Sunday, December 30, 2007
Enjoy the trailer:
"The Darjeeling Limited" is a story about three brothers who, a year after their father's death and their mother's pointed absence from the funeral, make a spiritual journey through India. The eldest brother promotes it to the others as a way to find their center and come together again as brothers. However, there is an ulterior motive by the eldest to get the siblings to find their mother who has stolen away to the Himalayas to run a convent. The boys find their destination is not as important and life-altering as the journey itself.
In typical Anderson style, there is the theme of a dysfunctional family, novel cinematic angles (the overhead shot in particular), a robust mix of triumph followed by disappointment, and an underlying level of melancholy in each character. It was another fun Wes Anderson ride and we were sad to have to get off once the final credits rolled.
On the Gordon Scale, we both gave the "The Darjeeling Limited" a strong Matinee vote. If there were pluses and minuses in our grading, it would have garnered a "Full-Price Minus".
Thursday, December 27, 2007
15 years later, Barker somehow returns to London via ship. Dark and brooding, he changes his name to Sweeney Todd and vows revenge. He makes an acquaintance with Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) who runs a local meat pie bakery. He rents the upstairs from her, which at one time he resided in while Barker, then proceeds to exact his revenge. Revenge on one turns to revenge on all of humanity. But what to do with the bodies? Hmmm....meat pie, anyone?
The majority of the film is sung. Depp and Carter, historically not known for their singing, perform wonderfully. Per the usual Tim Burton film, the scenes are dark, the makeup ashy, and the story a touch twisted. "Graphic bloody violence" is indeed in full force here. I mean, how else to off someone while in a barber's chair? The blood however forsakes true realism in favor of a thick, bright, syrupy viscosity; the brilliant ruby hue is one of the few brightly lit spots in this otherwise somber atmosphere. Still, I couldn't bring Kimberly to see it even warning her to shield her eyes from the upcoming carnage.
Secondary storylines involve a sailor who befriends Todd on the ship who falls smitten for the judge's ward Johanna. That's right, the judge's ward: Todd's daughter. Another involves Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat; Da Ali G Show) as a flamboyant barber rival with a boy apprentice. The boy joins the Todd/Lovett team after "becoming unemployed". But it's best not to pry or know too much.
A twisted tale with engaging songs, subtle (and not-so-subtle) turns, irony, and tragedy. A good movie when all is said and done. Just watch out for those bloody neck pumpers.
Way back when, we had a fledgling site called kcgordon.com that included a movie section of films we've seen. We "invented" a Gordon Movie Scale based on how much of your hard-earned money it was worth investing in the film. This included from worst-to-best:
- Wait for HBO
- Order PPV
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" scores a rare "Full-Price" from Chris, and due to the gratuitous gore, an understandable "Avoid" from Kimberly.
Afterwards, we invited the neighbors over for dinner, wine, beer, dessert, and our gift exchange. Receiving the game Chocolate-opoly and also the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie on DVD? Sa-weet!!!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
If you missed it like we did, there will be an encore performance of all four performances later today on Christmas day. Fire up the TiVo! It stinks that we both work day shift and will miss them, but hey, we both DID volunteer to do so. So a commercial-free TiVo'd version of all four ballets is in our future very soon after work.
Here is the lineup:
8am - George Balachine's The Nutcracker
10am - Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker
12pm - Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker
2pm - Mark Norris: The Hard Nut
It then repeats at 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm.
Monday, December 24, 2007
In the spirit of the holidays, here's another David Sedaris reading. Back on December 20th, we posted his radio recording of "The Santaland Diaries" and hope you enjoyed it. Below is a three-part video of his reading of the Christmas essay "Six to Eight Black Men", 15 minutes or so of holiday frivolity. We love it, and hope you will too.
So now, the Brownies and the Tennessee Titans are both 9-6. The Browns play the NFC's 49ers next week, and the Titans play their AFC rival Colts. The Browns losing to the Bungholes (an AFC team) has resulted in the scenario that if the Titans beat the Colts (an AFC team), the Titans would have a better conference record and thereby make the playoffs...even if the Browns win and they end up with identical 10-6 records.
Tennessee wins and Tennessee's in. Tennessee loses and Tennessee's out. The Browns can just sit and watch, they don't even need to beat the 49ers. By virtue of a Titan AFC loss dropping them to 9-7, the Browns gain the edge in the tiebreaker if they too end up 9-7.
Basically, the House of Gordon is banking on this man to take it to the Titans and drop them to 9-7 this Sunday:
But of course, the Colts have the #2 seed locked up for the AFC playoffs no matter the outcome, so the above-pictured hero will most probably sit on the bench for most of the game, making a Titan victory all the more possible, leaving the Browns to yet again watch January football on TV like the rest of us.
