Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just Not Worth It

I saw after the Sox–Yankees game today that a company called Big Time Bats is selling a commemorative framed photo set of Dice-K's first start at Fenway. Considering he lost that game, I'm not sure why anyone would want to spend $120 to remember it. Sure, Dice-K pitched his best Fenway start to date that night (remember, today is only April 29), and had Felix Hernandez not been so good, we might have actually won that game, but still ... I'll spend $120 when Dice-K does something worth remembering. (Alright, fine. Maybe I won't spend the $120. But I'll remember the accomplishment just the same. After all, I haven't been so kind to him so far.)


For the Kids

As Robbie Williams would say, we were "doin' it for the kids" today. Despite cooler, wetter weather than last year, WalkAmerica was still a good time, and it was all for a good cause. I walked with eight of my coworkers (to support our client, Continental Airlines, which is an official sponsor of WalkAmerica) and we all did it within two hours. That's not bad, considering it was a loop from the Hatch Shell, down Storrow Drive to Western Ave, and then back down Memorial Drive to the Museum of Science, and back to the Hatch Shell (a total of about 6.5 miles). And yes, there was Montilio's cake waiting for us when we got to the finish line, so that made it doubly worth it. I'm pleased to say I raised $468, which is $118 more than last year (why 18? click here for that answer), so let me take this opportunity to publicly thank all who contributed. (If you still want to donate, you can. Just click here.) Now I can take a load off and relax before it's back to work tomorrow.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Shut Up

It's embarrassing to think that when I was in college, I used to really like a cappella music. I liked it so much that freshman year I actually went to other campuses to see various groups in concert — Tufts' Beelzebubs, for example. Thankfully, by junior year I came to my senses and realized that a cappella was not all that. I suppose the same can't be said for those who were actually in those groups.

Well, those people (not me) are the likely target audience of Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace, a movie about a group of friends who were all in an a cappella group in college and who reunite 15 years later to sing at one of the guys' weddings. Not surprisingly, they're still holding on to the good old days; the guys have all found that life after college is not all it's cracked up to be. Whereas in school they were the shit, with their goofy jeans-and-tie outfits and legions of adoring fans, after graduation they find themselves stuck in loveless marriages, terminal careers, and depressed lifestyles. What a shocker. It all brought to mind that great article in Boston magazine about how cool the Dear Abbeys at B.U. think they are. Oh, how life's going to change as soon as they graduate.

Anyway, despite my cynicism, I have to say the movie isn't all bad. It's actually quite sweet at times, and there are at least a couple good lines and scenes. The cast — with the exception of Molly Shannon, who is totally out of place — is really likable and I suppose the music isn't half-bad either. (I chalk that up to the novelty factor since I don't remember the last time I heard a cappella music.) But many scenes just go on too long, Shannon is really annoying, and some of the plot threads are a bit much. Oh, and then there's the scene about halfway through that takes place in jail — the guys get arrested — and wouldn't you know it, there's a guy in the pen with a bass voice who also loves singing a cappella. So the guys break into a rendition of "Working on a Coal Mine" right there in jail. Because that's real, right? And that is the exact moment the movie jumps the shark. From then on, I really couldn't wait for it to end.

You may be asking, why did I see this movie in the first place? It's because I actually know two of the lead actors. Or knew, to be more accurate. David Harbour and I acted in shows together back in high school and played soccer before that, and Samrat Chakrabarti was a year behind me in college (no surprise, he was in one of those a cappella groups the film is based on). It's funny to think Dave is supposed to be 37 in the movie and Samrat is supposed to be 36; in reality, they're both 31. (In the photo, Dave's the tall guy in the middle and Samrat is on the far left.)

Sing Now was made a couple years ago and until the Dixie Chicks took the name, the film was actually called Shut Up and Sing. There were times during the movie where I was saying just that. So I can't really recommend this one unless you have a soft spot for a cappella or the collegiate groups that performed it. I'm giving it a C+.

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That's So Exciting!

