Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Christmas Factory: An Endorsement

It's one thing to go to a restaurant because the food is good. It's another to go because you like the ambience. But that's how I feel about the Cheesecake Factory, which every year plays the single best holiday music of any store or restaurant I patronize. It's like they somehow got a copy of my Very Marty Christmas mixes and put them all on shuffle. No kidding. They play Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas," Stevie Wonder's big tunes ... all the classics, plus some not as good but still enjoyable ones like Kelly Clarkson's "My Grown-Up Christmas List." And this year, to up the ante, they even have a holiday-themed cheesecake with peppermint candies. No, I didn't have that when I went to the Factory Saturday night, but I almost did. I may just have to go back to try it. But anyway, that's another endorsement from me: The Cheesecake Factory at holiday time.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Temporary Insanity?

Todd and I were talking yesterday while wandering around New York City and I commented to him matter-of-factly that I was having such a good time that I could see myself being very happy living here. He said it was just because the weather was so nice, and because New York is a fun city to visit. I called it temporary insanity. After all, I know full well that I have absolutely no desire to live in Manhattan. Hell, I don't even like New York City. But that doesn't change the fact that I had those thoughts again after another day of playing tourist.

I was in the city to see Todd — in from Los Angeles with his wife and child, Naomi, who is already a year old — and we did a typical tourist thing on the day after Thanksgiving: wander around Fifth Avenue looking at the various store windows at Saks, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman. (Oh, and it should be noted, we did all this with Kerri.) Then we went to 30 Rock to see the tree (unlit until Wednesday). And I've gotta say, the combination of perfect weather and being amongst people full of holiday cheer (not just Todd and co., but the entire city, it seemed) was really fun.

When we separated, I was having such a good time that I made the decision to stay in the city and try to see a show. After an hour-long wait at the new TKTS booth, I had tickets for (of all things) Shrek the Musical. (I know, I know. But I had included it in a recent article for Continental and I was curious.) I'll write more about the show a little later, but I'll say I am enjoying this annual tradition of getting spur-of-the-moment theater tickets (last year I saw Spring Awakening). For laughs and, well, because I had to go, I returned to Charmin's free public restroom, browsed the Virgin Megastore for a while, then fully embraced my inner tourist by grabbing a quick dinner at Planet Hollywood (mmmmm ... Chicken Crunch). Suffice it to say, it was a cheesy couple hours, but I enjoyed myself.

Yeah, Todd was right: In small doses, New York can be a lot of fun. But small doses is key. I'm not moving anytime soon.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Two Years

At what point do you remove someone from your cell phone? I asked myself that question again this morning as I thought about my Bubby. Today is the two-year anniversary of her death, and I still find myself wanting to call her every now and then as if she's still with us and might actually answer the phone. Of course, I know that's not true (heck, I know there's not even an answering machine hooked up to her phone anymore), but it's just what happens when I scroll through my cell phone and see her there. I'm in no rush to "erase" her, or delete her name from my numbers, so I think I'll keep Bubby on my phone for a while more.

I think what it comes down to is something like what Coldplay sings in their song "42": "Those who are dead are not dead, they're just living in my head." Bubby's not really gone if I keep her on my mind, as she is today, more so than on other days. I still really miss her.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Saying Thanks

Since it's the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I'd take a second to post a brief list (in no particular order) of the things I'm thankful for this year:

* Hood's Green Monster Mint ice cream
* Sorboni Banerjee
* The birth of my niece, Abby, and the fact that she's happy, healthy, and so f'in' adorable I can't stand it
* T drivers who are able to go express
* My condo, and the fact that my money is invested here and no longer in the stock market
* Good friends
* Not having to live at 110 Babcock anymore, next to my violin- and flute-playing neighbors
* Movies as enjoyable as The Dark Knight, Man on Wire and Slumdog Millionaire
* My seemingly endless ability to display discipline, flexibility, patience, and calm — and basically to stay completely even-keeled — under extreme duress on a daily basis, and not fly off the handle every single time I'm tempted to
* Serena van der Woodsen
* Barack Obama's win in the presidential election
* ... and of course, all of you, my readers, who keep coming back and who have helped me to maintain this blog for more than three years. (Who'da thunk it, right?) I hope you'll keep coming back day after day to see what I have to say.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

They Come from a Land Down Under

Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! was such a brilliant mix of sight, sound, and story that I paid to see it three times in the theater. (Really. I thought it was awesome and unlike anything I'd ever seen before.) His latest film, Australia? Not so much. It's a sweeping epic love story set during World War II, and it's consistently a feast for the eyes, but the story just isn't a compelling enough one to make it worth seeing.

