed worth it, despite the early show time. Of course, when this morning actually dawned, it was a little bit harder to be excited about seeing the show, especially for my high school son. “Why do we have to go so early…grumble, grumble.”?
So, we actually leave somewhat on time – rare for us – and we’re on our way. A slight snag in the travel as there is a blocked entrance ramp to the high way. So we find a roundabout way to get onto the highway only to find that the lane we want is blocked off by cones. Shortly before the exit, we slip through the cones, and right into a police roadblock. Yikes!
An officer motions us to pull over, and then proceeds to practically interrogate my husband as to why he thought he was special enough to ignore the cones and do what he wanted. “What if there was a road crew working here, and you didn’t see until too late, and you killed someone. Yeah, he said exactly that. Then we couldn’t find the vehicle registration, and I was ready to cry, when the officer – referring to my youngest in the back seat – “Look, you’ve got a young kid – do the right thing from now on.” Yes, he let us just go, but made us feel like we were just a beat away from a violent criminal career.
About two minutes later we’re pulling into the parking lot, and I suddenly remember where our special ‘muggle’ tickets were. At home. On top of the refrigerator – Not With US.
Now I really started to cry. “I’m sorry, I left the tickets at home, I forgot them!” For a second no one spoke, and then I ask my husband to drive me to the front door so I can run inside and see what I can do. Luckily everything worked out and we were let in without having to purchase new tickets.
The movie started right away, without the usual ‘coming attractions’, and the first scene happened to be a very dark one. Dark in plot, dialogue and just plain dimly lit. So it was hard to see what seats were left available, and we ended up sitting in the second row in front. I’ve done this before, sat in the very front of the huge screen, and not just for any movie – but for something guaranteed to be metaphorically huge as well. Like this summer’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Anyway, into the ‘Fire’. I’d read the book last year, and managed to remember most of the crucial plot points. I thought I was prepared for the experience, but the movie was still overwhelming. I had not paid strict attention to any write-ups or reviews of GOF, because I knew the family and I would be going regardless. As I sat watching some horrifying scenes unfold, I started to remember comments I’d heard about GOF. “Dark”…”definitely deserves its PG-13 rating”…”not for younger viewers”. Also, this was the part of the Potter series that was to have the big “D”--The death of a Hogwarts character. And when that part came, the reaction was audible. There were real sniffles and tears in the rows behind me.
Over all, the movie was very good, and quite long at 157 minutes. The Rowling book was over 700 pages, so there was a lot to incorporate onto film. Certain areas were going to have to be glossed over, or eliminated all together. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a real explanation of the Veela, the entrancing and exceptionally beautiful creatures that had the ability to captivate males. They first appeared as some sort of performing mascots during the Quidditch World Cup games in the earlier part of the book. I would have liked to have seen where one of the boys, can’t remember if it was Harry or Ron, was practically climbing out of their seat (in the nosebleed section no less) because they felt the effects of the Veela.
Speaking of male-female attractions, much – and I mean MUCH -- has been said about this being the movie where all the hormones start to zing and zip and zoom. It’s pretty much true. Though the story moved right along, I couldn’t help but be aware of how all the ‘kids’ have grown. Even Ron Weasley’s older brothers Fred and George looked cuter than I remembered. I noticed the hormonal thing especially with Ron and Hermoine. They both seemed mighty uncomfortable with themselves and with each other. Seeing how the characters were supposed to be 14 years old, that’s about right.
The twist to this installment in the Potter stories was that a long dormant event, the Tri-Wizard Tournament, was to be re-established and this year, be held at Hogwart’s School. Two visiting schools, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were to have representatives as well as Hogwarts participating in the dangerous tourney. Because of the impending risk of the three tasks, an age limit of 17 is imposed. Of course Harry Potter (remember, he’s only 14) ends up in the game (you know he would), along with the other Hogwarts entry Cedric Diggory, and Victor Krum (who is also a legendary Quidditch seeker) from Durmstrang and attractive Fleur Delacour, from Beauxbatons. Interesting note about Fleur, she’s part Veela, and Kate Winslet was rumored to be have been originally cast in the role. Instead the part went to Clémence Poésy who kept reminding me of a slighty younger Clare Danes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. She did fine.
Even with a yet another director at the helm, Mike Newell, who turns out to be the first British director in the Harry Potter franchise, the movie works well. (Trivia Note: Newell actually ‘passed’ on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.) Several key scenes were exactly how I imagined them from the book. The attack on the camp after the Quidditch cup, including the appearance of the Death Eaters and the Dark Mark. Also the opening ceremonies at the Cup games, the stadium, the whole vibe, was just immense. The Yule Ball, and all the angst leading up to it were done perfectly, and also a great chance for Emma Watson as Hermoine to play ‘dress up’.
The scene near the end, as Harry squares off against flat-faced Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), again follows the book nicely, but the Priori Incantatem spell that occurs when their two wands intersect isn’t really explained.
To say much more would probably give away too much, especially if you've not read the book, but what I can say, is that Moaning Myrtle makes another appearance in GOF. Poor girl though, I really don’t remember her being that horny in the book.
So, it was quite the emotional day, between the rushing, the police standoff, the lost tickets, and the movie itself. I recommend The Goblet of Fire, just take your time getting there.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
(Originally posted on Blogcritics.org)
CD Review: Pink Floyd Tribute, Back Against the Wall.
(The Purple Pyramid, a division of Cleopatra Records, 2005)
What do Ian Anderson, Ronnie Montrose, Tommy Shaw, Billy Sherwood and Malcolm McDowell have in common? They and others well known artists performed on the September, 2005 release of Back Against The Wall, the tribute CD that celebrates the mystery and wonderful weirdness of Pink Floyd’s 1979 concept album, The Wall.
