Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Shout Cries Out Into the Night...

This weekend kicked off NFL football, and wow, what a weekend. I first became a bit disappointed to find out that not one single channel here in the Atlanta area was carrying the Patriots game, but then I realized that every Pats game can't be nationally broadcast. So, I then got excited to see that the Saints were being nationally broadcast. So, I begin flipping channels only to find they are showing the Falcons...not the Saints. A little bummed and with an hour to kill before the Sox game, I decided to watch anyway. At least the scoreboard ticker in the top kept me up to date with scores for the Pats and Saints. While dozing off to the sound of the announcers, I hear "Norwood in the back" and some ravings about Jarius Norwood. Without flinching, I was wide awake and watching diligently. I was exstatic to see the ex-Mississippi State footballer score a touch down helping the Falcons win. As the afternoon progressed, the games began to end. First, the Pats beat Kansas City in a game that seemed too close for the Patriots. Then the Falcons won, and not long after that the Saints won. With the Red Sox up 7-0 on the Rangers, it looked like it was going to be a perfect sports day for me. ALL of my favorite teams had won or were sure to win (I don't count the Falcons in any estimation to be a favorite of mine, though. But they were who I was for). I finished watching the Sox game via my computer on my tv screen. Since the Sox were playing in Texas, I got the Texas announcers and not Rem Dog and Don from NESN. Understandably, I didn't get any Patriots updates. After the Red Sox game, I turned on Baseball Tonight to catch up on the other games, and it was mentioned that Tom Brady was hurt in the first quarter. I thought to myself, "that stinks!" and waited around until Sports Center showed the footage. Now no-named insiders from the Pats locker room are putting Brady out for the rest of the season! The back-up dude is adorably cute, but he ain't no Tom Brady! Hopefully, Brady doesn't require season-ending surgery, and hopefully, he'll be back, and hopefully, in the meantime this back-up can pull the Pats through. Anyway, I decided to get a better idea of what is coming out of New England/Boston instead of relying on no-name resources from ESPN. Of course the site I went to first was NESN. The opening page opened quickly (as did all Red Sox pages), but any page about Brady or the Patriots wouldn't load. There was so much traffic that it slowed down the page so much that my browser kept giving up on it! So, the shout that you hear (faint as it may be down in the south) is the voice of all New Englanders. Let's hope somebody can keep people from diving head first into the Charles!
For me, I'll wait til Wednesday when the league will have to be notified and several MRIs have been done. If you see me with my fingers crossed over the next day or hear me muttering under my breath...I'm hoping and saying small prayers for my Pats. :) My hopes may all lie on the Saints this year...and that scares me.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summer in Review

I should be writing (and I fully intend to before the day is over), but so far I've spent most of the day playing on facebook. It's been awhile since I last posted, so I figured I'd catch you guys up on my summer.
I spent May in Jackson working at the Eudora Welty House and researching at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. My work at the house was something that I couldn't have imagined happening in my wildest dreams. The project of the summer was to ready the two other upstairs rooms (the boys' room and the sleeping porch) for tours. My job was to look at pictures that were taken not long after Eudora died and put things back to where they were in the pictures. I walked into the room and found about 40 boxes of books, a fuzzy, wide-lens photo, a magnifying glass and white gloves. It took me about two and a half weeks to get all of the books into their appropriate places. It was tedious work, but I never got bored. What blew my mind the most was that every day I was allowed to let myself into the house of my favorite writer. On days when there were no tours, I would walk into a darkened house and make my way upstairs. Every time I passed Eudora's bedroom it would hit me where I was. Walking in the house five days a week didn't change the feeling I got while inside the house. The feeling was one of reverence not unlike the feeling I got in Notre Dame in Paris or the cathedral in Milan.
I also spent a good bit of time in the archives reading letters that Eudora had written during World War II. The feeling I got there was hard to reconcile. I felt like I was invading her privacy. I kept thinking what any of my best friends would say if I read their intimate letters to other people. In the end, I remembered that she chose to leave these to the archives, and I should utilize them!
Once May was over I came back to Atlanta to teach summer school. It was my first American literature class, and it went unbelievably well. I got little to no writing done, but I finally began to organize my thoughts better and read more.
I ended the summer with a couple of trips. I went to Mississippi for a long weekend after the end of the summer semester. I was able to make it to Memphis to hang out with the Ervins. I don't get to see them that often, but Matt and Amy are two of my favorite people on earth. So, any time I get to hang with them is great! I also went to see Poison and Sebastian Bach with Carrie Chandler. I had no idea what to expect, but it was tons of fun! If the concert had been bad, I wouldn't have cared. It was great hanging out with Carrie. BUT the concert wasn't bad at all. In fact, it was great! I was living in my fourth grade heaven, and it was awesome! The most exciting news of the summer is that Carrie and Will Chandler are pregnant with Baby Chandler! They are due in February, and I could not be happier. I'm not for sure which makes me smile more: Carrie as a mom or Will as a dad!
My last hoorah of the summer was spent in DC! I went up for DiAnne's engagement party. I was able to stay for a long weekend, and it was great being able to hang out with Dee before she's a Mrs. It was also great getting to know Chris (her fiance) better. I had only met him once, and while he passed the first inspection...I wanted to be sure! He's awesome! I've never met somebody who fits DiAnne so well, and I couldn't be happier for her.
Of course, there were plenty of hours of family time mixed in there. The nephews are growing up so much! They love spending the night at Trishie's when I'm in town. I love it (of course), but I'm also looking forward to the point at which they sleep past ten. I'll post some pictures later.
How was your summer? Anybody do anything grand?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts and Musings on the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium*

*From A Red Sox fan

Seeing Willie McCovey in a wheel chair is sad to me.
I'm not believing Wade Boggs wore a Yankee's cap!!!
He played for the Yanks for five years. He played for the Sox for ELEVEN!!! He's in Cooperstown with a Red Sox cap on. I'm floored, floored, floored!
Dave Winfield did it right. He brought, and waved a Yankee's cap but wore his Padre's one!
Boggs was the LONE Hall of Fame representative from the Red Sox, and he couldn't even wear the cap! That's just sad and quite disappointing. I can't wait to read what the papers in Boston have to say about it!
I wonder if the boos of Red Sos in the introductions were louder because there were more of them on the field than Yankees or because we won the world series last year and Tito was managing. Was the animosity greater because of our dominant presence? Or was it just typical Yankee hating?

Two of my favorite quotations from the coverage of the parade from earlier today:
"Listen to that, and you'd think my last name was Varitek, and my first name and middle name were, 'Bleepbleep,''" he [Varitek] said.
"I think they were waiting for the other guys.'' Said manager Terry Francona: "I learned two things: They want Rivera to close and I suck.''

I have to admit if there is anything that soothes a Red Sox fan through a festival week that celebrates ad nauseam the Yankee wins, history and greatness...it's sending seven Sox out to man the field in a game managed by the Sox skipper!

George Steinbrenner did NOT look good. When they first showed him he looked like a recovering stroke victim. Has he had a stroke? I know they are real hush hush about his health and all, but that's not good. Fox quickly panned out to a camera in left field which gave a more flattering shot of the devil...er, I mean the boss.
I loved how Yogi wanted to be about 3 feet from the plate, but the other men kept trying to save their own faces by trying to get him to stop moving up so much.
I'm willing to predict here in the first inning that the MVP of this game will either be Josh Hamilton or a Yankee. I'm also willing to put 20 bucks that it won't be one of the 7 Red Sox players on the roster.

Fox's broadcast is coming through so poorly that it looks like I'm watching it online in an area with bad internet reception.
It's funny to me seeing Varitek behind the plate in Yankee Stadium in home whites.
What I love about the All-Star game is the little league feel that the game possesses. It's the only time you see major league skippers working to make sure every player gets playing time. It's the only time you see a manager allow his team's rival players to have their moment in the spotlight by taking them out mid-inning to allow them to receive ovations from the crowd. I love the fact that these games now meaning something doesn't take this aspect out of a game that is, in the end, still an exhibition game. In fact, the thing that makes this unlike little league games are Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. And, I have to say as much as I love the game of baseball, if my son is playing little league and Joe and Tim are announcing...my son is changing sports!

