Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In Cold Blood

IMHO, PS Hoffman did an amazing portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote. The film weaves the storyline of this book, In Cold Blood, arguably his best work, throughout. Even if you know the plot, the logisitics of the arduous fact-gathering, the ending and you've formulated an opinion on the matter, still, I encourage you to read this. Why? Its difficult to grasp the full genius of this author without reading him. At least that is the conclusion I reached after finishing this book, my first Capote read.

Capote wielded his pen like an extension of his mind, a beautiful, poetic mind it was. He could find beauty in the oddest of things, like Western Kansas. I've been to Western Kansas, many times, usually en route from Denver to some other place. I could only describe it as hundreds of miles of never-changing, mind-numbing beigeness. But Capote's dreamlike, carefully delivered description almost makes me want to see it again, through his eyes. Almost.

You have to admire the dedication Capote had to follow this sensational story to the end, a story that spanned many years. To get to know the family and friends of the slain family, to infiltrate the minds of two murderers, to know them better than they knew themselves, to unearth the psychology, to sew it all together in a cohesive and consumable manner. To watch these men hang from the neck until dead.

Capote had more than just a writing style, he had a rhythm. At the end of each section, usually written in the voice of a character, were one or two lines that were uncharacteristically short and nonchalantly delivered. These several lines punctuated the tone of the story like a sledgehammer on china.

I finished the book in a day, its that riveting. Then, as I usually do, I rented the movie. Curiosity, really, I just wanted to see if the images Capote painted in my mind were compatible with the film-maker's. Usually I am disappointed in the film, however, not this time.

In Cold Blood, the movie, was great. I loved the 1960's time capsule. Filmed in black and white, great black-turtleneck, finger-snapping, heavily-cymablled, hep cat jazz music, everyone in suits and ties. And hats, noone wears hats anymore. Don't forget the cars, those big lumbering, road-hogging metal people movers. Big shinny grills and wicked back fins, looking like serial killers on four wheels.

Robert Blake, of the I-swear-I-didn't-have-my-wife-murdered Blake's, stars as Perry Smith. I think we could call this retro-irony. I have to say, he was very convincing as the tortured killer with the dubious upbringing. Really, the best role of his career.

In other Capote-related news, Infamous, another film dissecting the Capote-Smith relationship, hits the mainstream in October.

Monday, May 29, 2006

فلافل or طعمية or פלאפל

Its falafel, no matter what language you choose. I've never been able to determine the origin of this spicy Garbanzo bean 'burger'; some say its Indian, some Jewish, others just claim its vaguely Middle Eastern. In any case, I have developed my own falafel, its origin is Texan.

JLO's Texas Falafel

1 15 oz can Garbanzo Beans, drained
1 Small Onion, chopped
1/2 C Parsley, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Egg White
2 t Cumin
2 t Coriander
1/2 t Chipolte (or cayenne)
1/2 Jalapeño, chopped
1 t Salt
1 t Smoked Paprika
1 t Lemon Juice
1 t Baking Powder
1 T Olive Oil
1/2-3/4 C Plain Bread Crumbs
Oil for frying.

1 In a food processor pulse the garbanzo until they are a thick paste. Remove to a large bowl.

2 Add onions, parsley and garlic to food processor and blend until smooth. Stir into garbanzos.

3 Add all other ingredients to the garbanzo mixture, using only the amount of bread crumbs necessary to make a mixture that will hold together.

4 Form 8 balls with the mixture, flatten them into patties.

5 Over medium-high heat, add enough oil to fry the patties. Fry until browned on both sides.

Bon Appetite, y'all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Chippy, that's what they call them in London, those places solely dedicated to the art and science of creating fish and chips. Fish and chips really aren't English in origin, I always found this a little disquieting since I completely associate the dish with England. The fish half is actually Jewish in origin, while the chips half is French. I think the dish's enormous popularity in England in the 1800's and the following deluge of chippies that pepper the country, is what gives the dish that association.

Wherever it came from, its one of my favorite workaday meals. But once you've had the real thing from a chippy, its discouraging to eat the malformed reproductions usually offered up in Dallas.

