Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"OJ Simpson . . .

not a Jew. But guess who is, Hall of Famer Rod Carew; he converted."

While I liked the previous radio station more, when a Lincoln station changed formats a few years back they played the Turkey Song, by Adam Sandler, continuously. The opening line is from another Sandler song, the Hanukkah Song. I had a happy turkey day. There were over twenty-five pies to choose from, this is a good thing. My favorite pie was my mother's raspberry pie, so delicious. And what I really liked about it was that it wasn't ashamed of being raspberry. There was some tart to it, which is what raspberries taste like. There is also some comfort in knowing the raspberries came from our own patch.

I watched a lot of football over the weekend. At one point on Saturday night, I was keeping fairly close tabs on three different games. I know I have a sickness. Most symptomatic of my illness is that I woke up at 6:50 am Sunday to leave SD so that I would be back in Lincoln for the Bears game.

The only travel drama came fifteen miles from home in Redfield where we got a flat tire. Then, of course, our limp-along tire also went flat. This was a very fortunate instance, all things considered, because we could have gotten stuck along the interstate somewhere; instead we just waited for Denny to pick us up. No big deal.

May the only things you consume this holiday season be conversation with friends, homemade food, and (some other good thing, suggestions welcome in the comments section). Don't worry about stimulating the economy; it's doing fine.

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At November 29, 2006 6:46 PM, Blogger Cerise said...

Maybe some books you're not forced to read for a class? I'm also hoping for sunshine and warmth... I'm sure I consume the former, but am less sure about the latter.

At November 30, 2006 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot chocolate with a coffee liqueur is my new consumption.

I'm sorry you woke up so early, just to watch Da Bears lose.

At November 30, 2006 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again blogger won't let me leave comments as me, just anonymous.

Damn blogger.



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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Latrobe, PA*

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Michael Douglas worked for KQED in Pittsburgh, PA. He even worked on Mister Roger's Neighborhood and got to run the trolley. Later he changed his name to Michael Keaton. He was the host of a documentary on Fred Rogers that I rented from Netflix. Great stuff. What became quite apparent, aside from his mission to help children accept and express all their feelings, is the importance of and his dexterity with music and lyrics. A couple songs the documentary highlighted are "Everybody's Fancy" and "It's You I Like." Fred shared this song during congressional testimony that resulted in $20 million dollars for NET, a precursor to PBS.

*Fred was born there.

I hope each of you has a special Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy your time with friends and family and food.

It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling: You're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, "I think I'll make a snappy new day," it's such a good feeling, a very good feeling, the feeling you know that I'll be back when the day is new, and I'll have more ideas for you. And you'll have things you want to talk about. I will too.

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At November 24, 2006 4:43 AM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

When I was a boy one of my favourite albums was a Mr Rogers album. I remember all the sound effects and his comforting words--but I never quite understood why he decided to rhyme "soap" with "telescope" in "You Can Never Go Down the Drain."

When I learned that he majored in music and that he performed his own interlude music (at least that's what I read somewhere) my appreciation for him shot up.

I still watch him if I find his show playing.

At November 25, 2006 12:24 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

He may have written all the music, but the music was arranged and performed live, every episode, by Jack Costa (sp?) and his trio. So Fred was singing Won't You Be My Neighbor fresh every time. At least according to the documentary. Jack died before the end of the series though and was replaced.

I mainly liked the factory trips and Daniel Tiger. I didn't like any of the other puppets in Make Believe Land. The kitty cat and X Owl, were pretty annoying, and Lady Elaine was just flat out scary. The Panda was a bit too trippy for me too. Mr. Rogers' neighborhood friends and crafts were good too.

At November 25, 2006 7:01 PM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

An episode was playing after I commented and I saw that the music performances were not by Fred. Kudos to Jack et al. It's some fine piano playing.

Lady Elaine still frightens me.

Was the panda a late addition? I've seen it but it's not one of the regulars I remember. The humans that walked around the land were all annoying. They talked to the puppets like little children even when they were older. But then the puppets did act a lot like children.

Never liked picture/picture.

Thought the trolley had a bad attitude.

Always like the crafts.

Loved the idea of changing into comforfortable shoes.

At November 26, 2006 8:36 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The reason for the shoe change given in the documentary is because his first show for KQED in Pittsburg with Josie Somethingorother called Children's Corner required him to run from one puppet set to another in order to maintain time continuity in his puppet conversations with Josie.

