Saturday, January 31, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Wow. Just a magnificent film with all sorts of elements to keep me entertained. There's a wonderful story, there are camera movements at break-neck speed, there's a musical score that keeps the toes a-tappin', there's an epic class struggle, and finally there's redemption. But you know what comes first here...the trailer:

Jamal is detained by local police after his outstanding first night performance on India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Surely this poor kid from the Mumbai ghetto, this "slumdog", must have cheated to advance so far on the show. We're surely not going to pay up to some ignorant kid. He MUST be cheating. Let's beat a confession out of him....

The questions of the show are not answered via any true "book knowledge" or education. Jamal's answers all come from the brutal survival of the streets. Whatever awful circumstance befalls him turns into the opportunity to continue on with the game show. May sound hokey, but the film WORKS.

Uplifting. Energizing. Entertaining. A marvel.

It's hard to find an easier Full Price.

Revolutionary Road

A Sam Mendes (of American Beauty fame) film based on a 1961 Richard Yates novel. A young couple moves from the big city to the suburbs and purchase a quaint home on Revolutionary Road because that is what life dictates you must do. But first, the trailer:

OK, you have a job you despise, but it pays the bills. Say you want to fly away to Paris and chase your artsy goals, but you have kids. You think you're special but in actuality you just live in the cookie-cutter existence of suburbia, does it really have to be this way?

Dreams push you on. Sometimes the dreams are thwarted by real life. And when the episodes of real life are tangibly heart-wrenching and complicated, the fantasy of chasing your dreams clashes with the reality of solid problems and sometimes frankly unsettling problems.

A film that when all is said and done physically exhausts you. The drama and tension is palpable. Afterwards, I'm spent.

Still, in my humble opinion, it just misses a Full Price score and yields a firm Matinee Plus.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bacon Explosion.


I just don't even know what to say. It's all so, so, so, disgusting yet eerily intriguing at the same time. But it made the New York Times "Dining & Wine" section, so it's legitimate enough for the masses. I mean, this was the photo from the NYT article:


If you love bacon, just click on the links and salivate away.

Take Bacon. Add Sausage. Blog. article in the New York Times.

Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes detailed blog post at BBQ Addicts to construct such a monster.

I will add that my favorite comment on the bacon blog was:
Adam Weil 01.29.09 at 8:20 am

No cheese?!?! Is it for girls?



The postings of my vacation week in DC are finally up here on the bah-log, so now we can get caught up on a favorite activity: movie time! The latest? Frost/Nixon. The film is based on the two-person play with the same two actors. In fact, Frank Langella won a Tony Award for his stage performance of Nixon. Let's see how it translates to the silver screen.

The trailer this time was hard to come by to insert here. A lot of "embedding disabled by request". So here is one via a non-YouTube avenue. Click the nifty play button arrow:

Three years after President Nixon's resignation, he agreed to the landmark 1977 interviews by "entertainer", not journalist, David Frost. Easy pickings for Nixon it was believed. The film, in the grand scheme of things, is just the background, inner workings, and tapings of 4 interview sessions; and it includes all the stress and tension of a cliffhanging suspense thriller. I entered the theater just expecting an embellished docu-drama, but sat there in suspense as these two icons jockey for position and work the jabs for the late round knockout. Frost, clearly out of his league, suffers through the first 3 sessions, giving Nixon the hope that he could exonerate himself, making it "the worst crime of all" after his pardon according to Frost's researchers. But in the 4th, Nixon takes it on the chin and reveals his innermost thoughts and secrets.


A solid Full Price.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inauguration Week Day Eight - Sun 1/25

Back to work on Monday, so it was a noonish departure from Alexandria to return back to NC in time to reacclimate and unwind and unpack. But first, a final nearly world famous Brannon Omelet in the morning. How DOES he do it????

A week's vacation to see the sights and visit friends and freeze and eat and drink and see history firsthand. Riveting, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, joyous, and yet it had moments of surrealism to think that all 4 Gordons (dogs and humans) were in town, yet accommodations were adjusted so one human's want of being "alone" could be honored. Weird.

Still, even with some marital awkwardness it was a great historic week full of fun and games and all things DC.

