Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Movie Reviews: Jarhead, Click & Unleashed

Three movies I've seen recently....

Jarhead: Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx. VERY well done war piece based on a true story by Tony (not Andy...duh!) Spofford. Not so much about the war but about being a soldier in a war. Gyllenhaal is a Marine Scout Sniper during the first Gulf War. Foxx plays his staff sargeant. Good acting and interesting direction throughout but what really separates this apart is there really isn't much war and carnage. Gyllenhaal is trained....even brainwashed, to shoot his rifle. He's excellent at it but never gets the use the skills. Mostly, the soldiers sit around waiting for war. He aches to use his skills. However, this war is fought from thousands of feet up, if not miles away. Finally, after all the incredibly tough basic training and living in the 120 desert and coming across war's hardships, its essentially over. A four day war.

Click: Adam Sandler, Kate Becksinsale, Christopher Walken. Ok, basically this movie is "Scrooge" without Christmas. Sandler's character obtains a "Universal" remote which allows him to pause, rewind, fast forward and even picture-in-picture. Cute movie, I guess. But same old story and same old Sandler humor (there's not much either) invovling anger, farting, etc. I can't say I'm the biggest Sandler fan. His movies tend to be too preposterous for my taste (see Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison). I like him best when he's reeled in, more sedate, like in Wedding Singer or Punch Drunk Love. Some clever stuff involving the remote and I laughed a couple times but the its the old message: In the end, family's more important than career. Not a "must see" but not a "must miss" either.

Unleashed: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins. This one grabbed me. I'm not a big Karate-movie guy (which this is) but this movie had much more to offer. First, the Karate (I'm sure its some other discipline, but I'll generalize it here) is fantastically choreographed. Not altogether believable, but quite a visual site (think toned-down Kill Bill). Jet Li's character, Danny, is a dog, essentially. Owned and trained by Bart (Bob Hoskins) since he was a little boy. He does Bart's bidding....which is kill and maim for money. Either debt collection or man vs. man fights for gambling entertainment (think cock fights). However, Danny escapes Bart's clutches and meets with Sam (Morgan Freeman) an overly kind blind piano tuner who invites him into his home and his life. Danny learns, through music, kindness and Sams' step-daughter, how to love and be loved. Although quite violent, it is actually a sweet movie. Sure, the ending is somewhat predictable, but I did find it compelling to watch. See it!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bring Your Daughter to Work Day (Unauthorized)

Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy holiday weekend.....I did :)

My little one's daycare is closed for the week. I planned to spend today with her and have assorted family members watch her Wednesday through Friday. Work commitments/deadlines nixed those plans. Oh well......she's here with me today :). Good place to work too.

Knowing what a handle she can be, brought in a portable DVD player for her to watch. First, Mickey Mouse Christmas wouldn't work, so after much cajoling we agreed on a Care Bears movie. As I type this, she's currently pausing it every 20 seconds or so and reciting the upcoming dialogue word-for-word (or singing the songs). All WITH the appropriate inflection and emotion. Its really incredible to hear. Especially since when she has movies on at home she'll could be dressing a doll, telling a story, sitting upside down on the couch and eating apple sauce. All at once. Apparently, this superhuman multi-tasking ability also allows her to take in every detail of the movie as well. I always they were "white noise" in the background (God forbid you pause it or shut it off), but she's taking it all in.

Amazing. I wish I could have done that in college.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Whale Tail

I debated whether to post this today. The term whale tail is pretty funny, so kudos to the one who coined it.

Anyway, what brings me to post this is I was at the UConn men's basketball game and saw a view not at all unlike this except, of course, the young lady (25-ish I'd guess) was in an arena seat. She sure got the attention of the 50-something year old's directly behind her as evidenced by their elbowing and winking at each other, lol. I admit, I glanced over a few times myself. I was also curious to see if any of the guys were "making cell phone calls" with their camera phones, but didn't see any of that.

