Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Game on!

Finally, baseball is back! After the long, bleak winter - months and months of watching old games I'd taped over the course of the '06 season and never got around to watching - after hours surfing the net for ANY kind of baseball-related information - finally, we can watch a live baseball game tonight. Granted, it's only the very first game of Spring Training. And yet we'll see Schill on the Hill - okay, so probably only for two innings. But it's a chance to evaluate him physically without the Boston Media filter - will he really look chunky??

Tonight's line-up:

1. Julio Lugo, SS
2. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Jason Varitek, C
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Wily Mo Pena, RF
7. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
8. David Murphy, LF
9. Jacob Ellsbury, CF

And the Globe says this will what the pitching will look like tonight:

probable pitchers when the Sox take on the Minnesota Twins at City of Palms Park (7:05 p.m., NESN and WRKO): Red Sox—Curt Schilling, Joel Pineiro, Brendan Donnelly, Julian Tavarez, Manny Delcarmen, J.C. Romero, Bryan Corey, and Renelvys Hernandez.
I'm interested in seeing some of the young-uns (or "the Pups" according to my buddy Kelly) in action. Will Pedroia show us something interesting? And how about some of the new "old guys" - like Lugo? Will Pena have bounced back from his injury? Will Mikey dazzle at 3rd?

The highlights, however, will be seeing Big Papi in action and in the dugout - and hearing Remy. At least, I'm assuming we'll hear the Rem-Dawg - what would a NESN RS broadcast be without him??

Can't wait until 7pm!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar re-cap

(Photo from
This is my favorite dress at last night's ceremony. The picture doesn't really capture the color - Kate Winslett said her daughter suggested the color while eating some mint chocolate chip ice cream. Yum (for both the ice cream and the dress)

I got 14 out of the 24 categories. I got all the big ones - except best picture. I should have guessed Hollywood wouldn't go for the feel-good film "Little Miss Sunshine." And I can't believe I missed best animated short film - how could "The Danish Poet" not win??

As for the show, well. Long is how I'd describe it. I ended up retiring at 11 pm - hit the quick record button for 90 minutes, figuring that was plenty of time. Almost wrong - the recording cuts off just as the closing credits roll. Phew. And the first three hours were interminable - they really need to limit the time somehow! I liked Ellen DeGeneres as host - she is just so darn likable that it's hard to find fault.

I guess my biggest complaint is about the nominees themselves. For many years, I prided myself on seeing every film that got nominated for a major award. Not so this year - by choice. Some of them are plain depressing, or just don't appeal to me. I will not see "Babel," "Letters from Iwo Jima," "The Last King of Scotland," or "Volver." On the other hand, I enjoyed the ones I saw, notable "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Queen," and "The Departed." Maybe you just become pickier or more discerning as you age. Or just unwilling to waste two or three hours on a film!

We can now relax

Yes, Manny Ramirez reported to spring training this morning - 3 days earlier than expected. (Does this make him early/late, late/late or...)

So, what ever will the Boston press obsess and write about now? We've had weeks of non-stop Manny bashing. Oh, I know we wouldn't put up with this kind of behavior from anyone else on the team (well, maybe David Ortiz), but I'm in the camp that says as long as he's fit and ready, fine. Yes, the act is tiring, especially when he essentially quit in September last year. But if he can produce as well as he has in previous years, maybe we should cut him some slack.
(Photo by Matthew West)

And I must say, this Q&A with Manny's agents is just plain ugly. If this is a prime example of how the Boston Media treats our players and their representatives, well, no wonder Manny is Manny. Look at these "questions" -

Manny is 34 now. Do you think it’s time for him to be more accountable instead of being babied like a 12-year-old?

Do you think since he’s your meal ticket, you should try to help him grow up?

I'm surprised that they didn't walk away or sic Manny's other "rep" (see photo above) on them!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Review: Amazing Grace

Taking a break from the Oscar red carpet to add this review...

This film is based on the true story of William Wilberforce, the member of Parliament who was (eventually) responsible for the outlawing the slave trade in England. The struggle took nearly 20 years! This story focuses on his political and personal struggles to pass the legislation.