The main producer behind this effort is Billy Sherwood of “Yes” fame. In an interview with Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited, he said, “I knew The Wall like the back of my hand because it was basically the soundtrack to my childhood…The idea was to stick to the script because it is such a great piece of work in terms of it’s writing and content. The challenge was to figure out how we could stick close enough to the script that we don’t change what we all know and love about The Wall but at the same time let the personalities of those we bring in shine.” He’s also been at the helm of other tributes. The Songs of Pink Floyd was released in 2002, and he was also involved on Dragon Attack, a Queen tribute, A Salute to AC/DC, and Crossfire to honor Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The first time that I heard Back Against the Wall, I was a little taken aback...I noticed it first when I did not hear the trademark ‘sigh’ that marks the end of “Another Brick in the Wall” pt. 2 and the beginning of “Mother”. As I played tracks over, between TW, and BATW, I finally did hear the ‘sigh’, but it was different! I really sensed this disparity with the vocals on “Young Lust”. Something was wrong. It wasn’t exactly like Pink Floyd. I know, I know, “No Shite Sherlock”, is what you’re thinking. I might reply, “Of course it’s not bloody Pink Floyd, it’s someone covering Floyd.” And you’d then say, “Oh for crying out LOUD”. This isn’t just a:snivel:::cover. This is a tribute. And you would then proceed to lightly box me about the ears and knock my head and mutter, “Hellooo, McFly? McFly?” And I would nod my head, nothing left to do but check my expectations at the door and let go.
And this is what I find:
Overall, I think the there is more concentration on the instrumentals on BATW. They also sound cleaner, which is probably due to over 20 years improvement in recording technology. Here are a few observations and comparisons between the original and Back Against the Wall, in no particular order:
I like the original vocals slightly better on “Nobody Home”, but the piano on BATW is - well, it’s nectar. By that I mean beautiful.
“Empty Spaces” has still has that great menacing sound in the opening chords.
“In the Flesh”, still communicates the same bigotry, but the vocal delivery is more gleeful on BATW, which makes it that much more malicious sounding.
Good instrumentals on “Waiting for the Worms” Vinnie Caliauta on drums, and a wonderful organ solo by Keith Emerson.
“Run Like Hell” What can I say. My disappointment is purely a personal gut reaction. It’s technically fine, but this is one of those songs that for me needs to be the original. Actually, the original “Run Like Hell” is one of my favorite songs, period – not just within the realm of Pink Floyd. And it was altered. But this is my own personal burden to bear.
“One of My Turns”, is different, but yet so familiar. The inane prattling of the female groupie in the background, though done by a different actress, is the perfect foil to Pink’s melancholy channeled by Tommy Shaw’s voice.
“Is There Anybody Out There?” – Nice beginning, more of that menacing stuff – but what sets this one apart is Ian Anderson’s flute -- it evokes such sadness.
For those that especially loved the tracks that got the big radio play from The Wall, such as “Comfortably Numb”, and “Another Brick in the Wall”, pts 1, 2 and 3 – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Close enough to the original, but with a few extra goodies, like Steve Howe’s guitar solo on “Another Brick in the Wall”, pt. 1.
I was in college when The Wall was released. Back in 1979, the music was astounding. 25 years later, it is still astounding. The thing about Pink Floyd, and others of the progressive/space rock genre, is that the music was always held up to be some sort of prophetic message. The significance of The Wall took hours of wonderful analysis; between the music, lyrics and of course, Gerald Scarfe’s album cover art. This reworking of the original on Back Against the Wall will send the listener into yet more contemplative study of what Roger Waters really was trying to say.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
As soon as they saw his heart, they saw the lining of his heart already had the heart disease. There was no trauma, and Eddie hadn’t hurt himself in any way. It answered a lot of questions. I knew Eddie wasn’t feeling very good for the last week. He was home and kept saying he wasn’t feeling good and we thought it was just “road tired.” So we thought he just had to rest. It answered a lot of my questions, too, because he was just so exhausted. She said it was normal because the heart was working so hard..."
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Check this out. I've been doing background reading for a Pink Floyd tribute CD. But that's not important right now.
Once upon a time, an intrepid little Usenet alt.music.pink-Floyd group was entrenched in the mysterious puzzle presented by the Publius Enigma. I've read emails and original Usenet postings scattered over various Pink Floyd websites. These cats were into it. That's pretty cool, but it makes me wonder, when all that concern and brainpower and dedication is channeled in one conundrum -- what can't they accomplish, what can't they win? Yeah, they are workin' it.
Imagine -- if you will -- that that braintrust is handling your spleen, your tax deferments, replacing your rotting foundation or coddling your transmission, then it's good to be you, yes?
If you could harness all the energy fired in those alt.music.whateverbandyouplease little synapses, then...Wow!
We need to send them to G8, We need them on the Beltway, in our schools - we need them in every tech support call we make, damnit.
Musicologists? Detectives? Whatever you call them, we need them.
Monday, October 31, 2005
I suppose there is the standard definition of the word 'haunting' or 'haunted'. No, I'm not going to go look them up. Typically though, haunting connotes something scary, or at the least something to make you a bit anxious.
I am haunted by music. I am struck to the core, when I hear certain tunes. It doesn't have to be scary, or even anxious rending.
Certain songs though, just make you feel --- what? Ah, I guess it doesn't matter what it makes you feel, just as long as you ARE feeling.
Yes, it's the feeling, isn't it?
Plenty of music makes us feeling nauseous, or a step closer to epilepsy even. Much of it is wonderous though.
"Amazing Grace". Yeah, that IS amazing. The song is beautiful in its simplicity. In the same Christian vein is "Thy Word" Amy Grant does a good turn at this. Even better is to hear a room full of 13 - 17 year olds singing right along with her. The same kids that just raved on about My Chemical Romance, or their plans to see Aerosmith. The same kids that pelted you with snowballs on the last retreat. Those kids, singing their hearts out to "Thy Word".
Speaking of Aerosmith - and there's alot of great tunes there - but let's get into "Walk This Way". It's all of what Aerosmith was and is meant to be. Rockers at the first, last and in between. Sassy, loud, confident rockers. Sung by themselves, or with Run DMC. Sung in an arena, or lip-sync-ed in someone's bedroom. An invitation to a party -- to walk this way.