For your weekend viewing pleasure, check out this clip (from of Alec Baldwin giving Dora the Explorer a call.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm Walking. Yesiree I'm Walking

If you haven't heard yet, Wednesday is the first annual Start! Walking at Work Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association. The purpose of the day is to promote a culture of physical activity in the workplace, which will help people live longer, healthier lives. (No word if that longer, healthier life includes more time at work.) Apparently, we're working 164 more hours a year than in previous years, which leads to more sedentary lives. Blah blah blah. So on Wednesday, at exactly 2:41 pm, you're supposed to get up from your desk and walk. Walk anywhere, I suppose. Take a lap around the office. Or walk outside. Just walk somewhere. And why, you may be asking, is this happening at 2:41? Well, according to the AHA, adults may gain as many as two hours of life for every one hour of regular exercise. (That's their joke, not mine.) And there's your PSA for the day.

While I'm on the subject of walking, I thought I'd take this opportunity to remind folks that I'm participating in March of Dimes' WalkAmerica this Sunday. In addition to supporting the good cause, I'm also raising money, so if you're in a charitable mood and want to help support my efforts, please click here and make a donation. There's no minimum (or maximum) amount; any contribution is much appreciated. And, as a special bonus, my company will be matching all money raised, so you can consider any donation to be double. Here is that link again. Thanks in advance.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dice-K Not O-K

I've been accused by a couple people of being a little too hard on Dice-K. Well, Sunday night the guy allowed six runs and eight hits. That's six runs. And eight hits. Is that really what we (again with the "we") paid $103 million for? That's the kind of performance I expect from Julian Tavarez — not the guy who is supposed to rewrite the rules of how major league pitchers pitch. I stand by my opinion that the guy shouldn't need this much run support. If he's really all that, he should be lights out from the start. Strikeouts, schmikeouts. That's not the stat that really matters in the end. It's wins and losses. And even though he got the win on Sunday, as Jon Miller and Joe Morgan both said on ESPN after the game, he needed "considerable help." It's the morning after Dice-K's first start against the Yankees, where he recorded the win, and we're not even talking about how well he pitched. What does that tell you? Perhaps more discouraging is that with each start, Dice-K is getting worse and worse. Soon it'll be tough to make excuses about "the line" and how his performance was still impressive despite the loss.

I'm not saying Dice-K has to be Superman, or that he has to pitch a perfect game every time. But he should be more of a sure thing (like Jonathan Papelbon is in the bullpen), and shouldn't be the losingest pitcher on the staff. It's only April, I know, and if Dice-K gets better I'll change my tune. But right now, I'm just not impressed.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Women Problems

How I wish In the Land of Women was really a porn film, like it sounds like it should be. Then it might have had a better plot, for starters. Instead, this film — the story of a guy (Adam Brody) who deals with his model girlfriend dumping him by heading to Michigan to take care of his grandmother — is a real mess. It's got a whole bunch of clichés, including a wacky old grandma and the family across the street that's full of problems (cancer, an extramarital affair, estranged mother-daughter relations, a precocious younger sister). It's got a hip soundtrack (at least it does for half the movie) sure to attract the young'uns. It's also got, in addition to Brody, Meg Ryan and Olivia Dukakis in lead roles. What it doesn't have is direction, focus, or anything really worth recommending. It doesn't even have a poster or a marketing campaign that accurately reflects what the movie is really about (then again, considering I was unsure of the plot, maybe this film is just unmarketable).

I've seen ItLoW described as a cross between The Graduate and Garden State (yes, your assumptions about the implications of that are true), but if the comparison was accurate, then this would actually be a good movie. I'm sorry to say the best thing about it — alright, fine, the two best things are the first five minutes and the last five minutes. Problem is, the good joke in the first five minutes has already been spoiled in the trailer. And the last five minutes have such promise that you wish the film had gone down this road much earlier and that the actress with a surprise cameo had been around a lot longer. Oh well. I don't remember when I've yawned more, wondering when the movie was going to end. And when the lights came on, I turned to Stephani and asked, "What was that?" Yeah, I really didn't like this movie all that much. I'm giving it a D+ (the plus is only because I liked the last five minutes that much).


