Saturday, November 29, 2008

Delicious Fenway Park

Globe Photos by Kim Knox Beckius

If I were to describe Fenway Park, "delicious" might be an adjective that I would use. It's the kind of place that begs you to drink it all in, to devour the experience and savor each tasty bite.

According to the Globe:
The Boston Christmas Festival's annual Gingerbread House Competition inspired the city's pastry chefs to outdo themselves in 2008...It took four Legal Sea Foods pastry chefs two weeks to create this Fenway Park confection. Their effort was rewarded with Best of Show and Kids' Choice honors at the 2008 Boston Christmas Festival Gingerbread Competition
Now that is yummy!

ETA: images removed due to copyright restrictions. Follow the link above to see them.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. By tradition, it's a day of overeating - and giving thanks for all the blessings of the past year.

So, what am I thankful for this year? It goes without saying I'm thankful for rediscovering my Sox - for the wonderful fun times, as well as the stresses and disappointments. I'd rather be disappointed that we lost in the ALCS than go back to those dark days when things were so bad, well, disappointment isn't even close to describing the accompanying feelings.

I'm thankful that in the midst of the current economic problems, I have a job - and a job I love. A job in a place where I'm appreciated, and cared for by the community.

I'm so thankful to have lived to see the first African-American president elected. To have experienced that Election Night - all the emotions - was awesome. I just hope some day I can give thanks for our first female President.

But I'm most thankful for my friends and family. I've struggled with some health issues of late, and my friends really stepped up and helped me out tremendously. Getting groceries for me, taking me to the doctor, just coming by and keeping my spirits up. I so appreciate all the little things they've done - I don't know how I'll repay them! But that's behind me now, the sun is shining today - all is right with the world!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! And now, I'm off to overeat and overconsume adult beverages! Cheers!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: Quantum of Solace

Another day off, another movie matinee! Tuesday, we caught the newest installment in the James Bond oeuvre, Quantum of Solace. Up front, I will admit to not being a big Bond fan. Yes, I've seen nearly all of the movies - and I do have a favorite Bond (Pierce Brosnan). But I've never been one to run off to the theater as soon as the newest opens. I usually wait a few weeks and then take it in. Which was the exact scenario for this latest film.

It's basically a sequel to the previous film, Casino Royale. Bond (Daniel Craig) is mourning the death of his babe in that film, and is out for revenge. He traces the perpetrators to a mysterious organization called Quantum, which seems to be running the world. Along for the ride - and to help him - is Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who was a victim of one of the organization's puppets. Okay, it's actually probably a lot more complex than that summary, but that's the best I can do in this small space.

Suffice it to say, there are tons of car chases, tons of man-to-man combat, a little sex and lot of innuendo, and a few vodka martinis. We also get a lot of psychoanalyzing of Bond - what motivates him, what his goals are, etc. Clearly, Daniel Craig's Bond is a Bond for the new century.

Unfortunately the director relies heavily on handheld camera work for many of the action scenes. While it plummets you into the middle of the action, I found it very difficult to follow who was who, to figure out who was winning. (It's also nauseating to try to follow that type of camera work, my chief peeve about that style) I would have loved to have had the glass concession on set - they must have used every piece of glass in the country. (It's surprising that more of the combatants don't suffer from severe lacerations). The locations are lovely, as is standard in Bond films.

I'm not warming to Craig's Bond, though. I'm not sure why - is he not pretty enough for me? Is he too monosyllabic? Is it his seeming lack of chemistry with every female costar except Judi Dench's M? Am I just tired of the franchise? I'm really not sure.

So, if you go into the theater expecting mindless action and violence, you'll love this film. If you're looking for'll be disappointed.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Review: Twilight

In general, I'm a big vampire fan. Not the scary, Nosferatu-type vampire. The sexy, Angel-Spike-type vampire. Face it - a vampire is the ultimate bad boy. A mortal peril to both your heart and your aorta.

So, when a friend recommended Stephenie Meyer's book, Twilight, I was intrigued. It had the seemingly winning combination of vampires and romance. I picked up a copy - and couldn't put it down. I found it so compelling - the story, the characters. The female protagonist, Bella Swan, appeals to every current and former angsty-teenager. And the male protagonist, the vampire Edward Cullen, well, he's swoon-worthy. I quickly ran through all four books in the series - although I found them less compelling as they progressed, and the final book dragged dreadfully in the middle.

