Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Walls also drops another hint about Harry's shady past as well as further insight into Bob's character, which goes a long way to creating the world building illusion that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Good writing is what will ultimately make or break this show and its recent track record suggests that - as long as they continue with this calibre of material - the show could have a long and healthy life. Battlestar Galactica has just been renewed for a fourth season, so, with bigger viewing figures (if not the critical acclaim), I would guess that the short term future, at least, is secure for The Dresden Files
Friday, April 27, 2007
This episode had some good laughs, but overall I wasn't too impressed. The secondary story involving Bart and Lisa building a gigantic castle out of cardboard boxes from ASS --which stood for "American Shipping Services," and is not, as one truck indicates, affiliated with the human ass-- and fighting an apocalyptic battle with the men in brown was more entertaining than the main story, in my opinion.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
In Sayid's flashbacks, his was Najeev and he was working as a chef in Paris where he met Sami, a fellow Iraqi whose wife, Amira, claims Sayid brutally tortured her. All they want is for Sayid to admit it. Slight problem: Sayid is certain he never tortured her and "cannot admit to something I did not do." Don't they all say that, Sayid?
- The station is called The Flame and is the center for communication with the outside world.
- Patchy's name is Mikhail Bakunin, and he claims to be the last surviving member of the Dharma Initiative.
- He was in the Soviet military, stationed in Afghanistan, before he responded to a newspaper ad for Dharma which asked, "Would you like to save the world?"
- In what he calls "The Purge," the rest of the Dharma people were destroyed when they waged a war against the "hostiles" (indigenous people of the Island?). After the war, a few hostiles told Mikhail that he could stay at the Flame if he stayed within a certain area.
- The Flame communicates via underwater beacons that emit sonar pings into the ocean, guiding submarines. The giant satellite dish on top of the farmhouse apparently doesn't work.
Other stuff that happens at the Flame: Locke comes upon a computerized chess game, which brings him to a menu screen where we see our old buddy Marvin Candle. This time, Candle presents a few options, the last of which is to "enter 77" if the station has been taken by hostiles.
In the C4-wired basement, Sayid and Kate encounter Ms. Klugh, the creepy Other lady who said Walt was special. In a loud showdown, Kate and Sayid hold Ms. Klugh at gunpoint while Mikhail holds Locke at gunpoint, none of them willing to give up their captives. Ms. Klugh and Mikhail scream at each other in Russian. So Klugh asked Mikhail to kill her!
Then Sayid takes Mikhail prisoner. Sayid also finds a map on which he locates the "Barracks" and assumes that is where the Others have their village. Meanwhile, Locke has entered 77 and the whole Flame station blows up, conveniently after everyone's outside.
Less importantly, Sawyer loses a ping-pong game to Hurley and now can't make up any nicknames for people for a week. I have to say, I laughed out loud when he called Sun and Jin "Crouching Tiger" and "Hidden Dragon."
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Fettuccine with Chicken
8 oz spinach fettuccine
Chicken breasts, cubed (I used the precooked Tyson)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 up Parmesan cheese
Cook fettuccine according to package directions. To save time, I use the precooked Tyson chicken. Drain fettuccine; add chicken, milk and butter. Stir in cheese topping, garlic powder and pepper; heat through.
Lorie Line - Intimate Piano Evening Series
Last night the State Theater in Kalamazoo was the setting for a small intimate setting for Lorie Line's lush piano music - similar stylistically to George Winston and Jim Brickman. Mary and I are fans of Lorie's since we are both pianists and so were about 125 other folks who attended this event.
Photo: Mary, Lorie Line, and Me
Lorie played with a small group of her favorite musicians for a more "unplugged" acoustic setting. It was high interaction on the stage. She made you feel like you were listening to her and her fellow musicians in her living room with all the story telling and relaxing atmosphere.
She played favorites from over the years, and showcased her original compositions and favorite standards, and shared the personal stories that go behind the music. She has recorded 26 albums to date, her music drawing on influences such as baroque, blues, jazz and soul.
Even though I have been playing the piano going on nearly 38 years, I was in awe at her talent and ease in which she played. She is truly a gifted artist. Plus, she was extremely warm and friendly when I spoke to her while getting her authograph and picture taken.
Monday, April 23, 2007
President Reynolds had sex with her brother! Incest! The ultimate twist!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Broccoli-Cheese Noodle Soup
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli
2 oz angel hair pasta (not sure how to measure this out - I had too many noodles)
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup milk
6 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
Cook both the broccoli and pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the water, milk and pepper until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in the broccoli, pasta and sour cream; heat through (do not boil).
The Dresden Files: Soul Beneficiary
Waking up in bed with room service delivered by a pretty blonde would make any sane man question his luck–and might even cause a bit of confusion Heh. Well, that’s what happened to Harry Dresden.
