Sunday, July 26, 2009

Apple Annie's Special Day!

My Own Tia Anna, Celebrates This Day.
A landmark year, that I won't giveaway.

Not that Anne would care, I'm willing to bet;
age is Not something, Apple-Annie does fret.

Unlike me who panics - with each passing year.
she takes it in stride, with apparent good cheer.

I don't know how she stays - so young, fit and spry,
and can seemingly ignore - the passing of each July.

Ponce De Leon would be jealous - I tell you the truth,
for Anne must have discovered his Fountain of Youth.

She surfs the world web with ease and delight,
and sends emails aplenty, almost every night.

Her collection of Lions, for "Leo" - her Zodiac Sign,
is second to none, with every shape, style & design.

Perhaps it's Sinatra's, steadfast and tuneful advice,
that keeps her "Young at Heart" and so full of life.

I remember as a kid on a hot summers day,
she'd pack up sandwiches and take us away.

We'd board, if I recall, on bus twenty seven.
It was just Orchard Beach, but to us it was heaven.

So patient, so pleasant, so kind and so nice,
Anne was always there, to relieve pain and strife.

Her youthful exuberance is as evident today,
as it was years ago, to this young child at play.

So a Very Happy Birthday, I'm Sending Anna's Way;
and May the Best Things in Life, by Her Side, Always Stay!

    Just Thinking

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Remembering Cronkite...

Walter Cronkite
1916 - 2009

Long before The Networks, would tell us what to think.
There was a man named Cronkite, who was truly distinct.

Back when there was still real news, and not just sensation.
There was a voice in America, that narrated the nation.

A true journalist he was, fact finder, and truth teller.
An honest reporter of news, and never, an opinionated yeller.
He blinked back a tear when Kennedy died.
But still we could see, how he cried deep inside.

From JFK, to MLK, and RFK too.
Cronkite was there, to help get us through.

Through triumphs and tragedies, he would hold our hand.
From the man on the moon, to that damn Viet Nam.
So unique was he, that no words could describe.
So they coined a new phrase, by which he would abide.
As he steadied our ship, through each stormy tide,
He became the "Anchor Man" on whom we relied.
It was his great love of history, he attempted to share
When he re-created it for us, in the show "You Are There".
He explained the "Twentieth Century" as only he could.
And, I don't know how he did it, but we all understood.
From Einstein to Atoms and DNA Recombinant,
he mastered it all, no topic was too abundant.
A generation has passed, since he first left the air.
Yet still we remember, and we will always care.
"And that's the way it was", what else can I say,
As I remember this great man, who just passed away.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

"My Sister's Keeper" - The Ultimate Tearjerker Chick Flick?? (In theaters now)

Trust me, as Esther and I looked around the theater to find descent seats, the fact that I was going to be the one and only guy in this audience was not lost on me. Now, Dear Essie-Mae has dragged me to many a "Chick-Flick" over the years but this had never happened before. The only guy in the theater, "Wow, this is awkward" I thought to myself. I could also tell by some of the looks I was getting, that my presence was not particularly welcome either. It was as if I was invading on their turf or detracting from their women only time. Some of them tried to conceal from my view the big boxes of Kleenex they had come prepared with. ( This movies reputation for being a tearjerker was obviously being heeded.) An audience filled with women, ladies and yes, lots of young teenage girls; and apparently all made a bit uncomfortable by my presence.

I can remember thinking, maybe if I swish it up a little bit, it will put them more at ease. Perhaps Esther and I could break into a "Will & Grace" routine and then my presence might be more tolerable. (Strange isn't it, the plight of the male homosexual, always having to either "Butch it up" or "Swish it up" just to have their presence tolerated.) Anyway, I looked to Esther for some guidance in this but she seemed oblivious to my predicament. She was far more concerned that a group of young giggling girls was already occupying our favorite seats. She shook her head in utter disgust and gave them one of those disapproving school teacher looks. Esther too, can be very territorial. (It occurred to me that Esther would've made a great Nun, save the fact that she's Jewish, of course.)

The worst part of all this, was that I couldn't figure out a way to blame my discomfort and feelings of vicissitude on Esther. After-all, I was the one who chose this film. You see, we take turns picking movies from week to week, and this was my week, my pick, and therefore all my fault. Fact is, Esther didn't seem to thrilled about my selection from the get go. But trust me, had it turned out to be a complete disaster, I'm sure I would've found an angle. (It's a guy thing, you know.)