At November 26, 2006 8:37 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

And did you know his mother made all the sweaters? She made 12 to give out each Christmas.

At November 28, 2006 6:12 PM, Blogger Michael said...

What's the name of this documentary? Is it readily available outside Netflix?

At November 28, 2006 8:17 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

"Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor." I don't know what its availability outside of Netflix is.

There is also a Requiem for Mr. Rogers written by the organist, Luke Mayernick, from a church in the Pittsburgh area. I first heard it about a year after Fred's death on an NPR story. Very touching stuff.


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Saturday, November 18, 2006


Tonight I went to Casino Royale. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will give it a 4.5 out of 5. I would watch it again in the theatre, Wendy. All the acting is spot on. The action is spot on too. Those who enjoyed Crash, with Matt Dillon, not James Spader, might appreciate that Paul Haggis contributed to the screenplay.

This is a wonderful beginning for Bond, and Daniel Craig as Bond. And as the end of the credits promises: JAMES BOND WILL RETURN. What a surprise! I was thinking they might settle with their second largest weekend opening in the franchise's history and call it a day, never to return.

One of my favorite finishing touches on the film is the casting of Jeffrey Wright. I first appreciated him in Syriana; however, I've also seen him in The Manchurian Candidate, Broken Flowers, and Lady in the Water. He reminds me a bit of Michael (take that as you will).

A quick update on my television watching for those who care: I like Bear Grylls. First, I like his name. Second, I like his TV show Man vs. Wild. The first episode I saw was in the Moab Desert, the second in the Costa Rican rainforest. In the first episode he urinated on his head dressing to keep his head cooler. I'm in the process of finishing the second episode and right now he has diarrhea and stomach cramps, probably from the river water he drank. He's "hoping it's not dysentery." (British pronounciation)

The second show I've picked up since my last monitor lizard update is Top Chef season 2. The first season had some really unwatchable participants, but this year is much, much better, with a better hostess and some seemingly very quality cheves. That is all for now.

Go Big Blue!

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At November 18, 2006 2:07 PM, Blogger bryant said...

I was thinking about going to see Casino Royale. I might try to make it to a matinee today.

I have recently become addicted to Heroes even though I don't have access to a TV. Have you seen it? I watched episodes 2-4 at my dad's when I went to visit him and now I have to watch every week on the internet.

At November 18, 2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I saw the first episode, and I was not impressed, so I've passed on that one. My Monday night TV watching is pretty full anyway with Monday Night football and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

At November 19, 2006 3:11 AM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

I'm really not sure how to take it.

I suppose his calm and observant manner...

Or perhaps you've heard me slip into my Caribbean accent like his in Broken Flowers.

And yes. I thought USC would win.

It was in many ways a sad day. My emotions developed layers because I had thought so long about how I would be feeling about the outcome of the game either way. If we lost that would be bad. If we won I would of course celebrate the Big 10 championship but I would have to wait until January to cap it with the national.

Then Bo goes and reminds me to rethink what I want from Michigan. So I've been instantly transplanted back to the goals of the Bo/Woody era. And I think that the national championship means very little. I just want Michigan to win the Big ten. That's the one that has nothing to do with public opinion, popularity, T.V. coverage, ranking against teams that we have never played...you know...the Big 10 is our championship. It's our ultimate goal. The national is just another chance to play well.

That's how I feel now. And it hurts because we didn't do that today. We played well offensively. I'm pleased with Henne. And I'm pleased with the adjustments we were able to make. But I'm afraid of how much longer Carr's conservative play calling and traditional play design will last against innovative coaches like Tressel.

But Troy Smith is a good quarterback who knows how to play calmly in big games. And the games get no bigger. I would rather have won this one and lost the national championship than the reciprocal. Our best defense in 9 years couldn't beat him. So what should I hope--that we only play second-rate players? I believe Carr can chisel a team that will make fewer mistakes and adapt more quickly. That would have won it for us today.

Buffy was distraught after the game. I had to hold her and console her. And I had to tell her--and I did so also to hear myself say it--that Michigan's tradition is what created the hub of skills and efforts that beat every team in the country this season, save for the best one. And those same forces that created the history are leading to the future.

And she took a deep breath. And she said "I just wanted them to win for you on your birthday." And to see how much she had invested in my joy made it all worthwhile.


