Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bo Knows

For your viewing pleasure today, I present this spoof video that my coworker, Ken, made to promote our new online venture,, which is devoted to "marketing smarts for the growing business."

All kidding aside, this is a very real site and if you're the owner of a growing business, you should click on over to sign up and receive the daily email, a Smart Paper or Smart Report, or to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm Okay

People from as far away as California have called and emailed and mentioned yesterday's accident on the D line to me and told me they were worried that I may have been on the train, that I figured it was worth posting a quick message to say "I'm alright!" Where this accident happened was way out deep into Newton, and not really close to where I live. When I take the T, I take the B line (which has its own troubles) and on those days when I do take the D line, I get off at Reservoir, which is about five stops before Waban, around where the accident took place. Thanks, everyone, for your concern, but really, I'm fine.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Taking One for the Team

Though my entertainment preferences might imply otherwise, I am neither gay nor female. Who cares. I still decided to take one for the team and see an advanced screening of Sex and the City. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I've certainly seen my share of the episodes and have even referenced one right here on this very blog. And I guess I'll admit that I was a little excited to see the movie. Why do I tell you all this? Well, I guess it's so that you don't hate me too much when I say the movie really didn't do it for me. If you're a devoted Sexaholic, you'll no doubt delight in the clothes, the men, the witticisms, and the sheer sight of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda together again. For me, it wasn't all that.

How much do you really need to know about the movie? The trailer has already told you all you need to know about the plot: Big leaves Carrie at the altar, Samantha isn't enjoying living in L.A. with Smith Jerrod, Charlotte gets pregnant, Steve cheats on Miranda, etc. etc. None of that should be a surprise if you're any kind of fan of the show. And really, if you're seeing this movie, it's not so much for the plot as for the characters themselves, right? But yeah, the movie has love, loss, drama, laughs, joy, and pain. Basically, it's like like watching an entire season's worth of episodes — and it feels that long. The movie includes brief appearances by such minor characters as Carrie's Vogue editor Enid (Candace Bergen), and it introduces Carrie's assistant, played by my old friend Jennifer Hudson. My female friend who saw the movie with me and is a huge fan of the series (she already had tickets to see the movie again Friday night) loved it. So, use that as your gauge. I didn't hate the movie, per se, and I didn't feel all the testosterone leaving my body. But I didn't think the movie was as fizzy, fun, or as satisfying as the series was. To be cute about it, I've definitely had better Sex. So, I can't really say I loved the this movie, and that's why I'm giving it a B-.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Welcome, Summer!

The first time you wear shorts and a tshirt in any given year is always an exciting occasion. So it was today, when the temperatures topped 80 degrees and there were blue skies as far as the eye could see. But those weren't the only signs that the seasons have changed: I put my sweaters in storage and I actually went for a walk — around the perimeter of Boston College. I just couldn't resist. The sun was shining, people all around me were in good moods, car tops were down, music was playing ... summer was in the air. It's the best time of year, when the cold finally passes us by and it's clear sailing till October. This was a great weekend. Oh, how I wish it would last a few days longer.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Martin Lieberman and the Indiana Jones Review

It starts with the hat. That's the first thing we see when Indiana Jones is re-introduced to us after a 19-year absence from the big screen. And then the man, in shadow, picks up his iconic headgear, puts it on, and we see his familiar profile. It's fitting that this is how we first see the character, because so much of what is beloved about the Indiana Jones series of films is the title character himself, not so much the plots or the sought-after artifact, and his presence, his shadow, lords over the whole proceeding. And while Indy's looking a bit older now, I'm happy to say he hasn't lost his charm. Welcome back.

But after 19 long years, did we really need another Indiana Jones movie? If the best that Steven Spielberg and co. can come up with is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, then I sort of wish they'd stopped with the very enjoyable Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which ended the original trilogy of films on a high note. This reunion film (which includes Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood) feels like a half-cooked attempt to recapture past glories, and as we've seen, that doesn't always work out so well.

But here's the thing: for the first quarter of Crystal Skull, it's like watching some old masters demonstrate how you make a classic big screen film. There's some gorgeous cinematography (by Janusz Kamiński), some light action over the opening credits, and an effective chase sequence that restores our faith in Harrison Ford's ability to run, swing, and kick some ass. Later on, there are some other scenes and moments that are a lot of fun too. A car chase on the edge of a cliff and a good gag involving a snake are just two.