Anyway in defense of my choice, I can only say that I had just seen a fascinating Cameron Diaz interview with Bill Maher and I was further intrigued when I heard about plot changes between the book and the movie.

As it turns out, "My Sister's Keeper" proved to be an excellent film with an absolutely brilliant cast. No, this is not a weepy, predictable, manipulating tearjerker, as some critics have stated. True, it is an emotional movie that deals with some sensitive issues like "Death" (& dying) and "Life" (& living), but it's hardly one of those silly "Lifetime" tearjerkers that attempts to make you cry on cue, every chance it gets. In fact, if there were such cues, I must have missed them.

Not that I have anything against tearjerkers, like Bette Davis "I Adore Cheap Sentiment". It's just that this - wasn't that. I never reached for my hankie (popcorn napkin), not even once.

I actually found the film to be more serious than emotional. A poignant piece, maybe, but one that deals with timely topics. Genetic engineering for example, like it or not it's here and it's here to stay. The movie opens for discussion the many legal, ethical and moral issues that will no doubt become more relevant and common place, as time and science progress. Granted the film fails to explore these topics with any great depth, but the fact that it raises them at all, is in my book, a good thing.

Speaking of books, a word of caution here. If you were a fan of the best selling novel by Jodi Picoult you may be very disappointed with this film. My best advice is to forget about the book, it's story line and plot. There are many changes here, especially the ending. While I won't spoil the film for anyone by exposing those differences. I will say that the books ending had an unexpected twist which was a bit more powerful and maybe even shocking. The movie's ending, on the other hand, was a bit more predictable, less contrived and perhaps therefore, more appropriate; but that's not really a debate I wish to engage in, here.

So try and watch the movie anew, free of any preconceived notions and or expectations. If you can do that, a tall order I know, I think you'll be a fan of both the movie and novel, in their own right.

Both Essie-Mae and I agreed on this one - 3and 3/4 Stars (if not 4) out of 5 - with stunning and powerful performances by Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack. Honorable mention to Sofia Vassilieva, Evan Ellingson, Jason Patric, Thomas Dekker and Heather Wahlquist. Direction: Nick Cassavetes; Screenplay: Jeremy Leven and N. Cassavetes; Based (loosely) on the book by Jodi Picoult.

    Just Thinking...

For a preview of "My Sister's Keeper" click on link...

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Saturday, July 11, 2009


Religulous, Now on DVD - Think about the word Religion and it's synonym Ridiculous and you'll completely understand why I really liked this movie!

Written by and Starring the ever controversial and outspoken comedian Bill Maher and Directed by Larry Charles of "Borat" fame, Religulous takes us 'round the world exposing the absurdities, peculiarities and ridiculous foolishness that is organized religion.

Now granted, some of these are really easy targets, like the Creationist Museum in Hebron Kentucky where they believe and teach that the earth is only about 5,000 years old and that man actually coexisted with dinosaurs.

He also shows us a scene from a 2008 Republican Presidential Debate where a majority of the panel expresses a belief in Creationism. (Yeah just what I want, one of those guys with their finger on the button.)

Maher further skewers the absurd ludicrousness of Scientology and the equally ludicrous and racist teachings of the Mormons. Yes, easy targets all, but he also goes on to expose the superstitious underbelly of mainstream religions as well. Including but not limited to, Catholics, Muslims and Jews.

As an Atheist, I naturally found all of this to be very gratifying but at the same time, somehow sadly insufficient. That was until the closing monologue where Bill Maher explains why religion is not only holding us back but actually endangering the future of all mankind and the planet we live on. It's at this point where the movie becomes more than just a clever, witty and satirical expose but rather a meaningful documentary with serious food for thought.

The DVD with it's extra features, additional monologues, deleted scenes and commentaries continues this enlightening theme. It turns what was an acceptably good theater going experience into a masterpiece at home.

3 and 1/2 stars for the movie as seen in theaters.

5 Awesome Stars for the Complete DVD. By all means rent it or perhaps even buy it. This is a film you can watch repeatedly and still discover something new each time.

   Just Thinking

For a preview of "Religulous" click on link...

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