Inauguration Week Day Seven - Sat 1/24

Saturday was a fun day of running around. In order:

- Lincoln Waffle House restuarant in DC on 10th and E across the street from Ford's Theatre for a greasy spoon breakfast. Then,...

- JR Cigars on 16th and L, or was it 17th and K, or was it the 1700 block of Connecticut? Either way, we got twisted around and picked up some cigars. Then,...

- back to Alexandria to pick up James's neighbor Paul, for we have other manly things to go to, like...

- the German Gourmet in Falls Church, VA for German mustards, brats, cheese, German potato salad, hunks of double-smoked bacon, Ritter candy bars, and the delicious jerky-ish landjäger. Then, the swag goes into the cooler and we make our way to...

- Dogfish Head Alehouse for a late lunch. Then, on our way home, in the same center as Dogfish Head, we stumble upon....

- Old Virginia Tobacco Co. to check it out.

Then we finally made it back to Alexandria for some homebrew, more Sweetwater growlers, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on the telly. Quite the nice day.

Inauguration Week Day Six - Fri 1/23

Today was an easy-going day. Enjoyed the usual stellar Brannon Omelet (trademark and patent pending) in the morning, followed a little later on by a trek by all 4 Brannons plus myself into the S.E. section of DC around the corner from the Eastern Market. The destination? The hyped-up Belga Cafe, a Belgian beer and food extravaganza. I've heard so many good things about this place, and for whatever reason it always seemed to fall off the radar when planning eatery spots to hit. This time, with authentic Belgian food still relatively fresh in my head from September's Belgium trip, a stop at Belga Cafe was written in stone.

A tiny little place, a shoebox. Enormous beer menu. Stupendous. A mini-book. Think fancy wine list from other high end restaurants, and replace it with Belgian beer. Salivating. However, with all things at Belga Cafe, the selections were pricey. VERY pricey.

The food was, well, meh. We started with Kip and Krab Sigaar [spicy cigars of chicken and crabmeat with dipping suaces]. I then had the Vlaamse Stoverij [Flemish Beef Stew] just like at the brewpub in Brussels, but unlike the brewpub in Brussels it just wasn't awe-inspiring. James had the Biefstuk van de Beenhouwer [hanger steak] and the sauce included with it gave it the table top prize. Monica had the Coquilles Saint-Jacques [scallops]. The boys had a mini Le Vrais Steak Belge [steak and fries]. We of course ended with Vanilla Waffels [I'm not translating that] and scoops of chocolate/vanilla/coffee ice cream for the kids minus the coffee. Good, but not the "good" we expected with the prices involved. Yikes!

The service was subpar. Bringing the same 2nd round of drinks without asking if I wanted a different beer instead (I did). Giving James a Troubadour Blond when he ordered a Troubadour Stout. Never refilling the water glasses. Leaving dishes on the table for eons. Scooping the coffee ice cream for the kids when we asked them not to. Just an awful dining experience for the enormous amount of coin we dropped.

Overhyped due to the excitement of FINALLY getting here? Possibly. But it will be truly difficult to return and give it another try. Disappointing.

Monica then broke away to meet Kimberly because Kimberly wanted to go shopping. Shocker, I know. So James and I took the boys home and enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather. We were able to kibbitz outside with cold beverage while the boys and Sam n' Maxie played. But once the sun began to dip low, the chill returned with a vengeance. Inside then for growlers of Sweetwater Tavern beers plus Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited on the telly? A nice relaxing evening.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Inauguration Week Day Five - Thu 1/22

Today?.....we fast.

We go sans food.

We pass the hours with bellies empty.

Why? We're gearing up for dinner in DC on 11th and Pennsylvania tonight at....Fogo de Chao. A Brazilian steakhouse with gobs and gobs of meat. But first, if not food, then what to satiate us?


James and I, with all intentions of hitting an art museum or two during the afternoon, decided on the Metro into DC to hit District Chophouse & Brewery for a pre-museum brew. Their delectable Bourbon Stout (aged in Woodford Reserve barrels) is divine. Upon entering, the board states they have a Barack Bock seasonal brew. Well we just MUST try that offering now won't we? Then the lush and velvety Bourbon Stout. Thinking, it IS early, and just an appetizer wouldn't ruin dinner would it? So we break our fast in a matter of an hour and get chicken fingers. But fret not, we're good. Plenty of room for dinner tonight....

