Monday, October 31, 2005

Scenes from a Weekend

That was Saturday, circa 2:30 p.m.

24 hours later. What a difference a day made! And since it was such a nice day out, I took a few more shots of the leaves against the blue sky. Here are two. Admittedly, not my best work, but hopefully an indication of just how nice the weather was yesterday. It was a perfect fall day.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Welcome to the Party

God bless Robert Downey, Jr. The guy has such a style about him, and he's so good in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Without belaboring the point, I'll just say this is a terrifically funny movie. I just wish I could remember more than a couple lines of dialogue. You see, Downey says all his lines in such a matter-of-fact, rapid-fire style that it's all good and you're laughing too hard to remember much of what's been said. And fuck if I know what the movie's actually about (the plot lost me about a quarter of the way in), but it's just so much fun that you don't care. I suppose the self-referential thing does get a little bit old — Downey's narrator makes reference to the audiences in Times Square that are prone to talking back to the screen and to the multiple endings of the third Lord of the Rings film, among other topics — but whatever. There's so much else to laugh at that this is just a minor quibble. In the end, I can't quite decide what to rate this one, so I'm going to go with a B+/A-.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Takes One to Appreciate One

It takes someone who knows the New York Jewish culture to make a movie like Prime. Which is to say that it is a really authentic-feeling, -looking and -sounding movie. It starts with Meryl Streep, whose performance as a New York Jewish therapist is completely dead-on and perfect (surprise, surprise). And the writing, by director Ben Younger (who also made Boiler Room, that loud and obnoxious stock trading movie a few years back), is filled not just with the expected gefilte fish and Manischewitz jokes, but with things like a Jewish mother putting red wine in the fridge, overly obsessive Jewish mother-isms like not giving your kids Q-Tips for fear of them being unsafe, the Bubbie — and small, subtle details like a mezuzah on the doorframe.

Simply, I loved this movie. Perhaps it's because I identified with so much of it — though sadly, not with the whole sleeping with Uma Thurman part — but more likely, it's because Prime put a smile on my face and provided so many good laughs.

Prime is not perfect, though. When it slows down, it really slows down. Also, the ending is sort of bad, and that's because there really is no way to end it given the direction the plot takes. But aside from those quibbles, I'll still think positively about Prime. Jon Abrahams gives a funny supporting performance as one of those new-breed urban Jews who wear ghetto Jew t-shirts (i.e.: with logos like "Def Jew" instead of Def Jam), and Bryan Greenberg, while not the most charismatic actor, has the kind of easygoing acting style that makes it all feel so natural. And really, that's the best part of the film, that it does all feel so natural, so real, and so right. Prime gets a B+ from me.


WTF ???!!

Alright, it's 4:00. Now the snow is sticking. This is ridiculous.

I'm Dreaming of a White ... Halloween??

It's 2:15 on Saturday afternoon, October 29 and it's snowing here in Brookline. Hard. I mean, it's not accumulating, but it's really coming down.

Someone tell me ... WTF??!!??


Friday, October 28, 2005

I Love You All

Did you know that tomorrow is Positive People Day? It has been so declared by an organization called Victory Over Violence. I was reminded of this fact by the folks in South Station this morning who were handing out reminder cards and posters.

So how does one celebrate Positive People Day? Well, aside from the obvious (being a positive person), the group's web site says you're supposed to do random acts of kindness: smile (often), give a hug (though it's not specified to whom), thank someone, pay an unexpected compliment, share a laugh or a kind word, or call your mother or a loved one.

I'm going to do all those things (look out!) and also celebrate all those in my life who have a positive attitude — like Jenn, a loyal and enthusiastic reader of this site who sits at the corner desk in my office near the kitchen and always has a friendly smile on her face (hi, Jenn!) — and who encourage me to have a positive attitude.

I'm not going to question the fact that we even need a Positive People Day, or the randomness of why Underdog is the day's mascot. Why? Because doing so would run counter to the day's goals. La-dee-dah, I will just say that this is the most wonderful day of the year. Yahooie!


Welcome to the (doesn't) suck.

Jarhead (in theaters November 4) is one of the best films I've seen all year. It starts out with a really tough first five minutes — you try not to cringe when Jake Gyllenhaal's head is slammed against a blackboard — and then Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" starts playing, and it only gets better from there.

Here's an easily digestible list of what I liked most about the film:

1. The acting — Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast and gives a spot-on performance full of wide-eyed innocence, fear, and rage. Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard are also great.

