Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Birthday Milestone

Today marks a milestone in my best pal's life. James turns 40 today. As of this date, James and I have been friends for 32 years and change. One of the things which binds us is the fact that our birthdays are exactly 7 days apart. Over the last 3 decades, we have hosted some darn fine birthday bashes. I am grateful that I am able to share this particular milestone with him in Seattle this weekend. Bash 4-0, he we come! Here are some photos:



This is us at age 20. Notice the cool 80s hairstyles and shades. To document the fun we have had through the years would take volumes, but it would be well worth the read.







Here we are last year at our 20th high school reunion. More weight, less hair, and slightly aged like a fine wine. Happy birthday, my friend. I will see you when I step off the plane at SeaTac! Yippie Kai Yay!

Spreading Some Cinematic Yuletide Cheer

For those rare quiet holiday moments, allow me to offer my top five favorite Christmas flicks in no particular order:



A Charlie Brown Christmas. No holiday is complete without viewing this classic with your family. I remember that when I was young, there was only one chance per year to watch CB. Now I own the DVD and can watch as many times as I wish!




Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is one of my all time favorite holiday flicks. One of the most stellar performances ever by James Stewart tops this must see Christmas DVD.






Okay, so I dig Die Hard as a pertinent Christmas Classic. Sue me.








The Family Stone is one of the best holiday films I have seen in years. A well-rounded cast headed by Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker along with Luke Wilson, Craig T. Nelson, and Dermot Mulroney bring Christmas in the 21st century alive. No special effects, no guns, and no explosions (see above). Just well portrayed drama that will tug your heart strings and make you hug your Mom.


I first saw Home Alone on the big screen when it debuted. I have watched it every year since then, and I never tire of it. The first time I watched it, I laughed so hard my ribs ached. My family and I watch it on Thanksgiving night every year. They never tire of it either.
Honorable mentions are The Family Man with Nicolas Cage, and Star Trek: Generations. Merry Christmas and a happy VIEW year!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Couldn't Resist



What would an appropriate caption be for this comical photo?

Mad props to Rick for the photo; thanks to Verizon for the effect.

Reconnected and It Feels So Good


One of the thorns in my flesh lately has been my cell phone. It had a bad battery and could only hold a charge for one phone call. One of the benefits of my recent employer was the use of a company cell phone in place of my crappy personal phone. Sadly I had to turn the work phone in this morning as I was being laid off. On the way home I stopped in the local Verizon store and used my free upgrade. I was able to pick up this LG-VX9900 for nothing. I must confess that getting a better phone did help alleviate the pain of the layoff. Now I can use my cell phone again, and I won't need to take a camera to Seattle!

Alive and Rickwell


Been offline for a few days due to technical issues. In my impending old age, I totally forgot to meet the guys for breakfast last Saturday. My apologies to Rickwell, George, and Chuck. I'm sure you guys had a blast, even without little ol' me.
Thanks also to Rickwell for his friendship and concern for yours truly. These last few days have been rough. As of this morning, several of my co-workers and I are on the unemployed list. We suspected that it was coming, but it made the blow no less painful. I have many "hooks" in the job pond, and I am hoping for a nibble in the short term.

Meanwhile, my wife, children, and pal James have given me a trip to Seattle for my birthday. I am looking forward to spending time with the K's and catching up on some live jazz. I fly out of CLT on Thursday, and I will be home in time to face the realities of turning 40 and having no job. On the upside, I have a very big interview on my birthday. I intend to use the birthday to my advantage. This job would provide much more security and stability than I have had in a long time. Please pray.
I am truly blessed with the support of a beautiful family and a great group of friends.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Movie Review

Realize that I am always a bit behind on my movie viewing. I usually have to wait until a film is released on HBO before I can actually see it. I finally caught The Departed. It is a story of two men, on opposite sides of the law, who are working undercover with the Massachusetts State Police trying to nail the Irish Mafia. Because the film was direct by Martin Scorsese, I had high hopes. Sadly, by the end of the film, many of my hopes were dashed.

Yes, I realize that the film won 4 Oscars. I have come to expect more from Matt Damon, however, and I feel he was the weakest link of this film. Thankfully he did not employ the overkilled Boston accent he used in Good Will Hunting. I was also disappointed in Leonardo DiCaprio's performance. I have a great deal of respect for his work as well, but felt let down this time.

Also in the cast were Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin. There were some high spots with each of these, but ultimately, for me, the only redeeming quality of The Departed was a stellar performance by Jack Nicholson as Irish mobster Frank Costello. Nicholson, as always, created a dynamic character. Does this guy ever bomb?

The plot kept me hanging but totally deflated me at the end. I liked the cast ensemble, but was looking for more from them and they never delivered. The story was intriguing, but I feel the ending was written during a coffee break. Had I bought a ticket to this movie, I'd have felt ripped off.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Helping A Good Friend

A buddy of mine asked me for help in promoting some sites. David is a veteran of the Investments industry and a Christian brother. He advises his clients according to biblical principles and is not out to make a quick buck. If you have some IRA rollovers or money to invest, let me know and I will hook you up with David. Meanwhile, visit these sites:

www.smartmoney777.blogspot.com
www.behindthefed.blogspot.com
www.smartmoneyquotes.blogspot.com