These aspects of the film help to cover over the fact that really, this is a pretty pointless exercise in nostalgia. Nothing that happens adds anything of real value to the Indiana Jones mythology (I said anything of real value; there are some significant character developments that I won't spoil here, but they're sorta lame and definitely predictable), and in the end, the film feels sort of generic, plot-wise. Ford may be able to handle some of the stunt work, but he's just not the action star he once was. As a result, Indy, despite his charm, is not the same character either. And Shia LaBeouf, in his Brando-lite biker dude get-up, feels out of place; the film's set in the 1950s, but his modern sensibility is better suited for a film set in the present day.

Is Crystal Skull a bad movie? Definitely not. I just wish it was more worth the wait than it is. I'm giving the film a B.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


A quick update on Sweet, the new cupcake store I wrote about on Tuesday. I stopped in Wednesday night to check it out, and despite a steep price of $3.25 each (whoa!), I bought a Sweet Cake and a Dark Chocolate, both with chocolate frosting. I'm no culinary expert, but I'd like to think I know my cake. And I have to say, I was not blown away. The cupcakes were good — better than those at Kickass Cupcakes in Somerville for sure — but they were not as moist and good and, ahem, sweet as those at Shaw's (yes, I really just said that). And I liked the vanilla one more than the chocolate one too.

I'll be honest: because they're so pricey and so small, I expected a higher quality 'cake. But I'm a generous soul and I'll allow that I had high expectations. So this will not be the last time I go to Sweet for cupcakes. I just won't be rushing back.

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White Trash

To the entitled-looking twentysomething girl in front of me who, after swiping her CharileTicket at the Hynes Convention Center T stop last night, simply flung it on the ground in the middle of the station ... WTF?!? You couldn't just put it in the trash? You almost hit me with it when you threw it on the ground. Thanks for that. But more importantly: WTF? Why are you so obnoxious that you acted so selfishly and carelessly and threw your trash right on the ground? Did you not hear me say, "Are you serious?!" Jeez ... what a bitch you are.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rock On, David Cook. Rock On.

Woo hoo! There he is, ladies and gentlemen, your new American Idol. I have to admit, I was really excited when this was announced (all things considered, of course). I was never a fan of David Archuleta and I said as early as February 19 that he would never win. David Cook may not have given the better performance last night, but for most of the season it was pretty clear he was the best contestant. He may actually record an album people will like that may actually be successful. I certainly plan on buying it. So this is cool. And he won by such a large margin: 12 million votes (two of which were cast by me). It was 56% to 44%. Very impressive. Good job, David. I'm really happy for you — and very happy that we won't have to watch Archie and his goofy grin sit through painful interviews. You're the real deal, Dave Cook. Congrats to you.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now This Is Sweet

Longtime readers of this blog know about my utter hatred of Johnny Cupcakes. (Alright, fine. "Hate" is a strong word. But I really don't like the guy.) I mean, how do you open a store called Johnny Cupcakes and NOT sell cupcakes? It's just cruel. But now the tease in the Back Bay is coming to a close. Today marks the opening of Sweet, an actual cupcake store with what I'm hoping is an accurate name, on Mass Ave. between Marlborough St. and Comm Ave. Hooray! Daily cupcakes include the "Sweet Cake," which is a creamy Madagascar vanilla bean cake with special Sweet vanilla or Dutch cocoa frosting. Mmmmmm. There will also be seasonal and specialty flavors — and even some Red Sox–themed cupcakes. Granted, the 'cakes look a little on the small side, but maybe that's all for the best. Either way, I embrace this new store and hope to make my way over there really soon.

(Thanks to Andrea for the tip.)

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Monday, May 19, 2008


Maybe you've come to my blog today via, which has been linking all day to my recap of this weekend's festivities at the new MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Hee hee ... they're calling my post a "breathless celebrity-by-celebrity account." I love that. Anyway, if you're one of the hundreds of folks that has sent my way, welcome! I hope you'll come back. And if you're, thanks! I hope you'll keep linking to my site.


He Said to Speak More Gooder

Because it happened in my 'hood, I thought I'd call attention to David McCullough's very amusing commencement address today at Boston College. Apparently, he spoke about the use of language among America's youth, and called upon the graduates to speak better, without using words like "like," "you know," "totally," and "actually." "Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, 'Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually," he said. Ha ha ha ... that's pretty funny.