With the Barack Bock crossed off our beer ticking list, we discuss the seasonal at Capitol City Brewing, InaugurAle. So, onto the Metro to Union Station and Cap City. InaugurAle was sweet and tasty, which of course was then followed up with their unfiltered version Forty-Four. Finally a coffee stout of coffee stouts, Fuel, was downed as a "dessert beer" this afternoon.

Discussing the InaugurAle at Cap City, it was noted that DC's third brewpub Gordon Biersch also had an InaugurAle on tap. I had it while meeting Jim and Cecile (and Kimberly too) for lunch on Monday. Odd for a lager brewpub to offer an ale, but InaugurLager didn't have the same tone. What are two American Homebrewers Association members to do when GB offers a 10% discount for AHA members? Why we bypass an art museum visit yet again and hop back on the Metro to Gordon Biersch!

The InaugurAle, Gordon Biersch edition, was enjoyed followed by their stellar Schwarzbier. From here, we have a little bit of time to kill before dinner, so let's nab some cigars, shall we? To Georgetown!

The Metro really doesn't serve Georgetown well, which is a shame since it is such a nifty part of town. So, we hopped in a cab to M Street and Wisconsin to Georgetown Tobacco. A meaty Camacho Triple Maduro for James, and a Zino Classic No.6 for me. A really neat shoppe (proper spelling for this establishment) with friendly patrons, friendlier staff, and huge tobacco leaves hanging over the rafters. A dark wood man-cave. Really fun.

So now, we get the call from Monica. She and Kimberly (yes, the four of us got together for the first time since Kimberly's bombshell marital decision. [singing] Awkward....) are on their way to Fogo de Chao. We say our goodbyes to our new cigar friends and hail a cab to 11th and Pennsylvania. It's time for meat!

Fogo de Chao. Gauchos in leather boots with meat on swords bandy about the place! Little coasters, or discs, are involved. Red on one side, green on the other. Ready for meat? Flip your disc to green and watch the gauchos come flying to the table offering meat on swords. Razor sharp knives slice the meat with ultimate ease. Lamb, chicken, filet, 15 different cuts of meat. FIFTEEN!!! Sure there's a delicious salad bar, sure there's tasty side dishes of polenta, mashed potatoes, cheese bread, and fried bananas. But there are FIFTEEN cuts of meat! Have plenbty of meat during this go 'round? Flip your disc to red and chow down. Wow. Gluttonous once again.

Uncomfortably full, James, Monica, and I retire away to Alexandria. Ugh, we're so full....

Inauguration Week Day Four - Wed 1/21

After an exhilarating day on Tuesday and a wonderfully sound sound sleep, it was now Wednesday. Woke up to meet Jim and Cecile before they made their way back to NC at Alexandria's Bread and Chocolate for breakfast. After filling our bellies, they hit the road and I hit the Mall again. Destination this morning? The National Museum of American History, a hodgepodge of artifacts from George Washington's revolutionary war uniform to Judy Garland's ruby slippers to trains to C-3PO. A little bit of everything encompassing the vast canvass of U.S. history.

The highlights for me? Seeing President Obama's name and likeness make the Wall of Presidents. Did I just type that? "President" Obama? Of course, the Revolutionary War exhibit was captivating. This particular exhibit was just about the same as in years past, but it was still quite the spectacle for me. The museum had been closed for I would guess about 2 years or so for renovations, the major one being a new home for the original Star-Spangled Banner. Sadly, no photos of the restored flag were allowed. I almost think the working display of historians repairing the flag was more intriguing than the finished display, but that's neither here nor there.

Another keen item on display was an original Abraham Lincoln top hat. Not just any old hat, but the hat he had with him that fateful night at Ford's Theatre. According to the placard, the hat was transferred from Mary Lincoln to the care of the Patent Office, which then gave it to the Smithsonian in 1867. There it lay in basement storage for fear of the excitement and pandemonium it could cause. Finally, in 1893 it saw the light of day for the Lincoln Memorial Association, and has been a Smithsonian treasure ever since. The museum had quite a bit of Lincoln information and displays as February 2009 is the 200th birthday of our 16th president.