I think it's interesting that in a game that celebrates (more so than usual) the history of baseball, and in this the 100th year of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” they choose to do “God Bless America” instead. And, when did standing and saluting become the norm for “God Bless America”? Does that not weaken the reverence of “The Star Spangled Banner”? Or do we now stand, remove our caps and salute all patriotic songs? I can imaging Toby Keith concerts could become quite a workout if this is so.

Ok, sidebar after the lead off double by Justin Morneau, I love that when he stood up for the first round of the home run derby last night, the announcers went on and on about how he didn’t really deserve to be there and was the last addition with no one else to do it. Ironic, since he went on to win it!
What does it say about his confidence in the Captain’s hitting when Tito pinch hits for Varitek? There is only one person left on the AL bench, and it’s the 7th! I hope Tito isn’t over shooting his aim.
It’s good to hear “The second place Rays” again. I was not liking the constant reminder that they were in first with the best record in the majors! It’s good to be back on top. Now, let’s keep it that way, and get back on top in this game so we can get home field advantage.
I would love love love for JD Drew to hit it out right now to tie the game. I wonder if he’d get booed then.
HOLY CRAP I CALLED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!! THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And it’s a new ballgame. Let’s go AL!
I love the fact that the Reds’ pitcher in the 7th inning wears his cap ghetto style. It’s a little skewed to off center. Maybe it adds cred.
Paps just got berated by the Yankee fans. I’m a huge Mariano fan, as hesitant as I am to admit that. I think he’s misguided, but I love him. However, Pap’s remarks were completely taken out of context, skewed and thrown out there to the masses. After all these years I can’t believe people in NY still believe the NY Daily News. Paps was not responsible for that run scoring; blame the error. Sox players thrive on the boos and yells in Yankee stadium, but that was even more brutal because tonight Paps was pitching for the same cause for which Mo will be pitching. I’m kinda surprised after the reaction of Paps after the parade that Tito even pitched him. I was fully expecting him to sit. I give Tito props for pitching him anyway…you know, cause screw them (in the words of Good Will Hunting).

Ok, as if Lou Gehrig’s speech wasn’t going to be the greatest highlight in Yankee Stadium history. Did that even require a vote? Even a Yankee hater can appreciate that moment!
However, I would have voted for the Sox beating the Yankees in the American League Pennant in 2004 on their way to the World Series win. I mean, how much better does it get than a champagne bath and field celebration in the middle of your rival’s field.

This is the first time I’ve ever hoped for a homerun by Evan Longoria. I hope it’s the last. I’ll take that double!!! And once again, it’s a new ballgame.

So, I know the two teams tied a few years ago, but was that before “this one matters”? Will we play however innings it takes or will this game be over after 9 or 10? *

WAIT! Derek Jeter is a phenom?!!! He’s with Tiger and Federer in the Gillette phenom commercial. If ever there is an ad for Josh Hamilton…that one is it. Jeter? Really? He’s a solid batter and defender. He’s had a great career…Hall of Fame one, but he’s not a phenomenon. He’s consistent and respectful and a good player, but he’s not a stand above all other kind of player.

K-Rod is pitching in the 9th. Surely Tito is going to bring in Mo. If he doesn’t, and the AL wins it in the bottom of the 9th he will NEVER hear the end of it. The media will crucify him!!!
What I love about this season is the constant referencing of Bobby Thigpen by announcers. Thiggy holds the record for number of saves before the All-Star break, and K-Rod was giving him a run for his money. But Thiggy just got another shout out here in this game. Bobby Thigpen played on the Mississippi State team with Will Clark and Raphy. My parents kept us out of school one day (which was unheard of in our house) for us to go see that team play. My parents (my dad especially) knew it was a special team, and that was the kind of experience he didn’t want us missing. I was young, and don’t remember much of it. What I remember more is following the members of that team through their major league careers. When I was in 7th grade, I saw Thiggy pitch in Chicago for the White Sox. It was very very cool.

Good…Tito has brought on Mo. Let’s just hope the NL can’t get to him the way the Sox have in the past few years. While Mo is pitching, let me explain what I, a to-the-core Yankee hater, love about Mo. Mo is probably the greatest closer the game has ever seen. And while I love Paps, he’s got about 10 more years of dominance to go before he’s up there with Mo. But more importantly, Mo plays because he enjoys it. He says he doesn’t matter the contract offer, he’ll quit once he is no longer having fun. He’s a Godly man with strong Christian values who backs it up with his behavior. And he’s vocal about his devout Christianity. And there are few people who have the professionalism and class that Mo exhibits. Like I said…he’s just misguided when it comes to the his loyalty to the Yanks.

This is the first time I’ve ever been hopeful at the beginning of the bottom of ninth at Yankee Stadium. It’s the first time I’ve wanted the game to end in the bottom of the ninth.
(and yes, Will Chandler if you are reading this, you will disappoint me if you cheer for the yanks when y’all go there this weekend.)

I want to see what all this talk about Kinsler is about. Callers into XM for the last few weeks have been shocked that Kinsler wasn’t voted in as a starter. They felt like his offense warranted his placement on the starting lineup more than Dustin Pedroia’s. I want to see him fit the buzz – that strike out didn’t do it.
I’m not cocky enough and too superstitious to try and call another big hit from Drew. You also know it’s an exhibition game when JD smiles and chuckles at the ump who made a horrific strike call. Speaking of strikes, that strike zone just decreased significantly in the 9th.

I love how Joe and Tim seem overly worried about players having to continue playing due to an empty bench. They’ve only played like 3 innings; they’re professionals! I think they can handle a few more innings. The pitchers…that’s another issue. Kaz is off the possible pitchers list because the Rays have requested he not pitch. I say Tito pitch him for as long as the guy will stay out there. We need the Rays to keep losing!

I love how Bank of America advertises that they are the only bank where you get official MLB checks and credit cards. Well, um, I’ve got official MLB Red Sox checks and I bank at Regions.

So, I wonder if they’ll keep saying Yankee stadium is the house that Ruth built when they move to the new stadium. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became the house that Steinbrenner built.

Here in the top of the 10th, Pedroia would have had that ball that Russell Martin hit, and Jeter would have had that ball that Tejada hit.
Um, so if the AL wins after those two errors…does Uggla get the MVP?! Nevermind…it’s a non-issue now. I can’t believe Tajada made that play. He’s not young anymore (especially since he aged three years this off season).
We’re trusting this game to the arm of a Royal. Hmmm….
12 innings in an exhibition game is ridiculous!!! I realize that it poses a problem with a tie, but the facts can not be ignored. This IS an exhibition game! These teams need their players back after the break! Both teams are out of pitchers and are having to rely on pitchers whose teams were told they wouldn’t be played. 11 should have been the cut off! This is ridiculous. Upon a tie, the home field advantage should then go to the team with the best regular season record. If you want to go and make the All-Star game mean something and use it for home-field advantage…whatever, but this is moving closer to beyond ok. If Bud doesn’t call this game at the end of 12, he’s going to have some FURIOUS owners!

It’s 12:30! Ok, and that brings me to another issue. This game should have started at 8. While the coverage of the game started at 8, the game didn’t get underway until 9. Coverage with introductions, and brouhaha should have started at 7 so that the game could begin at 8.

At the end of 12 they show Selig sitting there like he’s about to fall asleep but completely inactive. I guess there won’t be a draw with this. Who cares if this game screws up the arms of pitchers in contending teams (or even non-contending teams. With that NL West, God only knows who could win that one at this point).
David Wright just about got hit in his cute little head by the end of his bat. I don’t know why the players don’t take their own initiative and move back to ash bats. And how long is Selig going to sit on this Maple bat issue? Is somebody going to have to die? People have already been hurt; people have already been sent to the hospital. For the love of safety, make them change the bats!
Ok, seriously. We’re now in the 15th inning. Each bullpen has ONE pitcher left! Starting pitchers go on four days rest. Brandon Webb and Scott Kazmir have had ONE day of rest. This inning will be the last unless Scott gets two really quick outs with few pitches. There’s no way he can go two innings. Let’s just hope he can go one full one! Kazmir will pitch again on Saturday with three days rest. That’s bad for the Rays. Ooooo, David Wright just bout got hit. He just got knocked on his face!
I’m loving Jeter and Tito cracking jokes and laughing in the dugout. They are obviously talking about how bizarre this game has gotten. Well, Kaz got out of the 15th without too many pitches, but I still don’t see Tito sending him back out there. So, basically…we gotta score. Pronto!
Ok, Justin Morneau just about threw out his back there trying to win it in a swing.