I made it a personal mission to try every single version of fish and chips in Dallas. I'm nowhere near trying them all but the winner thus far is this place,

Picardy's Shrimp Shop
6800 Snider Plaza
Dallas, TX 75205
Phone: 214-373-4099

Picardy's, Snider Plaza

The fish is cod, fresh, the way I remember in England. The batter is thick, smooth and fried to greaseless perfection. The chips are thinner, like normal fries, which is off, they should be more like potato wedges, but still handcut and delicious. They serve the lot with salt and malt vinegar, which is how fish and chips was presented to me for the first time in London.

This recent visit was a little disapppointing; the batter was not as crisp, the chips had that distinct I've-been-under-a-heat-lamp flavor ,but even slightly off their peak, Picardy's beats all other fish and chips I've tried here .

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coming Out

I have a friend who is coming out to his parents this weekend. To say that he is concerned might be an understatement. Myself, I crossed that bridge so long ago it seems ancient. In an attempt to assuage his fears I simply reconunted some of my coming out episodes. While I'm certain others have had more dramatic, even painful incidents, mine were a little on the anticlimactic side.

Mom & Dad

Me: I have something to tell you, its important.

Mom & Dad
: Oh, well sure, what is it?

Me: I'm gay.

Mom & Dad: I thought you said important, we already know that.

Me: Oh

Mom & Dad: Was there anything else you wanted to tell us?

Me: No, I guess thats it.

Mom & Dad: Alrighty then.


Me: I'm gay

Aunt: OH, Thank God, maybe you can help me pick out a scarf for this dress!

Me: Oh, LOL.

Best Female Friend In High School

Me: I'm gay

Friend: Of course you are, your socks match your shirt, both which I might add, are purple.

Me: Oh, LOL.

Best Male Friend In High School

Me: I'm gay

Friend: Me too.

Me: But you're a football player and you have a girlfriend.

Friend: Tricky, isnt it? So, wanna go out tomorrow night?

Me: Is this a friend thing or a date thing?

Friend: Yes

And to think our friend-date thing went on for 11 years.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Much More Lior

Hatuna Meuheret

After seeing Israeli looker, Lior Ashkenazi, in Walk On Water, I poked around for other films he had made and found this one, Hatuna Meuheret (Late Marriage).

Comedy but with an ultimately heart-breaking view of the pressure cooker created by conflict between cultural expectations and what the heart wants.

Its a great film but don't expect the international slick or heart-racing pace of Walk On Water; its on a smaller, more personal scale. You should also be prepared (for better or worse) for quite an eyeful, as Ashkenazi and his female co-star make many full-frontal appearances.

What's Persian & Italian?

Right, its a riddle. What is Persian & Italian, quiet & unassuming, and highly addictive. You might think Persian Guy (Hi, Jim :) While that might be true, in this case I am talking about ...

18484 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75252
Phone: 972-596-8610

Why Persian and Italian? The Italian family who owned Giovanni's sold to a Persian family, a smart Persian family who thought it better to keep their existing patron-base while adding on a sizeable Persian population in far North Dallas and Plano. Half of the menu is classic northern Italian, the other half is Persian staples.

Buried deep in a quiet strip mall on Preston near 190, it shines as the best Persian in Dallas (so far). The family of the Persian I dated in Houston owned, at that time, one of the only Persian restaurants. I became quite the consumer of their fare since we ate there almost everyday. Bademjan, the richly complex eggplant stew, served with Chelo, the highly-addictive saffron-buttered rice, was and is my favorite dish from Iran. So, I tried it at Giovanni's. I hope noone else heard me make those G-d-I-Love-This squeals, its embarassing when I do that out loud. What sets Giovanni's apart is the use of whole dried limes, a less tomatoy base and a cinnamon that is both sweet and savory.

Service is top-notch; items come quickly and quietly, items completely demolished (which will be everything) are quietly and quickly removed. They know their Persian dishes, every ingredient, and they can speak to the special techniques they use to build the layers of complexity.

A tiny bit more expensive ($10-20 per entree) than other Persian eateries but a more sophisticated environment and solid quality.

You know its good when hear more Farsi than English; you will hear more Farsi here.

Special thanks to Lauren, who lived in Iran, for introducing us to this unique and delicious place.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Mission Impossible 3

Loved it!

You might want to take advantage of the few times during this nail-biter that you will have to unclench and breathe, you'll need them. Outstanding FX blitz and it contained enough twists to the usual MI story line to keep you entertained and thrown off the crystal ball predictions.