From there, James and I made it to my all-time favorite stop in DC: The National Archives. The original documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are on display in the rotunda. Awe-inspiring. Plenty of other historic documents are on display, such as a copy of the Magna Carta, the "great charter". The original from the year 1215 has long been since destroyed, and a rare few copies exist mainly in England with one in Australia and one in the U.S. The copy displayed in the Archives is from the year 1297. Per the ever-reliable (wink wink) Wikipedia, only one copy...

...(a 1297 copy with the royal seal of Edward I) is in private hands; it was held by the Brudenell family, earls of Cardigan, who had owned it for five centuries, before being sold to the Perot Foundation in 1984. This copy, having been on long-term loan to the US National Archives, was auctioned at Sotheby's New York on 18 December 2007; The Perot Foundation sold it in order to "have funds available for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families." It fetched US $21.3 million. It was bought by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, who after the auction said, "I thought it was very important that the Magna Carta stay in the United States and I was concerned that the only copy in the United States might escape as a result of this auction." Rubenstein's copy is on permanent loan to the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Revolving exhibitions make their way through the galleries to make things interesting with each visit. This time, the 1783 Treaty of Paris finally declaring peace between the newly founded United States and England was on display. Wh-wh-wh-WHAT???? Cue up the colonial history nerd in me. This. Is. GREAT! Can you imagine? The original peacetime document? Unbelievable....

We stayed until the Archives closed. Then, famished for sustenance, we made our way to the Metro to hit the African-American neighborhood on U Street for some world famous Ben's Chili Bowl. Delicious chili, chili-cheeseburgers, chili dogs, chili cheese fries, chili half-smokes, the whole nine yards. So bad for you, but so so good. Sadly, when we got there, the line looked like this:
It wrapped out the door, around the corner, and all the way down the alley next to it! Oh man.... So, due to a scoop from none other than Kimberly, we hit the bar next door to Ben's called...Next Door. Ben's son runs it, I don't watch this particular television show but the winner of Hell's Kitchen cooks there, there is a smattering of microbrewed beer, and finally there's a taste of Ben's menu with chili and chili half-smokes. So, in a gluttonous and reckless abandon, James and I ordered up a chili half-smoke each with some beer, then hit the alleyway next door to Next Door and waited for a table at Ben's.

In the cold.

For an hour.

Dedication to chili, my friends. It was SO worth the wait. And the hour wait in between shivering in the cold offset the fact that we would eat two dinners on U Street tonight. Enjoy the sights and the food porn:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Inauguration Week Day Three - Tue 1/20

'tis finally here. The big day. A restless night's sleep ends with me waking up by myself with no alarm needed at 3:00am; the 3:15 alarm is turned off without even using it. James offers to drive me to the end-of-the-yellow-line Huntington station so I won't have to park the Jeep there. "Naw," I say, "it won't be bad that early." Oh but it was. We pass the line of cars to get into the parking deck and I leap out at the Metro entrance. I am on the train at 4:05am and the train departs at 4:10am. Damn! Missed the first train of the day, but got on the 2nd. Getting dropped off was indeed a good idea.

My destination: the L'Enfant Plaza stop. I arrive at 4:45am. We are corralled through just one of the station exits onto 7th street. We make our way towards the Mall as one mass of humanity. It is COLD. The Mall entrance is gated off and cops are all around. For such an enormous crowd, patience rules the day. No one is bitter, no one is swearing, we're all just excited to witness history in a few (well, many) hours. Around 5:15am the gates open. Standing in the crowd awaiting this moment, we are all shoulder-to-shoulder and front-to-back; we are all touching. Once that gate opens, we move as one flowing blob onto the Mall; we shuffle our feet, but at no time did I stop touching those around me! No ricocheting off shoulders. No space in between the person in front of you. We moved as one gigantic mass of flesh. Surreal.

So now we're on the Mall. It's cold. It's 5:30am. The oath will occur at noon. There is some time to kill. So basically, me and 2 million of my closest friends shiver and hug and stay close and tell stories and share Obama sightings. One big kumbaya fest.

The sun begins to rise. The chance of possible warmth is exhiliarating. Flags are passed out to the crowd by volunteers. A couple next to me peeters out and actually leaves by 7:00am; they did not dress appropriately and were icicles in short order. Cardboard from recycle bins is comandeered and flattened so we can stand on it; standing on the ground itself begins to feel like standing on a block of ice. We begin to feel terrible. Standing for hours in the cold with no hope of an end for hours and hours.