I’ve never seen dugouts like these. The NL dugout has all of the bench actually sitting on the bench in a row. The AL rotates between all sitting and all standing. But it’s a one or all kinda thing in both dugouts!
Brian McCann is too good to just be coming into the game in the 15th. That Cardinal player shouldn’t have dove for that. Yes, he got the catch, but he could have EASILY hurt himself there. Alright…let’s go JD! A really solid base hit can win it, but a decent base hit wouldn’t hurt!
Bases loaded…one out! JD Drew has the best numbers out here tonight, but he won’t get the MVP. That will go to whoever ends this game….MICHAEL YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEW! A 4 hour and 50 minute game is entirely too long for an exhibition game…I don’t care that we won. Selig ought to hear it big time from managers and owners. BUT I haven’t seen Tito that happy since Jon Lester’s no hitter. However, this time it was a mixture of happiness and relief. I love the Jim Leyland hug! And I realize this is a four page blog entry, but you need to realize it was a FIVE HOUR GAME!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JD Drew did get the MVP! LOVES IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!! I’m talking LOVES IT! And, my 20 dollar bet came back to bite me in the rear. I love the boo birds and the fact that JD just laughed off the boos. For somebody who is notorious for being stoic and not showing any emotions, he was very personable in that interview. Well, personable for the four words he said (for those who thought he wasn’t…you should see his other interviews). How cool is it that a guy who deserves to be at the All-Star game and who deserved to be there several times before but is just now there for his first time wins the MVP. Well, it’s 2 am here. The AL won, the Sox represented, and Sox JD Drew continued to be on fire as he took home the MVP award at “The All-Star Game from Yankee Stadium.” I’m content, actually…pleased. But, I’m tired. I hope you guys enjoyed the game.

*will this be over in 9 or 10...yea, that question got answered!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Field of Dreams

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I just got finished watching Field of Dreams for the first time. I realize for a girl who watches over 200 baseball games a season, regularly checks baseball stats, reads baseball literature in the off season, and has a slight obsession with baseball history, that the fact I'm just now watching this movie is beyond shameful. I have no excuse, so I'll offer none, but I do apologize profusely to the baseball gods.

I've seen lots of baseball movies. In fact, there are very very few that I haven't seen. I can't think of one that is better than this one. Your first reaction may be a clanging duh, but in an online poll taken during the Sox/Astros game, Field of Dreams was slaughtered by Major League! Believe me...I was as shocked as you! But this movie...

At the heart of this movie was all things great about the game. There was the magic of the game that only those who want to feel and see are able to experience. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer who are wanting to feel baseball's magic these days. There is the history -- the minute history of the game. The black sox are allowed to play again and are captained by Shoeless Joe.* Those who didn't last in the majors were called up again. And a son was able to play catch with his dad. What isn't there to love about that? I realize that Ray had no idea who was coming to play on his field when he built it, but I can tell you that if I knew that I was spending every single penny I had building a baseball field where I would get to play catch with my dad again...I'd do it in a heartbeat without even remotely thinking twice. And I'd ignore your scoffs while doing it.

Of course, there can't be a movie that delves into the history of baseball that doesn't involve Fenway, despite the fact that not one Red Sox player played on Ray's field. I was blown away by how much Fenway has changed! Seeing the changes little by little, year by year, it doesn't seem that different. But to look at what it looked like in 1988 totally blew my mind. There were, of course, no seats on the Monster, but the Monster was also missing it's Billboards (which may have been due to production, copywrite laws and finances or maybe not), but the most obvious was the missing Jimmy Fund kid. It also blew my mind that Ray was able to show up in Boston and get two tickets to that night's game without having to mortgage his house (which is good cause he was about to lose his house) or sleep on the concrete.

And how many wives would support their husbands through something like that? I'd like to believe more than we would think. Look at how many wives support their husbands who are away from home from February until September at the earliest, and if they're lucky October for the love of the game (or more probably for their husbands' love of the game). Before you throw the money signs in their eyes cop out to me, let me remind you that minor leaguers are paid peanuts, and their wives make the same sacrifices.

This movie covered it all, and it did it without crossing over into cheesy. I decided to share with you some of my favorite quotations from the movie. So, here goes:

"Don't we need a catcher? Not if you get it near the plate we don't."

"Hey -- is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa."

"Is Fenway the one with the big green wall in left field?"

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like a army of steamrollers; it's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again."

This movie reminds us of all that once was good and can be again. It reminds us of the good in baseball without focusing on what is wrong with the game. It's been awhile since sport fans have been reminded of the good in the game, and baseball has sufferred for it. But Field of Dreams brings baseball fans back to the point where we realize that the game, baseball, our game "once was good and it could be again."

If it's been awhile since you've seen it, go back for a second portion. If, like me, you haven't seen it before, watch it! Grab your glove, sit back and watch this movie (another upside is that with some hand work or a little oil you can have your glove broken in by the end of the show). Then go out and play catch with someone you love.

*I'll spare you a speech here about who should (ahmm...steinbrenner) and should not be baned from baseball and who should and should not be allowed into Cooperstown (a separate entity completely from Major League Baseball which for some reason upholds the bans given out by MLB), but I will say that anybody willing to look at the stats of that World Series can tell you Shoeless Joe in no way contributed to throwing those games. He did quite the opposite. His stats for the series were amazing!

Goals

I’m not very good at setting goals and making them happen. That probably sounds odd coming from a PhD student, but I see that as my job – or at least a means to a job. But goals don’t usually work for me. It’s not that I’m not driven; it’s just that life usually intervenes and makes the goals obsolete. However, ten years ago I set a goal, and a diligently worked at achieving it. When I first started I had no idea it would take as long as it has; it seemed like a goal that was easily achievable.

As someone who has always been amazed by the Oscars, I settled into the bed of my dorm room to watch the 70th anniversary of the Oscars. Ten years later and ten years of Oscar celebrations later, it’s still the greatest telecast the Academy has ever put on. It highlighted the classics and brought on stage every living actor/actress who had won best leading and supporting role Oscars. It was the closest thing I’ve ever seen to “Old Hollywood.” It was magical for me. I decided that night that when summer came I would take home my TV and VCR (yes, VCR) to spend the break watching old movies. At some point between February and the end of the semester, I happened upon the AFI’s list of 100 greatest movies of all time. I knew it was the perfect guide to my education in classic film. I started from scratch ignoring the fact that there were about 15-20 of the movies that I’d already seen. They would have to be re-watched to count.

Over the past ten years the journey of reaching my goal has been amazing. I remember walking downstairs to the kitchen of my Momma’s house after watching Casablanca for the first time. I was still numb from the experience. Jeff was down there watching TV and was busting at the seams to know my reaction. There wasn’t much of one. I just watched the greatest movie I’d ever seen, and I was simply in awe. I stayed in awe for several days. My reaction to Citizen Kane (which tops the list) wasn’t so great. I remember cutting off the TV, sitting there in silence for a moment, then saying, “Wow! Casablanca was ROBBED!” When I watched Sunset Boulevard I loved the scenes where Joe and Betty are on the studio set writing after hours. As someone who had for years dreamed of being a screenwriter, these scenes were fascinating. A few years later when I was in California and walking, late at night, on the sets of Brooks Institute, I felt a deja vous that took me back to the movie. I actually said out loud, "I feel like I'm in Sunset Boulevard;" it was the closest my life will ever come to converging with Old Hollywood, and it was amazing! The most recent great moment came last summer while watching Giant. When it was over I wanted to talk to somebody who had seen it. There was so much commentary to be made, but no one had even heard of it, let alone seen it.