We All Scream

It's no surprise that after such a beautiful day, J.P. Licks was the place to be last night in Coolidge Corner. It seemed like everyone — jubilant Red Sox fans, parents with young kids, couples on date night, high school girls with little fashion sense, families, pets, etc. — was getting a scoop, and the line was out the door for much of the time that Joe, Marie, the twins, and I were there.

So how thankful was I that there was plenty of entertainment to go along with my soft-serve. No, I'm not referring again to the high school girls. I speak of the folks who tried in vain to get into the perfect parking spot in front. We're talking premium rock star parking, with plenty of space to slide in. First there was a young lady who totally didn't cut the wheel correctly, and who just had to answer her cell phone while parking — and holding up traffic, I might add. Her first try, she was still a couple feet from the curb. And after two tries, she just gave up and drove away. She was followed by an older couple who undershot it and actually bumped into the car behind them before leaving their car jutting out into the street and getting out — ignoring all the people who were watching and saying under their breath, "Bad parking job. I can't believe they're going to leave it like that."

Why watching inept parallel parkers never gets old, I just don't know. But on this spring night, it was great fun.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

All the pieces are in place for Fracture to be a solid, great popcorn thriller. There's an interesting premise — a guy shoots his cheating wife and confesses to it, and yet, not all the pieces are in place for a conviction — and a great acting duo in the lead roles. There's even the director of such films as Primal Fear and the underrated Frequency. And yet, despite a crackling first half, filled with some fun lines of dialogue, the wheels somehow come off and Fracture turns boring and somewhat predictable. I guessed the film's twist (one of them anyway) pretty early on, for example. It's enjoyable to see Anthony Hopkins chewing scenery, and Ryan Gosling (so good in Half Nelson) tries hard, but ultimately Fracture doesn't make a strong enough case. And that's why I'm only giving it a B–.


Yeah, That's City Life

As Lily Allen sings, "Sun is in the sky, oh why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?"

Simply stated: This weather today is awesome.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Hmmmmm ...

Here are some questions I'm asking on this sunny, very nice Friday afternoon:

* Will anything ever take up residence where Zathmary's used to be?

* Will the weather actually be as nice as predicted this weekend, and will it stay that way until the fall? Does this mean winter is really over?

* Can Dice-K beat the Yankees on Sunday, or will he have the same lame result as his last two games, where it looks alright but he still loses? Is he really the worst starter on the team??

* If a crowded T train on the morning commute is bad, then is there much worse than having to be stuck next to a guy who reeks of cigarette smoke?

* Is there a funnier show on TV right now than 30 Rock?

* Indians didn't even like Sanjaya. So aside from the 13-year-olds, who did?

* I'm a third of the way to my WalkAmerica fundraising goal. Will you help me go all the way?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yes. There Is a God

Goodbye and good riddance, Sanjaya! I suppose it's safe to start watching the show again. But I'm still going to try not to.


I Love Being a Carnivore

Somebody tell me: Is there a better burger than the ones made at Mr. Bartley's in Harvard Square? Mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm!! Went there tonight with Tisha and just-back-from-Deutschland Nina and Jeremy. I had a bacon cheeseburger. Yum-o. What juicy, meaty, chewy, tasty, carnivoreriffic goodness. I may not like Cambridge, but this is one place I'll always go back to. Of course, between my free ice cream last night and now my big ole burger tonight, it's clear that I need to go on a diet. At least for a few days.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No Avoiding It

You know, I tried to avoid American Idol Tuesday night. Really I did. After last week's results show, I said I was done. So I went to Ben & Jerry's at the Pru for Free Cone Night and waited on a long, long line that stretched from the B&J's counter all the way around the perimeter of the 'court to Pizzeria Regina. Didn't mind it, either, especially when I was enjoying my free cone of Phish Food. And I loved when all the parents would show up with their smiling, happy kids and would try to convince the little ones that the line was too long to wait. But God bless the kids, who always knew better. "I don't mind," I heard one say. Kids always win, don't they? Good for them. Free ice cream is worth it.