At November 19, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I was thinking earlier this week how you never hear the Pac-10 teams talk about the Rose Bowl. However, it is always in the conversation for the Big Ten (11) teams. Even Bo, in his press conference on Monday, appreciated the quirk that the loser of yesterday's game was going to play in the Rose Bowl.

And that is the reward of the Big Ten champion. Many oddsmakers would, with two equal teams, give the visiting team three points, and that is how many points the Wolverines lost by. So now we get to see how truly impressive that game was when both OSU and UM go down South in January and dominate their opponents, probably USC and the SEC champion. After all, they do have 50 days to prepare for that game.

I had a dinner party that took place during the second half, so I only have highlights to go off of, but the injury to the safety in the first quarter seemed to have taken more out of the center of that defense than anyone expected. And while you get frustrated with the penalty by Crable on the 3rd and 15, Troy Smith had as much hand in that play for his ability to escape the pocket and draw the defenders.

Thank you for bringing me into the tradition of Michigan Football.


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Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Prestige

I saw this film Thursday afternoon after a seminar I attended for work. I think the reviews I read about it were accurate. The main characters are flat emotionally, but I don't think that is a bad thing, and actually fulfills the requirement of the role. One thing I liked even more as I was walking home was the layering of the story. This I attribute, not to Christopher Nolan and his brother, but to Christopher Priest who wrote the novel of the same name. I just want to say here that I think Scarlett Johansson is overrated. This is the sixth movie with her I've seen, and I haven't noticed improvement or versatility, only increased publicity.

One woman I have taken a liking to is the woman in the red striped shirt in the new Intel commercials. She's cute, and she can dance, and she can wink, something I've never been able to do. I probably have an official crush on her.

In other film watching news, I saw Layer Cake last night. This is one of Daniel Craig's many auditions to become the newest James Bond. He was also in a Tomb Raider and played a secret agent in Munich. In Layer Cake, he is the reluctant thug, having to do one last deal before getting out of the business. His role as jealous son of Paul Newman in Road to Perdition probably wasn't included when considering him for Bond. TTFN

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At November 12, 2006 3:02 AM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

Did you see Black Dahlia? I did not but Buffy saw it for a class and she reports that it was her worst acting yet.

"Her voice sounds like she just ate a bunch of frosting" says Buffy.

I first saw her in The Man Who Wasn't There with Billy Joe Wilder...I mean Billy Thornton Wilder...I mean...

She played a cold fish very well for a young teenager. But I agree with you. She hasn't played anything else since then.

(Am I "agreeing" if I merely say that my experience has been the same? It's not like saying "I agree. Pistachio ice-cream is the best." It's like saying "I agree. I've never tasted rum raisin either.")

At November 12, 2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

No, I haven't seen Black Dahlia or Scoop, a role that seems like she might have to add some warmth to that fish.

Her low voice has probably hurt my perception of her performance too, that and her unbalanced bosom.

I first saw her in Ghost World with Thora Birch, who I've only seen in a couple films but liked, and Steve Buscemi, always great.

Would "concur" be more accurate for what you are doing with me?

At November 12, 2006 8:45 PM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

Concur works very well. It indicates a similarity of experience as well as allowing for the agreement that results. It's a nice word for the phrase "I'm with ya."

At December 19, 2006 11:21 AM, Blogger Wee Katie said...

Her unbalanced bosom!? Oh man. I really like Scarlett Johanssen. Perhaps I'm predisposed to like everything she does now, because I really liked the first two films I saw her in--Lost in Translation, and Girl with the Pearl Earring. I also thought she was cute in The Island, and really enjoyed A Love Song for Bobby Long. So . . . I guess I don't concur. Or agree. But I haven't tasted rum raisin, either.


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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Viva Sardinia!

Of the many sights I saw when I went to Virginia, the Sardinian flag was one of them. It was hanging from the corner of a house in the gated community of Lake Monticello, where my aunt and uncle live. It wasn't until yesterday evening that I found out what it was. According to my aunt, a couple of older women live in the home. From the road it looked like the heads were blindfolded, and it seemed like it could have been a fairly racist standard, but the explanation here places it as either religious or respectful. Corsica also uses the Moor's Head on their flag.

My other joy of the evening was watching Lincoln's No Coast Derby Girls' travelling team, the Mad Maxines, beat the Chi-Town Sirens 145-65. This also means new names from the registery of roller girl names. The Sirens brought Helsa Wayton, Donna D'Apocalypse, Celia Coffin, Psyche O'Sis, Shocka Conduit, and, my favorite, Beth Amphetamine.

