Sunday, April 30, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
I Saw United 93
This is a movie that seeks to document what was happening on the plane that tragic morning, and without a lot of moralistic or political intervention. As such, the hijackers are not portrayed simply as evil men; they are also scared about what is taking place (but not to the degree that they'd earn sympathy from a viewer). Many of the passengers are never really fleshed out, and it's hard to identify some of the people whose names are more recognizable, like Todd Beamer. These people are just there — like we are — scared and doing the best they can to be strong. When they start picking up the phone to call their loved ones, it made me want to do the same. And when the plane goes down and the screen goes black, it's a terrible moment that feels all-too-real.
There's been all this talk recently about it being too soon for a movie about 9/11. If this one was exploitive or sensationalistic or of a lesser quality, I might agree. But quite frankly, I don't know if there will ever be a good time for 9/11 movies. (I'm sure there are World War II vets who lived through D-Day and object to movies like Saving Private Ryan.) And because United 93 is such a well-made movie, it is that much more intense, emotional, and hard to watch. It's definitely a must-see. I give it an A.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
How Far Is Six Miles?
But today I got my first reality check: Six miles is about a quarter of a mile longer than the distance between my apartment and my office (at least according to Mapquest), and I don't ever walk that. It's about a mile-and-a-half longer than the distance between my apartment and Johnny's in Newton Center. And it's about three times as long as the walk from my apartment to Fenway Park. It's also about three times as long as the walk from my office to the Hynes Convention Center T stop, which I do all the time. And it's just over double the distance from the Prudential Center mall back to my apartment, which I do every year on Patriot's Day.
Still, I say no problem. I can handle that. In fact, I look forward to it. The weather is supposed to be mostly sunny, with temperatures in the mid- to high-50s, perfect for a brisk walk along the Charles River. As I've mentioned, there's a group of us from my company who are walking, and today we all got snazzy blue t-shirts to wear. If you're reading this and will also be walking, look out for us. If you're not walking and still want to be supportive, there's still time to sponsor me. My company is matching all donations received by Sunday, so anything you give you can consider it doubled.
The point is, this is going to be a great day. If you're able to, I hope you'll support me and this wonderful cause. Thanks again.
Monday, April 24, 2006
The Coolest Day of the Year
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Walk This Way
Saturday, April 22, 2006
* A box of egg matzoh
* Two jars of mayonaise (one extra because I found light mayo at another store)
* Four cans of tuna (two extra because I found them cheaper elsewhere)
* A box of cookies
* A coffee cake mix
All that was worth about $27, which I'm sure I'll give right back tomorrow when I do my normal grocery shopping, but for now, it's safe and sound back in my wallet.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Gimme Five (More Years), Katie
But anyway, today really is National High Five Day, as decreed by a bunch of University of Virginia students. (It's always the third Thursday of April.) The mission of the day is simple: just give out as many high fives as possible. When you get on the subway, when you see your boss in the office, when you go for lunch, when you get home and see your spouse or roommate, etc. The guys’ MySpace page has a further explanation, and videos explaining the proper way to give a high five are really helpful. That’s all. It's a simple holiday, simply celebrated.
I’ll leave you to it. Thanks again, Katie, for everything.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby
Labels: Jennifer Garner
For me, there's no better place to be today than at the corner of Boylston St. and Hereford St. to get the full view down Boylston as runners turn the corner and see the last stretch of the race and all the people cheering them on. I can't imagine how great that must feel. It's my tradition that after standing in front of the Hynes Convention Center for a while, I move down there to cheer on the real runners, not the Kenyans and others who can finish in around two hours. Everyone knows the best part of the race takes place a half hour after the winners cross, when the hordes of regular joe (and jane) runners come down Boylston, and you can cheer on those who are struggling to finish and need the crowd support. That's the glory of sport.
And every year I say the same thing: One day I'd like to run the marathon. Sure, I have a long way to go before I'm in shape to run 26 miles — for now, I'll be content if I can walk six miles — but I would love to be able to say I accomplished that. I mean, really, we all drive to Natick because it seems so far away. But these folks have just run from there and beyond. So yeah, I'm totally impressed by people who have run marathons, and I look forward to being out in the sunshine cheering them on.
Labels: Boston Marathon
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Thou Shall Not Blog About Religion?