2. The music — If you've seen the trailer, then you have an idea of just how effectively Jarhead blends music and imagery. I've never loved "O.P.P." or "Fight the Power" as much as I did while watching this movie (though Liz loved "O.P.P." even more because of Jake's, um, stocking). There's a great line when The Doors' "Break on Through" plays from a helicopter overhead. And when the beat of Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" starts bom-bom-bom-bombombom-bom-bom'img over the end credits, well, it was hard not to walk with an extra groove in my step the rest of the night (this song will be on "repeat" mode for the next few days). But it's not just the songs. When the soldiers touch down in Kuwait, the score by Thomas Newman is so exciting that it pumps you up and makes you wish you were going off to war too.

3. The imagery — Loved the oil rain storm. Loved the not-so-subtle way the soldiers' tracks were brushing white sand over the dark sand. Stuff like that.

4. The first half hour — There's no preamble about Gyllenhaal's life back home. You're instantly thrust into the film (see the aforementioned head being slammed into the blackboard). But it's not just boot camp for the characters on screen. The introductory stuff is loud, harsh and exciting, and at least tonally, it mirrors what it must feel like to go through such intensive training. You want the combat to start and to see these guys kick ass.

5. The authenticity — Now, I don't know much about what it's like to be in the military (so maybe I shouldn't call it "the authenticity"), but I do know my song lyrics, and as Tom Petty once sang, "The waiting is the hardest part." We feel what these guys are going through. We see that war really can be less than it's billed as, with the government's CYA forms and positive PR efforts, and the sometimes long wait until you get to be a part of actual combat (these guys waited almost 150 days, and then Desert Storm only lasted four days). War is hell, and that's not even counting the battle itself. Jarhead makes you wait and wait for almost nothing in the end. It's a bummer for the characters, and you feel their frustration.

So yeah, I really liked Jarhead. It's in my top five for the year; I rate it an A–.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sox Win! Sox Win!

Oh wait ... wrong Sox. Oh well.

Now it's officially, really winter. How long until Spring Training starts?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Don't Look at the Storm. Look at Me."

Want to know what Hurricane Wilma was like yesterday on the Massachusetts coast? (Or at least how one person saw it?) If you've got the download speed, the ability to hear sound, and, like, 5 minutes, check out this strange but funny video blog (aka: vlog). It's a first-hand, eyewitness account by a guy brave enough (or, perhaps more accurately, stupid enough) to venture out with a digital video camera. God bless him. The film is basically storm footage as shot by the Blair Witch Project crew and Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen.

My favorite quote? When the guy says, "It's kind of like being in Amsterdam, only ... only it's not."

A warning, though: It starts out sorta slow, but about a minute in (when the sound kicks in and the subtitles start) it gets better. And keep watching when the picture fades to black — there's more. The ending, when a funny-looking kid walks by, is quick but funny.

Penny for My Thoughts?

What's with businesses that are sticklers for an extra penny? I was in the Pru on Friday night, and as usual, I decided to grab some dinner from Poulet Rotisserie Chicken because I always figure that of all the options in the food court, this will be the healthiest. (Or, more accurately, it's just good food.)

I got what I usually do: the combo platter (i.e.: a main dish and two sides — on Friday, that meant basic chicken tenders, mac'n'cheese and steamed vegetables) and a drink. As always, the bill came to $9.01. Now, aside from how wrong it is to pay so much for fast (albeit good) food, the place demands that you pay exactly $9.01. There have been times that I've been to Poulet and have paid with a $10 bill and have received 99 cents back as change. And when I've tried to pay just $9 (because I either had no change on me or just had, like, a quarter), I've been asked for the penny as if I was robbing them blind. There's no "Have a Penny, Leave a Penny" dish, and after all this time, the place still hasn't adjusted their prices so people's bills are exactly $9, or so they're at least closer to the other side of $9 (i.e.: $8.90-something).

Yes, I'm a sucker for always going back there even though this really annoys me, and I was just lucky I had a penny on me Friday night. But really, what's with them making me (and everyone else) pay exactly $9.01? Why can't they just let us pay $9 and be done with it?


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Kids Wear the Darndest Things ...

Another addition to the "Funny Things to Put on Your Kids" files:

Kidioms is a new line of baby onesies and T-shirts that, ahem, "combine the style and names that adults love with the familiar but original images that kids adore." (That's according to the email I received today from a PR rep.) Apparently, the company was founded by three fathers who were frustrated by baby clothes that were either too sweet or edgy, and wanted something both cool and whimsical for their children to wear.