Ladies, are you aware its exposed and just don't care? Don't realize its exposed at all? Or is it for the attention that comes with it? I'm sure that's the case sometimes, but I don't think it was in the arena case. I know its somewhat of a fashion statement as well.
Anyway, thongs are sexy. Knowing your lady is wearing one (but not showing it) is quite a turn-on but not so much when its in your face like this, lol.
No matter how you shake it out, thought, it sure beats the 300 lb hairy guy with his shirtail tucked in the tighty-whiteys in any event. I wonder if some clever person has a term for that. Hmmmmmm...............

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Four Hits!!!! And a Comment!!!

Checking in to find I had four hits (do my own count? lol) a comment and a guest book signing, thank you very I matter!!!! :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hits Counter/Guestbook

I really am a Nouveau Blogger, lol. But I did figure out how to add the hit counter and guestbook. I hope if you stop by and read a bit, you'll take a second to sign the guestbook. Nice to know if I have any visitors, you know?

I've been logging through random times I think I'm one of the few in English, lol.

Gift Cards

Gift cards? Like them? Like giving them? Or receiving them? I think they're kinda cheesey. I know "its the thought that counts". But the "thought" I get from them is "I was feeling kind of lazy about actually thinking about something you might like to get, so while the car idled in the fire-lane I ran into Best Buy and got you this". Why not just throw a $100 bill into an envelope? But then, I've never been one to return gifts either. When I've heard of friends/family returning gifts I've bought, I've quietly been hurt a little. Wrong size? Sure, get the right size. But just dump the gift and use the store credit? Maybe because I try to think up something that suits the giftee and try to get something perhaps they wouldn't buy themselves, but would enjoy getting nonetheless.

Having said that, I have gotten some crappy gifts along the "golf" lines, lol. As an avid golfer one who is not would frequently get something golf related like a trinket, or "accessory". Usually they are silly and/or worthless, but I DO appreciate the effort in any event.

As an aside, here's my "How to Buy for a Golfer" guide:

Balls: Golfers are usually quite particular about the ball they play. The dozen "Crow-flites" from KMart for $7.99 will more likely be hit into a pond for fun (or returned) then played, lol. More expensive is better. So, any old box of balls usually won't do - try to find out what he/she plays. If they're too expensive, then get some from the same maker (i.e. Titleist) but a less expensive model.

Shoes: Foot-Joy. Enough said. They are the best! Spend over $100 too. Golfers like quality shoes and dry feet.

Bags: If he/she carries, they might appreciate a well-made standalone bag. Again, spend a few bucks (over $100). More pockets/zippers = happier giftee. If he/she carts it, then a bigger, nice bag will be appreciated as well.

Clubs: Very personal. Don't try to buy a loved one clubs unless you know exactly what they are looking for. Even then, flex, kick-point, lie, loft etc. are all still very personal.

Clothing: One can NEVER go wrong with a well made golf shirt, shorts, hat or golf towel. Go for it!

Knick-knacks: I've gotten a few and generally like them. You know, the statue of the golfer breaking a club over his leg, lol. But I have a sports-themed recreation room, so it works for me. If your loved one doesn't have that, steer clear if you can. Three Stooges posters aren't always a hit, lol.

Stocking stuffers: Sleeves of quality balls, tees, socks, golf glove or divot tools (nice ones clip to the pocket with a magnetic ball-marker thingy) are very nice to receive. Stay away from yardage view finders, stroke calculators, "all-in-one" tools, training aids, etc. They're junky and gimmicky.

A lesson from a quality instructor is a really nice gift. Many, many golfers don't take lessons, so that falls into the "get something he wouldn't buy for himself" category.

OR, of course, go to the sporting-goods store and get a gift card :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Xmas Shopping

Over the weekend I did the whole Christmas Tree purchase thing. You know, run out to some field, chop down some poor innocent tree, strap it perilously to the top of a car and pay $35 on your way out. Always sounds more romantic or nostalgic or whatever, but its really a pain in the ass. Plus, my kid blew a fit in the middle of the field like 700 yards away from the car - something extremely important like "I want this tree (which was about 18" tall). The whole time I'm thinking "Gee, if I came alone, I could have done this all in 10 minutes flat". But noooooo.....we have to find the "perfect" tree, lol. Well, we did in the end and it looks great in the house - so the familial assistance turned out for the better. Funny, too, years from now I'll remember it being such a nice experience (like the time we did it in a snowstorm). Plus it was like 55 degrees out, hardly a Christmas feeling, but sure beats a bucket of snow down the back of the neck while crawling around under the tree cutting it down.