Anyway, and then I got home and was excited to turn on the TV to watch the Sox. And not just that, but Dice-K on the mound again. But I tell you ... if Idol was an embarassment, this felt worse. Sure, the line might not be as bad as the end result, but c'mon — we (and I say we like it came out of my pocket) didn't pay $103 million for 2-1 losses and three walks in one game. Didn't pay $103 mil for wild pitches that load the bases, and runs that are walked in. What a bum this guy is. I can't believe he's 1-2. That makes him worse than a bum — he's a loser! At first I thought it was just the weather, but tonight's game was in a dome. It's not the lack of run support. This guy should be lights out. So there's really no excuse. And here come the Yankees this weekend. If Dice-K is our great hope to lead us to another World Series championship, then let me be the first to say it: we're doomed. Again.

So ... long story short, at 9:30 I decided to watch Idol after all (my DVR recorded it automatically — damn that series recording). And I have to say, Melinda Doolittle made at least part of it worth it. I just wish Blake Lewis did Ryan Adams proud. What an awful rendition of a great song. (And I won't even mention that other guy.) But I promise I won't be watching anymore. I'm so done with that show. (Until next week, I'm sure.)

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Sunday, April 15, 2007


It's that time again, kids. This Tuesday is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's, or as I like to call it, The Most Wonderful Day of the Year. From 12 to 8 p.m., head on down to your local B&J scoop shop and pick yourself up a free cone of AmeriCone Dream or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Half Baked or Phish Food, celebrating its 10th anniversary. It's all good. (Thanks to Stephanie for the tip.)

And in related news, Baskin-Robbins has apparently done away with their free cone night and instead now does a 31-cent cone night, a benefit for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. This year's event takes place on May 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. Eat up and give to a good cause, all at the same time.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Martin: 15, The Man: 0

It's one of my favorite Passover traditions: the day I go back to Shaw's and return all my unopened, unused food. My philosophy on this is simple: if they're going to overcharge me for food I need for only a week (and that in some cases really isn't very good), then they're going to take back whatever I have left after the holiday. Last year I got back $27 for my extra food. This year, thanks largely to smarter buying, I didn't have as much to return, so I got a smaller amount back. Still, it was worth it. Here's what I returned:
* two cans of tuna fish
* a box of cookies
* a two-liter bottle of soda
* a box of chocolate lollipops
* a jar of gefilte fish
All that was worth about $15 back in my pocket.

Now, I realize some may say doing this (and bragging about it) is chintzy, or worse, that it confirms a stereotype. I counter by saying there's no reason why I should have to pay $5 for a box of 24 subpar bite-size cookies, or $2.59 for a can of tuna fish, simply because I have no choice in the matter. Every year we're taken advantage of on Passover, and if I can even the score by returning what I don't need and getting my money back, then I see nothing wrong with that.

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He Arrived for The Departed

As a movie fan, there are few things I enjoy more than seeing a film and then having the director, screenwriter, or an actor present to do a Q&A afterwards. I got to do that twice last fall, for The Last Kiss and Fast Food Nation. This week, the Coolidge Corner Theater honored Thelma Schoonmaker, an Academy Award–winning editor who has worked with Martin Scorsese on all his films since Raging Bull, and part of the festivities was a screening of The Departed Thursday night, followed by a panel discussion. You know I was there.

The Departed is, of course, my favorite movie of 2006, and seeing it again reminded me of just how much I love it. Sure, I still think Mark Wahlberg is overrated, but Leo DiCaprio is so so so good that it's criminal he wasn't Oscar-nominated for this role. And seeing it on the Coolidge's big screen was actually really good, surprisingly. Usually I hate seeing movies at that theater, but the picture and sound were both excellent.

