Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On the Sixth Day God Made the Velociraptor

While killing time at work today I saw a curious banner ad… “CREATION VACATIONS: Building a biblical worldview … one destination at a time.” I clicked and read up on the site’s top destination: Petersburg, Kentucky’s Creation Museum.

One of its featured exhibits: Dinosaurs Alive!

“Dinosaurs remain one of the world’s greatest mysteries. Where did they come from and how did they die? The key that unlocks this mystery is God’s Word. A series of displays in the two-story-high Dinosaur Den explains that dinosaurs were created on Day Six along with all the other land animals. Like so many other creatures, however, dinosaurs eventually went extinct in the radically different environments that arose after the Flood.” – answersingenesis.org (AiG)
I’m working and don’t have time to disagree with God’s Word right now. I just thought I’d share.

Jeff’s Music Review: Together Through Life

Bob Dylan’s new album Together Through Life came out yesterday and while it is not yet included among my tangible possessions (all discretionary spending has been suspended until after July 25, 2009), I have nonetheless listened to the album in its entirety no less than a half dozen times. I now feel qualified to share my thoughts…

I love it. Dylan’s 33rd album doesn’t seem to be make any big statement. Rather, it’s an enjoyable bluesy romp - an outright celebration of ordinary America.

(It’s too bad Bob didn’t send me an advance copy, he could have included that paragraph on his promotional materials. Ah well, maybe next time).

“Some people, they tell me I have the blood of the land in my voice,” sings Dylan on “I Feel A Change Coming On.” Early in his career, the young Dylan strained to sound older (and wiser) than he was. Now 68, he’s acquired that hardened, gritty voice he’s been after. Coupled with the bluesy melodies and his typical sentimentality, it will easily satisfy any Dylan fan.

There is no shortage of striking moments. Stand out tracks include “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” “Forgetful Heart” and the aforementioned “I Feel a Change Comin’ On.” In fact, the only song among the album’s 10 ambling tracks that didn’t resonate with your humble reviewer was the Latin-flavored “This Dream of You.”

The only “complaint” I’ve heard about this album is that to some, it feels hastily constructed. And while the naysayers aren’t wrong (it was cut swiftly and rushed into stores), I’ll full-heartedly disagree. The album feels casual and intimate, distancing Together Through Life from Dylan’s other recent work.

It’s nice to hear Dylan, America’s greatest poet-songwriter / grizzled old man, relax and just jam. You can tell he’s enjoying himself; you can hear his smirk.

Verdict: A-

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jeff’s Movie Review: The Soloist

A welcome interruption to Emily’s weekend-consuming NFL Draft marathon, we went to see The Soloist yesterday morning, a movie we’ve been waiting months for. Our expectations were high since Emily dubbed this preview, the “perfect trailer.”

I liked The Soloist more than most triumph-over-adversity movies. Probably because it’s based on a true story and feels more believable than most. While it skirted the clich├ęs of underdog sentimentality, it ultimately reached a realistic conclusion... not necessarily the one everyone hopes for.

Jamie Fox and Robert Downey Jr. we’re brilliant, as you’d expect. But I thought the directing was pretty terrible (it must be since I noticed it). Joe Wright made some interesting choices, including a pigeon montage and a minute-plus technicolor light show. Both scenes irritated me.

The Soloist, to me, felt like a movie made with the express purpose of winning awards. It won’t. While it came up short, I think it succeed in its gritty reality and sensitivity to the horrors of mental illness.

Rating:
3 “Schaibles”

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Bad Movie Comes to Life


A few months back, while Emily and I were visiting my folks, my father was watching one of his typically terrible movies: The Best of Times, a 1986 football (comedy?) starring Robin Williams and Kurt Russell.

Williams plays Jack Dundee, a dorky thirty-something banker who’s obsessed with the moment he dropped a perfectly thrown pass in the final seconds of a 1972 football game against the school’s arch-nemesis. Thirteen years later, a bunch of old men gather and play a muddy rematch in front of a frenzied crowd. I won’t spoil the result.

So why am I bringing this up? Because minutes ago, I saw this on CNN.com: Easton, Pa., and Phillipsburg, N.J., schools to settle score from 1993 tie game.

There will be no ties this time around. They're even breaking a century-old Turkey Day tradition, all in the name of who gets the bragging rights from that night so many years ago.