In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), a frosty English aristocrat, travels to Australia to take control of a cattle station. She meets a rough-around-the-edges Australian drover (Hugh Jackman), and wouldn't you know it, the Drover melts Ashley's exterior and the two fall in love. Throw in a cute Aboriginal boy who awakens Ashley's maternal instincts and you have the film's basic setup. Luhrmann tells his story using the Outback as his canvas. He uses plenty of wide shots to capture the sense of place, often using some trademark camera tricks to give the stars added luster, and Mandy Walker's cinematography is often really sumptuous. It's clear Luhrmann really loves Kidman and Jackman because they do look great. (No wonder Jackman won the title of People's Sexiest Man Alive.)

But at 165 minutes, Australia is just too much. The whole affair has very little point, other than for Luhrmann, Jackman, and Kidman to show off their homeland. There's too much cutesy-ness (the boy calling Ashley "Mrs. Boss" over and over and over gets really grating, as do the repeated references to The Wizard of Oz). The love story and other aspects of the plot seem too conventional, predictable, and I don't know, there. And basically, despite all the visual flourishes, I just wasn't really engaged in the whole thing. Maybe Baz should have thrown in some remakes of popular pop tunes here too. (Just kidding.) I'm giving Australia a C+.


Don't I Have Anything Better to Do?

A new study out Monday said that more people are watching TV than ever before. According to the study, by Nielsen Media Research, the average American watches 142 hours of TV in a month, five more than last year. Yes, I said one hundred and forty-two hours. That's a lot of TV, and it got me thinking about how much TV I watch these days. Let's see: On Mondays, an hour and a half (Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother); Tuesdays and Wednesdays, nothing regularly (no more 90210 for me , thanks); Thursdays, two hours (The Office, 30 Rock, and Grey's Anatomy); Friday, nothing; Saturday, four and a half hours (Beverly Hills, 90210 reruns and Saturday Night Live); and Sunday, two hours (The Amazing Race and Brothers & Sisters). Throw in (at least) three hours of Countdown with Keith Olbermann each week, and maybe an hour total of the Today show, plus the nightly news, and that's ... about 15 hours a week. Figure there are four weeks in a month and that brings me to a total of, let's say it's about 55 hours of TV watching in a month — waaaaaay below the new average. Phew.

Of course, the study includes more than just time spent watching a television; it also includes time spent watching content on computers and on mobile phones. I watch my daily dose of YouTube and other clips, but please. There's no way I watch 90 other hours each month. And it's a good thing, because there's this other study that came out recently showing that the more TV you watch, the unhappier you are. "Happy people spend more free hours socializing, reading and participating in religious activities, while unhappy people watch 30 percent more television.... On average, the down-and-out reported an extra 5.6 hours of tube time a week, compared with their happiest counterparts," says a Washington Post article about the study. Thankfully, I consider myself a happy person, and don't consider my TV watching to be excessive. (And no, that's not denial.) After all, it's not like I watch all of that TV in a week; the DVR allows me to watch it whenever I want, and to have a life outside of my living room.

Which brings me to another recent study you may have heard about, the one that said teens who watch more TV are more likely to have sex. Well ... um ... how about I not even comment on that one and let you assume what I'm going to say about it.

Point is: how much TV do you watch? Am I watching too much? Or maybe not enough?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Fowl Play

Keith Olbermann was on vacation last week enjoying some much deserved peace and quiet. There was just one problem: he missed one of the funniest Sarah Palin video clips of, like, ever. So on tonight's show, he got all caught up. And if you, too, haven't seen this one yet ... enjoy.

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Whole Milk

If you want to see tour-de-force acting, look no further than Gus Van Sant's Milk, which features Sean Penn playing the title role of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the United States. The film couldn't really be much more timely, what with barriers being broken in national elections and with Proposition 8 passing in California earlier this month. But modern-day parallels aside, Milk recounts how one man seeking to stop injustices rose up and made a difference, becoming an icon and an inspiration for people everywhere. The movie's so good that Milk comes off as someone that gay and straight people alike can call a hero.