Thus, Kidioms was created. Now you, too, can let your toddler walk (or crawl) around with a t-shirt that says "Bad Ass," "Chick Magnet" or, yes, even "Eager Beaver."

I suppose it's a good thing the kids just think the pictures are cute.

Best $5 Ever

So I'm sure every Boston-area blogger has a similar posting about how hard the commute into work was today. The wind is powerful, the rain is hard, and most folks this morning are all wet.

Except me, that is.

Got to South Station and saw a coworker. We had made it most of the way down the side wall of the station — walking in the opposite direction of the wind — when she turned to me and said, "This sucks. Let's get a cab. I'll pay." So, $5 later (including tip) we had taken a cab all of one mile (if even that long) across the Summer Street bridge. It was the silliest and yet smartest $5 ever.

Thanks, Ellie!

Gone Shopping

From its first frame, Shopgirl announces itself as sort of an elegant, high-minded — but pompous — filmed version of one of Steve Martin's literary works. In fact, it's one of the oddest films I've seen all year, and not the film I expected it to be based on the tv and print ads I've seen. Martin himself plays a character who isn't as compelling as he's supposed to be, and Jason Schwartzman (so good in Rushmore, but not as good in much else since) brings the film to life — then disappears for most of it. (Huh?) And Claire Danes is so plain looking — and acting — that you can't quite understand why Martin's character would find her so appealing. Still, Schwartzman's performance is fun, and the film does have high aspirations that I'll assume just went over my head. And Martin, who also wrote the screenplay, has included some pretty great lines of dialogue that come up unexpectedly, such as one that Danes says close to the end of the film that I can't quote here for fear of ruining it for folks who haven't seen the film yet. So in summary, I'll give Shopgirl the benefit of the doubt and rate it a B–.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Stop Reading This and Get Back to Work!



LOS ANGELES — Blog this: U.S. workers in 2005 will waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs.

About 35 million workers — one in four people in the labor force — visit blogs and on average spend 3.5 hours, or 9%, of the work week engaged with them, according to Advertising Age’s analysis. Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs. Forget lunch breaks — bloggers essentially take a daily 40-minute blog break. >>

There's more online if you are registered to read

No word, however, about how much time workers will "waste" (and I take real issue with that word) writing blogs ...

Al Knows Wilma Blows

Poor Al Roker.

Looks like Al drew the shortest straw on the NBC morning team and had to go down to Florida to report from the eye of Hurricane Wilma in Naples. And today on the, ahem, Today show, he was literally blowing away while giving his report at 8 a.m.

Why must news shows feel the need to have reporters and weatherpeople out in the thick of it all during big storms? I mean, we all know the rain and wind is bad — just like we know the snow is bad in the wintertime. And yet, some poor reporter always has to go out and show us just how bad it is.

What was perhaps worse was the way Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were mocking Al from the studio in New York. They were actually laughing at him! (Then again, so was I.) And this was just 60 seconds after Matt did a promo for his upcoming "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?" segments, during which he'll be sent to report from exciting locations over the course of a week, and a clip of Matt in Egypt in front of the pyramids from 1998. Cut to Al Roker, blowing away on the roof of some hotel in Naples.

Poor guy.

The Weekend in Review

Despite the crummy weather, I only saw one movie this weekend: North Country, starring Charlize Theron. My review in brief: Good film, worth seeing. Acting's good all across the board. Charlize may be Oscar-nominated again, I suppose, but she won't win. The film gets a B+ from me.


Friday, October 21, 2005

I Always Did Like Saying "Coxswain"

Is the Head of the Charles really this weekend? I remember when this was one of the biggest events of the year, when you'd make plans with your friends to go over, watch some races and make a whole afternoon of it, and it felt like the whole city was over there on the water. In fact, I even remember when Mr. Stickman went out rowing on the Charles River on the same day as the Head of the Charles and got hit by the Brandeis crew team. (One of Vijay's best Mr. Stickman strips from back in the day.) Then last year the weekend was more significant because it coincided with games one and two of the World Series and, well, people had better things on their mind.

So now Head of the Charles is upon us again and I haven't heard a single thing about it. Am I just oblivious? Are there signs and posters and banners all over the city that I've totally missed? I mean, I'm sure there'll be a special section today in the Globe, but that'll really be the first time I've heard anyone mention it this year. Or is it that I'm getting too old for the Head of the Charles, if that's possible. I always thought it was a city-wide event, but maybe it's just a college thing. Of course, who knew that in a city like Boston, you could ever feel detached from something as college-related as Head of the Charles.