I'm being serious here, and again, I hope I'm not being offensive. But I genuinely want to know. So if you have an answer, can you please post a comment below? Thanks.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
They Aren’t the Champions
What’s happened to this season of Idol? Didn’t it start out so well? Weren’t there more great performers? Where did they all go? Chris Daughtry has fallen so far so fast that it’s hard to imagine he’s still a front runner to win. (The guy needs more range. Seriously.) Kellie’s dumb blonde thing was fun at first, but now it’s clear she’s just a moron. And Bucky? What is he still doing there? But the biggest offense this season has been Ace, who had one good performance — of George Michael’s “Father Figure” — during the semifinal round and has somehow been able to coast along until now. As bad as some of the other folks are, Ace is out-classed and out-performed on a weekly basis. I’m hoping his embarrassing cover of “We Will Rock You” will be his final performance on the show. (Talk about poor song choice, especially if that's the song they make you sing after you've just been kicked off.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ace has to go.
So who am I rooting for? Well, at this point, none of them. However, if I had to pick someone to cheer for, I'd have to say it would be Elliott Yamin. I think he's got the best voice of them all, even if he looks nothing like a pop star.
Labels: American Idol
Monday, April 10, 2006
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Money Changes Everything
Well, one of the great things about this movie is that you come to see that the friends are not ignoring Olivia's predicament at all. Instead, they each have significant problems of their own, from crumbling marriages to anger and resentment. Thus, you have equal sympathy for all four of the women, and the film becomes a true ensemble piece about what defines happiness and success and friendship.
Friends with Money is not a sad movie, but it's about four unhappy women. There are some sharp and keenly observant lines of dialogue, a few good laughs, and there is great acting across the board. You feel real chemistry between these women, even as their lives are drifting apart. Joan Cusack's character even admits at one point that she would likely not be friends with Olivia had they just met now, as opposed to years ago.
The ending is a bit of a convenient cop-out that soils what may have been a really fulfilling plot development, and almost stymies some valuable character development. But aside from that, Friends with Money is a very good movie. I'd highly recomend it, and I'll award it an A–.
The Annual Passover Rant
To wit, yesterday I spent about $75 on my various "supplies." We're talking matzah, cake mixes, cookies, mayonaise, grape jelly (sorry, I mean "grape preserves"), gefilte fish, tuna fish, etc. And this doesn't even include the perishables, like eggs, cream cheese, vegetables, milk, and orange juice. By comparison, I generally only spend $30 for each week's groceries.
Stores like Shaw's put out their Passover food a month or so before the holiday and they mark it all with "normal" prices that they then label as being "on sale," as if to capitalize on a horrible stereotype that Jews like their deals and would rather buy something on sale than if it was normally priced. For example, I'd rather they just marked the Manischewitz cake mixes as $3.99 instead of $5.99 with two dollars off. Or the mayonaise as $2.50 instead of $3.99 with $1.49 off. Unfortunately, the stores have a captive market with no choice but to buy this stuff, so they milk it however they can. If you're strict about the holiday, as I am, then you only eat foods labeled as "Kosher for Passover," even if it means replacing ordinary things like vegetable oil that are not labeled as such. I'm sure the only difference between the year-round Chicken of the Sea tuna fish and the Seasons brand tuna fish for Passover use is just the higher price (i.e.: $1 vs $2.50 a can), and yet I still make the investment in the KfP tuna.
Speaking of, I wish the stuff wasn't so expensive to begin with. I get it that Passover food has a limited market so it's expensive to buy and resell, but does a bag of Passover noodles have to be sold for $4 when a bag of normal noodles goes for around $1 — especially since the Passover kind is basically crap anyway? (If you don't know, they're flourless, for starters.) That's just ridiculous and insulting.
And I'm just one person. I was over at Farrah and Barry's last night, and aside from the fact that they're hosting two seders, they are a couple and eat better than I do. I can only imagine how much they (and other couples and families) spent on all their Passover food.
Every year I save my receipts so that when the holiday is over I can head back to Shaw's and exchange my unopened food. I tend to get between $10 and $15 back. Not many people seem to think you can do that, judging by the response I get when I tell people I do it. But in my own small way, this is how I stick it to the man; if you're going to overcharge me for a week's worth of food, then you're going to take back whatever I don't use.