This would be cheating - but there's a ton of stuff I just love on the Love Actually sound track. What haunted me though? That Dido song, of all things. "Here with Me". The song had plenty of airplay, and it was 'ok'. After seeing the movie though, now I freakin' love it! That's the thing though, after seeing certain songs connected with a fresh story - it makes a difference.
Just like one of my favorite U2 songs, "Streets Have no Names". The music video that accompanied this song depicted of a brazen act of just saying, "What the F(*k". The band was taped playing on a rooftop, the setting was downtown L.A., and the mood was defiant fun. As a friend of mine says, "Don't ask for Permission - ask for Forgiveness" - and U2 was playing without permission and eventually got silenced.
It's gotten too late to be coherent here, but the music is still there; doing its haunting thing.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
A while back I had posted a request from a musician (and personal friend). He was asking for CD buyers to be mindful of how the purchase of Cosmic Orgasm would be linked to Red Cross donations.
Here are the results of that fundraising effort.
"Last night the donation program came to a close andthe funds raised were sent directly to the Red CrossDisaster Relief Fund thru their local Portland Oregonbranch. In the end, it raised a total of $165,060 overthe last seven weeks! Cd Baby also donated $40,000 oftheir own! For a Grand Total of $205,060!!! Thank Youto the customers, artists, and Cd Baby! Peace, Aaron"Spaceman Spliff" "
Good Stuff, eh?
Sunday, October 23, 2005
It's with heavy heart that I must confess -
Life has been a bit of a mess.
Nothing drastic, nothing vile -
Just the usual stuff that happens to most
Kind of consumes us for a while.
Then please continue, go on about your life
See, I'm here! Despite the strife.
And just in case you wondered, or cared
Poetry ain't my strong suit
Really just did it -- on a dare.
Monday, October 03, 2005
So, now with a flourish and drumroll, yaddah yaddah yaddah --
Eowyn and The Duke both got top honors.
For the most recent quiz of September 28th, Eowyn is in the lead. But it's not too late to enter!
And for my teaser question of Sept. 24th,
" What do Ian Anderson, Ronnie Montrose, Tommy Shaw, Billy Sherwood and Malcolm McDowell have in common?"
These gents join other music greats on the Back Against the Wall tribute CD that revisits the work of Pink Floyd's The Wall. CD review forthcoming.
That's it for now.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
These shouldn't be too hard : )~
1. "...the soft glow of electric sex"
2. "I've got a bad feeling about this"
3. "...and the schnozberries taste like schnozberries!"
4. "Sometimes you just gotta say, 'what the fuck' "
5. "At my signal - unleash Hell"
6. "Quid pro quo!"
7. "Are you stalking me? Because that would be super"
8. "I'm gonna give you to the count of 10 to get your ugly, yellow, no-good keister off my property before I pump your guts full of lead! One, two, ten!"
9. "Fuck Grandma"
10. "Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Jambalaya. This is a fun word. It's exotic enough to be interesting, yet not foreign enough to be scary. It sounds like what it is, something fun and filled with good spicy stuff. Say it with me... "Jambalaya" It is reminiscent (and some say derived from) of the word, paella. Of course, I can't think of paella without thinking of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is invited eat paella with Mr. and Mrs. Costanza. Another explanation is that the word comes from the french "jambon" (hambone) and the West African word "Ya-ya" (rice). Works for me.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Am I getting too old? No, I don't think so. No. But - I need to wear my glasses more and more. For the close work, reading. OK that's normal. But - it's hard to read a menu in a restaurant. The lighting is a little low. So, what's the big deal?
Its these websites. Some are a pain to read? Does no one else see this? Seems to be mostly bands' websites. Of all the websites I tend to visit, the rockers seem to be the hardest to read. A tiny font size, and the text and background colors don't contrast enough, and I'm like blind by then.
Speaking of bands, same thing with the CD covers, lyrics, production notes. Too small! Too hard to read. Change the colors. Hey you groovy young musicians, psst...Some of your listening demographic is a bit -- more mature. Actually we probably take up more of your pie chart than you realize. Bigger font please!
Other than that it's all fine. It's good. I guess.
Friday, September 23, 2005
" “Your Spirit’s Alive”, the first track, is a bit of a tease. It starts out sweet and slow, just pipes and piano. Someone like me, who loves all that folk Celtic stuff will smile and say, “Ahh.” After 20 seconds though, the rest of the instruments come in and the beat just about triples, with the Murphys shouting the lyrics, “We are the ones who will never be broken, we are the ones who survive…” And someone like me, who loves the punk likes of Green Day, Quiet Riot metal, or Sublime ska will smile and say, “Ahh”, again."
I sure wish I could get the whole damn thing done. But life is interrupting. : )
Monday, September 19, 2005
Here is another article by Annie Jacobsen; following up on her Terror in the Skies series. I've not read every part of the series, but I have read enough to know that the public (and no, not just the American public) needs to be more aware of what is going on around them.
Awareness, not just of fellow flight passengers, but of our political leaders' actions as well.
Can we be aware without profiling? Probably not. It stinks, but I think we need to be a little less politically correct.
Can we be aware without questioning what the government does? NO. Iraq, oil, FEMA, 9/11, WMD's, contrails/chemtrails -- look around, read, research, ask questions. Some things are whack, some are real, it won't be easy to gauge the truth, but asking questions is the start.
Is this all exhausting? Yes.
Should that stop us? No.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Anyway, I have only seen parts of it, I can't really sit down yet and give undivided attention to it - so, to be fair, maybe it's OK. I don't know though, so far, it's just not that great. So, someone tell me, should I bother trying to see the whole thing?
Sunday, September 11, 2005
"I get compliments on the hyphen." Unlce Buck
"Because we are still alive." The Matrix Reloaded
"It was a good death." The Last Samurai
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't slow down
and look once in a while, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller's Day Off
"I'm sorry John, but you're going to have to run
again...Ruuuuuuuuuuuun!" The Minority Report
Saturday, September 10, 2005
By Mary K. Williams
(cross posted to www.blogcritics.org)
Company Man by Joseph Finder: New York, St. Martin’s Press. 2005. 215 pgs.