The players are now grown men in their early 30s. Hair is starting to turn gray, and waistlines have expanded. Some are family men, and most have full-time jobs. They had eight weeks to get back in game shape, and most jumped at the chance…

Gatorade, the sports beverage company, announced that it was organizing a replay: the same players, same coaches and the same field. NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning will serve as honorary coaches for the rival teams. Ten thousand tickets to the game were sold in 90 minutes.
Yes, they are playing a full-contact game. Ridiculous. It’s all fun and games until some old fart cracks his hip.

Apparently, if you’re interested in watching this spectacle (at 3pm on Sunday), footage of the game will be available on http://www.missiong.com/.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Apology to My Friends.

Disclaimer: I re-read this before posting, it’s very emo. Consider yourself warned.

Spoke to Zach tonight for nearly an hour on the phone. We caught up; it was nice. But it left me feeling slightly guilty.

One of my two notable college roommates at Northeastern (several are not worthy of noting), Zach will be in my wedding party in a couple months. I consider him one of my closest friends. We’ve probably spoken five times in the last year.

Another groomsman, Mike, is my high school best friend. We were kind of inseparable from ages 6 to 17. Over the last eight years, we probably speak, on average, two to three times per year. Again, one of my best friends.

The other college roommate, Steve, is my Best Man. My communications with Steve are almost exclusively via email… which is fine… but regrettably sporadic. He’s my Best Man and I haven’t the slightest idea what’s going on in his sunny Florida world.

I’ve never been particularly great at keeping in touch with people. A quick look at my cell phone’s dialed and received call log for the last month is littered with just two entries… “Emily” and “Parents.” That’s kind of pathetic, I know.

So that guilty feeling I mentioned… I kind of feel like I’m a below-average friend.

It’s not intentional; I’m not trying to slight or disrespect them in anyway, it probably has more to do with my debilitating laziness or my aversion to socialization (inherited from my father).

In summation: I'm sorry. Gentleman, I don’t talk to you often but you’re my best and closest friends. We should talk more.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Catching Up On Lost Time

It’s been awhile, I know, but this is what happens once baseball comes back.

So what’s been going on? Not much really. Emily and I spent Easter weekend with my folks. It was interesting but wouldn’t make a particularly compelling blog post. Need proof? Try to get through Emily’s recap without dozing off.

In lieu of a comprehensive play-by-play of everything that’s happened since I last posted, I thought I’d just share a few random thoughts.
  • Watched the beginning of yesterday’s New Yankee Stadium opener on the interweb. The Stadium looks amazing… the Yankees’ bullpen did not. Hopefully by the time I can scrap together enough sheckles to afford a nose-bleed seat, they’ll have the relief situation sorted.
  • I got a kick out of the part of the pre-game ceremony where they introduced some notable pinstriped alumni. There were the expected usuals (Yogi, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson) and some rather odd choices (Chili Davis and John Flaherty? Really?)
  • In other sports news… I saw a number of conspiracy theorists yesterday suggest that the Celtics delayed the Kevin Garnett announcement so that it wouldn’t affect ticket sales. Ridiculous… this is Boston; there is no chance a C’s playoff game wouldn’t sell out – Garnett or no.
  • Yesterday we hit the 100-day mark on the wedding countdown and I’m still planning on going through with it. I’m particularly excited about the honeymoon… London > Chipping Campden > Liverpool > Edinburgh.
A quick, eight-song mix of what I’ve been listening to lately…




Track Listing:
  1. Phoeniz – Lisztomania
  2. Jyrojets – Favourite Thing About Jane
  3. Bon Iver – Blood Bank
  4. Modest Mouse – You’re the Good Things
  5. Radiohead – House of Cards
  6. Yeti – Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder
  7. Tokyo Police Club – Your English is Good
  8. The Kills – What New York Used to Be

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Fools – Mixtape #4

A quick, eight-song mix of what I’ve been listening to this week (anchored by two new songs from The Killers):



Track Listing:
  1. Coldplay – Life in Technicolor ii
  2. The Killers – Four Winds (Unreleased)
  3. Latch Key Kid – Good Times
  4. Matt Costa – Mr. Pitiful
  5. Akon, Lil Wayne & Young Jeezy – I’m So Paid
  6. The Streets – When You Wasn’t Famous
  7. The Killers – Tidal Wave (Unreleased)
  8. Stereophonics – Handbags and Gladrags