I don't know how much more you need to know about the plot given that Milk is about a real person and it's based on a true story. I'd rather tell you about the excellent cast, which besides Penn also includes James Franco as Milk's lover, Scott; Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones, Milk's protege; and Josh Brolin as Dan White, Milk's assassin. Franco especially gives a very moving and sympathetic performance, but all members of the cast are impressive. Van Sant tells the story in a tender and not heavy-handed way, making this a universal story and not a "gay" one or any other kind of marginalization. Milk is undoubtedly a sympathetic portrait of the man, and he comes off as one of us: someone who saw a wrong in his community and sought to make it right through sheer will and in the face of extreme prejudice. By the end of Milk, you'll not only be cheering for Milk's accomplishments (and Penn's performance), you'll be wondering why the gay community still has so far to go in terms of their quest for equal rights. I love this movie. It's one of the best of the year, and one that I hope has an impact beyond the box office. I'm giving Milk an A–.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Winner

Not since Once have I enjoyed a movie as much as I did Slumdog Millionaire. A story of hope and love, Millionaire is a rare must-see in a crowded movie marketplace. It's definitely one of my favorites of the year. The plot of the movie is rather simple: When Jamal, a former street child from Mumbai, appears on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and gets every question right, he is accused of cheating. After all, there's no way an uneducated young man who grew up poor and without parents could get questions right that scholars and other brainy people couldn't, right? Well, as it turns out, every question Jamal is asked has some kind of tie to something in his life. The film jumps back and forth from the quiz show to those events, but not until the end do you really know whether it was luck, money, cheating, or destiny that lead to Jamal's success.

Director Danny Boyle has infused Millionaire with such vibrancy and life that you'll find yourself overlooking the oftentimes cliched nature of the story. The cinematography is excellent; each frame bursts with color and energy. All the acting is good, and the story itself is so engaging that by the time the quiz show reaches its final question (worth 20 million rupees), you're on the edge of your seat with anticipation wanting to know how it will all turn out (as if there's any doubt).

Is Millionaire as good as Once? No. For one thing, Millionaire is two hours long and it feels it. But so much of the movie is so great and memorable that I can overlook that. I'm giving Slumdog Millionaire an A–


Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm Sporting a Yule Log

Ho ho ho ... the Christmas season officially begins this Sunday when Stephen Colbert's holiday special A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All airs on Comedy Central at 10 p.m. Check out these previews (or read this one), and then watch the whole thing this weekend. (Brothers & Sisters isn't on, so there shouldn't be any conflicts for you loyal Walker watchers out there.)

And if you want even more, check out Colbert's very own yule log. Merry Christmas, everybody!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Passed Over Again and Again and Again

Great. Another year and another shun. For the umpteenth year in a row (yes, it has been about umpteen years), People magazine has passed me over for the title of Sexiest Man Alive. Last year I could take solace in the fact that I had been named Time's Person of the Year just a few months earlier. This year, no such luck. Why? Well, today I found out that not only was I not sexy enough for People but that I also was not stylish enough to be called one of the 25 Most Stylish Bostonians by the Boston Globe. And even worse, I also found out that I didn't even rate a slot in the 2009 calendar of Nice Jewish Guys. Jeeeeeeez. That one hurts most of all. I mean, not only am I nice and Jewish, but I'm also a guy! What do I have to do to get some love around here?


Cure Pantlessteria!

Dear readers — and specifically, dear male readers — today I bring you the belated news that we are right in the middle of Pants Awareness Month. This important month is brought to you by a San Francisco–based company called, which — yes — sells pants. But not just pants. All kinds of pants: corduroy pants, seersucker pants, bike to work pants, smoking jackets, and much more. So shocker of shockers, they have a real investment in this campaign. In a press release sent out to announce the month, they say "Every autumn, millions of American men tragically go pantless while their fellow citizens turn a blind eye. This is the terrible affliction known as 'Pantlessteria' — more commonly referred to as 'Sansapant Syndrome,' 'Trousernot,' or 'Nay Slacks disease.'" Now, I support a number of important causes (some for very important reasons), and I would hate to see more people be afflicted with any disease known as Sansapant Syndrome. So, count me in. I'd be more than happy to join the fight to find a cure.