You know a book is good when it gets inside you. When you think about what is going on with the characters when the pages are closed and wonder how any one of them might handle a certain situation. In Company Man, Joseph Finder has created such characters. He's also created a tensely paced believable thriller.
Nick Conover is a recently widowed CEO of a large office-furniture plant in Fenwick, MI. When we meet Nick, he’s trying to deal with his two children, 16 year old Lucas and 10-year-old Julia in the aftermath of losing their mother, Laura. Aside from family sorrows, Nick has to continually please the corporate owners.
Because of pressure from the home office in Boston, he’s had to lay off about five thousand employees resulting in nearly the whole town hating him. On top of everything else, a shadowy stalker has been breaking into his family’s home to vandalize it with frightening graffiti. Before long, his worlds collide and in uncontrollable circumstances, there’s also now a dead body and a cover-up to contend with. Business deals begin to collapse, and Nick’s life becomes even more strained as homicide detectives begin to investigate the case.
Joseph Finder isn’t a stranger to the corporate thriller. His 2004 novel, Paranoia, was on the New York Times Bestseller list, as well as High Crimes, the 1998 legal thriller turned major film (Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Jim Caviezel).
A former Yale Russian Studies student and Harvard instructor, Finder started his literary career with a book called, Red Carpet: The Connection Between the Kremlin and America’s Most Powerful Businessmen. This book, an account of Dr. Armand Hammer’s connections to Soviet intelligence, nearly led to a libel suit by Dr. Hammer against Finder. Soon enough though, the facts against Hammer were verified when the walls of the Soviet Union began to crumble and archived intelligence surfaced.
Because perhaps of Finder’s connections in the intelligence world (he’s a member of the AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers), he seems to have excellent instincts and timing regarding his espionage subject matter. In his first fiction novel, The Moscow Club, he told the story of a KGB driven coup against leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The book was published in 1991, six months before the real event.
In 1994, Finder published his second novel, Extraordinary Powers, about the discovery of a Soviet mole positioned in the upper echelon of the CIA. Just days after this book came out; Aldrich Ames was named as one of the most notorious CIA moles in history.
When the subject matter is the corporate world, Joseph Finder still on top of his game. Company Man gives us all the shades of big business life, from cube farms to outsourcing to a Warren Buffet / Berkshire Hathaway type ownership. Finder does thorough research for his stories, and it shows in Nick Conover’s on target interactions with his teenage son, as well as his thoughts about his dead wife, Laura. Finder shows us the human failings in Nick, guiltily finding fault with Laura’s decorating choices --
“The first graffiti had appeared on the heavy, ornate ash-wood front door, which Laura had deliberated over for weeks with the architect, a door that had cost a ridiculous three thousand dollars, a fucking door, for God’s sake”
-- instead of simply elevating her to sainthood, just because she’s deceased.
The author still keeps things real, as homicide detective Audrey Rhimes enters the scene. Company Man’s book jacket and other PR blurbs mention this character as having “her own, very personal, reason for pursuing Nick Conover.” However, as the story unfolds, I didn’t view Rhimes this way. It’s no secret that her husband has been laid off from Stratton, and his subsequent drinking and general surliness provide tension and a nice secondary plot line. But Finder’s depiction of this woman is not of someone who is itching to get the guy who soured her marriage, instead she almost reminds you of Tommy Lee Jones’s “Sam Gerard”, the U.S. Marshall in The Fugitive. Gerard just wanted to do his job, and get the bad guy. The Rhimes character is just as single minded as Gerard. And in both cases, as the investigation process widens to include other possibilities, Finder makes Audrey Rhimes is smart enough to follow every lead.
The bottom line on Company Man? A very enjoyable read.
Friday, September 09, 2005
However, this particular news report is about the work that a group of Federal Air Marshalls performed in the most dreadful of situations during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
This is just one report of one group of heroes. There are many many more who have been doing necessary work in the Gulf States. One is a young man from my town, and dojo.
Will Minior was to start his freshman year at Loyola University, and instead he learned how to run a shelter. Minior has since returned to Massachusetts to attend Stonehill College, but no book learning will compare to some of the tough lessons he learned those days in New Orleans.
(cross posted to www.blogcritics.org)
This morning I signed a deal with my distribution company that all proceeds from album sales will go directly to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. So, please Buy My Album and support the victims of Hurricane Katrina!My album can be purchased from the following link"
By the way, this is a good CD.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
"I get compliments on the hyphen."
"Because we are still alive."
"It was a good death."
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't slow down and look once in a while, you could miss it."
"I'm sorry John, but you're going to have to run again...Ruuuuuuuuuuuun!"
Monday, August 29, 2005
(cross posted to Blogcritics.org)
It wasn't meant to put me to sleep. The Duke's saga of his Dublin trip is anything but numbing. His (and Sir Fleming's) quest for jazz, love, and God knows what else is a ride through a talent I am astounded to witness, yet I got sleepy, and it was good. Maybe I was hypnotized, and awoke groggy. I don't know. But I knew I needed the sleep.
I had been watching TV earlier, vacillating between Ron White's, They Call me Tater Salad on Comedy Central, Foxy Brown on Sundance, and Meet Joe Black. I started analyzing the acting of Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Claire Forlani, and wondered if it was their best work. I would still be ruminating about that if I hadn't remembered my son's request for me to monitor the Weather Channel's coverage of Hurricane Katrina while he slept.
Shit that's right, I had managed to forget for a little while. In the late afternoon/early evening I was glued to the Weather Channel, and thought I was doing my son a favor by pointing out how extrodinary this was going to be, this massive storm about to hit the South. As we both watched, I stopped playing instructor and was open-mouthed -- listening, watching.
Holy crap! This wasn't going to be good. Gulping and squirming in my chair, I thought that perhaps I was really watching a documentary on the filming of The Day After Tomorrow, a movie that I have been addicted to lately. The whole scenario seemed too improbable.
