Expect the Unexpected

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Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Boston Strong: Relief


Relief flows over you
like an ocean breeze,
cool, refreshing with a lift.
It brushes away the strife
your life was clogged with
that dragged your soul down.

Relief lifts you up
from the depths
that have saddened your soul
making you feel whole again.
Ridding you of the feelings
that have slated your life.

Relief now lifts you
and gone is the emotional turmoil
that blighted your being.
Refreshed you feel
a new wellspring
in which your life can unfold.
—David Harris

Thank you.

Broadway: Decisions, Decisions

BroadwayShowsFor some, vacation means an island getaway to St. Bart’s, or a cross country trek to beaches or mountains. For me, it means venturing just 70 minutes from home. To Broadway.

I’m using one week of my precious vacation time in May to take in as much of the Great White Way as possible. That means shows, shows, and more shows. Comedy, drama, musicals, cabaret, readings, and hopefully more.

A cheap Yankee, rather than staying overnight at The Benjamin — my favorite hotel, I’ll be a day-tripper. That will allow me to save a few benjamins for lunch, dinner, and cocktails in the Big Apple. Not such a bad staycation after all, eh?

So here’s the deal. There are so many wonderful shows on stage right now, what should I see? Read more…

Boston, You’re My Home

BostonThis is where my heart is today.

The Standells — Dirty Water

I’m wanna tell you a story
I’m wanna tell you about my town
I’m gonna tell you a big fat story, baby
Aww, it’s all about my town

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles
Aw, that’s what’s happenin’ baby
That’s where you’ll find me
Along with lovers, buggers and thieves
Aw, but they’re cool people

Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston you’re my home
Oh, you’re the number one place Read more…

Another 9/11, another Newtown


The Boston Marathon, one of the most joyous celebrations in Boston.

Held every year on Patriot’s Day, it’s a special state holiday. Kids have the day off from school. Businesses grind to a halt. The weather is usually spectacular, as it was yesterday. A harbinger of spring, it’s the city’s first major outdoor celebration (The next will be July 4 on the Charles River esplanade). And it’s free, so everyone is welcome.

Runners show up by busloads in Hopkinton to make the 26 mile trek. For spectators, students, singles, seniors, and families, it’s just one huge party. There’s no rivalry on the marathon route. It’s not a Red Sox/Yankees game. The crowds cheer everyone on, saying things like “Oh look there’s someone from Kenya! They came all the way here to just to run!” as they hand out little cups of water to show their support.

Rosie Ruiz and Bill Rodgers at the 1980 Boston Marathon.

Rosie Ruiz and Bill Rodgers at the 1980 Boston Marathon.

When I lived in Boston, as a student at Boston University and then as a grad, I always attended the marathon. I couldn’t miss it really. In the three apartments I had during that time, I was always just one block away from the route on Beacon Street.

In 1980, I was watching the marathon with a crowd near Winthrop Road in Brookline when Bill Rodgers smoked by on his way to his third Boston title. We anxiously waited for the first woman to pass, and in a few minutes, there she was, Jacqueline Gareau. Huge roars from the crowd, “You go girl!”

Or so we thought. We later found out that a runner by the name of Rosie Ruiz was the first female to cross the finish line, in record time no less. Or was she? None of us remembered seeing her. Nor did others for miles along the route. In a quick news conference after the race, Rosie suggested people didn’t notice her because she has short hair and they mistook her for a guy.

No. It turned out Rosie was a fake. She had jumped onto the route along Commonwealth Avenue, half a mile from the finish line. After an investigation, the Boston Athletic Association discovered the fraud, disqualified her and Jacqueline Gareau was awarded her rightful title.

Until yesterday, the Rosie Ruiz scandal was about the worst thing to happen at the Boston Marathon. Read more…

Game of Thrones: A big hand for the little lady

Brienne and Jaime in happier days.

Brienne and Jaime in happier days.

My new favorite TV couple is Jaime and Brienne. Like Oscar and Felix, they are an indeed an odd couple. But a rather fascinating odd couple.