A Grand Time

Diddy was there. So were Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Mayer (minus Jennifer Aniston), Alicia Keys, Josh Groban, Sopranos star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Quincy Jones, Jon Secada, actor Jeffrey Wright, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, and DJ AM. Apparently, Nick Cannon (aka the new Mr. Mariah Carey), Kim Kardashian, Whoopi Goldberg, CariDee English from America's Next Top Model, Pepa from the hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa, and Jenny McCarthy were there too. And you know who else was at the exclusive, black-tie, invite-only Grand Opening of the new MGM Grand at Foxwoods? That's right: me. I snagged a V.I.P. pass to the hottest party in Connecticut this weekend, and the event certainly lived up to the hype. Here are some highlights.

Superwomen: John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Josh Groban — plus Michael Douglas and a stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones — were all part of a big concert produced by David Foster. Sadly, Foster overdid it with the self-promotion, and his parade of recently-discovered singing talents got really annoying, but the main attractions sure did bring the goods. Keys (who was joined by Mayer on "No One") was the best of the trio, and I actually enjoyed Groban too (maybe because he only did five songs). The 4,000-seat theater itself is huge and the acoustics made the music sound really sharp. (By the way, that's not my photo of Keys and Mayer, but none of the ones I took of the concert came out very well. The rest of the photos on this page are all mine, though.)

Beefy goodness: Before the concert, there was a dine-around where all the invited guests got to sample the Grand's four restaurants: Michael Schlow's Alta Strada, Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, Junior's, and Shrine. Nina, who joined me this weekend, and I started at Craftsteak, which was so so so good, and worth the 45-minute wait on line. If I had a regret about the weekend, it would be that I didn't get more of the steak there. It rivaled the filet at Ruth's Chris, and you know how much I love Ruth's Chris. Also really really really good was the chocolate mousse cheesecake at Junior's. It was served in small glasses, and Nina called it "a shot of dessert." I had two. (What?! They were small!)

Simply grand: I suppose now is as good a time as any to talk about the place itself, which is very swanky. Not quite Vegas-level, but yet nicer than Mohegan Sun and the main Foxwoods Resort Casino, the MGM Grand at Foxwoods reminded me a lot of the Borgata in Atlantic City. They both have very classy, elegant, upscale designs. This, by the way, is the largest casino in North America — if you include the main Foxwoods, which is located adjacent to the MGM Grand and connected by a bridge. The $700 million MGM Grand property alone covers 2 million square feet and there are 825 guest rooms. That's huge. Nina and I had a room on the 22nd floor, giving us a nice view. The shower was not as good as the shower in my condo, but the bed was one of the most comfortable ones I've ever slept in. Every employee I came in contact with was overly friendly, and while there were some hiccups on opening night (most notably, a few novice dealers at the blackjack tables), this is certainly a worthy destination if you're looking to escape from New York or Boston.

Diddy did it: Speaking of escape, the highlight of the entire weekend was Diddy's party. Characteristically over-the-top, the room was filled with models in elaborate (though skimpy) exotic dress and wandering Cirque du Soleil–esque performers. In particular, there was one hot pole dancer in incredible shape who was — well, let's just say she was impressive. When the party began around 10 p.m., the room was filled with many uncool, older folks. By midnight, the majority were younger and decidedly hipper (ahem, Nina and I included). Diddy himself arrived soon after with his entourage and plenty of security, and instantly became the center of attention (no surprise). He stepped to the DJ booth, commanding everyone — whether they were black or white, whether they were married and hadn't had sex in a year, or whether they had no sense of rhythm, etc. etc. — to get on the dance floor. Nina and I busted a move for a while, I snapped plenty of pictures of Diddy (who was literally inches or a few feet away from me at varying times during the evening), and it was just so cool. As the man himself said, "Ain't no party like a Diddy party," and he sure did host a good one.

Seeing stars: As mentioned up front, the place was crawling with stars all night long — some of whom were more visible than others. I never did see Kim Kardashian or Jenny McCarthy, but apparently Nick Cannon was in Diddy's party. He must have been in the cordoned-off VIP area. DJ AM was at the turntables at the party at Shrine, and we never went there. But others, like Quincy Jones and Jeffrey Wright were just out and about. It was always amusing to catch a glimpse of Michael Musto, who I never saw smiling — despite his wise-cracking on-screen persona when he's on shows like Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Extra cool was that I just happened to be in the lobby at the right time when Diddy came through to go to the party, and I was also right there when an intoxicated Jamie-Lynn Sigler momentarily left the Shrine party so she could have her picture taken on the red carpet.