I hope I can count on you to do your part to stop an outbreak of pantslessness. Please wear pants the rest of this month (at least), and encourage all your male friends and family members to do the same. In fact, why not do a pants check right now? That's right. Stop reading this post and look down at the part of your body below the waist. Are you wearing pants? No? Well, by all means, go put some on! It doesn't matter what kind of pants you wear, or what color they are. They can even be yellow pants. Just cover your legs. The world will be a better place. (Oh, and thanks to Matt for bringing this very important topic to my attention.)

And by the way, Wear a Kilt to Work Day — a day when men are encouraged to go pantsless — isn't until April. So don't go using that as an excuse.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The more things change ... I returned to my old second home, Star Market/Shaw's on Comm Ave., last week and was shocked to learn that the whole place had been remodeled! It was only in April that I moved, and while I now do my weekly grocery shopping in other Star Market locations, I find it hard to believe that I haven't been back to this one in a long enough time that it gave the store a chance to totally change and look completely different. And don't get me wrong: It looks great! I really enjoyed walking up and down the aisles discovering where all the foods had moved to. Yes, I know it's totally lame to be excited about a supermarket's new look, but I spent a lot of time here during the first 11 years of my Boston residency, so I considered this a big deal.

The more they stay the same ... Alright, I finally have to post something about this: My new next-door neighbor plays an instrument. A guitar. Or at least I think it's a guitar. It sort of sounds more like a banjo. But it's an instrument nevertheless. And he plays it a lot. Like, every night. However, things are different now. For one thing, a guitar (even one that sounds sort of like a banjo) is not nearly as bad as a violin. Or a flute, for that matter. Secondly, it's not like it's soooo loud that it interferes with my TV-watching like the playing did in my old place. And finally — also most importantly — I've met my neighbor and he's a nice guy. So if I was ever that annoyed by his playing, I'm sure he'd stop, even though I know he doesn't have somewhere else to go. So I'm going to keep a positive, tolerant, flexible attitude about this. Still, it's totally amusing to me that I've moved next to another instrument player. What luck I have.

Ah well. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Out of Town Goes Out of Town

Well, this sucks. When you think of Harvard Square, chances are good you think of Out-of-Town News, that iconic newsstand located right in the heart of the square. For more than 50 years, it's been right there at the top of the escalator after getting off the T. With the store closing later this month, the Square loses not just a landmark but also more of its character. It's true, I'm not a big fan of Cambridge, and I like Harvard Square a lot less now than I did when I was in college, but I know a loss when I see it. I never took that newsstand for granted and can remember (though not in any specific terms) countless times when I stood there browsing the new issues, often buying them too. I'll miss Out-of-Town News — much more than the nearby Crate & Barrel, which is also closing — and I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment.

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On the way home from work last night, I finally started reading Esquire's November issue, which — aside from being the Halle Berry as Sexiest Woman Alive issue — was the Endorsement issue. And it got me thinking about what I endorse. Here's a very simple one: When the T goes express, particularly outbound. Sure, I like my commute, mostly because I get a lot of reading time in and I always get a seat in the morning (going home, not so much). But who doesn't like a shorter T ride, right?

To be more specific, going express inbound — from Packards Corner to B.U. Central, for example — is good, especially when you're on a crowded train. But consider the destination. I'm not really in that much of a rush to get to work. On the other hand, when you're on an outbound train, and the driver comes on the PA to announce that you'll be going express from Washington Street all the way out to Boston College — well, that's just a great thing. It's like the driver knows you've had a rough day and you're eager for some peace and quiet, a good dinner, and some good TV. All the riff raff gets off the train (grumbling, usually) and it's like the whole vehicle is all mine (or close to all mine). I can grab a seat, or stretch out on a couple seats. And then it's like the driver has hit the warp speed button so he/she can get me home likkity-split, and we get to the end of the line in no time. So yeah, that's what I endorse: an express ride home on the T.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Say It Ain't So

My friends, as I survey my collection of unused holiday tunes, I'm very quickly coming to the realization that there may not be a Very Marty Christmas 2008. I spent some time this past weekend re-listening to last year's mix and congratulating myself once again on what a great, fun compilation it was. (Really. At various times, I found myself saying out loud, to no one but myself, how great an album it was.) Heck, I even made two CDs — the second being my best-of collection. So how could I possibly top those this year?