Is anyone else out there planning to go to the river? Or did you, too, totally miss the fact that the Head of the Charles is this weekend? Or, has this event just gone past its prime and no one cares anymore?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Other "Martin's Musings"

They say that everyone out there has a twin, and while I doubt this guy looks anything like me, he does have the same name for his blog: Martin's Musings.

My proof that the only thing we have in common is the name of our blogs? He's a married conservative Christian, with two children and one chocolate labrador retriever, who lives in Phoenix. His favorite books include The Holy Bible and his favorite movies include True Grit and The Passion of the Christ.

Thankfully, it sounds like we're both rooting for the Houston Astros to win the World Series, so at least we have something in common ...

Tie One On

Since it's officially fall, allow me to announce that today is the first Tie Thursday of the 2005–06 season. From now until May (or, depending on the weather, June), I'll be wearing a tie every Thursday, just as I've done for the last few years.

The origins of Tie Thursday, at least as far as I'm concerned, are quite simple: I like wearing ties, and felt that as long as I work in a place where every day is casual Friday, then one day a week I should put in some effort and dress up — or at least dress nicer than khakis (or jeans) and a shirt. Of course, when I first started celebrating Tie Thursday at my previous job, it was also to throw people off so that when I went out on job interviews, they wouldn't be suspicious of my wearing ties or dressing nicer. But since I'm not in the market for new work right now, it's back to the original raison d'être.

In fact, today I'm wearing jeans and a white oxford shirt — definitely not interview attire. More importantly, I'm wearing a brand new, really stylish tie that my sister and her fiancée bought me on their recent trip to Italy. The brand is Asole & Bottoni, and I'd link you if I could, but the company doesn't seem to have a web site, and there doesn't seem to be much about them online. So enjoy the picture instead (if you can see it clearly enough).

In years past I've been able to get other people in my office to join me in celebrating Tie Thursday, and I'm hoping this year will be no exception. I know at least one guy was bummed that I didn't tell him yesterday so he could also wear a tie today. (No kidding.) We have more men here now than we did a year ago, so prospects are good for Tie Thursday catching on this year.

Anyway, that's enough metrosexual posting for today. Happy Tie Thursday!

T Time

So here's an etiquette question: Let's say two guys standing in the middle section of a car on the T (i.e.: not on top of anyone) are having a discussion. Not a loud one so that it's disruptive to those around them, but admittedly one about a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion about (i.e.: Theo Epstein remaining the general manager of the Red Sox). Do you interrupt and join in on the conversation?

If you're the random guy who did just that to Todd and I last night, well, I guess you thought there was nothing wrong with this. But Todd and I surely didn't want to talk to this guy, and we didn't appreciate his butting in. Were we wrong to act not all that interested in what he had to say? Did we perpetuate the unfriendly image that so many people seem to have of Bostonians? Or were we perfectly justified to not really indulge his desire to add his two cents to our conversation?

Personally, I think the guy should have minded his own business. Call me rude, but we didn't care what he had to say. We certainly weren't forcing our opinions down anyone's throats (the T wasn't that crowded), and we were amusing ourselves quite well until this guy stood up and joined us. And then he wouldn't leave us alone! Blah, blah, blah, Theo's parents won't let him leave town. Blah blah, I once heard Dan Shaughnessy speak, blah blah blah.

Suffice it to say, the guy was good for something: He gave me something to write about today. But really — am I wrong? Is it alright to butt into someone else's conversation on the T?


Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I think I may have coined two words during dinner tonight.

monoblogamist (mon-o-blog-a-mist) n. A person who regularly only reads one blog, either by choice, or due to time constraints or lack of interest, or because the blog he or she has found is so entertaining that no other site can compete. David likes reading "Martin's Musings" and has decided not to read any other blogs out of loyalty to Martin. — also: monoblogamy, the practice of only reading one blog

polyblogamist (pol-ee-blog-a-mist) n. A person with the habit of reading multiple blogs regularly. Heather is a blog fan who reads "Martin's Musings," "Planet Gordon" and "Universal Hub" daily. — also: polyblogamy, the practice of reading multiple blogs

Use these today and help spread the word(s).


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

When You're Weary ...