I was quite anxious to see the film adaptation, which opened this past weekend. My buddies and I held out until Monday. The public schools are still in session, so we figured it would be a good opportunity to see it without hoards of screaming teenage girls. And since there were only a total of 5 people for the matinee - well, it was a smart choice.

Having loved the books, I worried how the adaptation would be. I shouldn't have fretted. It's a very faithful adaptation, and the screenwriter has incorporated much of the book's dialogue. For those who've been living without People or ET, here's the basic story. Bella goes to live with her father in the small town of Forks, Washington, after her mother remarries. She feels lost and lonely at first, until she spots the mysterious Cullen family in the school cafeteria. She is particularly taken with Edward, who seems totally repulsed by her. Well, it turns out they are a family of "vegetarian" vampires - forgoing humans and feeding instead on the wild animals in the Washington countryside. Of course, Bella and Edward fall in love - the ultimate forbidden love. Sigh.

I thought the film was very well cast. They were quite faithful to the books' descriptions and characterizations - although Edward wasn't as hot as I had pictured him! The Washington countryside is beautiful, breathtaking even, and the director really captured the dark murky atmosphere of the book. My one complaint is the same I have with the books - the love we see is all angst and sadness (I'd die without you...) - you don't see much of a joyful love, which is sad.

I'm not sure if reading the books is a prerequisite for enjoying the film. I was glad for some of the backstory that would have made the film ten hours long! But I also could pick up on some foreshadowing of what will happen in the next films. Because, yes, this will be a film franchise. The opening weekend box office was over $70 million - the largest film opening by a female director.

So, if you like this genre, if you like a romantic tale, go see Twilight. And if you want to sound hip to pop culture and the latest manias, see it also!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

I hate the hot stove

I am one fan who finds nothing fun or exciting about the hot stove season. Every time you open a paper or look at a website, the rumor mill is saying Masterson is about to be traded, that the FO is offering Tek $1.50 per game, that Papelbon has taken up knitting, yadda yadda yadda.

This time of year is especially taxing if you're a Mike Lowell fan. It seems like we have to sweat it out each year. Last year, it was waiting for a new contract offer. The year before, it seemed he was being offered to every team short of the Bruins. And, of course, the year before that, RS Nation was complaining about our being "forced" to take him in order to get Beckett.

Of course, the rumors are swirling over him again this year. Since his hip surgery in October, he has been subject to all kinds of trade stories. The talk is especially prevalent in articles about Mark Teixiera. If the Sox sign Teixiera, the stories go, he'll take over 1B and Youk will move back to his "natural" position at 3B. That leaves Lowell out in the cold.

Sitting Still photo

Yes, I know he's aging. That he's losing what little speed on the base paths he once had. That his offense is slowing down, and his defense is sure to follow. But he brings so much to the team. His leadership, his incredible rapport with all of the players. I know it's a mistake to get too emotionally attached to any of the players. It will only lead to the kind of heartbreak that accompanied the Damon trade. I trust in Theo to do what's best for the team.

But, damn, I'd sure miss this guy. The prettiness factor alone will drop substantially.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Paps

Happy Birthday to that crazy Riverdancin' fool, Jonathan Papelbon!!

(Okay, a little bit racy picture - but it's seriously part of the boy's pre-pitch ritual!)

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sox fans forever - The Boston Globe

Okay, I admit to being an obsessive planner. When I travel, I like to have a general itinerary prepared ahead of time for each day of the trip. When I head out for errands, I have a list of not only what I need, but the order in which I will hit each store. Part of it is trying to be efficient, part of it is a control issue.

So, it's only natural I sometimes think ahead to the plans and itinerary for my final trip. And when I came across this in the Boston Globe - well, you know this is now on the top of list!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


What a two year run for Dustin Pedroia. After nearly being benched in April 2007, with horrible stats all around, he not only regrouped, but surpassed everyone's expectations for his rookie year. The result: he was voted the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year.

So, I think we all expected a drop in production in the least, and a horrific sophomore slump at worst. But he proved us all wrong. He had a fantastic year, and his performance both on the field and at bat helped propel the Red Sox deep into the post season.

