Tuesday, July 31, 2007
The disc that got me going on this kick is called, "90's Rock". It features songs such as "Lovefool" by the Cardigans, "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms, "Linger" by the Cranberries, "Right Here Right Now" by Jesus Jones, "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something, "The Freshman" by Verve Pipe, and "Closing Time" by Semisonic.
I wasn't really much into pop music in the 90's (I was a big country fan), but it is pretty cool to be rediscovering it. My favorite radio station to listen to when I'm working is AOL's 90's Pop.
A couple days ago, I listened to the very first "Now" CD (it came out in '97 or '98). Some of my favorites on it are (laugh if you want) "Mmm Bop" by Hanson, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, and "If You Could Only See" by Tonic.
Ahh, the 90's were somethin' else, weren't they?
That stuff is tasty, especially with taco sauce on it. Whenever another party had a birthday to celebrate, a lady would come out with a horn and ask for everyone's attention. She would sing, "Happy Birthday" to the person (usually a child) and then after the song was over, sirens placed on the ceiling would flash and make noise. If we still had room after the pizza, we would sometimes be able to get an ice cream cone for dessert. They had at least a dozen flavors in which to choose from. Also, sometimes the waitresses would blow up helium balloons at a stand and give them to the younger kids. Sometimes out in the parking lot, one of the kids would let go of their balloon. It was quite a sight to see it fly high above the river town to an unknown destination. The Happy Joe's in Winona closed in the mid-80's. A restaurant called Golden China is there now. Time went by and memories of Joe's faded. There was still a Happy Joe's located in Onalaska, a city near LaCrosse. But not having a car for most of the 90's prevented me from ever going there.
In the early 00's, with my childhood nostalgia running high, I went with a friend to the Onalaska location. It was quite a trip down memory lane, like going back in time. They still did the birthday thing, still had a viewing area where you could make sure that no one spat into your pie, and the food was as good as I remembered it. Over the last half decade, I've gone there at least 3 times a year.
A couple years ago, I went with my friend, Shanon. We were at Goodwill looking around and I saw one of my sister's children. I knew my sister was close, so looked around and found her. She said she was heading to Joe's shortly. I told her we had the same plan. She said my brother, Matthew Patthew, was also gonna be there. I was able to catch up with both siblings that day.
In late '05, me and Shanon met my mom at that same Happy Joe's. She hadn't eaten at a Joe's since we were kids. Who should walk in but my uncle Pete (dad) and his wife. So we all sat down together and were able to shoot the shit. Good times. But that's why they call it Happy Joe's, innit?
In February of '6, I went to Illinois for a funeral. The day I drove back was Super Bowl Sunday. I don't need to tell you that I ate at Joe's that afternoon while looking forward to the big game that night.
I brought my video camera to Joe's one evening with Shanon, his gf, and Art fart. I taped about 8 minutes, including a b-day celebration. Watching the tape, I can now go there without leaving the comfort of my home. Nothing beats the real thing, however. So not too long ago, me and Shanon returned there yet again and had the usual (he drank a suicide, by the way). We topped it off with a couple sundaes and went home happy. There were about 4 pieces of pizza left over. I said he could have all of them. He planned to eat them for lunch the next day, but was afraid his roommates would eat them if he left the slices in the refrigerator. So he decided to leave the stash in his car that night. Man, that kid's got it bad for the good stuff.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. “This is not a cat that’s friendly to people,” he said.
Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.
She was convinced of Oscar’s talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn’t eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.
Oscar wouldn’t stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor’s prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient’s final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.
Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don’t know he’s there, so patients aren’t aware he’s a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.
No one’s certain if Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.
Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa’s article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.
If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it’s also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.
Nursing home staffers aren’t concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.
Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”
Monday, July 23, 2007
I was first introduced to Adam Sandler way back in 1992 when he was a supporting cast member on "Saturday Night Live". Along with Chris Farley, he was my favorite sketch artist. Just seeing him walk on stage was enough to get me laughing.
I was fortunate enough to be able to see him perform stand up at Winona State University back in '92 (The ticket price was $1). He was hilarious and brought the house down with a spot-on impression of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam was super-hot at this time). If you had told me then that he would go on to become a huge movie star making tens of millions per movie, I would have been happier than a pig in slop. I could not get enough of the guy.