Cruise may be a middle of the road actor in most other roles but he owns this one completely; he is Ethan Hunt. I actually look forward to seeing him in this role very much the way I enjoyed seeing Connery as 007. What impresses me about Cruise is that he does all of his own stunts. I bet that made the production crew a little nervous, having their multi-million dollar budget put in jeopardy should the handsomely-weathered frat boy break an arm.

PS Hoffman is on a roll. You might have loved him to death in Capote but you'll want to place highly explosive devices in every one of his orifices during MI3. He is brilliantly evil as the villan.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In Preparation For Summer

Because regular water is so heavy and so full of carbs.

(BTW, this is a real product sold in Japan)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Stick It Again, Mom

Spring is now officially closed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New York City Boy, Wrap

Sunday. Go!

No, wait, after drinking half the alcohol in NYC maybe we should take this day slowly. This is exactly what the girls and I did.

1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-2233

I eat at this midtown bistro almost every visit. Its good, predictable brunching. You just can't go wrong with the smoked salmon, asparagus and Gruyere omlette. Frittes are pretty good too. If I remember correctly this place is open 24/7, always a bonus.

The Univision Reporter
The rest of the day was lazy strolling, ducking in and out of shops. Then the much-loathed cab ride back to La Guardia, signifying ... well, the end of the trip. But, for me, it was just another interesting entry.

On the plane I sat next to a girl, she was sleeping cockeyed against the window when we took off, woke up long enough to ask if she could sprawl out in the empty seat between us. When she woke minutes later she started chatting. A lot. Enthusiatically. About everything. She was just transfered to Miami from NYC, had returned to NYC to see her boyfriend, then work called her to Dallas to cover a story. A story you say? She turned out to be a reporter for Univision, one of Latin America's networks.

Reporter girl was covering a story about how Mexican media and authorities had teamed up with US media and authorities to shutdown a baby selling ring operating between the two countries. She gave me the stack of details on the story, she however, had not read them and wouldn't until just before going live at 8am. She claimed last minute preparation gave her that spontaneous edge that Latin American audiences require.

Marcus Goldhaber
Reporter girl went on to talk about her boyfriend, the jazz singer. "Here, take this and listen to him", she said, handing me his promo CD. So I did just that on the ride home. He's actually very good, sounding like a smoky, roughed-up version of Harry Connick. If you live in NYC you can see him at smaller venues. Check him out at Marcus Goldhaber, you can even download all the promo tracks there.

DFW to 183 to 35 to home. STOP.

I never have any fun or meet any interesting people.

I miss you already, New York.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New York City Boy, 2

Saturday. GO!

19 W 46th
New York, NY 10036

Akdeniz is a region in Turkey, so guess what kind of restaurant this is. More pricey than neighboring Bread & Olive but this is sit down with more atmosphere and frankly, better quality ingredients rolled in impressive presentation. Greek salad satifies with thick ribbons of creamy-firm Feta, tomato, lettuce all lounging in a lemony extra-virgin dressing.

Being a falafel whore is hard work; you try more and more falafel until you give up in disgust because noone can do it right. Well, until, that is, you land here, its excellent.

Galina had lamb kabobs. I subtly distracted her attention to the drop-dead gorgeous Turkish server, then snuck a piece. Next time, I eat lamb. Screw vegetarianism, I've decided that meat-no meat rules do not apply while in Manhattan.

Fueled with Turkish, Galina and I took the 6 up to the Guggenheim. For me, coming to NYC without visiting this museum is like coming to NYC without visiting my friends.

The big exhibit was Dave Smith. It was installed all the way up the ramp as well as several side galleries. Interesting sculpture, all welded metals, either entirely vertical or horizontal with liberal use of open space in the architecture. I lack the necessary art lingo to describe his work in any detail but I would see it again if the opportunity presented itself.

A couple of Dave Smith pieces

5th Ave
Galina wanted to shoe shop after the Gugg, so we snaked around 5th avenue in search of the perfect pair of shoes. Women and their shoes is an interesting phenomenon. Not only the heavy amount of judgement and criticism applied to each overpriced work of art but also the pain they are willing to endure to be attached to such; Galina walked 55 blocks in 5-inch strappy heels. My feet hurt, in my comfy Sketcher sneakers, just watching her.

21 Club
21 W 52nd St.
New York, NY

I think the 21 is a fine example of old New York. When I walked into the heavily dark paneled interior I could feel Sammie, Dean and Frank sitting back in their booths, smoking their cigars after a big steak dinner. Speakeasy past, the hidden cellars during prohibition give the 21 a undeniable mystique.