This episode had Harry investigating a case of black magic. At first, it just seemed a run of bad luck with two people dying in his apartment. One was a client, one was the client’s wife. Both died supposedly of heart attacks. Yet, the thing was that Harry found out neither really had died.
Come to find out, the wife was in league with a morgue assistant who just so happened to be a dark wizardess. The scheme they had was simple. Drug an unsuspecting man, move him to another city, and have think he was married. Then, with a life insurance policy taken out, the wizardess would kill them and then resurrect the man after having collected the money and start the process all over again. Neat trick, huh? Yeah. That was until Harry Dresden got involved.
The two women, who turned out to be lovers as well as partners-in-crime, abducted Harry and set out to do the same scheme using him. However, it backfired, of course, and Harry was able to escape. It was hilarious when the one woman (the one playing the wife) was trying to kill him, and he was like, “wait honey, can’t we talk this out?” Heck, she was wielding a fireplace poker at him! I guess that’s what drugs do to you. Then, when Murphy came to pick him up, she had to help him into the Suburban she was driving, twice. He climbed out. Now, that was funny.
Oh, the skull Bob lives in is supposedly his own skull. That is to say: his skull when he actually had a body. That was his punishment. Apparently, he’d brought back to life the woman he loved using a resurrection spell, which is against the laws of magic–because it’s considered dark magic. So, now he has to spend eternity as a ghost inside his own skull. Yikes! Nice touch, though.
Mika, a 23-year-old singer-songwriter who was born in Beirut and is based in London, breathes refreshing life into pop music on his animated debut, Life in Cartoon Motion. The CD kicks off with the poperatic pomp of his glorious U.K. hit "Grace Kelly", on which Mika flaunts his self-taught skills on the keys.
Sharing his name with the legendary Doors frontman, James Morrison has already made his mark in his native Britain. Undiscovered, his debut CD hits the U.S. with a brand of bluesy pop that paints him as the British answer to John Mayer. That may not make him the most original bloke on the block, but when the tunes are this strong and the voice is this soulful, it hardly matters. Best is the R&B-dipped single "You Give Me Something" on which Morrison and his richly textured pipes really give us Yanks something to talk about.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
His life takes a turn for the better when his childhood crush, Alison, moves in next door and is now a divorced doctor with a 13 year-old son, Josh, that Glen immediately befriends. They are both socially inept, mild hypochondriac’s and wildly nervous and insecure around women. Again, like any other sitcom with the exception that revolves around a middle schooler and his best friend in his early thirties.
By the end of the pilot, Josh is fully aware that Glen pines for his mother and is mostly indifferent about it. Actually, he is encouraging about the prospect of Glen potentially being his stepfather. And essentially, that is the entire series, Glen and Josh trying to improve their social standing in order too appeal more to women.
The series has its highs and lows, a few good punch lines but mostly tired and rehashed ones. The only notable acting comes from Corddry, who plays his role charming and innocently enough that it avoids being misconstrued as creepy or even pederast. This wasn’t terribly unexpected, as Corddry had a good turn on Arrested Development. Every other adult actor on this is too peripheral to even warrant commenting on. Child acting in comedy series’ isn’t really subject to criticism.
The most intolerable aspect about this show? The overbearing laugh track. Maybe its because I haven’t regularly watched a sitcom with a laugh track since Seinfeld went off the air, but it didn’t add to the show, if anything it detracted. It seemed like nothing more than a que for viewers to use so to know when to laugh, but even then we would be submerged in uproarious laughter when it seemed like nothing more than a simple exchange. Bizarre.
This series does not have much staying power. However, even after this is cancelled, I do believe Cordrry will get another network series (if he stays in television), hopefully he will have more creative control than he does with The Winner.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Bart: You know, I'm pretty sure I will.
Part of the fun of watching The Simpsons is trying to guess who the guest voice is each week. This episode had five guest voices packed into the episode, some of which were easier to guess since the actors were playing themselves, of course: Steven Sondheim, Meg Ryan, Peter Bogdanavich, Andy Dick and James Patterson.
- The names of Cletus' kids, which included: Incest, International Harvester, Birthday and Crystal Meth
- Bart doing Mad Libs with his psychiatrist, and coming to the realization that his father never took him on the Merry-Go-Booger because he was always passed out in the parking snot.
- The Honeymooners ending with Cletus' face appearing in the moon over Springfield.
Oh, yeah, and one other thing: is this the first time we've heard Superintendent Chalmer's first name? Bart refers to him as "Gary" in one scene.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
It was possibly the most boring book I have ever ready. It is written completely in the first person and the narrator drones on and on reminiscing over his boring life for over 300 pages. It was unbearable. I was initially drawn to it because it is Pulitzer Prize winner. However, I am also looking for entertainment and a compelling plot. This book contains neither.