The previous Sunday was a concert at the Lincoln Memorial. U2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, etc. all performed. As we approach 9:00am, the Jumbotrons warm up and we are entertained by the taped HBO broadcast of the concert. At least now we have something to look at besides each other; we're starting to lose steam and almost run out of things to say to each other. The concert allows us to wave our flags and dance the morning away. The dancing was great to get the blood flowing and feeling back to our legs!

Then, once the concert is over, military bands begin to play to entertain us. The official program has begun. On the huge Jumbotrons, cameras cut away to motorcades and tinted windows making their way to the Capitol. We have no idea who is in these vehicles, but once the screens show sunglassed Secret Service agents and black tinted windows, the crowd goes wild. Eventually, the announcer states the arrival on the dais of various legislators. Senators, Representatives, dignitaries, and finally....former Presidents. Then, once and for all, a particular attendee arrives on the Capitol steps....


Now things move quickly. Introductory remarks, a prayer, and then, the big moment....

In my video , if you can actually hear over the roar of the crowd, you can hear me babble like a baby with joy as I cry. Instant tears stream down my face. It hurts. My face is virtually frozen and the tears plow tracks through the icy cheeks. Joy that words cannot entirely express. "Congratulations, Mr. President." Unbelievable.

Then about 12:30pm, there is a reading by a poet, and a concluding prayer. Then, it's over. It's all over. The Inauguration proceedings are over. By 1:00pm, I begin to make my way to the Metro to try to get to the north side of the Mall where most of the restaurants are. I've been up for 9 hours now and haven't had anything to eat or drink for fear of having to go to the bathroom. I switched my brain over to "Pharmacy Retail" and hypnotized my bladder into a zen-like state. But now, it would really be good to grab a bite to eat.

There are people everywhere. 2 million leaving the Mall at the same time. With no exit information or signs to guide us. The line to the ONE Metro stop near us (L'Enfant) is enormous. It would be suicidal to try to get to the Federal Center SW stop closer to the Capitol. So, I make my way on foot to try to find a spot to cross Pennsylvania to the north side of the Mall.

The parade will be down Pennsylvania from the Capitol to the White House. 2 miles. 1st Street to about 17th Street. Follow the black line I drew on the Mall map from my viewing spot at 4th Street to see my impossible path to a possible lunch and a beer. Click on the image to make it larger and just see the route I had to take.
My circuitous route finally gets me to the L'Enfant Metro stop at 3:00pm. Two hours of meandering and wandering. Another mob of humanity shuffling their feet as one mass down to the trains. By 5:30pm I am back at Huntington station and James and the boys pick me up. Frozen and hungry, they take me to Old Town to an open (this time) Bilbo Baggins for soup, dinner, and bottles of Delirium Tremens Belgian beer.

Satiated and relatively warmer, we make our way back to the Brannons to split three nightcaps of celebratory 18% ABV (or sometimes 20%) Dogfish Head 120-Minute IPA. Two bottles aged in the Gordonian "cellar" from 2003 that were thick and malty like a barleywine, and a "fresher" bottle from 2006 that still kept plenty of its hoppy bite. 120-Minute. Get it? 120. 1/20. January 20. Far too clever for my own good sometimes.

Exhausted. Full. Buzzed. It's bedtime. A long day, but truly an AWESOME day. One I may never forget. "May" never? Hell, I WILL never forget!

President Barack Obama.


As of 12:00 noon on January 20th, the official photo:


Inauguration Week Day Two - Mon 1/19

Woke up early for a trip into DC. Planned to meet NC-friends Jim and Cecile at Gordon Biersch brewpub for lunch. But first, a quick trip to the National Portrait Gallery for some sightseeing. The original "Hope" painting of Barack Obama's likeness was on display, with a good 45-minute wait to see it and snap a photo. Of course I had to do so:

Gordon Biersch is a favorite of Jim's, so it did not take any arm-twisting to meet him there. Yummy meatloaf plus their "InaugurAle" frosty beverage made for a satisfying afternoon.