I received the following press release today:

<< Executive producer Sharon Osbourne has announced the Tuesday, October 18 release of a star-studded recording of Eric Clapton’s "Tears in Heaven" exclusively on iTunes to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina and survivors of December’s devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia. The special song — originally recorded following the tsunami, but unreleased until now — features vocals from Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, Gwen Stefani, Ozzy Osbourne, Andrea Bocelli, Steven Tyler, Phil Collins, Katie Melua, Robert Downey, Jr., Pink, Gavin Rossdale, Kelly Osbourne and Scott Weiland, with music performed by Velvet Revolver.

iTunes will forward the song’s entire $.99 download fee to “Save the Children," which will help fund the long-term rebuilding of the lives of children affected by the natural disasters. Donations made in the U.S. will go directly to the Hurricane Katrina victims, while monies received outside the U.S. will be assigned to the tsunami relief fund.

Now, I'm all for charity and the contributions of musicians and singers following tragic events, but, um, couldn't Sharon Osbourne have picked a better song? Something hopeful, and not depressing or inappropriate given the context? Were all the good songs taken? What about "Bridge Over Troubled Water"?


Somebody at the Globe Likes Me ...

Now I know I'm not writing Pulitzer Prize-level stuff here, but for the second time in three days, my blog has been quoted in the Boston Globe. Today I'm in the "Sidekick" section writing about two movies I saw this weekend, Elizabethtown, which I hated, and Capote, which I loved. Check me out!

(Since "Sidekick" isn't online, I scanned the quote; click on the image to see it bigger. And here's a link to the first quote from Sunday's paper.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Salt of the Earth

Thanks to my sister and her fiancee for one of the best laughs I've had in a long time.

On Epicurious, the online recipe site, you'll find recipes for most every dish — including "Salted Water for Boiling." (Yes, I guess some people need a recipe for that.) But that's not the laugh, see.

The site allows for comments from readers, and this particular recipe, which went up in November 2001, has so far accumulated 637. That's six hundred and thirty seven reviews about boiled saltwater. Here's one posted just a couple days ago by "kinwart," a reader from from Southern California:

I hated this recipe. I didn't have any water so I used juice and I don't like salt so I substituted with baking powder. It was nasty. Don't waste your time.

When you have the time and want a laugh, click here to read the other 636. (It'll help if you're in a particularly silly mood.) You'll thank me later.


Oh No, Yoko

That's it, folks. You're looking at the best magazine cover of the last 40 years — at least according to the American Society of Magazine Editors.

You may recall that back on September 29, I posted something about ASME's competition to select the best magazine covers of the last 40 years. Well, the winners have been chosen, and John and Yoko top the list.

If they say so.

Coming in second was the shot of Demi Moore looking large and lovely on the August 1991 cover of Vanity Fair, followed by an April 1968 photo from Esquire of boxer Muhammad Ali with arrows in his body (a cover that Radar magazine recently parodied with Tom Cruise standing in for Ali). The Saul Steinberg drawing of New York's West Side dwarfing the rest of the country, published in The New Yorker on March 29, 1976, came in fourth. Esquire's May 1969 image of Andy Warhol drowning in a can of tomato soup took the fifth spot.

For the complete list of 40, click here. Of course, the famous National Geographic cover that we all know is on the list (#10 — I'd have ranked it higher), as is the cover of the first issue of JFK Jr.'s George with Cindy Crawford made up like George Washington (#22). There are three 9/11-related covers, and a five-way tie (!!) for #37 that includes Time's infamous "Yep, I'm Gay" cover with Ellen Degeneres and Fast Company's "Brand Called You" cover.

It's a pretty interesting — though just a bit odd — group. I mean, I'd never pick the John and Yoko cover as the best cover, though it is a great one. But then again, they didn't ask me, did they? And considering the examples I cited in my previous post, it's probably better that they didn't. :-)


So This Is Morning World ...

It's official: I'm not a morning person. Had to get up early (i.e.: at 6 am) to take care of some car repairs and even when I got out of the bathroom post-shower and washing up it was still dark out. I'm the kind of guy who will hit snooze every 9 minutes for an hour just because he doesn't like the song playing on the radio, or because it just didn't feel right and I needed 9 more minutes, so I just can't get behind all those people who wake up early by choice. Sure, no one likes staying in the office too late (myself included), and I'd wake up early for work if I had to, but if given the choice of being here at 8 am or staying until 7 pm, I'll take the later option. Waking up early is just no fun. And no, I'm not a coffee drinker. So right now I'm chugging from a can of Coke (diet, because we were all out of regular. Argh).

Happy Monday y'all.