An outstanding cast: from Ioan Gruffud as Wilberforce, Albert Finney as John Newton, Benedict Cummerbatch as William Pitt, and Michael Gambon as Fox. This Cummerbatch was particularly compelling - I had no idea Pitt was so young when he became Prime Minister, nor that he had died so young. Cummerbatch was hot! He is next slated to appear in the film version of the The Other Boleyn Girl - I've just been reading the book and can totally imagine him as Carey! Can't wait for that one.

Anyway, my friend and I were very apprehensive about the film - and got even more nervous during the first half hour. The "Christian" message was pretty heavy handed - a lot about his "born again" experience and re-dedication to Christianity. But once you get beyond that, the historical saga begins to unfold, and we follow the journey of Wilberforce.

A nice historical. I still think it might have been better as a "Masterpiece Theater" presentation, but it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Some good performances, beautiful costumes, a heart-warming story.

I'lll have a recap of the Oscars tomorrow. But I LOVE Kate Winslet's dress!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Getting closer

Only one week until we get to see the Red Sox' expensive Japanese acquisition. He pitches against the baseball team from Boston College on the 3rd - and it will of course be carried by NESN (as well as every Japanese media outlet, I'm sure). From all reports, he's looking good.

And he does look very nice in those home whites!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's almost like the 80s again...

Yah! I actually got thru on Ticketmaster shortly after 10 am on Tuesday, and secured a ticket to see the Police in concert at Fenway on July 29th! Awesome, dude. So, I won't be sitting up front, or even on the field, but I'll be in a box seat opposite the stage. Almost the same view I had of them in 1982 at Chrysler Arena. Wow! Got to go find my parachute pants...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Review: Music & Lyrics

I caught this romantic comedy this past weekend, and it was a delightfully silly way to spend two hours. The story: Hugh Grant was an 80s pop star (think Wham) - after a few hits, his group split and he fell idle. However, when the 80s nostalgia hit, he found a second career playing at Knotts Berry Farm and other amusement parks. Now, a teen queen singer (think Britney or Shakira) wants him to write a new song for her - and wants him to do a duet. While capable of producing the music, Alex isn't a lyricist. Enter his plant lady - Drew Barrymore. The collaborate on a song, and of course, romantic complications ensue.

Haley Bennett does a spot-on impersonation of the current wave of ingenue singers. And I was impressed that Hugh Grant did his own vocals, rather credibly, I might add. The story is lightweight, they live in a New York that doesn't exist, and of course it ends happily. But there are flashes of hilarity - check out Grant's video for Pop! Goes My Heart It's a perfect send-up! (The "pop-up" version they play at the closing credits is even better - full of the type of banal facts that VH1 show always used).

Hugh Grant should only play this type of romantic, crinkly-eyed cad. He's perfected it - Bridget Jones, About a Boy and this. I'm not sure if Drew Barrymore has quite earned the right to take over Meg Ryan's title as Romantic Comedy Queen, but she's getting there.

A sweet, light romantic comedy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

An excellent sign of spring

A day before position players are due to report, Mike Lowell stopped by the player development training facility, and chances are better than even that David Ortiz will hold court tomorrow
Thank heavens baseball is back! Oh, this picture from Kelly ( is worth another look:

A-Rod comes clean

From SI:
On the first day of his fourth season with the New York Yankees, Alex Rodrguez finally acknowledged his relationship with Derek Jeter has cooled... "We were best of friends about 10, 13, 14, years ago, and we still get along well..." "The reality is there's been a change in the relationship over 14 years and, hopefully, we can just put it behind us," Rodriguez said. "You go from sleeping over at somebody's house five days a week, and now you don't sleep over. It's just not that big of a deal."
You just can't make this stuff up...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Finally ST!

Last night was the last Saturday night without baseball in some form. Spring Training officially starts for the Sox today, when the team takes the field for its first workout. So what does a Sox fan do on this last night? Break out Fever Pitch of course. I know it was panned by many - and many fans feel it feeds into stereotypes about Sox fans - but I happen to love it. The opening scene - when little Ben is taken to his first game at Fenway by his Uncle Carl - literally had me sobbing. I remember that moment myself - my dad took us to a night game in 1968, and I remember walking down the ramps, past the refreshment stands, up the ramp to the field. That first glimpse of the beautiful green field, the Monster looming in the distance. There were Rico, Billy C, Yaz playing catch. Lonborg pitched - although the Sox lost. As Uncle Carl tells Ben, sadly and sagely, "They'll break your heart." I'm getting misty just thinking about it...