It's so painful to be a Browns fan sometimes....
edit: per the Browns email newsletter, they state it much more succinctly:
The Browns and Titans are both 9-6 heading into the season's final week. The Titans play at Indianapolis in a game that means nothing to the Colts, who have clinched a first-round bye. If the Colts win, the Browns are in. If the Titans win, the Browns are out. Here's why...
**The Titans are 6-5 in AFC play; the Browns are 7-5. If the Titans win next week and finish 7-5, it goes to the third tiebreaker, common opponents, and the Titans win that based on the Browns' losses to Oakland and Cincinnati. The Titans lost to Cincinnati but beat Oakland, the Jets and Houston twice.
**The only way the Browns' result next week against San Francisco means anything in regards to the playoff race is if the Titans and Colts would tie. In that case, the Browns would be in with a win.
**Assuming the Titans and Colts don't tie, here's what lies ahead for the Browns: A win, and they're 10-6 and looking at the tiebreakers. A loss, and they'd still be in if Tennessee loses at Indy based on their 7-5 conference record.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The holiday season is a time for family, a time to give thanks -- and a time to think back on the year past.There have been many special moments this year as John and I have traveled around the country. It has been exciting and energizing to see thousands of people connect with John and respond to his message of change. And we have both been inspired by the support of people like you.This past week, John was joined by two of my favorite singers, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Take a moment to watch this video clip -- it captures the feeling of warmth and hope that we feel every day on the campaign trail. This is one of my favorite songs. I hope you will take a couple of minutes to watch it, and share it with your family and friends over the holidays.
John and I want to wish you and your family all the best for this holiday season. May it be a time filled with hope, warmth, happiness -- and special moments like these!
December 22, 2007
Sadly, Kimberly's boyfriend Barack always sends emails with "Dear Kimberly", whereas Chris's boyfriend John sends them as "Dear Friend". Come on, show Chris a little more love, John!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Anyways, I (Chris) found a neat blog post written earlier this month that "spoke to me" and thought I'd share it here. Whatever your religious or non-religious persuasion, just enjoy these cold dark nights of late December with someone close and look forward to the warming and sunning that is sure to follow in the coming months. Keep an open mind and enjoy "The Pagan Roots of Christmas:"
December 3, 2007
I’m spiritually torn – I’m decidedly not a Christian (no offence intended if you are), but I’m absolutely in love with Christmas. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an atheist - I just don’t like any of the options I’ve been presented with so far. I’ve witnessed, for lack of a better term, the “miracle” of birth twice, and with each new arrival I’ve slowly come around to the notion that maybe there’s something, maybe even a “higher intelligence,” behind the intricate wonder of creation. Let’s face it - if homo sapiens is the most powerful intellect ever, the universe has thus far been a terrible waste of space.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a hypocrite to be riding on the coattails of a religious celebration when I don’t subscribe to that particular religion, but recent research has shown me that, if anything, what we know today as a Christian holiday is pretty much a hodge-podge of icons and symbols borrowed from several pagan traditions, some of which could possibly predate Christ himself. According to the Wikipedia Christmas page, just about everything comes from somewhere else. For instance the Christmas tree was borrowed from an ancient Germanic pagan ritual. When the Romans decided it was time to start listening to Christians (as opposed to their previous tradition of feeding them to the lions) and decided Jesus was the way and the light, they decided to take what was already a well established celebration of the winter solstice turned it into a birthday party for their newfound savior.
As a proud yet sometimes resentful Canadian, I for one can really appreciate the winter solstice, that magical time of year when the days finally start to get longer. Even now, in early December, I have to have my headlights on when it’s time to pick my girl up from school in the afternoon if the skies are the least bit overcast. You can bet I’m waiting for the sun to return. If that’s the true meaning of Christmas, count me in.
What we partake in at the end of each December is not the remembrance of some guy who got nailed up for having the audacity to suggest we start being nice to each other (we should, by the way). It’s a celebration of what it means to be members of the human race and while some people will bemoan the fact that Christmas is becoming secularized (not to mention the nut-jobs who warn against Santa Claus being a code for Satan’s Claws), I embrace it. What’s wrong with taking a day or two off work to spend time with friends and loved ones? Shouldn’t everyone have a special time set aside once a year to tell the people that matter most to them that they’re the people that matter most to them?