Hello, gorgeous: It was very cool to be one of the first people to stay, play, and eat at the MGM Grand. I'm thinking the bed was so comfortable partly because it hadn't been "broken in" yet. The towels were still luxuriously soft. When the casino opened for the first time at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nina and I were right there, and we helped inaugurate a couple blackjack tables (which started with $25 minimum bets and went up from there as the evening went on). Walking around before midnight, when the place opened to the public, the casino was largely smoke-free. It was all so sparkly new and clean and gorgeous. Oh, and speaking of sparkly, new, clean, and gorgeous, as a gift for being a V.I.P. guest at the Grand Opening, I received two beautiful Waterford crystal champagne flutes, perfect for special occasions, plus cookbooks by Schlow and Colicchio. And when we got back to the room at the end of the evening, waiting for us was a stuffed lion (a lion being the MGM Grand mascot). Nina and I split the loot, of course.

A real winner: I wish I could also say I was successful at the blackjack tables, but I had an off night and the $25 minimum bets really did me in. I'm calling my losses an "entertainment expense," and given how much fun I had, I would definitely say it was money well spent. I am now eagerly wanting to go back to the MGM Grand. (There are plenty more photos where these came from. Just click here to see them.)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wait for It ... Wait for It ...

In honor of all this weekend's graduates, I present this rather infantile but still amusing sketch from last night's Saturday Night Live.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

And Tomorrow Ain't As Bad As It Seems

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of "the good ole days." Was the time a few years ago (or whenever your "good ole days" were) really all that good, or was it just good compared to now? Are things that bad now that we choose to look at the past in a more positive light? Or were we just to naive to realize how bad things were back then? Do we consciously — or unconsciously — choose to look at the past through rose-colored glasses? Or, is there just an inherent sense of nostalgia in all of us.

For example, as exciting as the Sox winning the World Series last year was, how many folks thought the 2004 win was even better? When work turns sour, did it all of a sudden become worse or was it always that way? Is the first movie in a series really that much better than the sequel(s)? If a band reunites, are they really worse now or were they always bad? Was freshman year of college really more fun than senior year? (Okay, maybe that last one isn't as good an example.)

This is just something I've had on my mind recently. I'll open it up to you: what do you think? Were things really better a few years ago?

Department of Redundancy Department?

Some things just speak for themselves ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Wrong Stuff

Holy crap, I feel awkward just watching this. Imagine being up there performing!

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He's Back

It sure will be good to see my boy Gabe Kapler playing baseball at Fenway again this weekend — even if he'll be playing on the wrong team. Welcome back, Gabe!


"You Guys Drunk Yet?"

I scored a pass to yesterday's wine tasting at Fenway Park, where Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis were celebrating a new season of Red Sox wines. The event was held at the EMC Club and it was a pretty nice time. I had a couple Fenway Franks, I tried some SauvignYoouuk Blanc (yum) and some Vintage Papi, I got my picture taken with NESN's Hazel Mae (who served as mistress of ceremonies), and of course, I took lots and lots of photos. There were a few things worth mentioning: I loved how Papi came out and yelled to the crowd, "You guys drunk yet?" and I was amused by Youk saying he is a Pinot Noir fan, but he took one for the team because they needed a white wine in the collection. Hazel Mae looks better in person than she does on TV, and I'm sure her "Hazel Maerlot" is quite tasty too. When questions were opened up to the crowd, Tek got a big laugh when someone asked if he appreciated the similarities in his Captain's Cabernet and his career, both of which get better with age. Anyway, it was fun. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the wines go directly to a variety of player-supported charities; you can buy a bottle here (they're $14 each). To see the rest of my photos from the event, just click here. I basically took a lot of the same shots, but most are real good, so I posted them all.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Big Apple (Store)

It's madness down on Boylston St. tonight. Madness, I tell you! Madness! Police detail, long lines, cheering greeters, crowds of onlookers, amateur photographers, news vans ... and all that for the opening of a store. Not just any store, mind you, but the brand new Apple Store in downtown Boston, which opened tonight at 6 p.m. Woo hoo! Yes, of course I was there — albeit a little later than that — geeking out. And as cool as I thought the store was before, it's a stunner now that it's open. The spiral staircase, the glass window facade, the brightness inside ... it's all pretty darned cool, and that's not even mentioning the computers and other stuff on sale. Of course, I didn't get to the store in time to get one of the 2,500 free t-shirts, but at 9:30 p.m. I was able to snag an iPod sleeve. (Great, now all I need is a new iPod.) And apparently, I also missed Tek, Jon Lester, and Coco Crisp. So I guess I'll have to go back there again sometime soon. Woo hoo!