In recognition of his efforts, and for being a true spark plug on the team, the Baseball Writers of America today voted him American League Most Valuable Player! Yeah Pedie! This adds to his postseason hardware - the Silver Slugger Award and a Gold Glove.

Two great quotes from Gordon Edes on Yahoo Sports:

One of the first text messages Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia received after getting the official call Tuesday afternoon came from Boston Red Sox teammate David Ortiz.

“Congratulations, badass,” Big Papi wrote.

Short, balding and badass. That’s the look of the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2008, and while that may not be pretty, it captures the essence of the first AL second baseman in 49 years to win the award....

“How do you not love him,” one scout said Tuesday. “He brings energy to the table, he plays with passion. Every manager in the American League will tell you they’d love to have him. He plays like a giant.”

Knowing Pedie, he will not let any of hist teammates forget this honors when he shows up for Spring Training. And I think he's more than earned bragging rights! Way to go Dustin!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The next Doctor?

I know this clip is making the rounds, but I had to share. It's a teaser for the Doctor Who Christmas special!

I love David Tenant in this role - and I'm sorry to hear he's giving up the Sonic Screwdriver....

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Filling the off-season

The off-season leaves me scrambling. When your life seems to have revolved around live baseball almost every evening, when there's nothing showing on NESN except "The Mad Fisherman," when the hot stove isn't making the days until Truck Day seem any closer....well, you find yourself channel surfing. And finally getting the chance to sample some of this year's new programming.

I was particularly excited to find programs featuring two of my favorite actors, actors who seem to have escaped general notice, usually appearing in supporting roles in smaller films. And as the memories of Jacoby stealing a base, Tek behind the plate, and Mikey Lowell posing at third, I've had to find alternative eye candy.

Example #1: Simon Baker, "The Mentalist"
I've admired Simon for several years. He played the rogue who tried to capture Anne Hathaway in "The Devil Wore Prada," but also totally charmed me in a small film called "Something New," playing the hot gardener who steals Sanaa Lathan's heart. In this new series, he plays a former tv psychic (think John Edwards), who goes to work for the FBI as a consultant after his wife and daughter are murdered. I really like the show! His character, Patrick Jane, uses his powers of observation to help solve cases, and the team with whom he works has a really great chemistry. The cases aren't always hard for an astute viewer to crack before the team, but the hour is really enjoyable. (And as if Simon Baker weren't enough, check out Owain Yeoman as Wayne Rigsby - yum)

Example #2: Rufus Sewell
The other show I was highly interested in seeing is "Eleventh Hour," another crime drama. It stars Rufus Sewell, who has been a favorite of mine for years. Sewell does a great smarmy, mean character - and he's done that character in film after film. So I thought it would be refreshing to see him in more of a straight role, playing Dr. Jacob Hood, the "FBI's science guy." Another damaged character, although we only know that he's widowed. (Where are all these hot widowers in real life??) I enjoy seeing him on a weekly basis, but the show has left me cold so far. It's way too talky - they seem to spend a lot of time explaining and providing background, and not enough on real action. The show may improve, if it's given time to find its feet. I'll keep watching, but it's one I can frankly watch while doing something else.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Hardware for Dustin

Congratulations to Dustin Pedroia. He's collected some more post-season hardware, winning the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award for AL second basemen. From the news release:

The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball® coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2008. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.
And now maybe, MVP?!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yeah Cyn!

I have to give a hearty congratulations to my pal Cyn, who was chosen by WEEI in Boston "One of the Next Great Sports Bloggers"! I walk among giants....


One less thing to stress over

Good news this morning, via Joe McDonald on

Farrell released this statement Monday night:

"I have withdrawn my name for consideration by the Seattle Mariners as they search for a new manager. I wish them well as they move forward. My decision is based on family reasons and being committed to the Red Sox Organization. The working relationship shared with Theo and Tito and the resources provided by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino create a situation that is both challenging and rewarding."

Although I love watching all the young men of our team, when I attend a game, I inevitably find my lens trained on #52. I'm glad I'll continue to have that pleasure in 2009.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I guess that it was inevitable, in light of this week's historic election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President, that Turner Classic Movies would pull out the landmark 1967 film, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." (Starring: Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier - as well as Hepburn's niece, Katherine Houghton - all pictured above) It was actually a funny coincidence - we have this film in our library collection, and brought it home this weekend to watch!

