Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Has Glee already jumped the shark?

So we finally watched the season premiere of "Glee" last night - and agreed that who ever gets to write lines for Jane Lynch's character of Sue Sylvester has the best job in the world.

  • “A female football coach, like a male nurse? Sin against nature.” 
  • “The two of you are making a mistake, the likes of which have not been seen since the Mexicans sold Manhattan to George Washington for an upskirt photo of Betsy Ross.”
And the one that made me rewind our DVR twice to re-watch this exchange: 
  • Coach Beiste: You're all coffee and no omeletSue: That doesn't make any sense.

Here are some of Sue’s best lines from Season 1:



I’m a little concerned about my continued enjoyment of this show after reading a report today that producers have signed Gwyneth Paltrow for a series of guest shots on the show later this season. 

Isn’t Glee going a little overboard with the stunt celebrity cameos? Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Grobin, Olivia Newton-John, and Broadway stars Idina Menzel, Cheyenne Jackson, and Kristin Chenoweth are just a few of the stars who’ve already appeared. And worse, it seems the show is now hooked on “theme nights” - featuring the music of one artist like Lady Gaga, Madonna, and this week, Britney Spears. 

Have producers – after just one season – lost all of their creative energy in finding interesting story lines for the original cast members, and now rely on stunt cameos and gimmicks?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It’s impossible to…


I picked up the August issue of Esquire magazine last month at Penn Station in New York City, but then ended up sleeping on the train ride back to Boston. It was laying around the house before I brought it with me on a business trip to DC last week. I picked it up on the plane and really enjoyed the issue, especially its feature called It’s Impossible To…” 
  • drink a gallon of milk without pausing to vomit
  • write a compelling novel for men that does not feature moderate to heavy alcohol consumption
  • reconcile religion with science or science with religion
  • start a good story with “This morning in spin class…”
  • pass people in another boat without waving
  • hold a basketball and not want to bounce it
  • solve our long-term energy problem without nuclear power
So what do you think? What's it "impossible" for you to do?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The song stuck in my head

I can't get "Beast of Burden" by the Rolling Stones out of my head this morning...

I'll tell ya
You can put me out
On the street
Put me out
With no shoes on my feet
But, put me out, put me out
Put me out of misery

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Adventures on the high sea



I don’t know why I drive myself crazy watching these kinds of videos. They only serve to further convince me to never step foot on a cruise ship. This scary footage was taken aboard the Pacific Sun Cruise liner in July 2008, off the coast of New Zealand. The ship was carrying more than 1,700 passengers and 670 crew members when it encountered a severe storm. The thought of being on that ship totally terrifies me – the fact that the entire situation is out of my control, and that there’s no place to go be “safe”. Had I been on board, I would have found two massive concrete blocks, tied them to my legs, and thrown myself into the sea, just to get the whole thing over with.

Back in 2002, we took a three-hour, high-speed catamaran from Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. We boarded at about 7:00 am, and there was a line, dozens people deep, of folks lining up at the snack bar to gorge themselves on scrambled eggs, pancakes, and sausage. It wasn’t ten minutes after we pulled away from the dock that a voice came over the loudspeaker. “Ladies and gentleman. We’re going to be experiencing some rough seas ahead. If you have any Dramamine with you, this might be a good time to take it.” I grabbed two extra-strength Dramamine and swallowed them dry – I wasn’t about to leave my seat – and pulled the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head, and hunkered down. For the next 2 hours and 50 minutes, we bounced across the water – and the contents of all of those stomachs filled with breakfasts bounced across the decks of that ship. Luckily, Dramamine pretty much knocks me out, but I remember putting my fingers in my ears to block out the very unpleasant sounds that surrounded me and trying very hard to focus on keeping my breathing steady and slow.