(Note: the pictures here are my own, but to see more by someone else, click here.)


Listen Up

You know your iPod is playing too loudly when ...
I am on the T listening to Freddie Mercury and Queen rocking out to "Radio Ga Ga" on my iPod and you're listening to some hip hop crap on your iPod, and I can hear your iPod better than I can hear my own.
So yeah, thanks for that this morning, whoever you were standing next to me on the B line.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If Real Life Worked Like Facebook ...

... it would probably be a lot like this video by a British comedy group called Idiots of Ants.

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Rethinking the B Line

Alright, so maybe I jumped the gun in saying how much I love my commute — just like the B-line train that jumped the tracks, hit a power line, and caught on fire last night. (A friend who lives right there said it sounded like a bomb had hit and it pretty much lit up the entire area.) Perhaps I should start exploring other routes to and from work, not just today but on a more regular basis. (It did look really cool when I went by on the bus, though. I was sorry I didn't have my camera with me.)

Earlier: Crash! Boom! Wow!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"There's No Words There"

Here's a classic Bill O'Reilly clip, courtesy of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Enjoy!

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Make It Yours

How much do I love Jason Mraz's new album? Well, for starters, I like it more than I like Gavin DeGraw's new disc. Mraz got his sophomore slump album out and behind him in 2005 with the release of Mr. A-Z, and now he's back with We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, an album that displays growth and maturity, and more importantly, impressive songwriting and singing skill. Most folks who know Mraz already love his first single, "I'm Yours," but as good as that song is, it's not as full of life as the album's jazzy, funky opener "Make It Mine." Better still is my favorite track, the jangly, easy-going "Live High." Duets with Colbie Caillat ("Lucky") and James Morrison ("Details in the Fabric") also impress. And that aforementioned maturity is on display in "Love for a Child," which recounts Mraz's parents' separation, and shows that Mraz has come a long way from the youthful novelty of his debut disc, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, or songs like "Geek in the Pink" from Mr. A-Z. Really, there's not a bad track on the album (though "Coyotes" is kind of lame). We Sing, etc. is completely enjoyable; I'm sure it'll get plenty of playtime on my MP3 player this summer.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy One-Week Birthday, Abby!

My new niece, Abby, spent her one-week birthday weekend much like she spent the rest of her first week of existence: sleeping and eating (and apparently, crying in the middle of the night too). She also met some cousins, modeled some adorable outfits, and of course, posed for many, many pictures, which you can see if you click here. I just can't get over how cute and perfect and fun and little and awesome this girl is. She's my niece, my sister's daughter, my parents' granddaughter. Wow. It's still amazing to think about that. Have I mentioned yet how cool it is to have a niece? I'm still on a high. (If you'd also like to see Mitzi and Jason's pictures from week one, click here.)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tasty Tunes

I bought Abby her first CD last week: Snacktime by Barenaked Ladies. It's the band's first full-length CD for children, but I bought a copy of my own as well, and I have to say, listening to it while driving down to NY on Saturday made the trip so much more enjoyable. If you're a longtime fan of the band like I am, you likely miss the novelty and fun that marked their earlier albums, particularly Gordon. Well, that sense of whimsy is all over Snacktime. There's a song called "Popcorn" that's basically a solid minute of the word "pop" over and over. The song "Crazy ABCs" is a typical alphabet song, except the lyrics start out like this: "A is for Aisle, B is for Bdellium, C is for Czar" and continue in similar fashion, with none of the words cited sounding like they begin with their first letter. Many of the 24 songs are two minutes in length or shorter, and nearly all are about things kids can get into, like "Vegetable Town," "Bad Day," and "Allergies," which lists all the things a child can possibly be allergic to (bees, dust, wheat, etc.). Most songs work on multiple levels, like the best of the Disney movies do. For example, one of my favorite tracks is simply called "Eraser," and it celebrates what that thing can do. Toward the middle of the song, there's a break in the upbeat tune, and Steven Page sings, in his most deadpan serious style, the following lyric: "If I wrote you a letter, but I made an error, I could fix it ... and make it better." It's humor that may go over most kids' heads, but if you're a parent (or a childless adult), you'll appreciate it. As children's music goes, this is the kind that doesn't grate or annoy. Snacktime is fun, tuneful, and, um, tasty. It's also one of my favorite BNL albums. I can't wait till Abby hears Snacktime and enjoys it on her own. Until then, I know her parents will love it. And so will I.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