Tru Story

What a difference a day makes. Saw a much better movie Sunday night: Capote. It's the story of Truman Capote during the time he was writing In Cold Blood. Capote is played by the always-reliable Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of my favorite actors, and Hoffman gives an awesome performance. Capote's a fey, completely self-involved man, who gets a bit too close to the story he's writing about, yet retains his single-minded focus on writing the book that will change literature forever — something he knows (and doesn't hesitate to say) even before he's written a chapter.

Anyway, without going into too much detail, I'll just say Hoffman's great and I really liked this movie. It's as good as Elizabethtown was bad. I give it an A.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

What's the Lesser of Two Evils?

Over the summer, when I was working until 9, 10 or 11pm, I'd come home each night to a blinking notification that I had voice mail. And I'd be excited, of course, because after a pretty solitary and lonely evening, the possibility of some love from a friend or family member was just what I needed.

But it never failed: the messages would always be from telemarketers informing me that I'd been preapproved for a credit card, or the entry that I or a family member or friend had submitted had been chosen and I'd won a trip, or that I could consolidate my mortgage payments (note: I rent, not own), or that a satellite TV provider would be in my area ... You all know what these calls sound like. And my caller ID would be filled with "Unknown Caller" or "Ocean Glass" or "Iowa" or "Michigan" or other random IDs.

And I found that there really was not much more depressing than coming home from work so late again to find all these messages and have none of them be from people you actually know. Talk about adding insult to injury.

So a couple of months ago, I finally signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry. The thing works like a charm; no more telemarketing calls, no more random IDs on the caller ID. (Alright, maybe an occasional one or two.) In fact, almost no calls at all.

But you know what? I'm not sure this is so much better. I keep asking myself what's worse: coming home after a long day to messages, even if they are from telemarketers, or coming home to nothing. And no, this is not a plea for people I know to call me. It's just something of a discussion topic, I suppose, even if it's a discussion I'm having with myself. Personally, in hindsight, I think I may have liked the calls. Maybe it was their frequency that got annoying. (Ehhhh, maybe not.) I mean, after all, it's nice to be called by people. Who doesn't like attention? I don't know.

So what do you think? Is it worse to have no messages waiting or to have multiple messages from telemarketers?

As Seen In ...

If you've read the "City Weekly" section of today's Boston Globe, maybe you've seen the Blog Log written by Adam Gaffin, who runs Universal Hub. And maybe you've seen his reference to my blog and the posting I did on my commute into work on September 30. It's a nice plug. Thanks, Adam.

It's a Fiasco

What a bummer when one of your favorite filmmakers makes a bad movie. And yet, that's exactly what Cameron Crowe has done with Elizabethtown. It's miscast, poorly acted, overly long, and just not good. If you've seen it, say it with me: the film is a fiasco. Perhaps the only good thing about it is the soundtrack, which includes Elton John's "My Father's Gun" and one of my recent favorite songs, I Nine's "Same in Any Language." But even despite that, I give the film a D. That's D for disappointment.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Dating for Dummies

Well, as long as I haven't had many dating exploits to write about lately, I thought I'd link y'all to a new site I found today: Dating Dummy. Like me, the guy who writes this blog is 30-something and looking for love in the big city (in his case, San Diego). Supposedly, he met the person he's currently dating via her blog, so I guess there's hope for me, right? Anyone cute and single and female out there reading my site?

(Just kidding. Not sure that's how I'd want to meet someone — though I also suppose these days I can't be too choosy.)

But hey, if you'd like to live vicariously through this guy's blog, it seems like things between him and ICG (i.e.: Irresistibly Charming Girl) are going very well, despite the fact that he lives in California and she lives in — well, he hasn't quite said yet, though it looks like Cleveland. (Am I right, Dan? Is this Cleveland?)

This guy also has a photgraphy blog called Photography Dummy, if you like that sort of thing.

It's funny sometimes what you find when you browse around the blogosphere and keep clicking on people's links. Damned rainy days when I'm cooped up indoors ...


Their Future's So Bright ...

Frankly, I'm tired of this rain. I'm not sure how Noah dealt with it. And this is coming from a guy who calls Singin' in the Rain his all-time favorite movie. So as an antidote to this miserable weather, here's something fun I've been holding onto for a while now: another piece of random mail I received recently at work.

A company called ParkerG decided babies need more fashionable sunglasses that don't look like they come straight out of Revenge of the Nerds (yes, that's the marketing message they're going with). Apparently, they're all the rage among celebrity babies (I'm told Courtney Cox Arquette's and Debra Messing's kids both wear them).