Before anyone blames this on the economy or laziness or anything else, know this much: I'm trying. But of all the new holiday music I'm listening to — Sheryl Crow, Kristin Chenoweth, the Brushfire collection, Brian McKnight, Ledisi, and even Neil Sedaka — very little of it is any good. Of course, I love the new Harry Connick Jr. holiday album, but I can't really make a CD of only Harry Connick tunes. That wouldn't be very cool — or legal. And I really don't want to make a subpar CD of leftovers that didn't make it onto previous year's mixes (like Dido's "Christmas Day," a perennial also-ran, or Darlene Love's now-three-year-old "Christmastime for the Jews").

Really, I'm just not as excited about making a mix this year like I was last year. So maybe the best thing for me to do is go out on top and leave folks wanting more. After all, last year's mix was really good. Like, instant-classic good. Maybe by next year I'll have enough material to compile a really good and worthy ninth (!!) Very Marty Christmas CD. And, maybe I'll rally and find enough for a good CD this year. You never know what can happen around holiday time. Stay tuned.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Revenge Served Cold

What is there to say about the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace? To get right to the point, it's just not as good as Casino Royale, mostly because it's not as character-driven or fun, and it spends too much time on forgettable action. There's no scene in the new flick as exciting or cool as the construction site chase in Casino, for example. But that said, Quantum is not a bad movie. It's just disposable. Daniel Craig still projects icy cool, and he still makes a very good action hero when given the chance. And, well, Olga Kurylenko makes for a hot Bond girl — especially in the black dress that she's wearing in the movie poster. (But I don't agree with Maxim that she's the hottest ever. In recent memory, I'd still vote for Halle Berry.) And it's always good to see Jeffrey Wright, who is great in every movie he's in. Here he's paired with David Harbour, an old high school chum of mine who is also in the upcoming Revolutionary Road. (Though poor Dave. He's been saddled with an awful mustache, and some not all that great dialogue. He also doesn't get to kick any ass.) Don't rush out to see this one, folks. Wait till the next Bond, which I'm guessing will be much better. Quantum gets an unfortunate C+ from me.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yes, Sir

Are you like me? Do you love Keith Olbermann's Special Comments? Then you'll love this. It's a one-minute-long highlight reel that just about sums them all up. It'll make you say "You have been screwed. And screwed you are." Ha!

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Could They Vote for a Loser Who Doesn't Shave??

Alright, American Idol fans, I know you're out there. David Archuleta's CD hit stores today and David Cook's hits stores next week. I've already heard Archie's CD (I downloaded it for free last week) and it's as bland and unexciting as I'd expected it would be. That said, I'll bet the girls in this video just love it. The video (which I found on PopWatch) shows a group of Archie fans watching as the winner was announced back in May. Suffice it to say, they're not happy. Not in the least. But that doesn't even come close to capturing their absolutely hysterical reaction. They cry! They scream! They pout! They throw paper! They hurl insults! These girls are absolutely devastated. It's seriously one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Check it out for yourself. And for the record, if you recall, my reaction to David Cook's win was a bit more subdued, though I'll admit, I was happy.

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An Expression of Love

"This isn't about yelling and this isn't about politics," says Keith Olbermann in his really nice and level-headed special comment about California's Proposition 8, which he delivered at the end of last night's show. "This vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it."

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Chances are good you've never seen a movie quite like Synecdoche, New York. First of all, about that hard-to-pronounce title. The film takes place (or at least part of it does) in Schenectady, New York, where Caden Cotard (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) is living a bleak existence and is convinced he's dying. Eager to do something with his life before he goes ("That would be the time to do it," Caden's therapist tells him), he seeks to create a monumental theater piece that will document his existence and show that his life has meaning. Now, according to, the word synecdoche is "a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special." So to that end, the play becomes intertwined with Caden's life, and soon there are multiple actors playing the same role (in Caden's life and in his play), and the play becomes a play within a play within a play, with scenes and lines of dialogue repeating themselves. Chronology is blurred, and you never know if you're watching Caden's reality or his alternate reality.