In this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, aptly titled The Walk of Punishment, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), reveals his soft spot for his warrior captress Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).

Since the get-go, there’s been a whisper of sexual tension between the two, though Brienne, chaste, loyal, and strong, is as far removed from Jaime’s scheming sister/lover as one could get. Perhaps that’s the attraction?

Up until their capture by the Bolton gang, the two had merely traded barbs and crossed swords while Jaime half-heartedly kept trying to escape. A laughtrack for their scenes wouldn’t have been out of line.

But Jaime’s fatal flaw is hubris. And this time it cut him to the quick. Read more…

Mad Men: Dandy Don

AMC lets you create "yourself" in a Mad Men scenario. This is "me" and Don - heh.

AMC lets you create “yourself” in a Mad Men scenario. This is “me” and Don – heh.

“Sometimes, you gotta dance with the one that brung ya.” And sometimes you gotta do the Lambada with your neighbor’s wife.

The haunted world of Don Draper is heating up in season six of Mad Men. He’s become so good at telling and living lies, that as the war explodes on the airwaves, there is the impending sense that Dandy Don’s life is about to explode too.

In last night’s episode, The Collaborators, Don continues to be the ultimate “Yes Man” with his wife. When Megan asks if he would like to have children, he says sure, whatever she wants, which is the last thing he wants.

Don no longer cares enough about Megan to disagree, argue, or fight with her, which we all know is an integral part of a normal relationship (hey now). It’s easier for Don to just smile vacuously and nod like a bobblehead doll. Read more…

Desert Island Films


If you were stranded forever on a desert island what 10 films would you bring with you?

You’re probably thinking, “If I’m stuck on a desert island, and I had the technology to watch movies, I’d probably get rescued.” And that’s probably true. But let’s just assume for the time being that we’re stuck on this lush island with a film projector, screen, electricity, and an everlasting pitcher of mojitos (Or in my friend Miles’ case, bourbon). Read more…

Grilled Cheese To Please

Chef Terrance Brennan, owner of Artisinal Bistro, and me at the 2012 Grilled Cheese contest.

Chef Terrance Brennan, owner of Artisanal Bistro, and me at the 2012 Grilled Cheese contest.

April is National Grilled Cheese month. Who knew? Well actually I did. In 2012 I was a finalist in Artisanal Bistro’s Best Grilled Cheese contest in New York City. Although my entry — The Three Cheese Crisp, wasn’t the ultimate victor, two judges said they loved it and gave it perfect scores. After all, what’s not to love about sourdough bread slathered with rosemary-infused butter, filled with Gruyere and Fontina cheeses with two Parmesan crisps tucked in between and grilled to gooey perfection?

Hungry yet? If so, great, because I’m sharing my recipe with you as well as one for Andalusian Gazpacho, which I think makes the perfect Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup combo.

I will be doing a cooking demo of the Three Cheese Crisp and my new creation “The Weston,” (featuring fresh tomato jam) at the Farmers Market at Norfield Grange in Weston, Conn, later this month. But more about that another day.

It’s April, so smile, and say “Yes please to Grilled Cheese!” (Photos and recipes to follow) Read more…

Thumbs up to Roger Ebert

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The balcony is now closed.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The balcony is now closed.

I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. I hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.”

Those were the immortal words of critic Roger Ebert about the film North, which was written by Alan Zweibel, directed by Rob Reiner, with a terrific cast including Elijah Wood, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bruce Willis, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz, and John Ritter. It even featured an eight-year-old newbie by the name of Scarlett Johansson.

On paper, North sounded like a fun romp in the park, and with that kind of star power how could it miss? Well it turned out to be a mega-huge box office bomb. Alan Zweibel summed up his feelings about Roger and the critic’s importance in a New Yorker blog post:

To be fair, this was not the only negative review that the film received. There were a number of them. O.K., I’m lying. There was a veritable avalanche of them. But because it was written by Roger Ebert, this was the one that everyone on the planet read.

And quoted.

To me, by friends who called to express their sympathies: “It’s like Ebert stuck two thumbs up your ass and then had a tug of war with himself.”

Ouch. Read more…

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