As of now, I have about a dozen movies to go.* And, as I said, life has a way of screwing up my goals. Tonight after hearing a movie reference on Numb3rs I couldn’t remember which movie it was. I decided to consult my list. I recently bought a new hard drive and transferred all of my documents to it. My computer was hooked up to my TV and not the hard drive, so I had to consult the internet for the list. What I found was the tenth anniversary of the list. It first blew my mind that it’s been TEN years since I started this pursuit. Then I realized what I had was an updated 10th Anniversary list. Several new ones were added while some (most of which I have seen) were removed. After throwing up my hands in resignation, I decided to go all out with it. I figured I’m in it this far…why not? I’ll watch all the movies on both lists – making my list of 100 several more. I was surprised by the changes in rankings. The Godfather moved ahead of Casablanca while Citizen Kane remained atop the list. On the Waterfront was shamefully taken out of the top ten while Raging Bull jumped 20 spaces into the top 10. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take Brando over Deneiro any day of the week – especially On the Waterfront Brando (sigh!).
So, while most of my goals don’t come to fruition – actually because most of my goals don’t come to fruition, I’m sticking with this one. I’m hoping to have the list (both versions) finished by the time I finish school. I started the list my freshman year, it seems appropriate for the goal – my classic film education – to end with my formal education. But if I don’t finish by May (the list…I’m finishing the formal education or I’m going to go insane), I’ll finish it next year. But, rest assured, this goal will be met.

*And before you say, “What the crap is taking you so long?!” remember that in that time I’ve gotten 2 and 4/5 degrees. I’ve also kept up with the newest movies, including seeing all Oscar nominated films. Also, the fact that I pay more in rent than I make a month puts a serious cramp on my Blockbuster budget. I’ve viewed every one Butch has at the Video Shop on both DVD and VHS. Many of the movies are four hours+, and several are silent. How many silent movies have you watched in the last 10 years? Some of the silent ones are amazing, but there are some that will put you to sleep. Trust me, this has been a bigger feat than you would think.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

What's Good and Bad for Baseball

Congrats Manny!
I’ve been waiting and watching every night for Manny to hit his 500th Home Run. Tonight, I went out to meet DiAnne, her fiancĂ© Chris, Carrie and Will Chandler in Tupelo. I was driving down the road listening to the game on the radio when the first pitch to Manny from Chad Bradford (a Mississippi boy and ex-Red Sox player making him one of the pitchers I like most) went sailing through the air into right-center field marking Manny’s 500th. The fans went nuts! After Manny touched ‘em all, the crowd roared louder and louder. Through Mike Lowell’s out, the transition from the top of the inning to the bottom, and two Oriole batters the crowd never ceased in its enthusiastic applauding and yelling. Then it happened – the most appalling thing I’ve heard from an announcer in quite some time. The announcer noted how loudly the crowd continued to cheer, and then he said: “Remember, we’re at Camden Yards – not Fenway. And it makes me sick…just makes me sick!” Ok, I get it that it’s frustrating for announcers when Red Sox fans (who are well known for their enthusiasm and knowledge of the game as well as their increasing number of bandwagon jumpers) swarm into road games and are able to out yell the home fans with the “Let’s Go Red Sox” chants. (They never seem to mind the inevitable “Yankees Suck” chant that is almost always started by some drunk, co-ed, Sox fan). I get the anger they feel that their fans only show up to home games versus the Sox and/or Yankees. For the past several years the Oriole announcers have been the most vocal about this frustration, and the fact that Camden Yards is often called Fenway South by many Sox fans has to cut deep. This year I’ve also noticed the Rays’ announcers explaining bad calls behind the plate to the fact that a Red Sox player is batting and the idea that Red Sox players don’t get tossed because of the jersey they wear (never mind that their players don’t get tossed for arguing either). But tonight, the game was in Baltimore, and the announcer made no attempt to hide his disgust. My reaction to the announcer came not from a Sox fan’s perspective but from a baseball fan’s. 500 homeruns is a BIG deal! Only 23 other players in the history of the game have hit 500…TWENTY THREE out of the thousands of names in the Baseball Almanac. As a baseball fan, it’s something at which to marvel and appreciate, and it’s most certainly something that deserves cheers. Had a visiting team’s player hit number 500 in Fenway, Red Sox fans would not only applaud but would pay homage by rising to their feet and acknowledging the feat that just occurred. And Fenway isn’t the only place where fans would react like this. St. Louis, Chicago, and New York are other examples of this, and I would be willing to put money on the fact that there are more stadiums out there that WOULD applaud a visiting player hitting his 500th homerun than wouldn’t. In fact, when Raphael Palmeiro (another Mississippi boy and a personal fav) made his 3,000th hit in an Oriole uniform IN Seattle, the place went nuts. In fact, the game was stopped while his teammates ran onto the field and mauled him while the fans cheered constantly. As baseball fans, true baseball fans, isn’t it only right to acknowledge, applaud, and cheer accomplishments like these? 500 home runs, 600 home runs, 3,000 hits, no-hitters, perfect games are things that should excite all of us, no matter what team an individual supports. When watching a game, I’ll give a guy props for just making a great play or web-gem type of play. I’ll acknowledge a called strike from an opposing pitcher (if it’s actually a strike) no matter how loudly a Red Sox player argues. The love of the game runs much deeper than my love for the Red Sox (which it's easy to see is quite deep), and I think most baseball fans would say the same of their teams of choice. I despise Barry Bonds, but as I watched him pass Hank Aaron, not only did I clap, but I stood up in my apartment and clapped as if I were there. I got chills. As bad for baseball as Bonds had come, that day he was good for the game. No matter that a quirky left-fielder’s 500th homerun added another loss to your team’s total, Manny’s homerun was good for the game! There are 164 games to be won or lost in a season, and giving up one run in one game for the good of the sport should be something that baseball fans should see worth it. In a time when baseball’s credibility and nostalgia have been tainted with steroids and HGH, in a time where the greatest pitcher – not just of our lives but of all time – is publicly humiliated by past “indiscretions” (another point in case, I'm probably one of the biggest Clemens haters out there, but I am willing to admit how great he was/is and how horrible this circus around him has gotten), and when Congress has hauled in and ruined the lives and legacy of revered players and the game of baseball as a whole for their own personal humor and hunt for another way to inappropriately use our tax dollars, it is even more important to celebrate the things that are good in the game. Manny’s 500th, Ken Griffey, Jr.'s plight for 600 home runs, Josh Hamiton’s phenomenal season after having dealt with drug addiction and self-destruction, Jon Lester’s no-hitter less than two years after battling and beating cancer, the Mariners and Rays both leading their divisions (as oxymoronic as that sounds), and Cliff Lee’s 1.80 ERA after a horrific 2007 season are all things that should be applauded. With all these things that are good for baseball and deserve recognition and praise, that Oriole announcer deserves criticism and backlash from listeners because he is definitely bad for baseball!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

MLB.tv/Sox and Dodgers

I realize it's still spring training, but if the new MLB.tv settings are the same once the regular season starts, then I've been took! The "full screen" is only about half screen --which is annoying enough, but it's even more annoying since I bought a new tv primarily to be able to watch MLB.tv games on my tv. There is a 1.2M option, but the Sox game is only available in 400K. MLB Mosaic doesn't become available until Monday -- a day after the start of the regular season. I'm hoping the Mosaic settings will be better. The settings were different and better last night before they "upgraded" the settings. I'm also a bit frustrated by the fact that this game has been hyped for weeks, but it's not airing on any tv station other than NESN. I can't watch my computer on my tv in HD!