A film this bizarre could only come from one person, Charlie Kaufman, the writer of films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and here Kaufman does double duty as writer and director. I'll say this, and it's not meant as damning with faint praise or a form of denial: Synecdoche is quite an ambitious, creative exercise. Parts of this movie are beautiful and poetic, or they feature Kaufman's trademark dark humor, and others just make you throw your hands up and say "WTF??!!" If you can stick with Synecdoche, it will reward you with observations about life, and how we're all important. "There are millions of people in the world," Caden says one, two, three, maybe four times in the movie. "None of those people is an extra. They're all leads of their own stories." But I'll admit, sticking with Synecdoche is not easy. It's maddening and confusing at times, and it's just not for everyone. That said, I liked this movie — though I can't really explain it, or explain why — so I'm giving Synecdoche a B+.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Spending the Weekend

I went out this weekend to buy some stuff for my place — an air-cleaning filter, a box of tissues, that kind of stuff — but something weird happened: I found myself buying more than I planned. By Sunday evening I had also purchased three sweaters, a book, a reed diffuser, a CD, and some other stuff. I was seeing things and just buying them, on impulse. It was like I was my own personal economic stimulus package. Now, don't get the wrong idea. It's not like I was buying everything in sight. Far from it. But a bunch of stores had their Christmas decorations and items out (including Harry Connick Jr.'s new holiday album, which was totally worth paying full retail at Target), and I just got in the buying spirit. Sometimes it feels good to treat yourself to some new stuff, and this was one of those weekends where that was the case for me.


No Friends, Nothing to Live For

There's something about this video that I can totally identify with. Ha ha ha ... enjoy.

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And Your Whispering Eye

Role Models is far from a role model for what a great comedy should be. It has real potential — Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are set up as big brothers to a nerd (played by McLovin himself, Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and a little kid with a big mouth (Bobb'e J. Thompson) — but it's just not as funny as it probably should have been. Thompson is the best reason to see the movie. Otherwise, wait for it to show up on cable. I'm giving Role Models a B–.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Before I Move On ...

It's hard to be so wrapped up and engaged in the election process and then just drop it simply because we now have a winner. So here are what I hope will be my last thoughts (and some other things) before I get back to writing about me and my own life again.

* I still feel really excited about Barack Obama's win, and really happy for the country. I'm proud to be an American, and I suspect this is a feeling that will last for a long time.

* Have you seen this yet: What about

* The biggest question I'm left with — as so many others are — is how the country can elect a black man as its president but the state of California (California!) can vote to make a marriage of two people in love illegal. (The same thing happened in Arizona and Florida.) It just doesn't make any sense. I hope the unfortunate passing of California's Prop 8 on Tuesday eventually results in some real positive change for gay people, not just on the West coast but all across the country. (On a side note, I saw Milk on Wednesday and I agree with those who think that if it had been released prior to the election, Prop 8 would never have passed. More comment on the movie itself will come in a couple weeks, closer to its release.)

* If you just can't get enough of hearing "A Change Is Gonna Come," perhaps you'd be interested in hearing 14 different versions, all downloadable as MP3s, courtesy of WFMU.

* I really wish Sarah Palin would just go back to Alaska and stay there, so we never have to see or hear from her ever again. Something tells me that just ain't gonna happen.

* And finally, what will Keith Olbermann do now that in 70-something days, he won't have George Bush to kick around anymore? I guess we'll find out all in good time. But Wednesday night on his show, he didn't gloat and hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner, as was humorously predicted by John McCain himself a couple weeks ago. Instead, in his final Campaign Comment, he looked back on the significance of Tuesday's election, keeping his own words to a minimum and letting the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's Only Been Six Months?

It's hard to believe it's only been six months since my niece Abby entered the world. It sure does feel like a lot longer, and I mean that in the best way possible. I was home in New York this past weekend to celebrate that special occasion — and another milestone for my mother with a six in it — and I took my camera with me. Click here if you'd like to see my latest batch of Abby photos. Or, click here to see pics from the entire past month (including ones from Halloween). Abby is so much fun nowadays. I love her big, round eyes and her smile, and I loved how in synch we were this weekend, since we both were battling a cold. I love everything about this little girl. Enjoy the photos.