It's really interesting to watch the film today. Of course, Poitier is referred to constantly as a "Negro" and even (gasp) "colored." But the basic story - liberal parents forced to confront their subconscious prejudices when their daughter decides to marry an African American - still rings true today. I was struck by several scenes. For example, Poitier confronts his father, and says things will never change until their generation - those who can only see themselves as a "colored man and not a man" - dies. Or when Tracy asks Poitier what future he sees for their child - Poitier says that his GF predicts it'll be President of the US (with a rainbow colored administration), but he'd settle for Secretary of State. Hmm...a little be prescient, eh?

It's also poignant to watch, knowing that Spencer Tracy died just 17 days after the end of filming. Hepburn - his lifelong love - propped him up and kept him going for the duration of filming, probably knowing this would be his last film. The scenes where Tracy talks about his love for his wife - wow, I was bawling - and you can see that the emotions on Hepburn's face were much more real for her.

It's a film that stands up today - not only as a record of our country at that moment in our history, but as a milepost for how far we've traveled since. And it's amazing to think that Obama's parents were experiencing this same scene almost as this film was debuting. A white girl from Kansas and an African? Absurd....

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Our Gold Glover

Congratulations to the winner of the AL Gold Glove for second basemen - Dustin Pedroia! What an incredible twelve months he's had - World Series Champion, AL Rookie of the Year, a fantastic 2008 with the Sox, and now a Gold Glove. The capper would be the AL Most Valuable Player Award, which he richly deserves.

Pedie is only the second RS second baseman to win this award - the other being Doug Griffin (sigh) in 1972.

And I like to picture the scene at the Pedroia's yesterday when the award was announced:

I love that picture of Pedie's mom and dad. I think I snagged it from the Globe....

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What an awesome day

Amazing. That's all I can say. Last night was the incredible end to a 21 month odyssey for both our country and for Barack Obama, our President-Elect. (I'm tearing up just writing that title).

As someone who has lived in the South for over 25 years, I've seen some pretty amazing shifts in attitudes - and seen some who are still resistant to such changes. Subtle racism exists all around us - and not just below the Mason Dixon, I realize; it's just a little more overt here. Even today, some here are expressing disbelief that an African American will be our next President.

And yet, and yet. I look at my adolescent students and realize that most of them never saw the color of Obama's skin. They were able to look at the politician - no, at the statesman - and judge him by what he was saying. Some have confessed to me that they've been at odds with their parents during this election season. And yet, they've ignored their parents (as every teenager does) and supported their candidate.

The President-Elect has inspired the old and the young alike. I've watched my 22-year-old niece become inspired by him, so much so that she was volunteering 8 or 10 hours a day for the past few weeks. And she in turn inspired her mom to stand on a street corner with a "Honk for Obama" sign for hours this weekend.

Personally, I had not realized how much I wanted him to win until 11 o'clock last night. When NBC projected Obama as winner, as the cameras panned the jubilant crowd in Chicago's Grant Park, I suddenly realized that I was sobbing. What an incredible, historic moment. One that I feel blessed to have been a part of and to have witnessed.

Today, truly, anything seems possible.

Even signing Tek for a reasonable price.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Do it!

Vote today!


Monday, November 03, 2008


Hilarious video via my pal JB:


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Undecided voters

The Presidential election is now just two days away. Because I've been home lately, I've been watching a lot of the coverage. Okay, I admit it, I can't imagine anything happening at this point that would turn me into a Republican supporter. I've been firmly in the Democratic column since...oh...well, since my one young mistake of voting for Reagan. Twice.

But I can't imagine ANYONE at this point truly being undecided. How, after all these months (years) of primaries, conventions, debates, ads, misinformation - how can you have NO opinion?? But apparently, there are some out there, and today's New York Times has interviews with several. This part in particular kills me:
While many people in this campaign-saturated country are relieved that the election will soon be over, some of the undecideds figure, What’s the rush? “I might flip a coin,” said Vasilios Gerovasiliou, 64, of Concordville, PA
Flip a flippin' coin?? In one of the most important elections in recent memory, you would flip a coin??

What's frightening is the outcome of the election - and the future of our country - could be decided by wishy-washy voters like this.

Whatever your opinion, wherever you stand, whoever you support - GET OUT AND VOTE ON TUESDAY!

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