Paula, Joe & Galina - 21 NYC (in special orange vision :)

This is where Dutch decided to hold his graduation party. I thought it was a very generous touch that he dedicated the party itself to the other 5 Stern MBAs in the room, taking a back seat to their accomplishments while picking up the tab for all.

Paula - 21 NYC

Cliquot and seared tuna apps circled the room in a 5-star tornado while we, all of Dutch's friends, all 75 of us, were finally able to place faces to long-aquainted names and stories.

Magic, thank-you Dutch.

Room With A View
After the party we went to the apt. of one of Dutch's friends. The building was on 48th and 1st Ave, right along the East River. Her apt., some 50 floors up, had the most kick-ass view of the city I have ever seen. Her balcony wrapped around 3 sides of the building. From the south - Empire State and Chrysler around to the river and around again to midtown and upper east. I spent most of my time here walking around and around her balcony in utter disbelief.

As we took the elevator down my anaytical mind was calculating the cost of this apt. -- 2000 sf, wrap around balcony, 50 floors up -- I'd say 10 to 20 million, maybe more. Funny, I don't think I've ever actually been in a 20 million dollar apartment before. Makes coming back to my shack seem a little like drinking Mountain Dew after Dom Perignon.

Still in my view haze, someone pushed me into a cab and poof we're on the Lower East Side. Go ahead, snarl your lips back and growl but I love LES. Its gritty and unassuming, you can almost hear the struggle, the creak of the waitressing treadmill that most stage hopefulls hop on while waiting for their one big break.

We had more drinks and a wee bit of food at Charbon LES, a psuedo-bistro bar combo on Orchard @ Stanton. One thing you should know about this place - the service is horrendously bad; slow, forgetful and just plain rude. I was, however, more than thrilled with my salmon tartar with avocado citrus dressing. I would go back for this but with drastically altered expectations.

With a cab ride back to midtown, so ends another day in the city.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New York City Boy, 1

My friend Dutch graduated from Stern with his MBA and decided to have a big blowout party at 21. That was impetus for this NYC trip. Like most of my trips to the city it was a chuck-your-bags-in-the-hotel and hit-the-city-running trip.

Friday -- DFW to La Guardia to Triborough to FDR to midtown, check in.


Bread and Olive
24 W 45th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 391-7772

Midtown is notoriously underrepresented in culinary genius. However, Bread & Olive disrespects this trend. Great middle eastern fare that will not damage your wallet, a plus for the NYC on a budget luncher. Creamy, lemony garlic-spiked hummous. Smoky, tangy, chunky baba gannoush. A lovely and insanely addictive goat cheese and sesame bread roll from Lebanon called keshik. First rate shawarma and a very interesting lemonade made with rose water. All for less than cab fare to the LES.

Avenue Q
Golden Theatre
252 West 45th St.
New York, NY 10036

This adult puppet musical won an award, now I see why it did. By far one of the most entertaining plays I've seen on Broadway. Interesting life lessons told through quite talented stage performers, all armed with Sesame Street-like puppets. It must have been technically challenging for the performers to maintain their own character presence while creating a sometimes contrasting character with their hands.

If you find yourself in NYC, see it. You can't really say you've lived a full life until you've seen puppets having sex on stage. (Well, maybe you could but its still funny as hell and you should see it :)

18 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10014
(212) 660-6766

I remember when the Meat Packing District was strictly off-limits, you didnt dare traverse this area of town, and that was not so long ago. Now, it is IT. Ono is the anchor Japanese in Hotel Gansevoort, the uber-trendy hotel island of IT.

Galina, Paula - Ono NYC

Everytime I go to NYC I come back and say that I have had the best "fill in the blank". This time, sushi. Ono has the best sushi I have had. Its incomprehensibly fresh, immaculately prepared and presented. Definitely worth the mortgage payment you will fork out.

Aside from the sushi, Ono is just cool; the high energy post-disco era thump, the decor of muted dark tones, silk screens and 100-pound blocks of salt set the stage for the most beautifully scruffy model-esque creatures stuffed into $400 True Religion jeans that I've ever seen.

Yellowtail, eel and uni memories still linger.

Rooftop, Hotel Gansevoort
18 9th Ave at 13th St.
New York, NY 10014

What does one do after a 11:45 seating at Ono when its nearly 1 am? Of course, you take the elevator to the rooftop patio and bar atop the Hotel Gansevoort to see more beautiful people, drunk beautiful people packed in like jean-clad sardines with $16 cocktails, attempting not to be impressed by the 360 degree view of lower Manhattan.