On the up-side, it's good to hear Don and Jerry even if I have to squint to see them. I'm still not used to seeing Joe Torre in a Dodgers uni. This game is in the LA Stadium where the Dodgers played when they first came to LA. There are more than 100K people here. USC football games are played here now. LA has fixed it up as a baseball field for tonight. There is a 60 foot fence in the left field. The left field wall here is MUCH closer than even the Green Monster! The Dodgers are not even using a left fielder; they are using five people in the infield. It looks like a shift is on with an extra man on third. The camera angles are beyond makeshift and bizarre. The pitch shots are coming from behind the pitcher, so it's impossible to call balls and strikes. I'm glad I didn't decide to try to score this game! It's so bizarre that Don and Jerry can't even call balls and strikes! The cameras make it look like you're actually sitting in the outfield; it's as if there is no zoom on these things. Wally keeps asking to borrow my glasses! One positive thing about tonight's MLB.tv airing is that it is showing NESN's commercials instead of blacking them out with a miserable MLB ad with elevator music in the background. I'm looking forward to my favorite New England commercials from places like: Foxwoods, Bob's Discount Furniture, W.B. Mason, Dunkin Donuts, Sullivan Tires, Charlie Moore --the mad fisherman, and bad acting by various sox players pushing whichever store has paid them (or Sox Appeal, which had the most comical sox appearances).
Have I mentioned this year how much I love Tim Wakefield?! Yea, even if he did just give up a hit and committed an error after just one pitched ball. Our SS is fielding left field. Andruw Jones has made more plays at second tonight than the second baseman!
I've seriously missed Don and Jerry making fun of themselves or the various things that occur in the ballgame. I've missed the wheezing laughter that they often break out into but are trying to be silent and not laugh hysterically into the microphone. My favorite quote from the game is:
Don: Some people say not to let [the green monster mess with your swing
by tempting you to swing for the fences] in Fenway Park. But even Fenway
Park isn't this close.
Jerry: Even the Little League Park isn't this close!
This is the first road game in years where Sox fans are actually outnumbered by the home team's fans. It actually feels like a road game! In these years of bandwagon jumpers, it's kinda nice.
Just when a late-spring training game begins to feel like a real game (two days before the opening night, real unis instead of spring unis, full effort by the players), the starters are taken out one by one so that by the middle of the 5th inning the team has changed to a mixture of single A and double A players that only ring a bell as being early round picks a year or two ago.

One random Sox fact that I learned this weekend: Closer Jonathan Papelbon graduated from Mississippi State University (no new news there, but...) and utility player Bobby Keilty played for Ole Miss. How odd is it that a team from Boston has two Mississippi alums from the two major colleges (sorry USM fans...you'll always have Favre).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Class Today

This morning in my 9:30 class, most of my students walked in right at 9:30. I began class by handing out their rough drafts for the annotated bibliography that they are working on. I was finishing up handing out drafts when Adam, on of the students, walked in late. I handed him his draft, and asked the class if they had questions about any comments I've made. A girl on the left hand side of the room raised her hand first, so I went straight there. I then saw several hands go up on the other side of the room, and I planned on going there after answering the first question. Then one of the students who had his hand raised got up and walked to where I was helping the other student. He said, "Uh, I think Adam's hurt. He's in pain." So, I jumped over to that side of the room to check on Adam, and he told me his knee cap had popped out of place. Obviously my first thought was, "I don't know what to do!" Our classroom is two blocks down the street from the hospital, but he couldn't walk. I tried calling the school health clinic (that for some bizarre reason moved off campus), but nobody answered. The students asked me to call the police, but I kept telling them the police would walk in pretending they knew what they were doing and then just stand there looking like idiots. Finally I called 911. About 20 minutes later the paramedics showed up to my class. The paramedics were two women about my size. They forced Adam to stand up and get on the gurney, they got him settled and rolled him out. The hospital is so close that they seriously could have just wheeled him down the street. Needless to say, we got very little school work done. I've had a lot of things happen in class before, but I've never had a student taken out by 911! One of my students took a picture, so you can totally see I'm not lying.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I miss my boys!

Momma babysat Charlie yesterday, and they were playing with the globe. Charlie and Lauren went to Jackson for several days last week, so Momma was showing Charlie where New Albany was on the globe and where Jackson is (Jackson has a star!). Charlie loved it! Then he asked, "Where's Libby live?" Momma pointed out Atlanta and the purple state of Georgia. Before Momma even realized what was happening, Charlie leaned down and kissed Atlanta!
It's the little things like this that make me sad I live far away from them.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Storms

There are few days of the year that I dread and hate more than the 15th of March. Shakespeare and Julius Caesar have historically created a dark atmosphere for the day. I usually spend the day trying to stay busy and to not stop to think; it never works. However, the last 24 hours have reminded me of something.

Last night Atlanta was hit by a tornado that caused a lot of damaged, left hundreds homeless and sent several to the hospital. I was home, and the rain and thunder outside my apartment was louder than any I've ever heard. While these thunderstorms ravaged the city, I sat in my apartment half fascinated and scared out of my mind. This morning, the storms still raged outside. At one point in the day, I was awakened by the tornado siren blaring, and I scurried for shelter. After ten minutes, the storm had moved on. Less than an hour later, the sun was shining. I'm not talking about a non-rain situation...the sun was actually shining brightly!

It reminded me of storms we face in life. Whether we're holed up in the innermost bathroom with a candle or if we're buried in our covers, storms are still scary. When the wind blows and the lightening strikes, we try to find safety. But, what is inevitable is that the storm will end. The sun will come out! When we come out of our shelter, we walk among the rubble and assess the impact of the storm, and then we begin to pick up the pieces and go on with life. The impact of the storm remains with us forever, but slowly it becomes less consuming. We see God's hand more clearly in the storm. We may not be able to see 2 inches in front of us or be able to stand up to the winds and think life is over, but then God makes himself visable. And when the storm has passed, the sun comes out, and through the sunshine we're reminded of God's grace, comfort and protection. No, storms aren't fun, but we can take comfort in the fact that the sun will shine again.

Songs for JD: Day 11

This is the last day of the songs for JD posts. This is an old song that I had never heard of until I was with the Ervins at a Better Than Ezra concert. Both Matt and I went home and downloaded the song. Here's The The's "Love is Stronger Than Death"


Lovelovelove
Lovelovelove
Me & my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning.
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter aint what it seems.
Here come the blue skies here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Shall rise.
Lovelovelove is stronger than death.
Lovelovelove is stronger than death.
In our lives we hunger for those we cannot touch.
All the thoughts unuttered & all the feelings unexpressed
Play upon our hearts like the mist upon our breath.
But, awoken by grief, our spirits speak
How could you believe that the life within the seed
That grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat.
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried.
Could ever die?
Here come the blue skies here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry.
When everything that dies.
Shall rise.
Lovelovelove is stronger than death.
Lovelovelove is stronger than death.
Shall rise. shall rise.
Shall rise. shall rise.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 10

This is an old song that became a favorite of mine in high school. It's not necessarily a "JD song," but I think it's a song he would agree with. We often take the future for granted, and I think JD's death showed us all how we can't bank on tomorrow. I can think of few people who lived their lives fuller than Jonathan did. He knew that each day was the day to live. Here is Van Morrison's These are the days:


These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, theres only future
Theres only here, theres only now
Oh your smiling face, your gracious presence
The fires of spring are kindling bright
Oh the radiant heart and the song of glory
Crying freedom in the night
These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one magician
Turned the water into wine
These are days of the endless dancing and the
Long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When Im holding you oh, so tight
These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned water into wine
These are the days now that we must savour
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
Youve got to hold them in your heart.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 9

Lately my favorite album is Raising Sand. The last song on the album always brings JD to mind. Here's "Your Long Journey" from the album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.


Your Long Journey
God's given us years of happiness here
Now we must part
And as the angels come and call for you
The pains of grief tug at my heart
Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey
Oh the days will be empty
The nights so long without you my love
And when god calls for you I'm left alone
But we will meet in heaven above
Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey
Fond memories I'll keep of happy ways
That on earth we trod
And when I come we will walk hand in hand
As one in heaven in the family of god
Oh my darling
My darling
My heart breaks as you take your long journey

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Today I was driving back from Tuscaloosa, and it was a gorgeous day! I had the sunroof back and my sunglasses on. As I was driving, U2's "Beautiful Day" came on. There is no way to do a list like this without U2 showing up. Jonathan loved them and thought Bono was the coolest person on the planet. So, here's a little U2


"Beautiful Day"
The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There's no room
No space to rent in this town
You're out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you're not moving anywhere
You thought you'd found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace
It's a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
You're on the road
But you've got no destination
You're in the mud
In the maze of her imagination
You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day
Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case
See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out
It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
Beautiful day
Touch me
Take me to that other place
Reach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case
What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now
Don't need it now
Was a beautiful day

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 8

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort" II Cor. 1:3
Hold Me Jesus
Well, sometimes my life
Just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

CHORUS: So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

CHORUS
Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

CHORUS
You have been King of my glory Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Monday, March 10, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 7

When O Brother, Where Art Thou? came out, Jonathan was ecstatic. The film quickly became one of his favorites. What was surprising was that the Jonathan who always bashed country music had the bluegrass soundtrack playing in his truck for months. So, here is the hit song from that movie.