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"This Is Our Moment"

"This victory alone is not the change we seek," Barack Obama told us in his acceptance speech. "It is only the chance for us to make that change."

Congratulations again, President-Elect Obama. With this victory, with this speech, you give me such pride and make me so happy and excited. What a night this has been.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hail to Obama

It's over. Barack Obama is our next president. How great is that? And how cool is this image? I don't know who composed it, but I found it at Jeff Wells' site. I'm so happy right now.

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Change Is Coming

It's an exciting night to be a Democrat. Hell, it's an exciting night to be an American. I'm so happy the election results have gone Obama's way. It's so damned exciting. So now, as a preamble to Obama's acceptance speech, here's a musical tribute to his accomplishment, courtesy of Seal.

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Vote Early, Vote for Obama

You know I think voting is a big deal if I wake up an hour earlier than usual to do it. I mean, I'm a guy who hits snooze for more than an hour every day before he finally gets out of bed. But that's exactly what I did this morning, waking up at 6:30 just so I could get to the polling place on time to cast my ballot for Barack Obama. After a quick shower and all that stuff, I got to the elementary school by 7:10 and surprisingly, only had a short wait. I brought my camera, but the scene just wasn't as photogenic as I'd hoped. Still, folks were in a good mood. Given the hour, people made the requisite "vote early, vote often" jokes. Neighbors greeted neighbors. Parents walked out holding their children. And then it was my turn.

My pen went right for the bubble next to Obama/Biden and when it was all filled in, I took a quick breath to soak up the moment and feel some satisfaction with my choice. This was my first time voting in Newton, and I will admit, it was great to finally vote for president, but it was also cool to see Barney Frank on the ballot — and be able to vote for him too. I'll also say the three ballot questions were largely game-day decisions since I'd been wavering back and forth on them for weeks. Anyway, by 7:30 I was already on my way home with a smile on my face and tremendous pride in the democratic process. The only thing missing from the whole experience was an "I voted" sticker (apparently, my precinct didn't have any to give out). Oh well. I guess I'll have to get two free cones from Ben & Jerry's to make up for it. (If I drank coffee, I could get some for free at Starbucks today too.)

It's funny: Looking back, I don't think I've ever been this excited to vote in an election — not even in 1992 when I voted for the first time. I'm not totally sure why that is, but it probably has to do with the fact that in '92, I voted via an absentee ballot instead of in a booth (after all, I was in college at the time). And, this year, I just find Barack Obama to be the best man for the job and feel very strongly about that. I give lots of credit (or blame) for my interest in the election to Keith Olbermann, who I've watched just about every night for the better part of the past 10 or 11 months. Love him or hate him, Keith's a guy with a lot of passion for politics, and for the most part, his views and mine synch up pretty closely. When he gets riled up about something, so do I. When I'm excited about something, Keith usually is too. To be clear: I did not vote for Obama because Keith told me to. But I can say that Keith helped me get more invested in making a choice, first between Obama and Hillary Clinton, and then between Obama and John McCain (not that I needed any help there), and to get really excited about the process. So thanks, Keith. You da man.

Anyway ... so now my ballot's been cast and all I can do is sit back and wait till the results come in around 8 p.m. tonight. It's going to be a long — but hopefully good — day. Following the election's become a big part of my life in recent months and while I'm not sorry to see it end, I will miss the process. But more importantly, I'm looking forward to a new administration — and I'm hopeful that it'll be led by my candidate. And hey, if you're reading this and haven't voted yet, what are you waiting for? Get out and vote!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Almost Here

Just a few hours left until Election Day (and until this blog goes back to being a politics-free zone). As this whole season comes in for a landing, why not relive some of the highlights at this site, which recaps the whole thing — from Hillary's pantsuits to the prank call. The URL is (really). Even if you're offended by the Web address, the site is worth a look. Enjoy.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Palin Gets Punked

Not even the Canadians like Sarah Palin. Have you heard about the prank that two Montreal DJs did to Palin? They called her and told her it was French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and she totally bought it. (Yes, this really happened.) People, this is who you want to be your vice president, or maybe even the actual president one day? Now that the election is just about a day away, it's time to get a clue. Listen to this and just feel embarrassed — for her and for America.