So, on a lighter note - I love the scene where one of Ben's friends yells at Johnny Damon "Hey, Johnny Damon, best ass in the American League." At the time, we had quite a debate on the Remy Report board about the truth of that statement. Most agreed, JD didn't even have the best ass on his own team! That honor goes, of course, to:

Ah, Captain Quadzilla. Hey, now I know what to do this afternoon - break out that Red Sox/Queer Eye episode!

Speaking of the Captain, great shot off

And finally, good-bye to Keith Foulke. I know the fans and press turned against him in 2005 & 2006 - he did make some unwise comments perhaps. But it's clear his self-sacrifice in 2004 - the way he threw himself into the playoffs and was perhaps the MVP - well, he probably sacrificed a longer career. I salute him for retiring on the eve of Spring Training - he easily could have reported and collected his $5 million from the Indians. He chose instead to honorably retire. I hope he enjoys hockey season...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day - and to fill a void until Spring Training starts - the Boston Dirt Dogs site has been asking fans to vote on the All-Beloved Team. It's a list of the favorites since 1967. Here are their choices:

Catcher: Jason Varitek
1B: Mo Vaughn
2B: Jerry Remy
SS: Nomar Garciaparra
3B: Bill Mueller
DH: David Ortiz
LF: Carl Yastrzemski
CF: Fred Lynn
RF: Dwight Evans
Bull Pen: Derek Lowe and Rich Garces
Unsung Hero: Dave Roberts and The Steal
Pitching Rotation: Pedro Martinez; Roger Clemens; Tim Wakefield; Curt Schilling
Manager: Terry Francona

I voted every day, and boy there were some tough choices to make. I love Tek - but how could I not choose Carlton Fisk? There are other sentimental favs from my youth, like Rico Petrocelli, Wade Boggs, Bernie Carbo, George Boomer Scott, Bill Spaceman Lee, El Tiante... 3rd base? I really miss Billy Mueller, but hasn't Mike Lowell been awesome?? Unsung here? Bernie Carbo and Dwight Evans in '75, Dave Henderson in '86??

Their new poll is all-time Beloved player. Why even vote?! We know it's Big Papi!!
Or maybe Johnny -- aw, it's a tie!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Oh, Stewart!

Should have had this one in the post below. Yeah!

Happy Truck Day!

Yes, today is Truck Day! It's a much more exciting harbinger of Spring than some old groundhog. Today, at Number One Yawkey Way, the Red Sox staff packed up their stuff and headed to Fort Myers for Spring Training. Yes, the crisp new uniforms are on board, the bats and balls, and all the computers and SABR printouts. Yes, it's nearly spring now.

And here's a welcome sight from Monday in Fort Myers:

Josh Beckett tosses a pitch...Yeah!

And to make this day even more perfect, this morning the reunited Police announced their tour dates for this summer. Yes, they are indeed playing at Fenway on July 28th, just when I will happen to be in New England. I MUST go! I blew off seeing them on their first tour of the US in 1978 - they played a gig at little old RI College, but I thought they looked "weird" in their picture. In 1983, I literally stood in the snow all night in Ann Arbor to get tickets to see them on the Syncronicity tour - it was a life-changing night for me! I had such a crush on Stewart Copeland. Sigh. I have to see them!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Review: The Departed

I'm continuing in my annual mission of seeing all the nominated films, and finally saw Martin Scorsese's latest yesterday. It lived up to every bit of its hype. An incredible cast filled with incredible performances -- a story that kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing until the final shot -- some wonderful cinematography -- and enough blood, guts, and salty language to keep you cringing and gasping.

This is the parallel story of two young men in Boston. One (Matt Damon) has been raised under the protection of Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) a local mobster. He becomes a Massachusetts State Trooper with one mission - to infilitrate the unit that is trying to stop Costello, and act as Costello's informant. Meanwhile, another Trooper (Leonardo DiCaprio) is recruited by the same unit to go under cover as THEIR informant in Costello's bunch. The movie follows the two "rats" as they each try to uncover the other's identity and stay alive.