It's a shame that capitalism and greed have to infringe on a religious holiday.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Where in the World is Jill Carroll?
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Where in the World is Eva Longoria?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
It's not too late to get in on the fun. The Glenlivet web site has a listing of local retailers that sell kilts. Rather than bore you with a long summary of what else is on the site, including an explanation about what the heck "Tartan Day" is (essentially, it's the Scottish equivalent of St. Patrick's Day), I'll just direct you to this handy FAQ page.
A couple months ago, a kind PR rep for the Glenlivet called and offered to rent me (or someone in my office) a kilt to wear on this special occasion, but after about a half-second of inner debate, I decided to pass (and pass on my coworkers' behalf). So, no, my knobby knees will not be exposed, thank you very much. Besides, it's still much too cold for that.
What's in a Name?
Update, 4:40 p.m.: Evan wrote and reminded me ... "This is not the first time your name inspired a term. Your 'Marty's Jokes' column in the Byram Hills [High School] school paper inspired the term 'Marty Humor,' which referred to certain types of comedic prose. If you recall the jokes you placed in that column, you can figure out what would be termed 'Marty Humor.'" Good point. Thanks for reminding me, Evan.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
You may be interested in that name of hers, so here's a little outtake that didn't make it into either story:
"You know what, I was born J-e-n-n-i-f-e-r, but I was raised in the South and had a thick southern accent, and my mother always pronounced it Ginnifer and I was Ginny. So when I moved to Boston [to attend school at Boston University], I had a teacher, specifically one teacher, who I grew to love and adore, who always called me Jenny and Jennifer, and I would literally not answer her because I thought she was speaking to someone else. In my world it was kind of an uproar because when I finally caught on that it was me, I said, 'Oh no no no no, my name’s Ginny, and she said, 'No, your name’s Jenny and we will call you Jenny. I was like, you know what? I’ll give you guys lennen instead of linen and I’ll give you pillow instead of pellow, but my name is my identity and I’ve just never heard it pronounced in such a way. And I called my mother without explaining the situation and I said, 'How do you pronounce my name?' And she repeated it for me and I said, 'So it's not Jenny? And she said, 'No. You’re a southern lady.' And I said, 'Well how do you feel about me changing the spelling, because it's really jarring to me to be called this other thing.' To me it was like you might as well be calling me Amanda, like that’s a different name. And my mom was like, 'Oh yeah I completely agree,' and we changed it. It made it far easier if everyone called me Ginny."
Yeah, she's a chatty one (we were on the phone for just about 45 minutes). And in the SAM story, you'll get to read much more of what she had to say. Enjoy!
Monday, April 03, 2006
Starstruck in Waltham
When it was Martin's turn, he didn't disappoint. The festival coordinator introduced him by saying what award he was there to present, but really, "how do you measure ... measure a year?" And then Martin just riffed for five minutes on his good friend, talking about her unparalleled ability to curse, about her having been on Pee-Wee's Playhouse (as Reba the mail lady), and about their car accident earlier in the day — making sure to show off that he was fine. Then Merkerson took the stage and the two became a classic comedy duo. There was a winking admission that she always brings her "brother" Jesse L. Martin with her because she only seems to get press coverage when he's with her. And Merkerson also revealed that she initially thought she was getting an award from Barnard College, which is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But she and Martin were excited to arrive in Boston and to have a white stretch limo waiting for them, courtesy of the festival. "I said to Jesse, 'We're going to the prom!'" she recalled. She did her S. Epatha Merkerson thing, which we all saw when she won the Golden Globe, the SAG award, and the Emmy, only here it was looser and more profane, and just plain funny. Clearly, both felt like this was the most random thing they'd done in a long time. I'm sure there'll be a video clip on the SunDeis web site soon.
Also in attendance were Anita Hill (left), now a Brandeis professor, who acted as official ambassador for the university before the show began, and lifetime achievement award recipients Celeste Holm (Gentleman's Agreement, above) and Margaret O'Brien (Meet Me in St. Louis). For a student film festival in Waltham, Mass., it was an impressive evening.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
So on this, the eve of another Opening Day, I say, simply, "Let's do it again!" We have the pitchers, we have the hitting, we have a bolstered defense. We can take on all challengers. It's a long way until October, but I am excited for the ride. Go Sox!
Labels: Red Sox