Then, it was a tour of the National Mall. I wanted to hit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, but the line was 90-minutes long. By the time I would enter, it would leave me with just an hour to see the entire museum. As this was a must see for me this trip, I opted to hold off for another day later in the week. So instead, the Mall it shall be. Had to see the layout, the preparations, the news organizations camped out, the port-a-potty locations. A brisk afternoon's walk around the Mall. Then, making my way closer to the Capitol, it was a quick visit to the Newseum to tool around and check out the exhibits.

Back to the Metro and the Brannon household to unwind and generally relax. A big day tomorrow! Plans are to wake up at 3:00am! An early retiring by 9:30pm occurred to just TRY and get some sleep. Inauguration Day is here....

Inauguration Week Day One - Sun 1/18

Drove up from Greensboro rather early, making good time even with Maxie requiring TWO stops for whatever reason. Got to the Brannons' in Alexandria, unpacked, decompressed, then hit up Old Town for a mid-afternoon lunch/brunch somewheres.

First stop: Stardust Lounge. Cocktails and lounge. Sounds fun! Closed at the time we got there. Drat. (At least a James Carville sighting, James's FOURTH, occurred in a flash on the street.)

Next try: Bilbo Baggins for some fare. Again, closed at the time.

Curses! We don't want to wait for dinnertime, so we try yet a third spot in Old Town: Overwood. FINALLY, a spot open for our oddly timed meal. Delicious.

Then a leisurely walk around the waterfront and finally back to the Brannons' for a quiet evening. Ahhhh.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The big day

Look at the time on this post! I have comandeered the computer at the Brannons' to let you know it is 3:15am and I am about to shower and catch that first Metro train into DC-proper and find myself a spot on the Mall.

Inauguration Day.


It's finally here.

This is so exciting it could not wait until I returned to NC to post.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Off to D.C. for the week!

It's off to bed now after a work-related get-together at Natty Greene's. (multiple pints of their hoppy Full Moon Pale Ale plus Jameson's Irish whiskey?....whew.) So the alcohol buzz will help me sleep well for an early morning rise to hit the road with the pooches for yet another DC trip. The focus this time?....the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America.


Super cool awesome.

Gordonian bloggishness will be sparse for the week until I return to NC, but I assure you a full report will occur ASAP early next week.

Later gators.

Hot Stove: Peter Gammons on the Indians

Ah yes, the venerable Peter Gammons. So knowledgeable and worldly, our nation saw fit to use his likeness on the $20 bill. Really! Take a look at one. His recent report on the off-season moves of my beloved Cleveland Indians ooze with promise. But for some reason, there are too many "if this" and "if that" possibilities to occur before an upcoming dominant season is in order. What do you think?

Still, no matter what, I'll be worshipping at the altar of the Cleveland Indians once again. Go Tribe!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Browns humor

Got this in an email today.

Apparently with the awful Ravens/Steelers championship game this weekend, there was some chatter on about what in the world a Browns fan is to do concerning this terrible matchup. This was posted in some "Comments" section:

Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Art Modell are in a room with a Browns fan. The Browns fan has a gun with just two bullets left. What does a true Browns fan do?

Simple: He shoots Modell twice.


Go to hell, Art. (Asshole.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Reader

It was difficult to find a movie poster online that could be copied on our hard drive, so the book cover plus a film still will have to do. Today's day off cinematic experience? The Reader.

The trailer:

The film begins in 1995, then flashes back to youth in 1958. Young 15-year-old Michael falls into a steamy summer affair with 36-year-old Hanna, and as usual with things hot and flammable, it burns itself out quickly. An interesting twist, Hanna is enamored with Michael's schoolwork and yearns to be read to. So, with each tryst, Michael reads to Hanna from classics of all sorts. By summer's end Hanna is gone, and Michael is left to ponder his novel sexual deflowering for the remainder of his days.

Bump up to 1966, and Michael is in law school in an advanced seminar class. The professor brings the troupe to Berlin to witness a trial of historic proportions. Six women are on trial for being SS guards in World War II and the eventual murder of 300 Jews. Michael's interest is piqued when he hears the name of one of the defendants: Hanna Schmitz.

The gentle lover who longed to be read to was at one time a monster.