This film completes DiCaprio's journey from teen heart throb to a fully realized actor. I haven't seen Blood Diamond, but I understand he's wonderful in that also - and this one-two punch earned him his well-deserved Oscar nom. As the film progresses, we see his slow breakdown, how he slowly disintegrates under the constant violence that surrounds him. It is a brave and bravura performance. Damon's take is not a showy, yet he stands as an equal to DiCaprio. Nicholson is, well, Nicholson. Scary, deadly, unpredictable, and even funny in parts. He pretty much steals every scene he's in.

Equally worthy of note are some of the supporting players - especially Martin Sheen in a role that was supposed to be Robert DeNiro's. Alec Baldwin is terrific as Damon's superior officer. I wasn't as taken with Vera Farmiga as Damon's psychiatrist girlfriend - I found her a little too doe-eyed and bland.

Mark Wahlberg deserves his Oscar nod for creating the memorable character of Sgt. Dignam. When he was on screen, part of my brain kept imaging the up-coming Oscars. They always show a highlight reel for each nominated actor - and I wondered how they can do that for Wahlberg. He didn't seem to utter a single sentence without profanities! And it's catching - I found myself using several of his more creative pronouncements last night! I love when he keeps calling one of the other characters "Lace Curtain" - the ultimate insult to an Irishman. Awesome.

Of course, I loved one of the characters in particular - Boston. I know most of the movie was made in NYC (b00), but the shots of Boston were great. Gritty, beautiful, crazy. Although where was our beloved Fenway!

I'm glad I finally got a chance to see this - and on the large screen. It comes out on DVD this week, so if you've missed it, try to rent it before February 23rd.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Review: The painted veil

What an incredibly beautiful film! The film's producers struck a deal to film on location in China, and cinematography Stuart Dryburgh took full advantage of the gorgeous countryside. Watching this film, I can almost understand why some friends recently undertook a five week tour of Asia. The film is based on a novel by Somerset Maugham, and concerns a British couple in 1925 China. Married for a variety of reasons - the least of which, it seems, is love - the wife soon launches into an affair with a married British diplomat in Shanghai. When the infidelity is discovered by her husband, he coerces her into traveling to inland China to help fight a cholera epidemic. Away from the distractions of the city, and forced into close quarters, the two discover that by compromise and empathy, they can forgive and truly love.

Edward Norton is fantastic as the cuckolded Doctor Fane. Although I haven't seen many of his film performances (mainly because they were in films I deemed too disturbing for me!), I have been blown away by his two most recent performances - this one and in The Illusionist. He is an actor capable of incredible nuance; his most effective scenes are those with spare dialogue. Naomi Watts is equal to the task of co-star. The supporting performances add immensely to the story - especially Liev Schreiber (who is always so good as the cad) and Diana Rigg (almost unrecognizable!).

The film wasn't as sad as I had feared - I actually didn't shed a tear. It's more a pervasive feeling of melancholy. The ending isn't a conventionally happy one - but totally suits the story. Sad, yes, but ultimately satisfying.

If you're in the mood for a quiet, slow, period drama, this is it. It sticks with you for hours afterward!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sox Appeal

I think this promo is so cute! It's for NESN's new dating reality program, "Sox Appeal."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday already - yeah!

Just a few quick notes on a lazy Thursday...
Yes, wow, A-Rod has written a children's book. Here's Amazon's description:
It's the story of a boy named Alex who knows what it's like to swing at a wild pitch or have a ball bounce right between his legs. Alex is determined not to let his mistakes set him back—even if it means getting up at the crack of dawn to work on his hitting and fielding before school each day!
Awww. Who better to write a book about a boy who folds under pressure? I've already added it to my cart on Amazon..

A follow-up to the story last week about the parents asked to leave an AirTran flight because their kid was having a major melt-down. People this week covers the story - and I love this part:
But the real indignity, they say, came when the Kuleszas told their story to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, anticipating an outcry against the airline. Instead there was an outcry against the Kuleszas. "We received over 8,000 calls and emails," says AirTran VP Tad Hutcheson. "Right now we're holding strong at 90 percent in favor of the airline."

Pitchers and catchers report in one week!! Yeah!