I go online and watch the ABC coverage for a while, then go back to watch The Weather Channel. Finally I take a break for The Duke's posts. A few weeks ago, we were sharing weekend plans, his weekend in Dublin was probably going to be a little more lively than mine in Old Orchard Beach, ME. (Though mine was lovely, thankyou), though both were intended to be for resting and recharging. I think I did more resting and The Duke did more recharging. So, I am all relaxed, after my visit to Dublin, via his Dukeness, and I get ready for bed.
I wake up about an hour later, and in pain. Somehow I blew out my knee during this past weekend. (Family camping reunion - great, great stuff) I don't know if it was the relay, or the three-legged race, but I've been limping since this morning. Then it dawns on me as I go downstairs for Advil, "What the heck is your problem, girl? You saw those people in the shelter, in the Superdome, for God's sake. Will they sleep at all tonight? Will they have a house to come home to? Will they have a city?"
So, Advil is working, and I am grateful.
I have electricity to type this -- and I am grateful.
The family is home, all asleep, all safe.
Yup, you got it.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I survived the volume, the boys' yelling, and the late hour. Honestly it wasn't all that hard, hiding in the other room watching the Sin City DVD. I was looking forward to watching the Six Feet Under series finale, but wrestling pinned my choice. Ha Ha. Anyway I can catch SFU anytime.
Evidently Hulk Hogan won his match against Shawn Michaels, though when I saw him, he looked awful bloodied.
Eddie Guerrero lost his chance for legal custody of Dominick, his supposed son. Dom really is the son of Rey Mysterio, but to make things more exciting, the WWE concocted this 'lil story to keep everyone enthralled. At least that's my take on it. I don't have the DNA reports. I'm just guessing. Go check the link and read up on it.
That's it for now.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
So, there's that.
In other news, you can't, never ever, not even a hint of it -- fraternize with a co-worker, outside of work. Well you can unless your boss could legally tell you not to. Dumb.
Is it the mining industry in general? Or is it just China - having a bad run of luck in that area.
Watched part of The Matrix tonight on TNT. It was good on the HD channel, and it was good with the surround sound, but, something was not good with the color. The wonderful "matrix green" that is part of the film's flavor was messed up. Sheesh, talk about a green screen; Agent Smith had green teeth, Tank had green skin tones, oh it was bad. It could have ruined my night if I let it. But then afterwards, TNT ran "Last Flight of the Osiris", from The Animatrix. That more than made up for the color situation. I hadn't seen it in maybe two years, and forgot how good it was. Very good.
Must be a Keanu night, cuz now Johnny Mnemonic has been on. I bought that a few years ago, and it's a nutty film. It is fun though. No, not nutty like say, Austin Powers. Just, weird. Like most of the stuff I like.
Did I say that the reason why "Osiris" reminded me of Final Fanasy: Spirits Within? Because Andy Jones directed both. Now I can sleep.
Not quite yet.
"...Call me sometime when you have no class". I love that line, You can be the first one to write in and tell me where it comes from! "Johnny Mnemonic, what will they win?"
Door #1 - A big 'ole Hummer H20 - no redeeming value nor parking space included
Door #2 - A baby's arm, holding an apple
Door #3 - A date with Tad Hamilton
Call before midnight -- oops too late. No Ginsu knives for you. Two weeks!
I love Bob. Bob the Enzyte guy. He doth crack me up. Just think of his smile. Is that not funny, or what?
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
A story from The Guardian , focuses on marketing an adult brand to children. The brand is the Playboy Logo, the famous bunny ears that have been around as long as, well -- Heff -- just about.
WHSmith, the retailer that was targeted for protest by some London schoolgirls this summer, has been selling stationary supplies with the Playboy logo. Not that the Playboy brand is a bad thing, the bunny ears are not offensive, on their own. But to sell this brand to pre-teens, is ridiculous. This isn't a question of some young thing, giving a nod and knowing glance to a clerk, asking for a condom or pack of cigarettes (or a magazine in a brown wrapper). This is merchandising a whole line right along with the Poohs, Bratz, or Hello Kittys. WHSmith or the other retailers who have similar practices know damn well what they are doing. There's a world of difference between bunny ears on Dodge Ram's mudflaps, and those same ears on a glittery pink pencil case.
I suppose the whole logo thing has been diluted somewhat. To me personally, Playboy (and the bunny ears) represent more or less, a non-stop party. I don't automatically think 'porn'. Obviously the magazine at the heart of Heffner's empire is exactly that, though I've heard there are some good articles? Anyway, I'd be the last to criticize a non-stop party, maybe I'm jealous. But porn, partying, whatever Playboy means to us, it is intended for adults and those cute little ears have absolutely no place in children's lives.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Take hot dogs for example. Or frankfurters, not sure what the diff is anyway, but here's the point. We've all head the murmurings, urban myths if you will, that hot dogs are filled with rats toenails or puppydog tails, or other icky things. (Never sugar and spice and everything nice). But unless we're very squeamish, we keep eating our dogs with relish, no pun intended. Unless we get violently ill or turn colors, we keep buying our BallParks, Nathan's, Pearls, or Kayems, and cooking 'em up. Yum! Don't Ask - Don't Tell.
Now, consider the VERY BIG number of bugs that live in our yards, houses and, well -- face it -- our innards, and for the most part, we co-exist in blissful ignorance (or denial). Lately though, I have been dealing with spiders, especially with the rennovations in our basement.
We vacuumed up as many as we could, and used a *bomb* for the rest. All good. Then the workers did their magic. New laundry closet, game area, entertainment area, and still some decent storage space. Just as good as Ty Pennington, but with less hair product.
Anyway, in the last month or so, we've noticed a few more spiders setting up shop in our new rooms. This weekend, we've been trying to organize all of our stuff, the stuff that's been in storage for a couple months, to fit it into the new areas. Today, as I'm vacuuming up more spiders, I'm feeling rather brave, patting myself on the back for not freaking out that I could even have a spider in my hair, and just as long as it left within a reasonable amount of time, I could care less. Of course, that amount of time could really not exceed, like two or three seconds. (Not that brave) Anyway, with all the back patting, it took me a minute or two longer to register that something wispy and alien was on my person. But when I did feel it, I ran upstairs, stripping off my shirt as I went, yelling for my husband to check me for bugs. Nothing. I beg him to brush me off anyway, and finally I was satisfied and got dressed and returned to my chore.