High Flying Fun

Watching Iron Man, it's almost as if the movie's not based on a comic book. Sure, it's about a guy in a suit who fights evil, but Iron Man deals with contemporary issues — like terrorism — in such a serious way that it's not as hokey as most other films in the genre typically are. Not that a film like Batman Begins is hokey, per se, but given that the villains in those movies are all disfigured or "special" in some kind of way, having a bad guy who's simply a businessman and arms dealer is sort of, ahem, disarming.

Which is not to say that Iron Man is a completely serious movie. Oh no, it's plenty fun. As Tony Stark, the man behind the mask, Robert Downey Jr. is smooth and wisecracking and, basically, his typical self that we've come to know and love. He's so good that it's like he's not even acting. Another refreshing thing about the movie is that Stark is not a young character who's going through some heavy-handed identity crisis, like Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne. Nor is he a guy with any special power, other than his own intelligence and ingenuity. Stark is an adult, a successful businessman, who decides (albeit rather simply and easily) to change course, and becomes a superhero — not because he's into fighting evil, per se, but because he likes technology and wants to right a personal wrong. Sure, most superhero origin movies begin with personal revenge, but here, it's not like Stark's out to avenge his father or exorcise any demons or anything. He's just a selfish guy who develops a conscience.

Blah blah blah, summer action film based on a comic book, blah blah blah ... And the suit and the effects are all very real looking (as opposed to the effects in, say, The Incredible Hulk) and very cool too. In short, Iron Man is great fun. It starts off a little slow, but it really, ahem, takes off when Stark puts on the red and gold suit, and then there's no looking back. I'm giving this one a B+.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

"King" of Broadway

The announcement today that Whoppi Goldberg will host the Tony Awards this year reminded me that I never put up a link to my story about likely nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway show In the Heights. Lin-Manuel, who is only 28, started writing his show when he was a sophomore at Wesleyan and never expected to act in it. But his collaborators found that no one knew the show's freestyle raps as well as he did, and thus, somewhere along the way to Broadway, Lin-Manuel became the star. The rest, as they say, is history.

A quick anecdote: The first time I called Lin-Manuel, I got his outgoing voice mail message. It gave a quick idea of what kind of guy he was. "Hello, you've reached [with an accent] Lin-Manuel Miranda, or in English, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Leave a message at the beep." For some reason, I found that really funny. When we spoke, Lin-Manuel was quick-witted, fast-talking, and very engaging; it was a really enjoyable interview. And for more insights about Lin-Manuel, check out his YouTube channel, where you can watch, among other things, Lin-Manuel lip-synching and dancing to "King of Wishful Thinking" from the Pretty Woman soundtrack. Actually, the video is so priceless that I've embedded it below.

Anyway, here's a link to my article so you can read it if you'd like. We'll find out Tuesday morning if Lin-Manuel is among those who've been nominated for a Tony. I'd wish him all the luck in the world, but I really don't think he needs it. Chances are good this guy will collect not just one but a couple statues when they're awarded next month. Good for him.

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Around the Watercooler

According to a recent survey of 1,435 employed adults 18 and older, when people at work talk about TV, they most often discuss American Idol. Among women, Dancing with the Stars is the second most popular show, and among men, it's Lost. Surprisingly, workers age 65 and older were more likely than any other age group to say they discuss AI more than any other show at their workplace. Now, AI and Lost I can see, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone in my office ever discuss DwtS. Ever. We talk about The Office most often around here. And there's also a large following for America's Next Top Model — which I do not watch, thank you very much. DwtS? What kinds of office workers were interviewed for this survey?

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Crash! Boom! Wow!

