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Archive for June, 2009

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If you need a good cry, click here…

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Pixar fulfills dying girl’s wish to see ‘Up’

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have something in my eye…

(Hat tip: Kushol Gupta)

Categories: Movie Talk | No Comments »

Linking WordPress to Facebook – My non-ideal solution

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Warning: This is one of those technical posts that won’t make much sense to many people, but will be a goldmine to those who have exactly the same problem I was just working on. OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin:

A few weeks ago, I became both a Blogger and a Facebook user. One of my first tasks on Facebook was to find a way to link my blog posts to my Facebook Wall & News Feed, so that my Facebook friends could read my posts without me needing to cross-post them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Blogging about Blogs, Tech Talk | 4 Comments »

Billy Joel separates from Katie Lee, 0-3 on marriages

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The news today says that Billy Joel and his wife of five years, Katie Lee Joel, have separated.

It calls to my mind the words he wrote back in February of 2007 (the only words he’s written in sixteen years):

All My Life, I’ve paid for my mistakes.
After a while, the strongest spirit breaks.

I’ve had heartache and pain that cut me deeper than a knife.
Ah, but those days are done, ’cause you’re the one
I’ve wanted All My Life

And I know very well there’s a long road to hell
that’s been paved with intentions like mine.

All My Life, my stars were surely crossed.
Now and then, I missed the love I lost.

But all that changed the day you said you’d be my wife.
Who could have known that finding you would only take me
All My Life.

Not so much, I guess…

NOTE: I’m not judging here – while I’m a big fan of his music, I don’t know Billy Joel, so I’m certainly not in a position to say what he did or didn’t do wrong in his life. It does occur to me that he’s now married three very different kinds of women – the smart, business-minded one, the beautiful, successful one, and the young and out-going one. And he hasn’t been able to make any of them stick.

My wife and I are coming up on our fifteenth anniversary. I can’t write beautiful words like the ones above, but I know today (as surely as I knew back in 1994) that our marriage will end when someone’s heart stops beating, and not before. So I guess what I’m saying is, today’s a good day not to take that kind of certainty for granted.

Categories: Family Matters, Words about Music | 1 Comment »

Blogging for a Rainy Day…

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Someone in my office, originally from Boston, having just been through a wet and lousy commute, commented that New Yorkers seem to get 30% dumber when they get wet.

Looks like we’re in for a pretty stupid week and a half:

Ugh…

Categories: New York, New York, Random Acts of Blogging | 2 Comments »

Partying Like With a Rockstar, Part 2

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Insanely loyal readers will remember this post from back in February of 2007, in which I recounted my opportunity to perform, along with the University of Pennsylvania Band, with Simon Kirke – the legendary drummer from the bands Free and Bad Company (the latter of which, by the way, is going out on a reunion tour this summer – check it out if you can!).

Anyway, this past weekend, I had the honor of performing with Simon again – this time as part of an actual rock & roll band (Midlife Crisis) on his hit tune, All Right Now.

Here’s some video (I’m the guy in the not-very-rock-and-roll tie, playing keyboard in the back):

The young gentleman playing drums along with Simon is my cousin’s son, in whose honor this party was thrown (Mazel Tov, Austin!). My cousin is Jason Engelhardt of RockStarz, Inc., who has produced an excellent instructional video in conjunction with Simon Kirke. I heartily recommend you checking that out as well, either at the link above, or if you catch the Bad Company reunion tour, you can pick one up at the show.

At any rate, the prep before the show and the subsequent family get togethers after the party/show are my official excuse for the reduced blogging frequency around here lately.

I hope you feel it was worth the wait. I certainly do…

Categories: Family Matters, Words about Music | No Comments »

McCain to America: Told ya’ so…

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I haven’t blogged about politics in quite a while (OK, I haven’t blogged about anything in quite a while, but that’s another story), but this caught my eye:

Obama Sees 10% Unemployment Rate, Chides Wall Street Critics

[Obama] left open the possibility he would have to raise taxes on most Americans to decrease the deficit if growth were too weak. He also indicated he might tax the most-expensive employer-provided benefits to help pay for his health-care revamp. Both would reverse pledges he made during the campaign.

The president has repeatedly said he would keep his presidential campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans while rolling back tax breaks for households making more than $250,000 a year. During the campaign, Obama opposed taxing employer-provided health-care benefits, a proposal gaining traction among Senate Democrats to pay for a $1 trillion health-care plan.