I still looked out for the critters but tried to resume the brave act again. Worked ok until I accidentally knocked over a fluorescent light tube and when it popped, I freaked! Now I'm on a self-imposed *break* from work, but here's the weird thing. My writing work area has just become invaded with yellow jackets. We're not sure how they got in, perhaps through the AC? It looks like the cold is killing them though, but there are still a good dozen hearty souls left to organize fly-bys around me as I type. Crazy.
For another insight into the whole bug thing, check out what a blogging associate writes. You'll be glad you did.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
What was that line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "...Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three..." well, right now, maybe for those in Techno World (and our own Blogcritics), the number could be Ten. Besides, those other numbers are a little busy; One is the Loneliest number; Seven is the Perfect number, not going to even touch Triple Six, so how about Ten? It works well in Techno World, a one and a zero, all binary code-ish and cute.
Well on August 3rd, 2005 Blogcritics.org celebrated TEN million site visits. In just three short years. Oh yes, you read right. That's unique visitors. Actually the celebrating started on the 3rd, and I believe there is still some dancing in the streets, if not the Internet, going on. It's amazing what can happen in three years. Or in Ten.
Oh, and speaking of that 'ole Internet, here's the latest thing, Ten years ago this week, Netscape made their IPO, and what a ride it's been ever since. Suddenly, the Internet was more than a tool for scientists; it was a breeding ground for one of the biggest cash "eCows" in history. The Belfast Telegraph has a nice timeline depicting what's changed since then and now.
I know many out there still get kind of get confused with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and so forth. The Web, which made it's first appearance in 1991, was conceived and developed by Tim Berners-Lee while he was working for CERN in Geneva. Sure, it feels like it's been here forever, but remember the early days? There was no online shopping to speak of, and a search engine was almost as unwieldy as it sounded.
Now the Internet on the other hand, has been around for ages:
"A long time ago, somewhere between when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the emergence of the cell phone, the Internet came into existence. As the 1950's were coming to a close, the United States was becoming quite concerned about the technology possessed by the Soviet Union. The launch of Sputnik and the fear of atomic war sparked the need for the U.S. to be sure they were as technically advanced as the Soviets. Fallout shelters were built, but we needed to be more proactive. In case of some disaster, how would different parts of the country communicate? A Department of Defense organization; the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) set to work on this issue. In the next 10 years or so, with key research being done at MIT, UCLA, and Stanford, something called the ARPANET was developed. Communication technology was moving from circuit to packet switching. Networks sprang from the 1969 original four-host configuration (UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, UC-Santa Barbara, and University of Utah), to a group of 62 hosts in 1974. In another five years that number had jumped to 188, and by 1989 - 80,000 hosts were in place in what had become, the Internet." *
I wrote those words for a publication that might now never see the light of day, and that's another story entirely, but the point is valid. The ideas and even the technology have been around for so long, but the actual revolutionary changes that have only been wrought in just the last ten or so years, are astounding.
For me, a stay-at-home Mom, my use of the Internet, or rather the World Wide Web (which is only one portion of the Internet) is almost non-stop. It's enabled me to pursue a real career in freelance writing, but even if that weren't the case, it's very hard to conceive of life without Moviefone, the RMV online WebMD, Google, and on and on. This kind of dependence on anything is a little nerve-wracking (like foreign oil), because when you suddenly don't have the product, well - it gets ugly.
The Internet is fire, it is the wheel, it is the turbine engine, it is penicillin. But fire burns, wheels run you down, and penicillin can close your throat. We don't take away the tools, just because we might get hurt. We proceed with caution. Again, I'll borrow from the same writings:
"...The accessibility of the Internet is both appealing and appalling. There are a myriad of websites devoted to the silly, the macabre, the spiritual, the mind-boggling, and the just plain scary. The fact that terrorists use the Internet so skillfully is horrifying - yet like anything else we must balance that horror with knowledge that we can stand up to terror by uniting, and the Internet is a great medium for that kind of unity." *
*How to Use the Internet to Your Advantage - Mary K. Williams, 2004
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Monday, August 08, 2005
Monday, August 01, 2005
I was standing in Romano's Pizza waiting for my sub when I saw this cool thing on the TV. I have to give a "God Bless" to the Minnesota Twins for this bit of sports magic they performed Sat night at Fenway. It was a near double play, and it was so cool! Yes, I know...of course, I'm rooting for Boston, but C'mon...a good play is a good play. I don't know the inning, nor the Twins players' names, but the shortstop dove down, catching the ball, flipped it to his teammate who hurled it to (I forget which base?) Our Sox guy, (I forget that too) was safe, but what a moment.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
Yay to -- Suntan.
Nay to -- Sunburn : (
Nay to -- Packrat tendencies. So much stuff, so little time. (this for my new basement, where to put all the stuff?)
Nay to -- Spiderwebs. Oh, and the spiders too.
Yay to -- The Cape Playhouse's, (in beautiful Dennis, MA) production of No, No, Nannette.
Yay to -- The talented, and very gracious cast of No, No, Nannette, including Mr. Fred Willard (Anchorman, American Wedding, A Mighty Wind, Everyboyd Loves Raymond, Roseanne, Fernwood 2Night) who took the time to talk with my son, and autograph his playbill.
Nay to -- Feeling 'thick'
Nay to -- PS2
Yay to -- the local liquor store that seems to be always having 'tasting' nights.
Yay to -- a cute little black convertible. Which brings us back to the whole, 'being in the sun' thing. Good time to end.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
We might find the Good in Randall Raines, hopefully retired car thief. In Gone in 60 Seconds, Nicholas Cage plays an endearing crook, a baddie, but only on the outside. Inside is the protective older brother, making a deal with the devil to save his little brother Kip's (the excellent Giovanni Ribisi) ass. (Kip's soul is intact, but his brain took a vacay).