Anyway, participants for the panel had been posted on the Coolidge's web site, so we knew who was and wasn't going to be there in advance. And I'd say it was enough that Schoonmaker, composer Howard Shore, and screenwriter William Monahan would be in the house, and that the panel would be moderated by Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr (Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers was supposed to do it, but he had to cancel for health reasons). Still, we were all in for a big surprise: Scorsese was also there. That just made the whole evening so much cooler. (Thelma who?) He got an appropriately large and loud standing ovation when he was introduced.

The discussion lasted close to an hour, during which time the group dissected the scene where Martin Sheen's character is thrown off the roof. Monahan and Scorsese explained how Sheen was supposed to land on a cab, because that's what happened in Infernal Affairs (the film Departed is based on), but that it had to be changed because Michael Mann had already used that gimmick in Collateral. Scorsese and Schoonmaker reported that Leo's reaction shot in that scene was take two. We learned that many of the songs on the film's soundtrack are ones that Scorsese found on jukeboxes in the various bars the film was shot in. Scorsese rattled off the names of obscure foreign films and filmmakers like they were household names. Schoonmaker and Scorsese laughed about how green Boston is, and how hard that made it to film certain scenes. Monahan discussed how Vera Farmiga's character evolved from how it was originally conceived. Shore discussed how the film's score resembled a tango. Monahan explained why the film was set in Boston. He and Scorsese discussed the whys and hows of film violence (Scorsese said it's because that's the reality he knows, and that he witnessed a lot of it growing up). And the line of the night came from Scorsese (no surprise), who explained that originally the film was going to end more spectacularly, but he decided to go a different route and "Just shoot 'em." I didn't take any notes or pictures, but suffice it to say, it was very exciting to have those four there talking about a film I love so much. (And no, they didn't explain what the heck is up with the film's ending or discuss the rumored prequel/sequel.)

Scorsese and co. had to dart out right at 11, so there were no autographs or photos. (Good thing I forgot my Departed DVD.) Still, I was really psyched I got tickets and that I could be there for such a cool event.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm Too Sexy for the Phoenix

Good news: I did not make the Boston Phoenix's list of the 100 Unsexiest Men in the World, like Gilbert Gottfried did. Phew! I guess when Justin Timberlake was bringing sexy back, these guys were otherwise occupied. Thankfully, I sent JT my $19.95 just in time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oh Well

I suppose it had to end sometime. So, allow me to say goodbye, Haley. I hope your leaving American Idol had nothing to do with me. I'll miss you and will always remember the good times we shared.

Someone please tell me what happens from here on out. I'm not sure I have much interest in watching anymore. Haley may not have been the best singer of the group, but at least she made the show fun to watch. For me, anyway. I mean, really. What's wrong with enjoying a hot girl running around half-naked while singing pop songs? Is that so bad? (yes, tongue firmly in cheek)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Life Is Good

I know writing about it will serve as nothing more than a jinx, but I just had to mention that I've developed some really good T karma lately. For the past week, every day, as soon as I've gotten to the Boylston T stop to go home (or within a minute of my arrival), the C line has shown up. There's been no waiting, and I've gotten home within about 20 minutes of leaving the office. It's been almost as if the car was just idling by, waiting for me to get to the bottom of the stairs so it could pull up and let me get on. Did you hear me? This happens every day. That's unheard of! It's miraculous! It's beyond the realm of possibility! It even happened yesterday, a Sunday, when I went to the movies. I thought I was powerful before. Now it seems I can will a T into arriving at my whim. That's awesome.

But that's not all that's going well lately. We're now within the last 24 hours of Passover, and I can already taste the hot rolls and pasta dinner that I'll enjoy at Bertucci's tomorrow night. The Sox are back at home (and a bonus: Harry Connick Jr. is set to sing the National Anthem before the game on Tuesday). I learned this weekend that Felicity is back (to back) on television, on Fuse. I found MP3s of an awesome live show by Amy Winehouse. And, I'm pretty sure Haley is safe. Now, if only the weather would warm up, then things would be near perfect.