I am a Man of Constant Sorrow
I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my day.
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised. (The place where he was born and raised)
For six long years I've been in trouble
No pleasures here on earth I found
For in this world I'm bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now.
He has no friends to help him now
[chorus]
It's fare thee well my old lover
I never expect to see you again
For I'm bound to ride that northern railroad
Perhaps I'll die upon this train. [chorus] Perhaps he'll die upon this train.
You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave. While he is sleeping in his grave.
[chorus]
Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you'll never see no more.
But there is one promise that is given
I'll meet you on God's golden shore. He'll meet you on God's golden shore.
[chorus]

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 6

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4


In My Life/If We Never Meet Again
There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever and not for better
Some are gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With people and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
But in my life, I loved them all

But of all these friends and loved ones
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and friends that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
But in my life I loved you more

Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey
And perhaps we'll never meet anymore
Till we gather in heaven's bright city
Far away on that beautiful shore
If we never meet again this side of heaven
As we struggle through this world and its strife
There's another meeting place somewhere in heaven
By the beautiful river of life
Where the charming roses bloom forever
And separations come no more
If we never meet again this side of heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 5

One thing I've heard many times over the past four years is how much our friendships with Jonathan changed our lives. While we appreciated him and loved him, it wasn't until after he was gone that we realized the kind of affect he had made on our lives. This song came out not long after Jonathan died, but it still makes me think of him. I definitely wouldn't be the same person had he not been in my life. His impact on our lives made it even harder to say goodbye to him and move on with life.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
Probably Wouldn't Be This Way
Got a date a week from Friday with the preacher's son
Everybody says he's crazy
I'll have to see
I finally moved to Jackson when the summer came
I won't have to pay that boy to rake my leaves
I'm probably going on and on
It seems I'm doing more of that these days
[CHORUS 1:]I probably wouldn't be this way
I probably wouldn't hurt so bad
I never pictured every minute without you in it
Oh You left so fast
Sometimes I see you standing there
Sometimes it's like I'm losing touch
Sometimes I feel that I'm so lucky to have had the chance to love this much
God gave me a moment's grace
'Cause if I'd never seen your face
I probably wouldn't be this way
Mama says that I just shouldn't speak to you
Susan says that I should just move on
You oughta see the way these people look at me
When they see me 'round here talking to this stone
Everybody thinks I've lost my mind
But I just take it day by day
[CHORUS 2:]I probably wouldn't be this way
I probably wouldn't hurt so bad
I never pictured every minute without you in it
Oh You left so fast
Sometimes I see you standing there
Sometimes I feel an angel's touch
Sometimes I feel that I'm so lucky to have had the chance to love this much
God gave me a moment's grace
'Cause if I'd never seen your face
I probably wouldn't be this way
I Probably wouldn't be this way
Got A Date a week from Friday with a preacher's son
Everybody says I'm crazy
Guess I'll have to see

Friday, March 7, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 4

Jonathan's senior year of college, this song was over-played on radios in Jackson. Jonathan would laugh at how any time you got in a vehicle, this song would be on some station of the radio. He would roll down the windows, turn up the radio, and dance and sing. Here's a little Mary J. Blige (who is ironically about to go on tour with Jay Z...another typical JD song reference).

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: [. . .] a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." Ecc. 3: 1, 4

"Family Affair"
[Chorus:] Let's get it crunk, we gonna' have fun
Up on in this dancery
We got ya open, now ya floatin'
So you gots to dance for me
Don't need no hateration, holleratin'
In this dancery
Let's get it percolatin', while you're waiting
So just dance for me
Come on everybody get on up
Cause you know we gots to get it crunk
Mary J. is in the spot tonight
As I'mma make it feel alright (Make it feel alright)
Come on baby just party with me
Let loose and set your body free
Leave your situations at the door
So when you step inside jump on the floor
[Chorus]
It's only gonna be about a matter of time
Before you get loose and start loose your mind
Cop you a drink, go head and rock your ice
Cause we celebrating
No More Drama in our life
With a great track pumpin', everybody's jumpin'
Going ahead and twist your back and get your body bumpin'
I told you leave your situations at the door
So grab somebody and get your ass on the dance floor
[Chorus]
We don't need, don't need, no haters
Just try to love one another
We just want y'all have a good time
No more drama in your life
Work real hard to make a dime
If you got beef, your problem, not mine
Leave all that BS outside
We're gonna celebrate all night
Let's have fun, tonight, no fights
Turn the Dre track way up high
Making you dance all night and I
Got some real heat for ya this time
Doesn't matter if you're white or black
Let's get crunk cause Mary's back
[Chorus]

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 3

I spent the day in Jackson today. It was a gorgeous day! It was my spring break, and I spent the day tooling around town meeting friends and running errands. It reminded me of many days in the months before Jonathan moved to California. We would run errands and then stand in the parking lot until we decided what to do with the rest of the day (that is until Wes got off of work and came to play Monopoly). We would go to the movies, the reservoir, or just drive around town thinking of other errands to run. When I think of how limited his time would be, I become more appreciative of and hold dear those lazy days that he spent his time with me. Today, on a day like so many from years ago, I missed Jonathan much more than usual. Today's song is an Indigo Girls song that reminds me of JD for several reasons.

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18
"Mystery"
Each time youd pull down the driveway
I wasnt sure when I would see you again
Yours was a twisted blind sided highway
No matter which road you took then
Oh you set up your place in my thoughts
Moved in and made my thinking crowded
Now were out in the back with the barking dogs
My heart the red sun
Your heart the moon clouded
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery
So what is love then is it dictated or chosen(handed down and made by hand)
Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years
Or is it just pop emotion
And if it ever was there and it left
Does it mean it was never true
And to exist it must elude
Is that why I think these things of you
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
May be an equal mystery
But you like the taste of danger
It shines like sugar on your lips
And you like to stand in the line of fire
Just to show you can shoot straight from you hip
There must be a 1,000 things you would die for
I can hardly think of two
But not everything is better spoken aloud
Not when Im talking to you
Oh the pirate gets the ship and the girl tonight
Breaks a bottle to christen her
Basking in the exploits of her thief
Shes a very good listener
Maybe thats all that we need
Is to meet in the middle of impossibility
Were standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery
Were standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 2

In college, Jonathan and Matt Ervin planned a ski trip that was in many ways was awesome and in many ways was full of drama. We shoved about 13 people into a van and a jeep and drove all night long. At around 3:30 in the morning, Jonathan began blasting They Might Be Giants in order to stay awake. The songs were the funniest things I’d ever heard, and Jonathan singing and dancing while driving down the road through never-ending Texas was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2

“Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone,
Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night
Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way
So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks
Istanbul (Istanbul)Istanbul (Istanbul)
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way
Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks
So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks
Istanbul

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Songs for JD: Day 1

Today is Jonathan’s birthday. I’ve decided that between now and the 15th, I’m going to do daily posts. Each day the post will be a song that reminds me of Jonathan. The songs will vary in genre and time. Some of them will be Jonathan’s favorites, some will be songs that have to do with Jonathan memories, and others will be songs that make me think of him now. I'm going to try to also include a Bible verse that correlates with the song or with the reasons why the song reminds me of JD. The Bible verse part will have to start with day 2 because I'm at a loss for one that will go with this song. If you can think of one...feel free to add it.
As for the songs, I’m going to start with one of Jonathan’s all-time favorite songs: “Desperately Wanting” by Better Than Ezra.