Thanks to the wage-labour economic system we’ve all been duped into working for, most of us spend the vast majority of our time to trying to please people we don’t actually like (honestly, this is your boss we’re talking about). All I’m saying is that everyone should invest a little time enjoying the company of loved ones. I choose to do this while everyone else is telling me that Christ is the Reason for the Season (and more power to him if he is for you), but for me I get to gather my friends and family around the tree, consume a little egg nog, listen to some cheesy music (Nat King Cole singing the Christmas Song is enough to restore my faith in humanity every time), exchange a few gifts, and let the people that matter most to me know that in the darkest days of the year there’s no one else I’d rather be with.
Friday, December 21, 2007
This is the season where many of us get to leave the pressures of daily life behind and focus on what keeps us grounded -- being together with our families. For our family, it's been so important for us to maintain our traditions no matter how hectic life gets. Just a few weeks ago, Barack left the frenzy of the campaign trail to come home to get the Christmas tree with the girls and me.
Today, I'd like to share a special holiday greeting from our family to yours:
This is also the season to remember that we're all in this together by helping those in need in our own communities and around the world. You can find a way to help here:
Thank you for welcoming us into your lives and believing in what we are trying to do.
Wishing you a very Happy Holiday,
Let's get you in the mood:
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Utah (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
Florida Atlantic (7-5) vs. Memphis (7-5)
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Southern Miss (7-5)
New Mexico (8-4) vs. Nevada (6-6)
BYU (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6)
East Carolina (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2)
Central Michigan (8-5) vs. Purdue (7-5)
Arizona State (10-2) vs. Texas (9-3)
Boston College (10-3) vs. Michigan State (7-5)
TCU (7-5) vs. Houston (8-4)
Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon State (8-4)
UConn (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
Mississippi State (7-5) vs. UCF (10-3)
Penn State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Colorado (6-6) vs. Alabama (6-6)
Fort Worth, Texas
Cal (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
El Paso, Texas
USF (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4)
Fresno State (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
Florida State (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)
Clemson (9-3) vs. Auburn (8-4)
Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Tennessee (9-4)
Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4)
Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)
Michigan (8-4) vs. Florida (9-3)
USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)
Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)
Rutgers (7-5) vs. Ball State (7-5)
Tulsa (9-4) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
Ohio State (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
However, the Hope Football League version won the consolation bracket Toilet Bowl 67-57 and will recoup the $70 entrance fee. There was modest rejoicing and a quiet smile.
Now all's quiet until baseball season. Well, actually there is still fake sporting hijinks to be followed: the Carolina Slush in "Yahoo Public Hockey League 92219" is in 2nd place.
Monday, December 17, 2007
- A 9:30am Greensboro departure brings us to the Brannon household in Alexandria by 2pm. We drop off the dogs, kibitz for a while with James, then make our way to the hotel.
- On to DC for dinner at Capitol City Brewing Co. on Massachusetts Ave. Kimberly discovers The Little Penguin pinot noir, and Chris enjoys a nice bitter and porter with dinner.
- Union Station across the street for Christmas displays:
- We take the Metro to The White House for the National Christmas Tree. (Hey, come on, work at it a little, wouldya?? It was a pre-lit net draped over the tree. How hard is THAT to do?....)
- Back over to The Capitol (via the Metro again, it's so damn COLD!) for the Capitol Christmas Tree (a MUCH better tree with individual strands of lights and ornaments):
- Lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street. Holy crap! This was fantastic! Yum!
- A 2pm matinee performance of Washington Ballet's The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre
- Dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, and everything was fantastic (The Gordons and Brannons had a free-for-all with sharing crabcakes, parmesan trout, ham and cheese pasta, peanut butter pie, bourbon walnut pie)
- An 8pm performance at The Kennedy Center of the National Symphony Orchestra. Quite easily the BEST Christmas concert we have EVER seen. EVER! And this includes growing up and going to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra every year. Incredible. Moving. Incredibly moving.
- brunch at The Chart House in Alexandria. Mimosas, seafood quiche, crabcakes 'n eggs, yum.
- the boys then went back to the Brannons' to drain some Sweetwater Tavern growlers of beer while the girls shopped; the fantastic film "Waitress" was viewed on DVD; Coldstone ice cream was consumed with reckless abandon; then the Gordons hit the road for a 4 & 1/2 hour drive and arrived back home Monday in the wee dark hours of the A.M.
Another great trip to DC for a fix of Christmas cheer and decoration. We loved every second of it. Until next time, DC!
Cleveland.com had a great photo gallery from the game. Here are some favorites. Now THIS is how December football should be played. What a fun game....
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Happiness. Health. Hope.