If you live in Boston, no doubt you've heard about the huge accident in Packard's Corner this morning. Wild, wild stuff. That picture above (courtesy of ilovesashimi) and the one below (from only show part of the story. For a video report, go to or read the story at Multiple crashed cars, blocked subway tracks, an exploding truck, etc. What a mess. Thankfully, I had my walking shoes on and an umbrella in my bag; I walked from Packard's Corner all the way down Comm Ave to Kenmore Square. This, after walking last night all the way from my office near South Station, down Boylston Street and Comm Ave, and up to Allston Street. Suffice it to say, I've gotten plenty of exercise. But here's the best part: when I got to the T stop at Kenmore this morning, an empty train pulled up and I was able to score the same seat that I had before I got off my train earlier up the line. And I only got to work 30 minutes later than usual. So I guess the commute really wasn't so bad for me after all. But anyway, yeah — what a scene on Comm Ave this morning.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And I Don't Even Need a New Computer!

Call me crazy, but I think this is pretty cool. The new Apple Store on Boylston Street, scheduled to open next week, has signage up announcing its imminent opening that's in the style of the scoreboard on the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Yes, that's right, I'm excited not just about a store opening, but about the signage. And yes, I went to the store today to take a picture of it. I'm crazy, right? (No, maybe I'm just stupid.)


Put Up Your Hands and Surrender to Him

I'm just going to say it, credibility be damned: It's so good to have Gavin DeGraw back. His Chariot is one of my favorite CDs of the past few years, and now his self-titled follow-up is out and it's mostly worth the wait. I downloaded the album on Saturday from Jonny Ali's Blog and have had it on almost constant rotation ever since. The first single and album opener "In Love with a Girl" is great, and I am really enjoying the pop-soul sound of "I Have You to Thank." I'm also a fan of tracks two and three, "Next to Me" and "Cheated on Me." Best of all, though, is the inclusion of "Cop Stop," a song Gavin's been playing live in concert for, oh, five years now that I've always enjoyed. Gavin DeGraw is not as good as Chariot — the first half is definitely better than the second, and it's almost amusing how you can make a one-to-one comparison between some songs on the two albums ("Medicate the Kids" is like Chariot's "Chemical Party," for example) — but the new CD is far from disappointing. I'm not sure why it took the guy five years to release a follow-up, but now that he has, it's good to have Gavin back with some new tunes. Hopefully the new CD will push him to some real success this summer.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Welcome to the World, Abigail Jordan!

I'm beyond happy to introduce you all to my beautiful new niece:
Abigail Jordan Davis
Born Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 2:22 a.m.
6lb 12oz
19 inches

It was a wild weekend, to say the least. On Wednesday, it became clear that The Baby Formerly Known as Fetus would not be waiting until her expected due date (around Memorial Day) to arrive, and would likely come within the week. Then on Saturday at 6 p.m., when Mitzi was admitted to the hospital, it became clear that TBFKAF would be coming even sooner than expected, within the next 12–24 hours. So I hopped in my car, drove to New York, and at 11 p.m., TBFKAF's arrival became imminent. At 1 a.m. we got the call to come on down to the hospital. Less than an hour and a half later, I had a niece named Abby and I was an uncle. Hooray!

I have a ton of friends who have children and I've written previously about the miracle of birth. But when it's someone in your own immediate family who has a baby, that's something else entirely. It's pretty amazing that Saturday morning Abby didn't exist, and now she's the center of our world. And it's also amazing how the timing of it all worked out so perfectly, so that I could be there for the birth. And it's great for Mitzi that it all went so quickly and so easily (all things considered). It's all just so exciting. On the way down to New York on Saturday I stopped at Pottery Barn Kids and picked up some big, soft, cuddly stuffed animals and couldn't wait to give them to Abby. (I expect there will be plenty more where those came from.) And I can't wait to go down to New York again next weekend to celebrate my sister's first Mother's Day. And I can't wait for Abby to grow older so we can talk and play and laugh, and I can tell her stories, and she can chase me around the yard, and we can have a grand ole time. I love that Abby's here. I love that she has her mother's feet: long with thin toes. I love how little and cute she is. I love just about everything about her. And I'm totally amused by the fact that Mitzi just had to have her hair done Saturday afternoon, just in time to go into labor.

So, yeah. As weekends go, this one was really exhausting (I only got about 3 hours of sleep), but it was really great. And if you want to see more pictures of my niece, just click here or click here.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Winning Hand

Finally got around to seeing 21 on Saturday. It's not the best movie I've ever seen, but it's good escapist fun and I enjoyed it. Seeing that the movie's been out for more than a month now, I'll just leave it at that. Oh, and I'll give it B.