I loved the first movie in which he had a starring role, "Billy Madison" as well as his next movie, "Happy Gilmore". Both crude, obnoxious, and unapolegetic. Next came a passable action-buddy movie with Damon Wayans called "Bulletproof". In 1998, "The Wedding Singer" was released. It was a good movie, but no where near as funny as his first 2 films. The "sweetness" of his character had been jacked up. There were less laugh-out-loud moments and more "cute" ones. And that has been my biggest problem with his more recent movies (2003's "Anger Management" is my favorite movie of his from the last 5 years).
Will his new pic, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" be too earnest at the expense of laughs? I'm not sure, but I'll let you know.
Friday, July 20, 2007
"This is probably the worst," Hulleman said Thursday, recalling how she poked through vomit and dog piles left in the yard to recover the cash.
Hulleman had asked her mother in Oakdale, Minn., to take care of Pepper and Zach, the family's other dog last month while she and husband went on vacation.
Pepper, an 8-year-old black Labrador-German shorthair, got into a purse belonging to her mother's friend and chewed the cash from an envelope.
Hulleman's mother recovered some of the money that Pepper spit out, thinking she had it all. But when Hulleman returned from the trip and went to clean up her dogs' mess outside, she noticed a $50 bill hanging from one pile.
The chore of sorting through dog feces netted about $400, the 50-year-old dog lover said. Between that and other bills that Pepper had either vomited or simply chewed on, the family recovered $647.
"We have a $100 bill that can't be recovered because you need three-fourths of a bill and it is only half of a bill," Hulleman said.
The family swapped the soiled money for fresh currency at a bank.
"It wasn't that bad. I soaked it and strained it and rinsed it. I just kept rinsing it and rinsing it. I had rubber gloves on of course," Hulleman said.
"Everyone said, 'I can't believe you did that.' Well, for $400, yeah, I would do that," she said.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
In October, I caught Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro in "Meet the Parents". This is another one that wasn't as funny as I was hoping, but was passable, I guess. I got more laughs out of "The Ladies Man".
Richard Gere starred as a gynecologist in the weak, "Dr. T and the Women". "Pay It Forward" had a great message though the film wound up being a bit overwrought. I found "Charlie's Angels" to be quite fun. "Blair Witch 2", on the other hand, was one of the worst movies I've ever seen (I did like the first one). I found Adam Sandler as the son of the devil in "Little Nicky" quite amusing. One of my fave lines from it:
Nicky: I'm from the South. The Deep South.
Jim Carrey was good as the "The Grinch", but personally, I found the film a bit lacking in heart. Schwarzenegger was pretty good in the near-future thriller, "The 6th Day", but I felt the film came apart a bit at the end. If you're not familiar with the movie, it's about a man who meets a clone of himself and then stumbles into a conspiracy about clones taking over the world. "Unbreakable" was a solid suspenser starring Bruce and Samuel L.
One of my favorite dramas of all-time came out in November of 2000. Starring Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Rory Culkin, and Matthew Broderick, the movie is called, "You Can Count On Me". Here's a quick synopsis: A single mother's life is thrown into turmoil after her struggling, rarely-seen younger brother returns to town. The acting in the film is just perfect and the movie really is a great example of why I like going to the movie show frequently. Not every flick is a masterpiece, but when you see a really good one, it's all worth it. Sample dialogue:
Terry (Mark Ruffalo): Put on your seat belt.
Rudy (Rory Culkin): It pushes on my neck.
Rudy: It pushes on my neck, it's uncomfortable.
Terry: Well, when someone slams into us and you go sailing through the windshield, that's liable to be uncomfortable, too. Now, put on a seat belt.
Monday, July 16, 2007
One of the stories in "Eventual" is called "1408". I remember reading it one early evening laying on my bed. It was a pretty good read. Imagine my surprise when I heard that it was being made into a motion picture starring John Cusack as the protagonist. King films are usually a hit-or-miss affair, but there have been a number of good ones.
Earlier this month, the reviews started coming in for the new movie. They were generally positive. I didn't get around to seeing the flick over its first couple weeks of release, but finally managed to yesterday afternoon. Though it was only PG-13 and not R, there was plenty of creepiness to be found over the film's 94 minutes. Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson were both solid in a film that could've easily slipped off into the deep end.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Later that month, I saw a very funny, raunchy comedy called "Road Trip". "Shanghai Noon" was a pleasant film that starred Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. In an overview of Tom Cruise movies that I did some time ago, I mentioned how kick-ass "Mission Impossible: II" was (especially the motorcycle chase late in the movie).