And yes, I expect most, if not all of what I've written about to cease immediately (sorry, Haley). There's nothing like talking about good things to make them end.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

He's Got the Power

I'm giving The Lookout a B. Why tell you that upfront? Because sometimes, to know where you're going, it helps to know the ending. That's just one of the lessons learned from writer/director Scott Frank's film about a promising young athlete whose life takes a tragic turn when he's involved in a car crash, and then takes another turn when he's involved in a bank robbery. Bank robbery is territory Frank has visited before; he's the screenwriter of the awesome Out of Sight (and Minority Report and Get Shorty). I just wish The Lookout was as good. Despite impressive performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who you might remember from the TV show Third Rock from the Sun) and Jeff Daniels (following his better one in The Squid and the Whale), and a flawless American accent by Matthew Goode (from Match Point and Imagine Me & You), the film really isn't all that compelling. I just didn't feel myself invested in what was happening to Gordon-Levitt's character. Additionally, there are a few lines of hokey dialogue, and Isla Fisher's character (who has the unfortunate name of Luvlee Lemons) doesn't feel complete. But if made to choose, for some reason I'd still say I liked The Lookout, so that's why I'm going to stick with my B grade.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Show Him the Blueprints

True story: In 1971, author Clifford Irving pulled the wool over publisher McGraw-Hill's eyes when he told them he was collaborating with the reclusive Howard Hughes on his autobiography. The new film The Hoax tells the story of Irving's lie, and does so in convincing fashion. Hughes' life, of course, was the subject of Martin Scorsese's long and overrated The Aviator, and it's fun to see a different perspective on that subject.

The Hoax boasts a top-notch cast, including Richard Gere and Alfred Molina as the author and his researcher partner. Both are very good. It's especially enjoyable to watch as Gere keeps cooking up new stories on the fly. The story moves at a good pace, and director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) keeps it all grounded in reality, with archival footage peppered in for period effect. Of course, given that the movie is based on Irving's own memoir about the experience, it doesn't really dwell much on how the publishers themselves fell for Irving's hoax. It's hard to believe it could be as easy as it's portrayed, even if it was 1971, in the days before the Internets and the mass media. Nevertheless, this is a true story about an untrue one, and as I'm trying to get across here, it's a good one. I give The Hoax a B+.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm ...

At the risk of saying the wrong thing, let me ask this question, with tongue firmly in cheek: Isn't every Friday good?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Free Ride When You've Already Paid

When you get right down to it, Passover really isn’t such a bad holiday. But it’s one of the greatest ironies that while we celebrate our freedom from slavery, we do so by being slaves to food. You can’t eat anything with wheat or flour — essentially, no carbs — and if you’re observant like me, you only eat stuff that says “Kosher for Passover” on it and you don’t go out to eat. (Yes, this is the one week of the year when I’m Jewish by practice, as opposed to the other 51 where I’m more a Jew by identity.) It’s not so bad, really. I mean, there are cookies and there’s tuna fish and normal stuff like chicken and brisket and what have you. And sure, I’d love some good cake or a slice of pizza, but I can wait a couple days.

Still, the holiday requires — or at least my observance of it requires — that I bring my lunch to work everyday because I can’t just go to COSI or Sam LaGrassa's for a sandwich, and I’d rather not go out for a salad somewhere. And because I can't remember the last time I brought my lunch to work, this is quite a change of lifestyle for me. So this morning I woke up a little earlier, made a nice little lunch (salad, gefilte fish, matzah, some cookies), and left it in the refrigerator while I ate my breakfast. And then I left my apartment, walked to the T stop, got on the train at Coolidge Corner, got all the way to Kent Street and then realized that my lunch was still in the fridge (actually, it was Farrah, celebrating her birthday today by the way, who helped to jog my memory). And because the T was coming less frequently in the outbound direction, I ended up walking all the way back home to get my lunch. In the cold. Wearing uncomfortable shoes. Up one hill and down another. (Alright, that last bit was just for emphasis.) All because I’m obligated to bring my lunch every day and can’t just get something at one of my usual places.

Yes, we may be free from actual slavery, but during Passover week, some of us are still slaves to something.