"Desperately Wanting"
Past the road to your house
That you never called home
Where they turned out your lights
Though they say you'll never know
I remember running through the wet grass
And failing a step behind
Bothof us never tiring
Desperately wanting
When they pumped out your guts
And filled you full of those pills
You were never quite right
Deserving all the chills
They say the worst is over
Kicked it over and ran
Then they ask what went wrong
When they turn you on again
They turn you on again.
[Chorus:]
Kick them right in the face
Make them wish they weren't born
And if they bring up your name
Well they'll say you won the war.
Baby burst in the world
Never given a chance
Then they ask what went wrong
When you never had it right
Oh the letters have dropped off
Though they say you got them all
I finally figured out some things you'll never know.
Take back your life and let me inside
We'll find the door if you care to anymore.
I remember running through the wet grass
and falling a step behind
Both of us never tiring
Desperately Wanting.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Oscar Wrap

My favorite Oscar show of all time was the 70th annual Academy Awards. That was ten years ago, so my expectations are quite high for this 80th anniversary. How do you compare with having every living Oscar winner for actor and actress all sitting together on stage? (To remind you of the show…it was the year Titanic robbed four movies that were all much better than it was…and were much better than many of the films in years surrounding that one). This year I didn’t pull the week of double features to catch up on all the movies, but I have seen: Elizabeth II, Ratatouille, Gone Baby Gone, Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men. I was floored when I found out that Ratatouille was nominated for Best Screenplay and not just the fluff animated awards. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Elizabeth II was just as amazing as the first one. Gone Baby Gone was great; the plot line was unexpected, and I liked the presence of a moral center. Michael Clayton was much more than I expected, and I surprisingly enjoyed it thoroughly. No Country for Old Men was…well, I’m still speechless, and I walked out of the theater 3 hours ago. Josh Brolin was unrecognizable and unexpectedly hot as Llewelyn (but that’s neither here nor there). His performance was beyond great, and I feel like he should have gotten a nod.

Red Carpet Wrap: I loved the simplicity that dominated the red carpet this year. It had a very old Hollywood feel about it. My favorite hair and make-up combo was Jennifer Garner. Heidi Klum is the prettiest woman on the planet. I’m not believing she told everyone on the face of the planet that she wasn’t wearing a bra. She’ll be fined by Victoria’s Secret when she returns to work. Cameron Diaz’s dress is beautiful from the thighs up, but it’s not good below that. My favorite dress color was Kelly Preston’s, but the design was a bit too much like Renee Zelwegger’s famous yellow dress. Speaking of Renee, she has chopped off her hair. It’s not good, and I think she knows it. She keeps pulling at it and touching it as if she’s self-conscious and wanting it to grow quickly. I can’t believe Ryan Seacrest didn’t know Summer Phoenix! What an idiot! The worst dress goes to Daniel Day-Lewis’ wife. There were huge rhinestone flours and red tie straps. It’s heinous! Javier Bardem is actually not bad looking; after seeing him today in No Country for Old Men, the thought of him being good looking seemed beyond far fetched. It must have been the hair. Cate Blanchet is almost always my favorite on the red carpet (and on the screen as well…she’s phenomenal!). She was shown very late on the carpet, and the top of the dress did not look promising; however, once they panned out, her dress was as beautiful as I expected. Her hair and make-up are flawless. I always look forward to seeing what she wears. She’s always willing to take risks, and she always succeeds in it. She looks about 9 months pregnant and still gorgeous! I also love her because she is so humble. Helen Mirren wins the award for best dressed older woman.

The Show and Actors (a running diary): I have been a huge Jack Nicholson fan for the majority of my life. Not only is he an amazing actor, but he looks uncannily like my granddaddy. Tommy Lee Jones was phenomenal in No Country for Old Men, and that wasn’t even the movie he was nominated for! The same can be said of Casey Affleck and Gone Baby Gone. He should have gotten the leading actor nod.
You need to know early in this diary that I’m beyond a huge fan of the montages, and the ones that show the classic, old movies make me teary-eyed. So, the opening sequence pretty much rocked me. While we’re speaking of classic, old movies, I’m going to give out the Elizabeth Crews award for best classic movie seen this year to Giant.
I love Jon Stewart, but he looks dwarfish when they pan out. My adoration of Casey Affleck goes back to his role as Morgan in Good Will Hunting (who makes the movie in more ways than is ever credited). It took me the first 20 minutes of Gone Baby Gone to realize it wasn’t Morgan all grown up. Good for Jennifer Garner…she didn’t trip this time! This woman who won for costume design should have had somebody else design her dress. However, her designs in Elizabeth II was outstanding. Ahhhh, Clooney. My all time favorite Oscar speech is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s (and it has nothing to do with it being for writing my all time favorite movie). They were beyond shocked and just started yelling out names. It was priceless! The streaker running behind David Niven is also priceless, and I can’t believe the Academy included the Native American who came to deny Marlon Brando’s award for The Godfather.
Amy Adam’s song needs some dancers behind her. It’s a bit bizarre. She’s in character but wearing a typical dress and nothing else on stage. Hmmmm….
Ok, so one of the best quotations from the night is Catherine Zeta-Jones saying: Well, I wasn’t around when Michael won his. Michael follows with: Well, you were alive, honey. Johnny Depp’s facial hair looks uncannily like my friend Wes’. I wonder how those who Cuba Gooding, Jr. beat for best supporting actor for his work in Jerry MacGuire feel about their careers now. I wonder if they just pretend they didn’t make a movie that year. There is no way Javier Bardem isn’t walking away with this supporting actor award. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is probably my favorite male actor of today. Tom Wilkinson is amazing in everything and even more so in Michael Clayton. I’ve already covered my love for Casey Affleck. No less, Javier is walking away with this. And he does!
I foresee the little girl from “Raise it Up” appearing on American Idol in 8 years. I’m a bit shocked Owen Wilson agreed to present at the Oscars this year considering the year he’s had. I applaud him for it. Ahhh, Cate Blanchet’s yellow dress with the maroon sash: the most beautiful dress of all time! Amy Ryan’s dress is simple and beautiful, and she deserves this award. It’s hard to look at her looking so pretty and think it’s the same woman as was in that movie. Tilda Swinton’s role in Michael Clayton was tiny and not that great! And she should be disqualified for her hair. I’m not believing she just won. Amy Ryan was robbed!
JC Penny just showed a commercial with “Killing the Blues”! That song is incredible. The Coen Brothers will rack up tonight. Their ability to use humor in the oddest places is remarkable.
The worst part of the Oscar presentation every year is the President of the Academy’s speech. This year they tried to jazz it up a bit with a montage, but it’s not working.
Dame Judy Dench is in the top three best actresses of our day. Years from now, our grandchildren will look back at her and talk about how classis she is. I also adore Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar speech. She bawled like a baby, but it was great! The actress for La Vie en Rose’s speech, or lack thereof, was amazing. I love it when they are so blown away that they don’t know how to react. I also loved how excited the other actresses nominated were to hear her name called out. I also love it when the academy shocks us with an unexpected winner.
What is the likelihood that Colin Ferrell makes it through his part without saying the F word? Maybe the better question is how long in this speech before he says the F word. I’m putting the over/under at 2 minutes. (Luckily for the censors he was only on for about 1). When at the movies today, all of the trailers were movies with him in them. It was bizarre. It’s unfair for such amazing hair to be given to a guy!
Have I mentioned that I freakin love Jack Nicholson?! Out of the 79 greatest movies, I’ve seen 53. I guess that’s pretty good, but I thought it’d be higher. Marlon Brandon in On the Waterfront….hmmmmm…perfection. I’m quite surprised by the movies that I thought were winners but didn’t: ie. Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy, any Stanley Kubric film and Sunset Blvd. There are so many movies that are the greatest movies ever made that weren’t on that list. I guess the annual thing limits the selection some. Some years there were tons of amazing movies; other years there weren’t. How else can you explain the absence of these movies and more, not to mention Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s Oscar? (I’ll get back to you on who these amazing movies lost out to…right now the database is logged, and I can’t get it to load)
Nicole Kidman is amazing. She’s been very hidden this awards show and past few years. She’s still beautiful. I don’t like her necklace, but her dress is nice. It’s hard to find pretty dresses for prego women. Her necklace looks like a lace shawl.
Were all Hitchcock’s women blonde? I’m gonna have to check that out. Robert Boyle gets the first standing ovation of the night … two and a half hours into the production.
I’m putting my money on a song from Enchanted winning best song. I’ve never heard of this guy singing the last song from Enchanted, but he’s really good! Oh my goodness, Enchanted songs didn’t win. I wonder if it’s because they cancelled each other out votewise. I liked the song. I like this woman’s black dress much more than I liked the purple one she wore to perform. I liked the back of the purple one, but the front wasn’t great.
They just panned the crowd showing Jennifer Garner and Summer Phoenix sitting beside each other. We’re feeling the sister-in-law love. But it does make you wonder where Joaquin is tonight. I mean, it could totally be a family reunion. I’m surprised that Ben Affleck wasn’t there tonight since Amy Ryan was nominated for her acting in a movie he directed.
They’re remaking A Raison in the Sun…starring Diddy?! This is blasphemous!
Back to Cameron Diaz’s dress…her hem is about 3 inches too short!
I love the memorial montage. It makes me cry every year. There are so many old actors and actresses who don’t get press when they die. I also love how the Academy always ends with what they think will be the biggest emotional grabber. I could have told you a week ago it would end with Heath Ledger tonight.
I’m for War of Dance for documentary. However, African dancers don’t stand a chance when it comes to issues related to Iraq and war interrogation.
Harrison Ford is proof that age doesn’t ruin all good things! I’ve written I LOVE YOU on my eyelids. Diablo Cody for best screenplay is interesting. Her dress is a bit high cut. I love how that award always goes to someone other than the typical. It’s so necessary to differentiate between a great movie and a great script. I’m going to see Juno on Wednesday, so I’ll comment more after that.
Have I mentioned that Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront is the closest I’ve ever seen to physical perfection?! What he grew into is tragic. I’ve heard girls said that Disney has given them unreal expectations of men and love. For me, Gregory Peck gave me unreal expectations of men (and Jane Austen is to blame for the unreal expectations of love…but that’s for another day).
All the critics say Daniel Day-Lewis is an absolute for best actor…my vote goes to Clooney, but it could be because that’s the only one of the performances I’ve seen from this list.
Robert Redford’s Ordinary People is still one of the best movies ever! I love Martin Scorcese; I love that he was given the award by three of the best directors of his day. I love that he got it late in life and appreciated it. The Coen Brothers should win for directing…and they do! This movie has the same weird feel as Fargo. For Best Picture, I’m putting my money on the Coen Brothers and No Country for Old Men, and it wins.