Lots recently about DirectTV making an exclusive deal with MLB to broadcast their Extra Innings package. I guess it's broadcast over cable in many areas, and those who don't choose to add the dish will not be able to have access to the package. Of course, I had the opposite experience. I wanted digital cable and the EI package, but it's not offered in this area. So I had to get a dish if I wanted to see any Red Sox games. And, I tell you, it's some of the best money I spend every month during baseball season!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday

Notes from a day waiting for the most hyped event on the planet:

  • My favorite thing to watch today has been Puppy Bowl III on the Animal Planet channel. It is sooo cute and sooo hysterical. I love when the ref comes on the field to remove the "personal fouls." And the half-time all kitten show was sssoo cute. Poor ref had to clean up all the confetti - using the sponsor's Hoover, of course. (ETA- OOPs! it's a Bissell!)
  • I also wiled away some time watching a film called "Game Six." It starts Michael Keaton as a playwright who has a new play premiering on October 24, 1986 - the same night his beloved Red Sox are playing Game Six of the World Series vs. the Mets. The famous game that they lost in the 10th inning when Buckner let a sure out go through his legs..... Ah, such painful memories. But some of Keaton's ruminations on being a Sox fan really resonated with me. I will have to add this one to my Amazon cart.
  • Is it wrong to wish Peyton Manning ill? To hope he has a zillion interceptions, and is shown crying on the sidelines?
  • And the best news....two weeks from today, Spring Training starts! Go Bears!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Not much longer...

(Third time trying to post this!)

Not much longer until we can really see Matsuzaka in action. In the meantime, I'm trying to survive these last days until Spring Training by repeatedly watching this:

Man, I wonder if Millar and Wells are sorry they've missed the chance to drain a few brews with this guy!

Also - via SoSH - here's another cool video of him in action:

Hope he looks this cool and calm against the Yankees! This is looking like a very cool year!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Further ruminations

Taking a break from my snow day "Sex and the City" marathon for some thoughts on the Red Sox:

So, Curt Schilling has decided NOT to retire after the 2007 season. He'd previously claimed that this would be the last we'd see of him, but he had a change of heart over the holidays. He said on WEEI that his family had convinced him to keep playing. Apparently, a few weeks at home with Curt was enough to convince them that they need to keep him out of the house as much as possible.

And speaking of retirement - Theo Epstein recently retired his "most eligible bachelor" status. Initial reports had him marrying at Coney Island - but his dad confessed that was a "joke." All over Red Sox nation, a sigh of disappointment was heard...

Dice-K's new Asahi Beer ad is showing up on You Tube - supposedly. I've seen links on and Deadspin, but can't find it on the You Tube site itself. But I'll keep looking. In the meantime, you can follow this link from Eric Wilbur. It's enough to quicken the heartbeat of any RS fan!

And, finally, a shot from the snowy Scenic City....


You start to feel the excitement a day or so in advance. The "s" word is in the forecast. But knowing how inexact the science of meteorology is, you try not to hope. You stay up late, listening to the news - but no cancellations yet. The morning finally comes after a restless night - "will there be school?" Unlike other mornings, when the alarm sounds this morning, you leap from the bed, running to the window to peer out. Snow? Yes - I see some!! You fumble for the tv remote, struggling to find the local channel. But they're interviewing a veterinarian at the moment. So you rush to the computer, feverishly starting it up, cursing the gods at Comcast for taking so long to connect. Where is that bookmark for the "Snowbird" report - ah...Down the list of school closings, faster, faster - AHA! YES!! It's a snow day!!

A scene from a school child's life this morning here in the Scenic City? Perhaps. But one also repeated in the home of school teachers and staff throughout the area. Sorry, parents, I sympathize that you must now scramble for child care or, heaven forbid, have to put up with your own offspring for an entire day. But we who are privileged to spend every day with them, molding and crafting their personas, well, we deserve an unplanned, unscheduled day off.

For me? I'm baking banana bread right now, watching the Today show and drinking too much coffee. Perhaps I'll work out. Perhaps I'll shovel the walk. Perhaps I'll take some photos of this all-too-rare occasion. Better yet, perhaps I'll catch up on my blogging. Got lots to comment on! But now, back to the newspaper!