Throughout the campaign, McCain insisted that Obama would raise taxes on middle class Americans, despite the fact that Obama’s plans called for only raising them on the wealthy. McCain said that Obama’s record suggested he would revert to higher taxes when times got tough. This strikes me as the kind of perceptive thinking that McCain so successfully covered in a pile of talking points that I wound up voting for his opponent.

While link-hopping from this story, I also came across this from the final Presidential debate (Oct 15, 2008):

Obama: What I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut . . . What I want to emphasize . . . is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.

Compare that to this:

Seems a few dollars sqeezed through without an additional cut that matches, no?

And finally, on a lighter note (depending how you look at things, I guess) I know that Newsweek’s editor at large recently compared President Obama to God, but does that mean that Bloomberg needs to put a halo on him in their picture? Sheesh…

Categories: Political Rantings | 13 Comments »

ISBS Movie Review: Up

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Perhaps the only thing wrong with Pixar’s latest movie, Up, is that it’s a Pixar movie, and as such, parents of young children might expect a light-hearted romp with a mild morality lesson at the end like Cars or Toy Story. What they get instead is somewhere between Finding Nemo and Hamlet (OK, a lot closer to Finding Nemo, but make no mistake – this is heavy stuff).

Our story concerns a young boy who is painfully complacent. He watches movies and newsreels about great adventurers and their adventures, but his idea of an adventure is jumping over a crack in the sidewalk or pretending his helium balloon is an explorer’s aircraft. He meets other kids who are more daring, and although he desperately wants to be like them, it’s just not inside of him. Most of the time, he can’t even bring himself to speak. He just watches life go by.

The young boy eventually grows up, marries a nice girl, and lives a dull, ordinary life as a balloon salesman at the local carnival. In his elder years, his wife dies, leaving him all alone in their tiny little house with nothing but his memories of her and his regrets about all the “adventures” they never got to take together.

A real family fun-fest, huh?

From there, we have a bit more of what you’d expect from a Pixar movie. The man decides to go on one honest-to-goodness adventure before he dies, so he rigs his house with thousands of helium balloons and flies it to South America (obviously, one of his lifelong regrets is never having taken a high school physics class, but I digress). Turns out a boy scout is on his porch when he takes off, and along the way, they run into a pack of talking dogs, a giant, multi-colored bird, and one of the adventurers of the man’s youth. The ending is satisfying and touching, and I won’t ruin it for you here.

Up is excellent film making in just about every way. The characters are multi-layered and expressive. Good acting, except that they’re all animated, so there isn’t any acting at all (at least not physically). The story is well written, although there are a few “why did that happen?” moments, but nothing I couldn’t forgive for the greater good. And, of course, the movie looks fantastic. Pixar is truly Disney’s high-end brand now, and Up is no exception. I saw the 3-D version, which was understated enough to enhance the movie without distracting from it (if you have the opportunity to see it in 2-D, go for it – I don’t think you really miss much in this case).

As for the heavy stuff, yes – it is a bit stark, but no more so than Nemo’s mother or Simba’s father dying in Finding Nemo and The Lion King. As long as you (and your kids) know what you’re getting into, I don’t think there’s anything in this film that would be off-putting or inappropriate.

And if they get a little scared? Just tell them to wait for the talking dogs.

Squirrel!!

Categories: Movie Talk | 1 Comment »

Follow-Up Graph

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

As a follow-up to this, we have this:

(Hat tip: Jeff Porten)
 

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 1 Comment »

ISBS Movie Review: Angels and Demons

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

With Angels and Demons, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks take on another Dan Brown novel that deals with high drama in, around, and about the Catholic Church. Like The DaVinci Code before it, Howard and Hanks turn out an excellent movie – gripping in its drama, engaging in its many action sequences, and satisfying in its ability to wrap up all the loose ends with a satisfying “reveal” at the end. This is one of those movies that seems to end soon after it started, until you look at your watch and find out that more than two hours have flown by. It’s the kind of movie where you walk out of theater talking to your date/spouse/friend about the intricacies and implications of the plot.

Especially if you’ve read the book.

Seeing this movie after reading the book is like reading the Fodor’s book about England cover-to-cover and then getting off the British Airways flight in Rome. It’s like being hit in the face with a bucket of cold water, drying off, and then having it happen again. Like walking into your favorite Chinese restaurant and finding out that the special of the day is Chicken Parmigiana. Like whiplash, only with popcorn.

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Categories: Movie Talk | 2 Comments »

The ad Palm wishes it could run

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Hi, I'm an iPhone . . . and I'm a Palm Pre

Categories: Tech Talk | 2 Comments »

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