When we docked in Yarmouth, the hundreds of pasty-faced passengers got off the ship, and Peter and I jumped on our bikes and raced out of town for fresh air. It was a beautiful autumn day, but the entire time we were exploring, I kept thinking about the three-hour ship ride back to Bar Harbor that was in front of me. Long story short – the ride back was relatively calm, and since I had taken another two extra-strength Dramamine, I pretty much slept the whole way home. When we arrived back in Maine, I was never so happy to get back on solid ground.

So tell me. Are you a fan of cruises? Am I a big baby – or are there other folks out there who have no interest in the ups and downs of vacationing on the high seas?

Holy Sarah Palin!

I found this in the grocery/general store in Greenville, ME, during our Labor Day holiday. And it was on sale – marked down to $14.99. I should have picked one up.

Hunter Ann® Rifle Hunter Action Figure
She's paving the way for future lady hunters and she's geared up and ready to go! Your daughter will enjoy heading outdoors with Hunter Ann® as she embarks on the hunt of a lifetime. Whether Hunter Ann® is chasing rut-crazed bucks, bugling bull elk, or tracking the elusive black bear, your child will have hours of fun hunting wherever her imagination takes her. This 8" posable figure comes complete with a Mossy Oak® Break-Up shirt and pants, ROCKY® rubber hunting boots, hunting orange vest and stocking cap, rattling antlers, hunting rifle with sling, binoculars, and API™ Baby Grand® treestand with safety harness. WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD

A choking hazard, indeed…

Monday, September 6, 2010

And when Julie's happy...


My friend Julie makes the best tater tots. A plate of piping hot tater tots - freshly salted - makes her very happy. Oh, did I mention that when she makes tater tots, she often serves beans and weenies as a side dish? That’s our standard menu during Scrabble games at her kitchen table. If we’re feeling especially gluttonous, we might make caramel apples for dessert. Hey, Julie – I’m hungry. When’s our next Scrabble tournament?

Memories of Moosehead

We got on the road early Friday morning, with the radio telling us every ten minutes that Hurricane Earl was nipping at our heels (fizzle!), and headed north to Greenville Junction, Maine, the southernmost tip of Moosehead Lake. We stayed at Chalet Moosehead, just out of town center, while our friends Bruce and George were in a house further up the lake, and our most adventurous friends Robb and Salvador, did some old-fashioned camping at Lily Bay State Park. When we arrived, it was so warm that we turned on the air conditioner in our room (one benefit of staying in the “chalet” rather than at the campground), and today when we left, it had gotten so cool that the heat came on in our room.

On Saturday, we all went hiking at Big Moose Mountain, a beautiful but pretty steep trail. We rewarded ourselves with well-deserved cold beers when we got home. Peter and I stuck close to home on Sunday (everyone else took another hike), taking it easy, playing Scrabble lakeside, and taking in the views and fresh air. That night, Salvador and Robb treated us to a delicious dinner cooked over their campfire and we ended the evening with toasted marshmallows.

On the way back home today, we met up with a new friend Xander (we met him and his partner Chad a few weeks ago in Provincetown) in his hometown of Newport, ME, for a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts before hitting the Maine Turnpike, headed south back to Boston. 

Fueled up and ready to hit the road.

A barbeque pastrami sandwich at Spring Creek Bar-B-Q in Monson, ME, a new "must-stop" destination for future trips to Maine.

My favorite photo of the summer: Peter shows Otis the fastest way to get into the water.

Despite being a Portuguese Water Dog, Otis is more comfortable pawing the water, whining, and trying to convince the tennis ball to come back to him.



The object of his affection.

The water was beautiful...so I took my last dip of the summer.

Air-drying and waiting for a piece of cheddar cheese.

George and Robb at our cookout on Friday evening.

Salvador and I right before "The Screen Door Incident of 2010". (One of the six of us -- who shall remain nameless -- strolled into a closed screen door. Hilarity ensued.)

A quick group photo before we tackle the hiking trail.









Post-hike beers at Chalet Moosehead.

Otis keeps a duck at bay.

Our final night's camp dinner: delicious homemade skirt steak tacos.



