Friday, August 31, 2007


Boston Globe photo.

Is this whole thing so ridiculous or what?? MLB exec Bob Watson is actually checking the attire of managers. We all know that Terry Francona has health problems, including poor circulation. The guy takes all kinds of medications, including the blood thinner Cumadin. As a result, he's cold - to the point that he wears extra clothing even in the dog days of August. Apparently, MLB is cracking down on the attire of managers - saying they need to wear their uniform tops. (Which I think is kinda nuts in the first place - what other sports have the team managers in full unis?) They apparently have warned Tito about his sweatshirt. Well, Bob Watson showed up the dugout at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night before the game to check that Terry had his shirt on. Bad enough - but then he sent a security guard to the dugout during the 2nd inning to make sure Terry hadn't taken it off! With Jeter on 2nd and threatening to steal, the security guy called Francona into the tunnel to check his attire. Good heavens...

I work in a school with a dress code, and this reminds me of some of the tactics we have to use with 9th graders. Please - Terry is a grown man, with issues. And it's not like MLB doesn't have other, more pressing issues to deal with. Maybe they should be checking Bonds for illegal substances rather than checking Francona for undergarments.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Outlander at Turner Field

Yes, I've been pretty lax about blogging this week. But I have a legit excuse - the Red Sox and Yankees were playing each other. Unfortunately, not a good end to the road trip - the Sox lost all three games in New York. Still, the pitching looked good, even strong at time - and some great defensive plays, too. But the bats were absent; one wonders if they were lost in a New York Triangle of some kind. The good news is that now it's back to Boston for the next 6 games, versus Baltimore and Toronto. Hopefully, we can dominate them and pad our lead again.

Meanwhile, here's the second installment of my summer pics. This group is from the first stop on our Road Trip - 3 games vs. the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. We had a fun tailgate the first night with members of the Sons of Sam Horn - their running commentary during the game was really smart and funny, and the ribs were fantastic! Schilling pitched that game - very poor performance from him. But - Coco hit two homers, JD Drew hit one. A large contingent of Red Sox fans - the "Let's Go Red Sox" chants in competition with that Tomahawk Chop.

Game two started under the threat of rain. As a matter of fact, we delayed getting to the park because of a bit of rain. But the game started on time - Josh Beckett vs. Tim Hudson. Ortiz homered, and Josh had an RBI double. Two web gems - by Crisp and Pedrioa. And a 40 minute rain delay - I think it was my first delay in person. Oh, and we won 4-0

Game three - Julian Tavarez. We scored 5 runs in the first inning, and the final score was 11-0! Home runs from Hinske, Lugo, Papi and Manny.

But we did more than see games! We went to the World of Coca-Cola, which I'd really recommend. An interesting exploration of the "impact of Coke on the world." We went to the High Museum and saw two terrific special exhibits: Cecilia Breaux (an early 20th century painter who has been called the female Sargent); and photographs by Annie Lebovitz. The Lebovitz exhibit was really interesting - lots of insights from her in the captions about her approach to photography and about the subjects of said photos. There was an interesting mix of celebrity photos, landscapes, and personal family photos. It was inspiring for Kelly and I - gave us something to aspire to with our little cameras. We also toured Turner Field. And we ate at the Varsity - and lived to tell about it! Oh, and we had our picture taken with NESN's Don Orsillo.

So, after three fun days in Atlanta, it was on to San Diego. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Review: Stardust

This new fantasy film - based on a novel by Neil Gaiman - is a really terrific film! Set 150 years ago, young Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) sees a falling star - and promises to retrieve it for spoiled local girl, Victoria (Siena Miller). To do so, he must pass into the enchanted world lying just beyond the town wall. There, he finds the star (Claire Danes), and faces a plethora of challenges as he struggles to bring Yvaine back to Victoria. Those challenges include an evil witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants Yvaine's heart in order to restore her youth; and a trio of princes who want the jewel around Yvaine's neck in order to become king.

Some reviewers have compared this film to "The Princess Bride," and I found myself making the same comparison. It's a romantic fable, a fast moving adventure tale, full of fun period details, great costumes (they're so sumptuous!), and impressive CGI. And it's funny! Pfeiffer and De Niro (as the pirate Captain Shakespeare) steal every scene they're in - but you so enjoy the theft that you don't mind. The young leads - Danes and Cox - are sweet and believable, and have a lovely chemistry. And the film is chock full of small performances that aren't so small - like Ricky Gervais as the trader Ferdy, and Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong and Rupert Everett as three of the Princes. Oh, and Peter O'Toole as the dying king!

Not so good: Sienna Miller. She's basically playing herself (one could surmise) - or at least the stock character she often plays: the spoiled, self-centered rich girl. But she's way too old for this part - the "seductive" scenes with young Cox are almost creepy.

I heartily recommend this one - a fun, romantic story. What I found interesting was that my friend and I were the only women in the theater - the rest were guys. Another friend reported a similar situation in the showing she attended. So, you may meet your own Tristan at a screening!


Becoming extinct?