But our words are just a promise about our actions. Live deliberately, sacrifice for what is truly important, and, above all, in these times -- and all times -- trust your heart.
John & Elizabeth Edwards, Cate, Emma Claire & Jack
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here's the scoop on Championship Weekend:
HFL Championship: Bob Bowl 7
Week 13 - Round 1
The Waterboys (10-2) - Bye
125 Burly Irishmen (7-5) - 102 Zanesvillean ZZZers (8-4)
141 Joeville Juggernauts (8-4) - 122 Westerville Wolfpack (5-7)
Hugh Jardon (10-2) - Bye
Week 14 - Round 2
144 The Waterboys - 121 Burly Irishmen
151 Joeville Juggernauts - 94 Hugh Jardon
Week 15 - Finals
The Waterboys vs. Joeville Juggernauts
And playing for pride and just the chance to break even and recoup the $70 entrance fee, I bring you the venerable....
Week 13 - Round 1
We Sum Head Busta's (7-5) - Bye
98 Greensboro Kosars (3-9) - 75 Caerbannog Rabbits (3-9)
133 Underdawgs (3-9) - 83 Dog Pound408 (2-10)
Cardiac Cats (6-6) - Bye
Week 14 - Round 2
134 Greensboro Kosars - 121 We Sum Head Busta's
146 Cardiac Cats - 116 Underdawgs
Week 15 - Finals
Greensboro Kosars vs. Cardiac Cats
Strangely enough, this Ohio-based fake sports league will have its only two North Carolina teams battle for the Toilet Bowl crown. I know you're all on the edges of your seats over this one, sports fans.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
so pics of the scoreboard's monitor would have to do:
The Gordons met our friends Greg and Louise at Giovanni's restaurant in Greensboro (or is it Jamestown?) for yummy Italian fare before going. Chris beat the pants off Kimberly with his Lobster Ravioli kicking her Crab Meat Linguini all about the face and head. Score one for the husband in this round of the "Who Wins?" dinner competition.
Louise had never seen "A Christmas Carol" before. Ever. I don't know who was more excited for her to see it: her or Chris!
"A Christmas Carol" is part of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival at the High Point Theatre, of which the Gordons were once season pass holders; that is until Triad Stage opened up in Greensboro and we switched allegiances. It had been a while since we've been to the High Point Theatre, and it was good to return for such a festive evening.
God bless us, every one.
After Chris got out of work, he raced home to pick up Kimberly and the broccoli cheese casserole we were bringing. Upon entering and writing out our name tags, whom do we see? Dakari, our little 6-year old whom we got gifts for. Adorable. (He's 2nd from the left in the above photo.) Mind you, recipients do not know who their donors are, unless the parent requests to get in contact with us. So when we stood there in line for dinner and saw how precious Dakari was, our hearts just leapt. What coincidence! What luck!
So we make our way to a table, and who sits right next to us? Dakari's family. We chit-chat, we mingle, we offer to take a family photo with their camera. Chris then takes his digital camera out to take some pictures and say that we'd leave them at the YMCA's front desk for them when we print them. Dakari is enamored and poses like a Hollywood star on the red carpet. I then ask if he'd like to take our camera and "work the room". His eyes light up and he is gone for at least 45 minutes. 40 or so of some of the best (albeit blurry) impromptu pictures we have ever seen in a long. long while result.
Dinner finishes up, and with all the picture sharing and modest tomfoolery, Darkari's family and the Gordons are in fact the last to leave. We exit with a warmth in our hearts that is unmatched, knowing that we could give a 6-year old little boy the Christmas of a lifetime. As far as Dakari knows, he just had dinner and some fun with the camera of these two strangers at the local YMCA.
It may in fact be just the best Christmas yet for both Dakari AND the Gordons.
Here are some shots from the evening, with two self-portraits by Dakari in the mix:
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Choose Your Candidate
I guess the House of Gordon "kinda" scooped The Post with the quiz we posted here on November 20, but this new one is much more involved. Sadly however, Chris's boy Dennis isn't included:
Stay strong, Dennis. Stay strong. Fight the good fight.
washingtonpost.com submitted a series of issue questions to each of the principal Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson chose not to reply to all of the questions. But since Thompson and Giuliani are both polling in the top tier of GOP candidates, we included issue stances for them based on the candidates' public statements, speeches and information on their campaign Web sites. We did not choose to research and prepare responses for a short list of second-tier candidates who also did not respond: Democrats Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich, and Republicans Alan Keyes and Tom Tancredo. We have invited the candidates who have not yet responded to join the quiz at any time by answering our issue questions.
Prosit! Slainte! Cheers!!!