Two of my all-time favorite comedies came out in the summer of 2000. The first reteamed Jim Carrey with the Farrelly brothers: "Me, Myself, and Irene". It was great to see Jim in an R-rated movie where he could swear up a storm without the restrictions of a PG-13 rating. The other was also R-rated, a sendup of horror movies put together by the Wayans brothers. I went to it 3 times that summer, "Scary Movie".
This is one of my favorite scenes from "Scary Movie":
CINDY: Hi. You had me worried there for a minute. I thought the killer got to you before I could.
INT. CINDY'S BEDROOM – NIGHT
INT. CINDY'S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT The party stops. The house shakes. Plaster falls from the ceiling. A loud howling noise is echoed throughout the house.
INT. CINDY'S ROOM – NIGHT Bobby feels himself ready to climax.
I saw Mel Gibson voice a rooster in "Chicken Run" and play a colonial-era revolutionary in "The Patriot". I also saw Bruce Willis in "The Kid". Harrison Ford had a good turn in the suspenseful "What Lies Beneath", Eddie Murphy was funny in "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps", Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones were OK, but a bit dull in "Space Cowboys".
J-Lo was really wack in "The Cell".
Here's a synopsis of that movie's plot:
Catharine Deane (J-Lo) is a psychotherapist who is part of a revolutionary new treatment which allows her mind to literally enter the mind of her patients. Her experience in this method takes an unexpected turn when an FBI agent comes to ask for a desperate favor. They had just tracked down a notorious serial killer, Carl Stargher, whose MO is to abduct women one at a time and place them in a secret area where they are kept for about 40 hours until they are slowly drowned. Unfortunately, the killer has fallen into an irreversible coma which means he cannot confess where he has taken his latest victim before she dies. Now, Catherine Deane must race against time to explore the twisted mind of the killer to get the information she needs, but Stargher's damaged personality poses dangers that threaten to overwhelm her.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Sometimes, you can’t stop your weight-loss secrets from leaking out.
Dieters have been flocking to drugstores to pick up Alli, the first over-the-counter weight-loss pill to be approved by the FDA, despite the scary warning: Stray too far from your low-fat diet and you just might poop your pants.
The drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has been up front about the pill’s side effects, suggesting that first timers wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work until they get used to the diet pill’s potentially yucky consequences.
Still, it seems there’s no shortage of people willing to risk public humiliation to shed a few pounds. Even though pharmacist Miyuki Anderson, who works at a Bartell Drugs in Seattle, warns everyone who eyes the Alli display about the messy side effects, it doesn’t stop most of them from buying the diet pill. (Anderson does, however, arm them with this helpful tip: “I tell the patients, try when you have a day off.”)
The drugmaker states very clearly that it’s no miracle drug, and only promises to help people toward moderate weight loss. For example, if someone were to lose 10 pounds from dieting, they’d lose 15 by combining their diet with Alli.
The diet pill works by blocking 25 percent of fat from being digested. Alli users take one pill with every meal, and to avoid an “Alli oops,” they should eat less than 42 grams of fat a day, or about 15 grams per meal. But those fat grams can be sneaky. One grande Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino contains 15 grams of fat, and if an Alli user adds even a low-fat muffin to that meal, it could get icky.
“It’s so important to understand that you must adopt a low-fat, healthy lifestyle,” Jones says. “We call them treatment effects — that’s a signal for you that you’re not staying in the guidelines. What Alli will not do is make up for not living a healthy lifestyle.”
But we don’t always like to bother with directions. Those who haven’t completely followed instructions offer cautionary tales on the drug company’s Web site.
“(I)’ve pooped my pants 3 times today, and sorry to get descriptive but it even leaked onto the couch at one point!” writes one user.
It can strike any time — even in the early hours of the morning. One user writes: “(Y)a know how when you start moving around in the morning ya pass a little gas. Well, I did and then went into the bathroom and to my horror I had an orange river of grease running down my leg.”
Fellow cheaters advise each other on the best clean-up methods, and some even suggest using panty liners or Depends. One frugal user noted, “I’m thinking that infant diapers might be a cheaper way to go, just use them as a large pad.”
The gross side effects might scare away the less-committed, but some experts appreciate Alli’s very real, very immediate consequences of cheating on your diet.
“It forces you to eat a lower-fat diet — if you don’t, you’re violently penalized for not doing so,” says David Sarwer, the director of clinical services at the Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders. “When they eat a little too much fat, they’ll learn not to do it again.”
The drugmaker claims Alli is promoting healthier lifestyles by teaching users that weight loss involves eating healthy food and getting enough exercise — and Sarwer agrees.