While the author has a talent for making simple words seem lyrical, this so-called “letter” could have been half as long and therefore half as boring. I didn’t identify with the setting, the over-the-hill preacher, or any of the tiny little everyday details of his life – past or present. Is this really how he wants his son to see him?
When asked for advise on writing from a group of fledgling you authors, Kurt Vonnegut once said, “If it doesn’t advance the plot or build character development . . . throw it out.”
Gilead is written in a manner that is the opposite of Vonnegut’s advice.
Interesting characters? Zero
Interesting plot? Zero
Wit? Less than zero
Humor? Not a speck
Don’t read this unless you want to fall asleep or spend 10 minutes on a well-written but confusing sentence
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The problems with the episode don't lie in any of the above. The first problem is in what ends up happening to Monk at the end. Dr. Scott bludgeons him brutally and then treats him in the hospital under a fake name. Monk is literally seconds from death when he is nearly injected with a substance he's allergic to, but is saved in the nick of time. This brutal treatment of Monk was a little strange to see in the season finale. I would have preferred a triumphant Monk that left us wanting more. Instead, we saw a down and out Monk walking with a walker, and I couldn't help but wonder if his character did, in fact, need a break.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
No, the football definitely has become secondary to one of the best shows on TV, which every week seems to give its characters more depth and introduces even more interesting story lines. Oh brother, I'm starting to sound like a TV critic.
The arrival of Buddy "Sleazy Car Dealer" Garrity at Coach Taylor's house might just have produced the best line of the season from Coach Taylor's wife, Tami, as they arrive at home after the game: "What is that thing that's sitting on our front porch? It's moving!" And then, "Make him go away." Gee, like that's going to happen. Light a stick of dynamite under the recliner, and keep him away from the note pads, where he discovers that Coach Taylor is talking to the athletic director from TMU.
The job offer from TMU leaves Coach Taylor in a bind -- he's going to need a new rumpled coaching wardrobe.
Mopey Tim Riggins has a new neighbor, the 21st century equivalent of Dennis the Menace -- a towheaded, never-shuts-up kid, but with just one overworked and extremely young parent. All this new Dennis the Menace needs is a paintball gun (instead of a slingshot) in his back pocket and a large dog. Tim, as the Mr. Wilson of the new millennium, gets the pain-in-the-neck little brother her never had.
Have to admit, I didn't see the reason for the long-term disappearance of the Preacher's Daughter, Waverly, coming. Supposedly, she had been on a mission to Africa, but it turns out she's been on meds for a "mood disorder" that seems pretty manic/depressive. Can Smash, who just recently quit is own "meds," deal with it?
Elsewhere, Jason and Lyla renew their love, even if all the Murderball types and their friends make her nervous and force her to use the word "fiancee" about 16 times. Ugh. About all that exchange produced was the information that Dillon is 200 miles from Austin.
The whole episode with Tyra's mom and her sliced-up derriere, in the end (no pun intended), just confirms my opinion of Tami Taylor. She cleans up the house and, at the same time, her relationship with Tyra. Now she needs to work on the relationship between Buddy and Pam Garrity -- and his overly amorous relationship with football. Head on a stake indeed. I'd pay to see that.
Friday, April 13, 2007
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is the newest release from Modest Mouse. Johnny Marr, the legendary guitarist, makes his presence felt on the first single, "Dashboard."
Thursday, April 12, 2007
This episode did move pretty well, and touched on all of the story lines. Of course, the whole Cooper Green switcheroo was pretty silly. I can’t find the actor’s name, but the guy who played the fake Green always plays a bad guy, so my spidey sense was tingling from the get go. Moreover, the “my inhaler is in my jacket” and the “my cell phone is running out of juice” bits were also pretty lame, but at least the boys hooked up with the real Cooper before the episode’s end, which sent the series off in another direction.
On a side note, Mahone once again displayed some superior policing skills when he figured out how all the sight lines in the park led to the hotel. I wouldn’t want that dude chasing me - no way, no how.
Was anyone surprised to see a rope when C-Note opened up the package? I guess the background music was meant to reflect his personal shock, but the only thing surprising about the rope was that it was already tied into a noose. On that note – no pun intended – we didn’t exactly see C-Note die. He just stepped off the bed when the episode ended; so don’t count him out just yet.