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At November 07, 2006 7:59 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Hey, You forgot my roller derby girl name — Rainbow Fright! Now if I can just learn to skate . . .

At November 07, 2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I was looking at the Ohio Roller Girls, because they play the Minnesota Roller Girls, and they had a Rainbow Fight. Maybe a bit too close for comfort.


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Friday, November 03, 2006

"Vengeance is Mine," saith Chan-wook Park.

Last week I finished Mr. Park's Vengeance Trilogy. Lady Vengeance was the third. The first decision he made in creating the last film was to have a woman as the lead. He then intentionally cast against type a beautiful woman in that role. (He likened it to casting Audrey Hepburn in the role.) This "aggressive" act, confronting the audience with a beautiful woman committing these acts of vengeance, was sufficient for him, so he didn't have nearly as much violence on camera as his previous two in the trilogy (a man cutting off his own tongue, severed achille's tendons and the like). He felt that kind of violence would have been too much, too brash.

Once he decided on a female protagonist, this informed the rest of the film. He brought a more redemptive aspect to the film than the first two, and he had her share the retribution throughout, particularly in the end.

The three films are only linked by their director and theme, not plot. It works though; and while the first two are very violent, it would be best to watch them in order: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance. While the last is the most palatable for a general audience, the second is a very strong film that attacks the viewer with themes as much as images. The first is the director familiarizing himself with the material before really showing a mastery of it in the last two. Out of a possible ten, I give them 5, 7.5, and 8 respectively. Yeah, Korea!

The other film I watched last week was The Proposition. This is a "kangaroo Western." The director's genesis for this film was a camping trip in the Outback. He knew he wanted to use the landscape as a character in a film. He succeeded with this one. Writing-wise Hillcoat had Nick Cave on board to compose the music before the film was written, and ended up having Cave write it too.

My greatest joy from this film was the acting of Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, and Danny Huston. I previously enjoyed Winstone in Final Cut, Sexy Beast, Ripley's Game, King Arthur, and The Departed. However, this is probably his best performance. Watson I first saw in Hilary and Jackie, then Gosford Park, Punch-Drunk Love, Red Dragon, and Breaking the Waves. I've always been pleased with her, and she doesn't disappoint here.

Then there's Danny Huston, he upstages his brother in the film, Guy Pearce. I spent much of his time on camera trying to place where I'd seen him before. Finally after some research, I realized I'd seen him not too long ago in The Constant Gardner. Now is the time for six degrees of separation. Huston was in The Constant Gardner with Ralph Fiennes, who was in Red Dragon with Emily Watson, who was in The Propostion with Huston. Then of course is the revelation that Huston is the son of legendary director John Huston. Very nice.



At November 03, 2006 11:33 PM, Anonymous angela said...

yeah korea! i watched oldboy with klaralyn. if she hadn't wanted to see it, i might never have watched it. i was nervous about the violence. however, i enjoyed it. i closed my eyes in the gruesome parts and came away with stuff to think about. i'd like to see lady vengeance now that you've talked about it. maybe that'll be our next dvd bong rental. but i'm sure i won't love them as much as steven chow's kungfu movies. shaolin soccer and kungfu hustle are definitely two new favs.


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Why Is T.O. Here?

That is the question that one of my favorite football columnist/authors addressed in a column a few weeks back. These are the books he suggested Terrell Owens, oft publicized wide receiver, read:

"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl
"The Once and Future King" by T.H. White
"My Antonia" by Willa Cather
"Huckleberry Finn" by Samuel Clemens
"The Pursuit of Happiness" by David Myers
"I and Thou" by Martin Buber
"Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe
"Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Cather
"The Human Race" by Robert Antelme
"God in the Dock" by C.S. Lewis
"Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes" by Charles Hartshorne
"The Ghost Road" by Patricia Barker
"Our Town" by Thornton Wilder
"The House of Breath" by William Goyen

I've read two of these books and 'm familiar with a few others. Any books on this list my real friends can recommend?

Latest surname to catch my eye: DeBardelaben

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At November 03, 2006 9:54 AM, Blogger Voth said...

I have a copy of Things Fall Apart if you'd like it. I had to read it for an African Religion class last year. It was fairly good, I'll not read it again, perhaps 3/5 stars.


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