According to this article (and to the newest edition of National Geographic), redheads could become extinct - as soon as 2060. Man, I forgot to do my part to continue on the species....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Outlander at Fenway Park

I'm trying to get all my photos organized. And I'm almost there! Here are some highlights of my most recent trip - three games at Fenway, Boston vs. the Orioles. It was a fantastic trip! I got to celebrate the trade deadline deal that brought us Eric Gagne - and his first appearance at Fenway. I got my picture taken with Remy (a perfect match with my Don Orsillo pic from Atlanta!). I met up with my cousins - and godfather, "Uncle Buck" - at the Wednesday game - Cuz David got us a VIP tour of Fenway, including being on the field for Batting Practice! My hours in the Virtual Waiting Room for tickets paid off well - I was really happy with all my seats. I was in the Field Boxes Tues and Thursday (especially great were the seats for the Thursday day game - under cover from the bright sun and a bit cooler) - and in those great dead center bleachers for Wednesday. Favorite bleacherite comment - to Patterson in center field for the O's: Hey, Patterson, get off my lawn!

I've got the photos from my June trip pretty well organized - look for the over the next few days.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rain Delay

Ugh. I hate rain delays, and I especially hate them when they fall in an away city. At home, you get some moderately interesting RS programming - stuff that's usually blacked out for those of us out of area. Things like the "Ultimate RS Show," "Sox Appeal," etc.

But in an Away city - like, tonight, Chicago - I'm blacked out of NESN coverage - even the rain delay programming. So I can watch WGN - and that Hawk Harrelson, ugh - or, well, or I guess I could watch some other games. I do pay for that EI package, after all.

Meanwhile, here's some fun. On this week's Friendly's Scoop on FSN New England, Jonathan Papelbon interviewed Mike Lowell. Some fun stuff!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lovely Lowell

Stole this screen grab off of Surviving Grady. Yum.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Review: No Reservations

As I continue to get caught up on movies, I attended an afternoon matinee of this little confection today. In this film (based on a German film called "Mostly Martha"), Catherine Zeta-Jones plays an executive chef named Kate, a woman with seemingly not much else in her life beyond her job in a restaurant kitchen. In the kitchen, she is totally in control - outside of work, well, 'nuff said. Her life takes a sudden turn with the death of her sister; the accident gives her custody of her young niece (another charming performance by Abigail Breslin). And to add to her chaos, a new sous chef arrives in the person of hotty Aaron Eckhart. If you can't predict the path this film will take, well, you haven't been to a movie or read a book in the past 100 years.

Still, if you go into it with no expectations beyond a light romantic comedy(which I did), you're in for an enjoyable two hours. I didn't feel a lot of chemistry between the two leads, but both give pleasant performances. There are several touching moments as Kate and Zoe grow closer, and Eckhart is always nice to look at. Yes, it's a chick flick, but an innocuous one, one that requires little of its audience.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Review: Hairspray

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm trying to get caught up on my movie-going. So, today, I caught the new musical, "Hairspray," and what a treat! It's based on the 1988 cult film classic by John Walter - but when I think about it, I don't remember having seen the original (which starred Ricki Lake and Divine).

The story: in 1963 Baltimore, teenager Tracy Turnblad loves the "Corny Collins Show" - a local version of American Bandstand. She dreams of dancing on the show and when an opening occurs, she cuts school to audition. However, Tracy is plus sized and is quickly sent away by the nasty producer Mrs. Von Tussle (a scenery chewing Michelle Pfeiffer). However, Corny sees Tracy dance - her moves influenced by the Black students she's met in detention - and signs her. Dramatic tension results when Tracy tries to get the channel to reinstate their monthly "Negro Day" - or to integrate the program.

The music is infectious - I wasn't familiar with any of the tunes, but they're quite catchy. The casting is faultless - each cast member is perfect for their part and perfect in their part. Unknown Nikki Blonsky is quite a find - a great voice, infectuous charm and sparkling in her part. That young Zac Efron (from "High School Musical") is a handsome young man who easily carries the romantic lead. The young stars are good - James Marsden, Brittany Snow and Elijah Kelly are particularly notable. And it's great fun to see John Travolta (as Edna), summer Block Island resident Christopher Walken, Allison Janney, and Queen Latifah shine in their roles.

A fun romp for the summer - great music, great cast, and good story.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Home at last...

I've returned from my second trip of the summer. A great four days in Boston - starting with the second concert at Fenway by the Police. The concert was awesome (I heard the Saturday night wasn't as good - and I think that's the performance upon which many reviews were based). I thought the trio sounded fantastic. In many ways, Sting still outshines the others in the charisma department (he looked incredibly hot!) - but the show reminded me that there were THREE talented musicians in the group. Their signature sound is not just Sting's voice, but also Andy Summers' guitar work and Stewart Copeland's driving percussion. The audience was totally into the show - singing along on every song. We even provided the backup vocals on "King of Pain"!

Other non-Red Sox highlights were seeing the Edward Hopper exhibit at the MFA; doing the Samuel Adams Brewery tour (hic!); and finally getting my Red Sox charity wines. And of course, three great games vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Photos to follow.

Following that was a relaxing, fun time on Block Island with my family. For the most part great weather - except for the day we were stuck in the middle of a fog bank. Again - photos coming.

Got back to town last night - after a 991 mile drive over two days. So to relax and let my mind soar, I took in the last day of an exhibit called Grandma Moses: Grandmother to a Nation. A great collection of the works of Anna Mary Robertson Moses. She taught herself to paint at age 73, and continued painting her "primitive" works until her death at age 101. Here' s one of her more famous works, "Sugaring Off."

Her works contain such minute details about life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during which time she lived in upstate New York. She became an icon in the 1950s and 1960s - her face appearing on hundreds of magazine covers and her works reproduced for the masses. A wonderful tribute to an amazing woman.

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