T-Bag seems to be finally getting down to the business of being a multi-millionaire, and his haste to get out of Alabama (to Bangkok) somehow has him on a flight to Mexico. Wait a second, it’s the same flight as Bellick? I’m confused. Quick, I need to press the button. No, the one that says, “Suspend Disbelief.” Ah, yes, that’s much better, thanks. Moving on…
Am I crazy or was T-Bag intending to take three million dollars in cash through security? The bundles of hundreds are literally spilling out of the bag, but this deviously intelligent individual plans to take it through security!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 9, 2007
Favorite moment: Trying to justify their occupation of Earth, one of the aliens claims they still have the people's "hearts and minds," and then holds up a human brain and heart.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Marge: I'll tell you why: Christian charity.
Homer: "Christian Charity?" What does a porn star have to do with this?
- Krusty yet again hosting a Christmas special, despite being Jewish (and popping out of Baby Jesus' bed at the ice show)
- The sign outside Costingtons: "Christmas presents at Hanukkah prices"
- The "Away" sign for Santa with a picture of Santa on the toilet
- Marge "rented" a negligee
- The leprechaun from "Treehouse of Horror XII" returning
- Homer telling Santa's Little Helper that there's water under the seat as the dog sits inside a car in 117 degree weather
Also, I loved the Grumple that kept stalking Homer through the episode. It was a funny idea made funnier by the fact that it became more and more unclear what the hell this creature was exactly. At first one assumed it was just a guy in a costume, but then it bled green blood when attacked at Moe's.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
The federal agents on the case, led by the overzealous and cocky Agent Thorpe, rely on the newest technological devices to solve their crimes. Their over-emphasis on technology leads Adrian to seek his own way onto the World Wide Web. Watching him deal with a computer is hysterical, and when he takes control of Natalie's daughter's computer, a Dell laptop with a pink, floral design scheme on the back side, his quirky computer-related shenanigans simply increase in number.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pot Roast
Red potatoes quartered
Beef chuck roast
1 1/2 cups beef broth
Place potatoes and carrots in a slow cooker. Combine the mustard, rosemary, garlic salt, thyme and pepper; rub over roast. Place in slow cooker; top with onion and broth. cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Featured Attraction: 40 Year Old Virgin
When you see someones list of their favorite comedy movies, you hear names like Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, American Pie, and all the other raunchy classics that everyone loves. The 40 Year Old Virgin will go right up there as one of the best.
Andy Stitzer (Carell) has never done the deed and it becomes known to three co-workers, who make it their duty to correct this anomaly. Andy prefers to compensate by creating seemingly healthy obsessions such as collecting action figures (including the Six Million Dollar Man's boss), gaming and the like. Just in case you forgot, he is 40-years old. As we come to learn through flashbacks, he really has tried, but just has not been "successful".
Prior to last year's sleeper hit "Little Miss Sunshine", Carell's possible career highlights have been as a "Daily Show" correspondent and the lead on one of the most under-looked and great groan-inducing comedies, "The Office". He has also stole scenes in "Anchorman" and "Bruce Almighty". This role showcases his expert timing, charisma, knowledge of constructing a joke and romantic/dramatic reach.
Paul Rudd (David), Seth Rogen(Cal), and Romany Malco (Jay) are cast as the co-workers and eventual buddies who insist on passing on their collective wisdom, baggage and mistakes. Each character is perfectly honed, project great matter of fact sensibility and hilarious in every scheming scene/disaster. The stage is then set for two crazy encounters, which continue to reinforce his decision to remain a virgin for all eternity. I must mention Leslie Mann (the drunk), Elizabeth Banks (the sex freak), Jane Lynch (the boss) and the elder Indian co-worker, each of whom generates great laughs and support in their roles.
Andy insists that he will do this the right way, which at once is ambitious...finding a perfect woman, building a relationship and making it work. His buddies come to realize that there is a degree of merit to the approach, which they have come to have forgotten through their encounters over the years.
He believes he has found this in Trish, played by Catherine Keener. Their chemistry is wonderfully playful, sincere and believable given both their characters' background.
Ultimately, the movie is a brilliant piece of comedic work and is set to a great accompanying soundtrack, which itself strikes a euphoric chord. Amidst the barrage of mediocre and painfully unfunny comedies in recent years, this one really sticks out. It's definitely not for the easily offended, but despite many of the crude jokes, it never sinks to just tits-and-ass levels or plain crudeness. The film has the courage to believe in its own convictions. Great raunchy fun with a real heart.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Given the late '60s, low-fi feel of their latest record We All Belong, it's no surprise that two members of Philly quintet Dr. Dog once moonlighted in a Beach Boys cover band. Wearing their heavy Pet Sounds and late-era Beatles influences on their sleeves, Dr. Dog creates layered harmonies on the perfect pop of "My Old Ways." I almost expected this song to be encrypted with a subliminal message declaring that "Paul is dead."