Final wrap: There were really no surprises for the big awards this year. I don’t think people expected the best actress winner or best supporting actress, but other than that…it was pretty predictable. Jon Stewart did a good job hosting. The overall program wasn’t the best I’ve seen (that still goes to the 70th anniversary), but it was much better than last year’s (which was the worst I’ve seen). It’s always fun to see beautiful dresses and pretty people, and it’s always fun to honor a medium that has captured the imaginations of, promoted the dreams of, and provided the memories to millions of us for years.
I apologize for the length of this entry, but it was a 3 hour red carpet leading to a 4 hour show!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Spring is in the Air

I'm not for sure if on Groundhog's Day Phil saw his shadow (I was too busy playing with my nephews), but I do know that spring has arrived! Pitchers and catchers arrived at camp yesterday, marking the beginning of spring training. After three and a half months of the Mitchell Report, no Hot Stove action, and Congressional hearings, the baseball offseason has come to an end, and I couldn't be more happy. I realize I'm a day late reporting on the pitchers and catchers arriving at camp, but I had a huge French test that made all thing not French take the backburner. But this morning, transformation occurred. Suddenly I found myself switching my radio from 90s on 9 to 175- MLB Homeplate, a 24-hour, 365 day a year baseball channel. I was greeted with the familiar voices of Buck and Mark Patrick (aka The Big Chair). When I clicked on the channel, a caller was on the phone talking about none other than my Red Sox. It was with glee that I listened as Buck said he doesn't see the Yankees keeping pace with the Sox this season, and I felt like I was back home. So, baseball fans, dust off your playbooks, oil up your gloves, and save your money for hot dogs and peanuts because Baseball season has officially arrived.

Congressional Hearings

As I studied for French on Wednesday (or rather, while I wrote down various verb conjugations), I watched part of the Clemens Congressional hearing (while not technically its name, it's what I call it). The more I watched, the more enraged I became...and this comes from somebody whose stomach has turned at the sight of Clemens for years. There were various members of the house committee who had to keep "sneaking out" to go vote as if voting in the house was their second priority. You have no clue how happy I was to find out that the House Representative from my district was not involved in this three ring circus. As always, I agree with the view of Bill Simmons (the Sports Guy from ESPN). Here is what he said in his online column from Valentine's:

"Given that we're dealing with Iraq, global warming, the subprime shakeout, the decline of the American dollar, the decline of the public-school system and every other troublesome reality in this country right now, it's hard to believe some of our most notable Congressmen didn't have a better way to spend this week than interrogating a disgraced Hall of Fame pitcher and the sad-sack Andy Dick lookalike who once trained him. I do not approve this usage of my tax dollars."

I couldn't have said it better!
You can always find the Sports Guy on espn.com or the magazine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

The more time I spend in Georgia, the more I miss Mississippi. I woke up this morning and was ready to leave my apartment 20 minutes earlier than usual. I needed to stop by CVS before class to pick up a newspaper to use in teaching today. Since I left 20 minutes early, it took me less time to get to CVS (what was usually a 20 minute drive was only 10 today). I went in CVS where it was warm and overflowing with red and pink. I decided to buy some candy for my students along with the papers. I also bought a pretty red bag to use for passing out the candy. I left CVS still 15 minutes earlier than I usually pass the store. I was in a good mood despite the fact that I slept little last night because I kept mentally going through notes for my French test today. I was jamming to 90s on 9 and dancing around as I went. Then all of a sudden I saw blue lights behind me. I pull over thinking this guy is a fool. I was definitely not speeding because the car in front of me was creeping. So he walks up to my car and tells me my tag is expired. Technically my tag expired on my birthday...that's how backwards things are here in Georgia. However, the stickers on my tag say Feb 08...which I thought meant I was ok until March. (mind you I've paid for the tag and am waiting for the sticker to be mailed). I tell him that and he wants to see a reciept. There are lots of papers in my car...mostly McDonald's receipts, but I don't keep major bill receipts in there, so I told him it was at home. He then went to his car where he took 30 minutes (not exaggerating there at all). I was about 2 seconds from getting out of my car, walking to his and telling him to give me the ticket so that I wouldn't be late for work. Then he walks up with a ticket. He explains that I can go spend a full day in court to get it thrown out after I get my tag sticker in the mail. However, I have to wait at least 30-45 days because they are slow putting tickets into the system. He also handed me an official warning because I haven't gotten a new driver's license with my current address. Apparently in this stupid state, you have 30 days to get a new license. And they think Mississippi is backwards! Once he had held me there for 30 minutes my niceness had gone out the window, and I was not happy, so of course I started sassing him. I pulled the Jonathan Devore "You've got to be kidding me" tactic about four different times throughout the time he stood at my window. When he started to leave I sarcastically said, "Happy Valentine's Day." He replied the same, and I said, "Whatever...jerk" before driving away.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl

I feel like I've just been punched in the stomach! I haven't had this feeling since Aaron Boone's homerun in game 7 of the 2003 pennant! The difference here is that in 2003 the Yanks were supposed to win...and did. Here, the Pats were supposed to win hugely, and they choked! I realize that the majority of America is cheering tonight (not counting Vegas who had the Pats winning by 14). I realize that the underdog won, and that's a story people love to hear. I grew up a Mississippi State fan...I was taught to love the underdog at a VERY early age. It's actually that underdog status that made me a Red Sox fan and then a Patriots fan. Many in America don't remember Boston sports before the reign of the Pats and Sox. New Englanders (and I) do! We're back to receiving that below the belt sucker-punch right at the point where we start believing something great is about to happen. We're back to uttering those words we hate so much yet use entirely too often, "There's always next year." I hear Angry Bob in my head saying, "It's ovah! OVA-OVAH!" Unfortunately, he's right. The single flaw on a perfect season. The Pats will go down in history not as the only team to go 18-0, but as the team that blew the Super Bowl to the fifth seated, Wild Card, New Freakin' York Giants. So, no, Boston sports haters...we can't win 'em all. Eli deserves credit...he played a great game. The Giants' defense was too much for our offense, and you can't win games when you can't score. Patriots fans, as you wipe your tear-streaked face, remember that we'll get 'em next year! And until then... Go Celtics and Sox!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jane Austen






Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Elizabeth Bennet

As one of Austen's most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet represents what most women would like to become: strong, independent, and loyal. Of course, she has her faults including a stubborn will of iron and a clinging to first impressions. Overall, Lizzie is bright and lovable...something to admire and aspire to.


Elizabeth Bennet


72%

Emma Woodhouse


63%

Elinor Dashwood


63%

Jane Bennet


59%

Marianne Dashwood


56%

Charlotte Lucas


50%

Lady Catherine


19%