This is just not another WWII Nazi film per se. This is a film of innermost secrets. As a young 23-year-old law student, Michael holds a secret that could possibly acquit Hanna of her awful charges. Does he come forward, bringing his own name into an unsettling light? Or does he keep quiet, knowing his silence could sentence his one-time lover to the abyss? The knowledge he holds suddenly makes a lot of sense with his relationship with Hanna. What to do?...

As time goes by, it is 1977 and divorced Michael has lived a life of relative introversion and shyness. The weight of his guilt and shame is a tremendous burden. Upon moving, he organizes his books. Constant daily thinking of the woman who took his virginity becomes too much, and the reader takes up his books once again to send tape recordings of the classics to Hanna in prison. This is his only correspondence with the former Nazi. Until....

Classic German guilt? Self loathing? Maybe. But the underlying point is how many times do humans just follow along and go with the flow; to NOT do what's right because that would cause a ripple in the routine? Hanna could have done the right thing. Michael could have done the right thing.

What would you do?....

A healthy Matinee score here...even with all the soft core porn for the first 45 minutes or so.

The, like, Star Wars Trilogy, or something...

A side-splitting, happiness-inducing video of someone recording their friend who has only seen bits and pieces of the original Star Wars movie trilogy, then trying to explain what happened.

Absolutely classic.

Another gem to assist me in my marital doldrums battle.

Enjoy. It's my day off today, so I'm off to the Bar Planet later.

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 World Baseball Classic

16 teams. One true "world champion" on the baseball stage.

Chinese Taipei
Dominican Republic
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Puerto Rico
South Africa
United States

This is the 2nd incarnation of this tournament, the first occurring in 2006 with a "final four" of Cuba vs. Dominican Republic, and Japan vs. South Korea, with Japan defeating Cuba to win the inaugural WBC. One team again will survive the tournament and emerge victorious. First Round games in 2009 begin around the world on March 5th: Tokyo, Mexico City, Toronto, and San Juan. Then the next round occurs in San Diego and Miami. And finally, the championship bracket occurs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday March 21-23. 3-day weekend occurs at that very time. Let's put in for the following Mon-Tue off and see what happens....

What? The time was approved? Are you shitting me? I am, as they say, so THERE!!!!

Tickets for all 3 finals games along the first base line (watch out for wicked line drives), airfare, and a hotel literally 200 yards away from Dodger Stadium are all in hand. A little treat just for me in lieu of the marital strife that is trying to ruin my mindset. What better tonic for me than baseball?

I already have my official WBC Dominican Republic cap for the games. I bought it at specifically for the upcoming DR medical mission trip, but it will work just fine for Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium in March. Sure I'll root for the USofA, but my money's on the DR to win the whole thing.

I am so excited!!!!

Foothills Brewing Co.'s YouTube tour

I didn't film this, I just mercilessly culled it from the interwebs.

Jamie brews at my favorite brewpub. Well, my favorite LOCAL brewpub. Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland takes the all-time honors. Observe where the magic happens....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Final Dominican Republic meeting last night

(I really took that picture. Really. An amateur!)

Our final get-together before our medical mission trip to the DR occurred last night. Final logistical ramblings: getting 1000 pounds of medical equipment down there, having to buy all of our drugs and bring them this time around, where we'll be staying, etc.

The hotel we're staying at in Barahona is different from last year. This year we'll be at a "prettier" spot on the coast, with basically the entire hotel for the 32 of us. Phone service is nil. Um, what? Cell phones won't work where we are and the land line in the hotel office does not work for international calls. Hope nothing awful happens in the states because it will be a circus to get a hold of one of us. Comically, more important than the phone situation, the group wanted to make sure the new hotel will be able to handle and supply us with our vast Presidente beer habit. Nothing beats returning from the mobile clinics all dusty and dirty and sweaty than downing an ice cold Presidente beer or six.

Sadly, some faces will not be making a return trip this go 'round. They will be missed, especially at our late night pow-wows after everybody else has gone to bed. One of their replacements unfortunately has a history of "suck" so that doesn't bode too well for me. However, fraternity brother Duke will be making the trip with me this year, so all will be well. All will be more than well in fact.

Duke and Flash in the Dominican? Watch out. At customs entering the country. we may be over the limit in our declaration of "sarcasm".