Archive for January, 2012

When I was growing up, Baghdad sounded wonderfully exotic and ancient. After all, it was in Mesopotamia, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates, which is “widely considered to be the cradle of civilization.”

The meaning of the city’s name may be a “Middle Persian compound of Bag ‘god’ + dād ‘given’, translating to ‘God-given’ or ‘God’s gift’…A less probable guess has been Persian compound Bağ ‘garden’ + dād ‘fair’, translating to ‘The fair Garden.’ Regardless of the derivation, I had believed for some time in my youth that there was a literal Garden of Eden at one point, and it was located somewhere around there.

While the city’s roots date back to ancient Babylon, as a settlement as far back as 1800 B.C., in 762 A.D. Read the rest of this entry »

Fairly early on in my reading of film critic Roger Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, I decided that, if I were ever to write my own autobiography – not that I necessarily would – it should be modeled on this book. Organized thematically, with an overarching, but not strict, chronology, using short chapters (55 in 420 pages).

But I’m probably not going to write mine because I doubt I could be so descriptive. Ebert remembers things from his childhood which would have eluded me writing about mine. More importantly, though, he writes with incredible honesty. The very first line encapsulates the sensation: “I was born inside the movie of my life.” Yet, though known as probably the premiere movie critic of his time, he got the job “out of a clear blue sky,” and without much thought that it would be his life’s work.

Since I’ve started following him on various movie review TV programs Read the rest of this entry »

My Week with Marilyn was based on a couple non-fiction book first published in the late 1990s. The Wife and I saw the film last Saturday at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, NY.

In 1956, Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is directing and starring in the movie ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ in London. He hires American film icon Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) to costar with him. The 30-year-old MM, accompanied by new, third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), is a sensation to the crowds in England. But Read the rest of this entry »

There was some discussions among Republicans recently about whether ex-felons should be able to vote. Rick Santorum favored allowing felons to vote after they’ve served their prison sentences. Mitt Romney said he didn’t think people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again. You won’t hear me saying this much, but I agree with Santorum.

I used to believe ex-felons should have the right to vote restored because they had served their time. NOW, I believe Read the rest of this entry »

I found that this past week or so, I’ve had no free writing time to post to this blog. Part of it was self-inflicted. I saw parts of four football games this past weekend, though I did record them all and fast forwarded through a lot of them – GO, NEW YORK GIANTS! (The key to pulling that off without accidentally getting the scores is to avoid all media – standard, such as TV and radio, as well as social, such as e-mail and Twitter.)

I also saw two movies with my wife last weekend, including a Golden Globe winner, and read one book (THAT book, Jaquandor), none of which I’ve had time to review. I had an article due for my church’s newsletter. I am also the compiler of an sermon evaluation team, which is part of one of my pastor’s educational requirements.

So I got nothing. Well, you could read Read the rest of this entry »

I remember reading in someone’s blog late last year, “Please give me someone else to vote for besides Barack Obama.” It was a plea to the US Republican party regarding the November 2012 Presidential election. So far, that wish has not come true. The Republican base’s fear of Mitt Romney, I believe, is well founded; his positions seem to follow the wind. The flaws of the rest of the field are too numerous, too exhausting to mention, but certainly including their collective racial polarization, Rick Perry’s sheer ignorance of even his own position on issues, and Newt Gingrich’s hubris.

This is not that I’m that enamored by the incumbent. There are all of the campaign promises he made that not only did not fulfill, he went 180. The recently-signed legislation which would deny suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens seized within the nation’s borders, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention are among the elements that are terrifying to me. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m at my allergist’s office a week ago Monday morning, waiting the requisite 30 minutes after my injection, when I see this story on the TV news about a 21-month-old boy “found dead in a Troy apartment Saturday night. Officials say… Avery James Cahn was left unattended by his caretaker, who police found and brought in for questioning, but was later released.”

My wife and I attended the funeral last Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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