Anyway, Randall 'Memphis' Raines decided to quit 'the life'. And live on this side of the law for a change. Lil bro Kip keeps up the family name, and then goes too far by making deals with a super baddie, un uber-baddie, a Sith Lord of car thievery - Raymond Vincent Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). Kip screws something or another up, and Calitri is incensed and well, next thing ya know, Memphis and friends have to come up with 50 special stolen cars by Friday. Yes, this Friday. Yes, real nice fancy cars. Real tough stuff to find. So, rent the movie, and enjoy, but note how Memphis keeps sight of what's important, and even makes nice with the detective (Delroy Lindo) who's been on his tail, for like...forever.
More to come on this Search for the Good.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
What follows is definitely adult content. For whatever reason, I was doing a little research on a particular four letter word, and was amazed at the abundance of information on one little (or not so little) website.
Anyway, take a look and learn something new! And please, if you are inclined to comment, please do not use the 'word' in your text. You may certainly use a polite substitute. I am not opposed to the 'word', I tend to use it quite frequently myself, but over all this Blog should be more PG than R.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Yay to - The sublime voice of Joni Mitchell, especially her contribution on The Wide World Over, by The Chieftans. (RCA Records) Actually I love just about all the tracks, but Mitchell's - sandwiched between Ricky Scagg's "Cotton-Eyed-Joe" and good drinking melodies on "Live From Matt Molloy's Pub" is the wonderfuly haunted song, "The Magdalene Laundries". This tune, which tells tales of virtual enslavement of young women in Irish Convents, is done soulful justice to by Mitchell. As an FYI - she also delivers a superb performance on the Love Actually Soundtrack (J Records), with a newer arrangement of "Both Sides Now". Lovely.
Nay to - (and this in my Dennis Leary Voice- even ) - CD's that are a bitch to open, and that never stay in one piece. You have this ridiculous piece of plastic wrap over the CD, you finally figure out how to get it off in only 7 or 8 rips and tears, and then you have to contend with the super fancy security tape. And THEN - the bloody case breaks at a harsh look! I thought it was just my kids being rough with CD's or PlayStation 1 games (CD Format- unlike PS2 with a DVD style case a mini 'yay' within a 'nay') but I have broken more than I thought possible. Man!
Nay to - The myth of Spring. What happened to Spring here in New England? Rain, rain rain, now it's like August. (even thought it's only June 10). Its hot. Africa Hot.
I'll have to post more of these!
Thursday, June 09, 2005
I finally realized the new season started, so on went HBO on Demand.
Episode 1 "A Coat of White Primer"
Could it be any more sad?
Frances Conroy's portrayal of the usually optimistic Widow Fisher is a work in subtlety. While Ruth's frustration with George's psychosis and depression is visceral, Conroy doesn't resort to grimacing with impending headaches. Nor does her pain manifest in acid burned stomach ulcers. Yet you feel it. You feel it in the set of her jaw, and the slight slump in her posture. Her voice is tighter, a little bit more shrill. Her pain so incredibly evident when you look in her eyes. Its all there. Exhaustion, disbelief and sadness. What strength though.
When she is confronted with the Dr.'s idea to release George on a particular evening, Ruth can't believe she's hearing him right. The man had endured ECT - more than once - and was physically and emotionally tattered. The Dr. is discussing waking George from a much needed sleep, and packing him off. Ruth outright refuses this proposal, astounded that the idea was even broached.
Major dopeslap to the Doc.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Another local farm (well - I think it's under an hour's drive from here) has some great things on the menu including including this amazing stuffed French Toast that includes cream cheese, pineapple and ham.
Staying on the theme of delicious things was my trip to Kimball's Farm on Memorial Day. Now this will shock some of the locals, but I had never been to Kimball's. Nope! Never! Ever! Of course, I end up going during a pouring rain storm so some of the appeal was missing, but the place is pretty cool. And...drumroll... There's shopping! The ice cream portions are huge, which was of no problem to my 16 year old, but I couldn't finish mine. However it was tasty. There's also a cute store/cafe combo, that serves coffee. Between the ice cream and being wet from the rain, we were freezing. The store was a nice way to warm up and find some additional Father's Day gifts.
Now I'm in the mood for some French Roast Coffee - hmm, I wonder why?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
A Righteous Dude!
Yeah, he's the man allright.
Trying to get this image thing down right. But this might work. I still want to add a permanent image in the template. I have the code to do it, but I'm still having probs.
So, I have been experimenting. No, I didn't get my fill of experimentation in college, I'm still at it.
Anyway, Here's Bobby Milk in all his grown up glory.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Just coming on here to post stream of consciousness stuff today. The Fab Five are going to take on the Boston Red Sox. TV Guide had a shot of Johnny Damon getting his hair cut and other such niceties. Cool.
Our basement is being finished off. We are still waiting for the 'mud' to dry, but the heating is all in place, which should aid that. We finally picked out the rest of the flooring, making more decisions and spending more money. Whew.
A demonstration was held today in front of a local middle school. The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas has been sending hate filled pamphlets to our town to protest an essay winner at the middle school. This child wrote an essay on Ellen DeGeneres for a contest about Women in History. Somehow this group in Kansas picked up on this non-news item, and decided a 12 year old student and the teachers and staff of Englesby [School] would all be perfect targets for some nonsense about devils and going to hell. Yeah this is the same lovely group under Fred Phelps that demonstrated at Matthew Shepherd's funeral. I did not attend today's demonstration, I had actually got involved in something else and forgot about it! In a way it's just as well, I don't need to see the hate-mongers up close. An area church had a sign with a wonderful sentiment, which I'll paraphrase, cuz I can't remember the exact quote. Something like..."We encourage the Separation of Church and Hate". Beautiful!
I'm going to make chicken tenders again. I hate the cutting and so forth, but they come out so good. Yum.