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Keep On Walking

Since I enjoyed it so much last year, I’ll be taking part in March of Dimes’ annual WalkAmerica again later this month. As was the case last year, I’m going to be fundraising and walking, but because I’m not a fan of charity solicitations, I’m not going to be sending out mass emails asking for donations. Instead, I'm posting this appeal, and there’s a link on the right side of this blog. I might also chime in every now and then with an update on my “training," but that's it. No hard sell, no guilt trip from me.

Last year I walked largely to support my company's efforts to support our client, Continental Airlines, which is the official airline of the March of Dimes' National Ambassador program and of WalkAmerica. It was a really worthwhile and successful day for both me and my coworkers, so I'm more than happy to support the cause again. And a worthy cause it is: if you don't know, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

I hope you will choose to help me either with your donation, your words of support, or even with your participation — the Walk is on April 29 at the Hatch Shell, and we make a six-mile loop around the Charles. Come on out and walk with us! The more the merrier.

Thank you in advance for your contributions and support.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Well, If Zach Braff Says So ...

Have you seen this clip from Zach Braff's new movie, The Ex, yet? In his intro, Braff says, "Vote for Sanjaya." Given how Braff turned the world onto the Shins, I wonder if he'll be equally as persuasive with his Idol pick. Ha ha ha ... Anyway, the Sanjaya plug is funnier than the clip itself, so check it out.

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Not Going Home Yet

Two words: Woo Hoo!

Actually, I thought Gina was pretty good this week. And I knew Phil wouldn't go home because it's gotta be boy-girl-boy-girl. But because of that fact, I'm pretty confident that Haley's going to be with us for not one, but two more weeks. Especially because next week is Latin week (with J.Lo) and let's face it, if any of the guys is going to have a problem with that, it's Phil (not including Sanjaya, of course). And I'm sure the Latin thing is gonna work well with Haley's hot look. So, I'll get two bonus weeks with my favorite Idol contestant. (And if you want to hear my real prediction, I think she's with us for at least three weeks if the week after Latin is Country music. That's when LaKisha's going home.) Woo hoo!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Free, Fast ... and Sanitary?

Great. I go and get a high-speed Internets connection with Comcast that costs me way too much money each month, and now, just three months later, Google announces its own Internets service — and it's absolutely free. According to the site, Google believes that "all users deserve free, fast and sanitary online access." To that end, the service has a 10-times higher flow rate than basic DSL, it's vaccuum-sealed to prevent water damage, and it uses "discreet DNA sequencing of your personal bodily output to display online ads that are contextually relevant to your culinary preferences, current health status and likelihood of developing particular medical conditions going forward." Wait a second. What was that again? Yes, this was Google's April Fools joke. And I didn't learn about it until today (thanks, Jason). Still, I thought it was pretty funny, so I figured I'd post a belated link.


Is the End Near?

I'm not going to lie: there's an uneasy feeling in Martinworld today because tonight may just be Haley Scarnato's final performance on American Idol. I fear that no matter how well she sings and no matter how hot she looks, she's a goner this week. After all, if the pattern of boy-girl-boy-girl elimination holds, then tomorrow it's either going to be Haley or Gina, and I think Gina's safe for another couple weeks, unfortunately. So yeah, although I hope I'm wrong, I'm resigning myself to the fact that Haley and I will have to part ways after Wedenesday night's episode. She's going back to her fiancee, and I'm stuck with Sanjaya. Life is cruel. At least I'll always have my People magazine spread and my happy memories of our time together. I'll miss you, Haley. Good luck tonight!


Monday, April 02, 2007

Bagel Blahs

In these last few hours before Passover begins, I just wanted to recall the good old days when I loved Finagle a Bagel. I used to go to the Chestnut Hill location most every Saturday for lunch, and I'd usually get the same thing: a smoked turkey sandwich on an egg bagel. And before I let my recollections run wild, I'll just say I remember it being a usually pleasant and not too expensive experience. When it was announced that Finagle was opening a location in Coolidge Corner, I was pretty excited. After all, when your only other bagel option (on a Saturday, at least) is Bruegger's, a Finagle store is like manna from heaven.