Speaking further of Christmas, I have yet to purchase one gift. Every year I wait until the last minute (as does my boss giving out Xmas bonuses). Its not so bad but for the people that are done with all their shopping by Aug. 1 and are so proud to tell you. "Oh my God! You wait until when? I was done over the summer. I hate fighting the crowds, the lines." First, I've always been a "wait to the last minute person". Second, I think the crowds and lines put me in the Christmas mood (anger, claustrophobia, feeling impatient, lol). I'll get it all done this week, or even Saturday morning. No reason it will take more than four hours or so. I have most of my ideas already anyway and that's the hard part. Plus, if I went over the 4th of July weekend, there would be no sense of urgency and I'd just know I could find a better and/or less expensive gift, December 23.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Movie Review: Kicking and Screaming

Ok, I saw Kicking and Screaming the other night, starring Will Farrel and Robert Duval. Ummmm.....Will Farrel is "chuckle" funny in just about everything as far as I'm concerned. I never find myself really laughing out loud (despite my periodic "lol" comments, lol). It wasn't bad. Just typical youth sports movie along the Bad News Bears vein but not as raunchy.

Official Opinion: I would be Kicking and Screaming if I had to see it again, lol.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Red Sox sign Daisuke Matsuzaka! Yay!

Best rotation in baseball now? Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon and Wakefield? With Tavarez fresh off a good closing to 2006 in the wings should one go down? The boys look to be pretty good as long as Varitek can stay healthy. Surely, J.D. Drew is better than Nixon (although, I always liked Trot) and certainly no more injury prone. Lugo, although not a great shortstop, should be a nice addition at the top of the lineup which will allow Crisp to drop in the lineup and become more of a running now that he's out of the shadows of Ramirez and Ortiz. Let the Pedroia take pitches to allow him to run instead of the big bats. Get Clemens as a closer and I'll take my chances for 2007. Else, we'll be relying on one of the young guns.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Baby Weight in Men

Has anyone ever done a study on MEN gaining weight after having children? Obviously, many women gain weight during pregnancy and have difficulty losing the pounds afterwards. I think men do too, lol. When my daughter was born over 4 years ago, I was a lean, reasonably muscular 172 lbs. Now I am a doughey 188 (as of this morning), lol. The lifestyle changes necessary to raise a young child sure cramps into the workout routine, doesn't it? I think I've skied 4 times since her birth (used to ski about 8 times a year) and my mountain bike is a spider haven tucked into the back of the garage. And I don't even want to get into the number of planned workouts that were shot to hell because of some unforeseen parental responsibility.

Too Dangerous to Start With Politics?

I'm not Mr. Political by any stretch.....but I wonder......

If as a nation, we constantly elect politicians who "won't raise taxes" aren't we in for some really hard times in the future? I mean, the government still has certain expenses that continuously go up (as most expenses do eventually). They will have to still spend money and put our great nation further in debt which in turn means a higher percentage of our tax dollars pay for interest therefore reducing the amount of money available for government needs. No new news there, everyone knows that.

It seems to me, though, that every time the Fed reduces or freezes the amount of income taxes collected it merely means less money being channeled to individual states which in turn means less money for individual towns or counties or what have you. What must states/counties/towns do when they receive far less federal funds? Well, raise taxes of course! Either real property taxes, personal property taxes or income taxes (bear in mind I live in Connecticut). So we all pay the taxes still, it just isn't as noticeable from our paychecks. Yet we vote for the guy who doesn't raise them. I don't know, doesn't make sense to me.

I could also go on and on about the amount of money we spend building and rebuilding up other nations at the neglect of our own....but let's keep it light, lol.

First Post

Not much of a blogger, or blog reader, but since I am somewhat opinionated and its kind of fun to throw ideas around, I thought I start posting some thoughts and see what happens.