Friday, May 27, 2005
When I heard (OK - half-listening) on the news the other day that Jerry Rice had signed on with the Denver Broncos - I assumed it meant as coaching staff. "Cool", I thought. I knew he'd been around a while and surely had some good gridiron wisdom to impart to the young-uns. A teeny little part of my brain wondered, "Hmm, special teams or defensive coordinator" while another part registered the fact that Rice was going to play. And like the rest of America I found myself to be an ageist, at least temporarily. "Isn't he like...old.?"
So I become intrigued and start reading up. Yeah, he's old! I read a news blurb that mentioned that Rice was around to vote for Jimmy Carter in 1980. Wait - I was around then too. I see his age - 42 - and realize - I'm older than him! Yes, and I too have been pushing the envelope - physically and mentally.
I started in Martial Arts when I turned 40, have been training fairly steady for the last seven years. It's not a career, but it is a lifestyle change. Luckily the injuries have been fairly minor, but my knees are taking a beating. Should I stop? Hell no. I will modify what I need to, and keep moving.
Rice wants to keep moving too, he just wants to play without some of the pressure of past years. The wide receiver who gave the 49's more than 15 years, and 3 Super Bowls, says he just loves the game, and he can still play. He's not a shoo-in, he still has to try out, and he isn't asking for #80. Sounds good to me.
Speaking of #80, another wide receiver, free agent Troy Brown (and one of my favorite Pats) just signed with New England. Again. It's a one year deal, but this too, sounds good to me too.
Anyway, back to Mr. Rice - I say, good for him, age is just a number. He's had a lot of good numbers in his career, and God willing 2005-2006 will give him a few more.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Today I bought some flowers for myself - but I digress.
While in the Florist shop - I was looking at the Yankee Candles. As if I need more candles, but then - i'm a fool for candles too.
So - I bought...get this..."A Splash of Rain". (Yes a candle)
If you live in Boston - anywhere within the sound of my voice...(like the old Radio Days). You'll know what I mean about the 'splash of rain'.
Walk This Way - Aerosmith
Healing Game - Van Morrison
Dollar to the Pound - Ska - The Album (not sure the artist)
Rascal King - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Redemption Song - Bob Marley
Around the World - Red Hot Chili Peppers
And one of my Favorite Songs (as if these above weren't?)
Fool in the Rain - Led Zeppelin
Monday, May 23, 2005
1. New England Weather - Abnormal Spring in New England? I don't know what the records are, but c'mon, this sucks.
2. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith -- Opening $$. Although it holds the present record for biggest opening day [$50,013,859], what I'm seeing is that it is still second to Spiderman for opening weekend.[$114,844,116(Spiderman) over $108,500,000 (StarWarsIII].
OK numbers are one thing, but I think Yoda could kick Spidy's ass. (Then they'd find out they both were on the same side after all - another feel good movie hidden under the layers)
3. Cleaning - I think I've been cleaning for 2 hours straight. That must be a record indeed. : )~
Friday, May 20, 2005
Funny how writing leads you places. You thought you were headed - here - but instead you meander over - there. Or vice versa. For example I thought I might write a piece on the new X-Box and how Bill Gates has designs (no Pun intended) on harnessing the whole consumer entertainment market and fashioning said market into something Microsoft refers to as a "Digital Entertainment Lifestyle". Though this topic is very interesting, and actually brings out my inner conspiracy theorist, I will have to wait on that idea. [Hint, code name - Furby Factor].
So, here I am pondering something entirely different. I mentioned the process of writing, how it can be surprising in it's exploratory little way. Is it the essence of art itself to get lost in a project, and let the work be the guide? Well...Duh. Ask anyone who dances, writes, sculpts or jams. Artists move with the grace of God and to the music of the muse. And they sometimes move from one medium to another, and I don't mean from water colors to oils. Models try acting. Dancers leap to KungFu Fighting. Portrait photographers change focus to painting. And Rockers write. And write! Bob Dylan, David Navarro, Niki Sixx, etc. Whew!
But what about the ones who started out writing? That is, after they were teachers, waiters, students, moms, but you get the picture. Someone like sci fi writer Marc Laidlaw. [ Dad's Nuke, Kalifornia, The Orchid Eater]. This dude was publishing novels and earning money, something that sounds like success. But it wasn't until he was writing game reviews for Wired that he got a glimpse of a new career. He then ended up at a little company in Seattle called Valve. You might know him better as one of the creators behind the outrageously successful PC game, "Half-Life".
Another well established writer got a taste of acting when his novel was sold to Hollywood. High Crimes [Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Jim Caviezel] author Joseph Finder not only had a hit book on his hands, he was going to the show, literally. Not that having a book made into a movie is the 'be all and end all' in a writer's life, but it's pretty damn cool. And the very 'wicked cool' thing (my Boston roots are showing) is that Finder was cast in the film as a JAG officer. No lines but perhaps some emoting? Now I'll have to see the movie again to find Finder.
Stephen King is another writer who does the cameo thing. He's famous for appearing in the film versions of his books (Pizza anyone?) No, he won't be quitting his day job for acting, nor for rocking. Oh yeah, not only can Stephen King scare the pants of his readers, he's a closet rocker. King is a member of the Rock Bottom Remainders , a garage band of sorts. This group plays fundraiser concerts and is made of up other literary/creative heavy hitters such as Scott Turrow, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, and a few others. The Remainders raise pulse rates, decibels, spirits and money. It's all good, except for perhaps the music. Bruce Springsteen was quoted as saying, "Your band's not too bad. It's not too good either. Don't let it get any better, otherwise you'll just be another lousy band."
Of course, if you're going to consider the interesting lives that writers lead, don't forget George Plimpton. This man was a genius at really getting into his subjects. He played professional football, baseball and hockey; he's boxed and tried circus high wire stunts. All for being able to write about the experiences. Amazing.
Where will writing lead me? I don't know but what a trip it'll be.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I'm back to my blogging ways, back to enlightening and entertaining any and all who stumble drunkenly into my path. (Now that paints quite a picture, dosn't it?).
Like I said, this has to to be a quickie, but I'll be back with more news and ...