Um, I love a cute kid just as much as the next person (see Simon Says!) but I don't think any mother — celeb or not — would want her baby looking as silly as these babies do.

I guess some people just have too much time on their hands ...

On the bright side, maybe sometime soon we'll all have reason to wear sunglasses again.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Music to My Ears

Best thing about spending 6 of the last 72 hours in my car? The chance to hear some of the new music I've been buying. Among the noteworthy tunes ...

Jamie Cullum, "London Skies," "Photograph," and "Mind Trick," and his new CD, Catching Tales. I'm a huge fan of Jamie's previous CD, Twentysomething, with its cool fusion of rock, pop and jazz, and had high hopes for the follow-up. The sound of this new disc is more pop-jazz than Twentysomething, which was more jazz-pop. Songs here have more of a beat, more of an ambient sound in some cases, more edge, and less of a "classic" feel. My favorite track is "London Skies." I've already played it a good handful of times. And "Mind Trick" is just fun. "Photograph" hit a chord with me, due to the wistful, nostalgic lyrics of the chorus ("When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life, I see so much magic though I missed it at the time.") and a nice piano solo. Other tracks (like "21st Century Kid" and the Steely Dan-esque "Nothing I Do") are quickly growing on me. Sure, most of the stronger tracks are in the first half of the CD, but I'd imagine that after a few more listenings, I'll warm to more tracks in the second half. This is a really good album, even if I don't instantly love it all, like I did with Twentysomething. Jamie Cullum's a huge talent and I really recommend this CD.

Susan Tedeschi, "Follow," and her new CD, Hope and Desire. Tedeschi's Just Won't Burn is one of my all-time favorite albums, but since then I just haven't loved Tedeschi's work. This album has its highs and lows, and a definite high is "Follow," a cover of the Richie Havens classic. Simply, it just sounds great. Is it the song? Is it the delivery? It's both.

Josh Kelley, "Only You"
I Nine, "Same in Any Language"
(From the Elizabethtown soundtrack)
Cass Elliot, "Make Your Own Kind of Music" (yes, the song from the first episode of Lost this year)
... These three are just some great songs that had repeated play in my car.

All of this is available on iTunes, by the way. The others are good, but Jamie Cullum's definitely worth checking out.

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Mother Nature Is a Bitch

That's the only way to explain the hellish drive I had this morning from NY through Connecticut en route back to Boston. All you Beantowners who think these misty conditions are rain have no idea what the folks down in the tri-state area have been getting the past few days. Ugh. We're talking monsoon conditions. And driving through that is just no fun at all. Especially at 7 a.m. when I've had just a couple hours of sleep the night before. I've never been so happy to be back in the office. And now I hear tomorrow's weather here is going to be as bad as it's been "down south" for the past couple of days? Grrrrreaaaat.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Love L.A. (mostly)

Congrats to the L.A. Angels of Anaheim for knocking the Yankees out of the playoffs last night and wiping the smug demeanor off the faces of A-Rod, Randy Johnson, slimy Giambi and especially Hideki Matsui, who I was happy to see make the last out. Never has there been a bunch of ballplayers who acted like they were entitled to greatness, and I am so happy that their season is now over.

(Yes, the Sox are also out of it, and yes we got swept, but we were happy just to be in the playoffs this year. The Yankees thought they had actually earned a place in the playoffs, when they just got lucky in the end. And, at least the Sox look like they enjoy playing the game. I don't know how anyone can enjoy watching the Yankees play when they never smile.)

Anyway ... so here are my fearless predictions for the rest of the post-season, based on nothing more than who I like and who I know and who I'd enjoy rooting for:
Angels over the White Sox in 6 games
Houston over St. Louis in 6 games
Houston over the Angels in 6 games

I'm not putting any money on any of those picks and I hope the people who actually care about this stuff (hello, Todd) will take them with a grain of salt. But I think I would actually enjoy watching the World Series if it was the Astros and the Angels. Jeez, there'd be a lot of red in the stands in both parks ... It might actually be like the Sox were still in it. (What? A guy can dream, can't he?)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Wet Weekend

It's been a wet, wet, nasty weekend here, and for all the joking Friday night about winter officially beginning at 7:35 p.m. (when the Sox lost), the temperatures have actually dropped significantly, making it feel like summer is now officially over and winter is actually on its way. Yuck.