But what a waste this store has been. When I stopped in yesterday, I was reminded of why I've largely stayed away from the store since its opening a couple years ago. For one thing, it's too small, by half. That's the biggest complaint I have. Whether you sit down to eat or you're simply on line to order, if there's a crowd, you can't help but feel cramped. Also, the service is slow. All I had was a bagel with cream cheese. Took about 10 minutes to get that after I ordered. I suppose I can't complain about the cream cheese slapped on the bagel, but other times I've been to Finagle the sandwich making was shoddy (something I've complained about before). And finally, a bagel with cream cheese, a medium soda, and a cookie cost me about $6.50. I don't want to quibble about something like price, but when did such a minor meal become so expensive (relatively speaking, of course)? Used to be you could get a bagel sandwich with turkey or something similarly substantial and a soda for that amount. And it came with chips or a "seasonal accompaniment" like cantaloupe for free. I mean, at Bruegger's, I get a bagel with cream cheese, a soda and a muffin or something (no comments about my poor eating habits, please), and it only costs about $5.50. A turkey sandwich at Finagle now costs close to $6 on its own, and that's without the accompaniment. Of course, the price thing is not specific to the Coolidge Corner location, but it's one more reason why I have begun to really dislike Finagle. How times have changed. Ah well. At least the bagels themselves are still good.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Game On! (again)

Wanted to post an addendum to my posting yesterday about the start of the baseball season. When I got in my car this morning, the first thing I did was turn on WEEI. Because I'm not much of a football, hockey, or basketball fan, I hadn't listened to the station at all since last August. And over the course of the hour that I could tune in, I just found myself becoming happier and happier. It wasn't just the fact that I really enjoyed what the guys on The Baseball Show were saying. It was the whole idea that baseball was back.

It got me thinking: Do Patriots fans get this excited about the start of football season? I seriously doubt it. Which is not to say that baseball fans like their sport any more than football fans do. It's just that the start of baseball season has more significance and has a greater impact on me and, I'll bet, Bostonians in general. It signals the start of spring and nicer weather, and football season indicates that the weather is getting worse. It's because there are more games in a baseball season than in a football season, so there's more to follow on a day-to-day basis, and thus, it's almost an entire lifestyle change. Maybe there's more to it, something about father and son relationships, something about hope and rebirth and second chances and the American Dream being symbolized by the sport, and something about long-standing passion and devotion and tradition — all things that I just don't see to the same degree with football. Maybe it's because the Sox play right downtown and the Patriots play all the way out in Foxborough. Maybe it's all those things. But even in cities where the team isn't very good — the guys on the radio specifically mentioned Kansas City, and not just because that's where the Sox begin their season — the opening day game is not just a game, it's an event.

So it is for me with the Sox this year. Not sure I'm adequately expressing my thoughts here, but I'm just really excited to have baseball back in my life. I'm hopeful that this season will end on a better note than last season did. But that's at least four or five months away — or seven, if we're lucky and all goes according to plan. For now, I'm just ready to go along for the ride, and looking forward to the late nights I'll spend watching games on NESN, the time I'll spend listening to 'EEI, and the inches of Globe and Herald coverage I'll read. Bring it on. Bring it all on, even the extra congestion on the T on game nights. It's been a long, long winter since I followed this sport. I wholeheartedly embrace its return. Let's go Red Sox!


Listen Up

I had a long drive ahead of me today, so put in my new mix of songs from Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Mika, and James Morrison's latest CDs. That's all the mix was — my favorite five or six tracks from those four albums. And if I can toot my own horn about my mix-making ability, then I have to say this was one damned good mix. But it's not just my arranging that made this mix so good — it was the music itself. Yes, you've heard me mention all those folks before on this blog, but if you'll allow me to do it one more time, I just wanted to give them another plug. If you don't already own Winehouse's Back to Black, Allen's Alright, Still, Mika's Life in Cartoon Motion, or Morrison's Undiscovered, then seriously, do yourself a favor and pick them up. Or download a few tracks on iTunes. You'll thank me.

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