Salvador and Robb

A moose bids farewell to Labor Day travelers as they leave the Maine Turnpike.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reuniting with friends and saying goodbye to summer on the Cape


Bill, me, and Perry at the Boatslip in Provincetown.

Last Sunday, I took the fast ferry to Provincetown. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for the hour-and-a-half journey across Boston Harbor. Not being much of a boat person, I was abundantly thankful that the ride was as smooth as glass in both directions. Some friends who used to live in Boston – and have since moved to San Diego and Toronto – were visiting the Cape for the weekend, and getting to Provincetown was going to be the only chance I would have to see them during their visit to the East Coast. 

I’ve known Bill and Perry for more than 15 years, and although we don’t see each other as often as I’d like, it was funny to see how quickly we fell into the same roles and routines – and telling the same stories and jokes – that we do every time we meet. We walked out to the beach at Herring Cove and spent a couple of hours soaking up the late August sunshine, and then grabbed a bus back into town. After a quick shower and a cocktail, we went to the Boatslip for a couple rounds of drinks and then out to dinner at the Art House on Commercial Street. 

My ferry back to Boston left at 8:30 pm, and as we were walking toward the wharf, I couldn’t help but notice a very different vibe to Provincetown than there was just two weeks ago during our vacation. It was definitely quieter, there were fewer people on Commercial Street, and there was a kind of sad sense that summer was on its way out. It was a great day – and I hope it’s not too long before Bill and Perry and I can reunite and re-tell those lame old stories and jokes. 

The spray from the back of the fast ferry on the way to Provincetown. Before docking at the wharf, we circled just off the tip of Cape Cod to watch several whales bobbing in and out of the water. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Watch this: Going down the narrow road

Here’s a great piece of video featuring Jay Bakker (the son of disgraced PTL-founders Jim and Tammy Faye) preaching at a gospel church about how difficult it is to introduce change to the hearts and minds of people. “But we can,” he says, “ if we’re practicing things like justice and being gentle.” The crowd is eating out of his hand – nodding, smiling, laughing – until Jay talks about his support of gay marriage. Boom! The mood in the church changes instantly. As people stop making eye contact and begin shifting around in their seats, Jay bravely presses on. “It’s hard for me when people who’ve been through such persecution and have been judged against all of a sudden – they don’t want freedom for anybody else,” he says.

And to bring it all home, Jay recalls a quote from Martin Luther King: “It is not the words of your enemies that you’ll remember, but the silence of your friends.”

This video was created nearly three years ago – think any minds were changed in church that day?

Dancing With the Trainwrecks


I’m a few days late catching up with the important news of the day, but it looks like Sarah Palin’s 19-year-old daughter Bristol will be among the “celebrities” competing on the upcoming season of ABC-TV’s “Dancing With the Stars”. First let me say that I’m sure Bristol is a lovely young woman. But a star? Isn’t her only claim to fame being impregnated by her hockey-loving-boyfriend, who’s currently filming a reality television show about his run for Mayor of Wasilla, AK, former seat of his almost-mother-in-law? Follow all that? Good thing Sarah left her post as Alaska’s governor, as it will give her more time to (inarticulately) continue bashing the Obama administration at every turn AND support her daughter’s turn on the dance floor.

In related “poke your eyes out” news, David Hasselhoff (German for “Eats Hamburgers Off Floors”) is also a contestant on the show, which kicks off its eleventh season later this month. As a gift to all humankind, David says says he won't be wearing any tight leotards. "You won't see me in Spandex because it reveals too much of The Hoff," he dreams. Instead, he says he’ll be showcasing his personality, “I'm going to be big on attitude and big on interpretation.”

And as a sure sign of the impending apocalypse, also trainwrecking on the show will be the “Situation” from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and Michael “How-Am-I-Supposed-To-Live-Without-You” Bolton. And the saddest thing of all? I’m certain this will be a ratings bonanza for ABC-TV.

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