“People who are struggling with their weight assume that thin people never think about what they eat,” Sarwer says. “I’ve always been impressed by patients who really rolled with the punches with some of these events. They say, ‘Well, I learned that I couldn’t do that. It taught me to eat differently.’ And that’s where I think Alli can be the greatest benefit.”
Side effects are avoidable. Some Alli enthusiasts have been conscientious enough to avoid any side effects. Carole McMahan, who’s trying to lose 10 pounds, started taking Alli the day the product hit drugstore shelves on June 15, and has been careful to follow the low-fat diet.
“No pun intended, but I’m very anal about it,” says McMahan, who’s 44 and lives in Greensboro, N.C. She appreciates the way Alli holds her accountable to her eating habits.
“I started very cautiously, and I’ve just grown more and more comfortable with it,” McMahan says. “I just follow the diet. I knew I couldn’t go out and order hot fudge cake.”
Still, as some obesity experts point out, if you’ve made a change in your eating habits, why is a diet pill necessary? Drewnowski, the Seattle public-health researcher, says that hearing “Alli oops” stories frustrates him.
“I think it's utterly revolting, frankly,” Drewnowski says. “It controls your life — you focus on it all day. It’s like walking around with a colostomy bag.”
Instead of investing money in a diet pill, he encourages people to take the money they would’ve spent on Alli and put it toward buying healthier food. (A 20-day supply of Alli costs about $45 to $55.)
“See how much money you are spending on food daily,” Drewnowski says. “Factor in the extra amount for this drug and spend the entire amount on better food. You'll be happier and better nourished — and not obese.”
He adds, “I can't think that a healthy lifestyle requires carrying a spare pair of underpants.”
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I had just bought a slingshot and wanted to practice with it. I remember going into the blue building and the garage door was open, the one facing Broadway. I saw a screw laying on the floor in there and loaded it into the slingshot.
This guy in a station wagon passed by and stopped at the stop sign. He then started driving up the block. I walked out of the garage and just aimed up the street at him. I couldn't believe it, it took out his back window with the first shot I ever made with that! His brake lights came on, and he majorly hit them hard, his whole rear end came pretty high up off the ground. He must have thought someone was shooting a gun at him.
I flew back into the garage and then came out that one door facing the brown building and never ran so fast into the house and then hid out for a while.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
On Friday evening, I was with some friends on the patio of a bar. We were all sitting around a fire pit. I went to the bar to get a beer for my main squeeze. I headed back to the pit with her change in my hand. I thought of something amusing I could do and went for it. With 6 bucks in my hand, I pretended to trip just a few feet from the pit and then bent over forwards, getting really close to the fire in the process (the bills were just a few inches from the flames). A few people started laughing (it's not difficult to make those who've had a few do so) and I took another sip of my driver. That's summertime for ya.
Enjoy your 4th, kiddies!
Monday, July 02, 2007
In the early part of the year, I saw "Snow Day". Not the greatest, but it was good to see Chevy Chase back. "Boiler Room" was an interesting "Wall Street"-type movie. My favorite scenes were the ones in which Ben Affleck, as a successful businessman, was "motivating" his underlings:
Jim Young (Ben Affleck): They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby. Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn't fucking have any. There's an important phrase that we use here, and I think it's time that you all learned it. Act as if. You understand what that means? Act as if you are the fucking President of this firm. Act as if you got a 9" cock. Okay? Act as if. You become an employee of this firm, you will make your first million within three years. I'm gonna repeat that - you will make a million dollars.
I was a big fan of the "Scream" movies, so was first in line for the final installment, "Scream 3". It was a decent send off for the trilogy. "Hanging Up" was a total chick flick starring Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton. I didn't care for it very much. Same goes for Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry in "The Whole Nine Yards". Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire were fantastic in "Wonder Boys", however. I look forward to revisiting the film sometime soon. Me and Shanon went to see Garry Shandling in "What Planet Are You From?" (pretty weak). "Erin Brockovich", on the other hand, was excellent with Julia very deserving of the Oscar she won for it.
One of the most compelling plots for a movie can be found in "Final Destination": "Alex, a teen has a premonition that a flight he's on headed to France will crash. He convinces his friends not to board the flight and the plane does crash. Soon after though, the teens are stalked and killed by Death who is intent on collecting the souls of those who cheated it". It does make you wonder if there is a certain time in which one is "supposed" to die and what happens if you don't. The opening 30 minutes of the movie are just fantastic.
I saw "Malcolm in the Middle's" Frankie Muniz in the heartwarming, "My Dog Skip".