Saw three movies this weekend, A History of Violence (very good, B+/A-), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (lots of fun, B+), and unexpectedly, In Her Shoes (surprisingly good, B). (As you know if you've been reading this site, I had already seen Good Night, And Good Luck.) That brings my total for the year to 35 movies. Otherwise, aside from running some errands and putting in a couple of hours in the office due to all my days off lately for the holidays, I just tried to stay warm and dry.

You may have noticed a new link on the right side of the screen. It's for a site called Universal Hub. Basically, as far as I can tell, it's a compilation of the best of Boston-area blogs with links to all kinds of postings, whether they're personal or city-related. Entries and blogs are categorized by towns, subjects, lines on the T, etc. In the past couple of weeks, the site has linked to both my stupid people at Park Street posting and my entry about the one-year anniversary of my skydiving adventure. So, in the spirit of quid pro quo, I'm linking y'all to his site now. You never know what you'll find there so I recommend reading it if you live here in Boston.

Today, Universal Hub linked to a site called Paula's House of Toast, which appears to be the blog of a local photographer. I really like her work, so I thought I'd share one of her photos and provide a link. Enjoy.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Thanks for the Memories ...

How times change. Three games, three losses and that's it. Game over. Season over. It went by so fast that it almost seems like it didn't happen. And amazingly, as soon as Game Three was over, folks I saw on Boylston St. were walking around — is it possible? — looking relieved.

Alright, we've had our fun. The euphoria, the high, the celebratory tone lasted just about the entire year. And now we can all move on and get back to our lives. Don't get me wrong, I am truly bummed that the Sox lost. But we had it good for a long while, and maybe that's why it doesn't hurt that much. Papi and Manny brought the dramatic hits and home runs, Millar made us scream and laugh, JV inspired confidence, Damon kept us all relaxed, everyone else pitched in, and we all enjoyed the ride.

It certainly was fun while it lasted. But now it's time for me to get some sleep and enjoy a long winter (sigh, a very long winter). At least I have my memories — and my 12-disc DVD box set of last year's post-season to keep me busy until Spring Training starts.

I'll see you in February, Papi ... For now, let's go Angels!!


Friday, October 07, 2005

"We're Gonna Need to Watch That Again"

Lost fan PSA: ABC is re-airing Wednesday's trippy, bizarre, awesome episode tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 p.m. Set your TiVo.

(it's news so good that even Locke is smiling.)

And after you watch, head on over to the official web site of The Hanso Foundation. Be sure to go to the Active Projects section and click on the "hidden" link below the list — it only appears when you move your mouse over it.

Good stuff, and essential reading after this week's episode.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Most Wonderful Time ...

Among the joys and pleasures of my Rosh Hashannah weekend in New York — aside from our dinner with my 100-year-old great uncle — was the discovery that although October is barely a week old, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (sing it with me: evvvv'rywhere you go.)

At the Super Stop & Shop near my parents' place, right as you walk in the door, there's a giant, 8-foot-tall inflatable snow globe. "Snow" was blowing all around inside of it and the thing was just ginormous. It's $149 and soooo worth it. Suffice it to say, it'd look perfect in my apartment.

Considering I've already received a few advance copies of upcoming Christmas CDs — Brian Setzer's (skip it) and Diana Krall's (awesome) — and I know one is on its way overnight to me — Brian Wilson's (can't wait) — for delivery tomorrow morning, and all this is on top of the fact that I'm currently working on the December and holiday issues of two different magazines already, it seems I've bypassed Halloween and Thanksgiving and am in a Christmas state of mind. Of course, considering this is the most wonderful time of the year, I'm not complaining.

And I suppose this can only mean one thing: it's almost time to start compiling my seventh (or is it my eighth?) annual "A Very Marty Christmas" CD. (I guess it's worth reminding those readers who don't know any better that I am Jewish. What's your point?) Last year I had enough songs left over to make a double album, and this year's CD already has the potential to be a good one. Stay tuned for further details. I may need some help whittling down my still-large collection of songs to a group of around 20 tracks. You'd be surprised how many of them still haven't made it onto one of my holiday mixes. (And hey, if you've got suggestions for songs that just have to be on my mix this year, please email me or post them in the Comments field below.

Anyway, you can bet there will be much more holiday merriment in the coming months so I don't want to overdo it now. But in the meantime, you'd better watch out and you'd better not cry. In fact, you'd better not pout either. One day real soon, I'll tell you why ...


And Azizen Pesach, Too

Seen floating over my synagogue this weekend ...

Alright, not really. This is yet another example of "Fun with Photoshop," courtesy of the blog One Smoot Short of a Bridge, and I was feeling dorky enough to share it with y'all.