Galina, Hotel Gansevoort NYC

Its quite the fitting end to your first 16 hours in the city that never sleeps.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Get Back To Work!

Lovely weekend in NYC! Got in at midnight and back to grind this AM. Posting will resume sometime this week after I catch my breath.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Buenos Aires Connection

SE Corner of Preston & Belt Line (In front of SteinMart)
Dallas, Texas

One of my favorite finds since living in Dallas is Shines. Its part grocery and part deli. Here is why I drive 10 miles out of my way to go here.

Sour Cherry. Since dating the Persian in Houston I developed a love for sour cherry. Good luck trying to find that in Dallas, Shines is the only place that I know of that carries any sour cherry products.

Feta. Yep and get the low fat variety, its much better than any fully fatted version you will get elsewhere; so creamy, so full of flavor.

Basterma. OK, this is when I'm a very bad vegetarian. Basterma is a highly spiced middle eastern beef. Wrap it up in a pita with some feta, basil and walnuts and you have a snack that will blow you away.

Baklava. Ask for the Evil Baklava. It differs in that it has a layer of cream cheese, pistachios and some kind of honey that is very herby tasting. One triangle is enough for me!

Deli. Dolmas, hummous, baba ganoush, shawarma and empanadas. Yum. If you are good at the this-item-doesnt-belong game, you probably noticed that empandas do not belong in the rest of the middle eastern offerings. There is a reason for this ...

My favorite thing about Shines is the family that owns it. They are Turkish but lived in Argentina for 25 years, Buenos Aires mostly. The whole family is fluent in Spanish and most often when you step into the distinctly middle eastern shop you will hear nothing but Spanish spoken. If you ever want to know something about Buenos Aires, stop by and ask, the mom can speak at length about every aspect. Be prepared for a complete lesson while you graze.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


In order to make this post I had to play let's make a deal with Home Depot Guy, since it contains some personal stuff about him. So, the deal is that I have to refer to him by his real name, Zef, and I have to clear up that he does not work for Home Depot, thats just where we met.

Done with that!

Zef: I yelled at my brother and made him cry. Now I feel like total jerk.

Jim: Your brother with cancer?

Zef: Yeah, I feel horrible.

Jim: You should, that was a mean thing to do, why did you do that?

Zef: He decided to stop his chemo. Maybe you could talk to him since you understand how all of that works.

Jim: No, I think his oncologist has way more than covered that. Plus, its common for people to feel like stopping in the beginning, those drugs can really take their toll in many ways. Try giving him some time to adjust.

Zef: Yeah, I guess so. I wish I wouldn't have yelled at him, why do I do that?

Jim: I think thats an easy one. Lets take the big picture of your life.

Work - your boss loves you and lets you have free reign. Your group loves you and does exactly as you wish. You control your work life.

School - you have a 3.9 GPA and consistently make the top scores. You control your school life.

Social - you are the alpha dog with your friends, you tell them when and where and they respond. You organize your soccer team and every group in which you participate. You control your social life.

This thing with your brother is something you can't control which makes you mad.

Zef: Dont forget, I control you too. Muah ha ha! LOL

Jim: Hardly, LOL

Zef: Poor word choice, you allow me to control our interaction.

Jim: Circumstantial, my social life is low priority right now, so I respond to requests as they come in rather than initiating them. That will change.

Zef: So, the trick is to keep you really busy if I want to be in the position of initiator. I think you need a PHD after your Masters! Muah ha ha!

Jim: Right, when you fork over the cash for that, we'll talk.

Zef: Oh, I'm OK with that!

Jim: Anyway, back to my point. Your being mad at not having control is your problem, don't take it out on your brother. Maybe you could try some gentle support rather than your typical 20-pound-sledgehammer variety.

Zef: Thats a good idea, glad I thought of it! I think I'm going to skip out on summer session and take a leave of absence from work so I can spend more time with him.

Jim: Or you could just talk to your boss and see if you could work remotely from NYC.

Zef: Another good idea, glad I thought of that too! LOL

Jim: I see you haven't lost your sense of humor.

Zef: Never. Oh, thanks for being the only person to not treat me differently. Everyone else is being too nice and giving me those poor baby looks. I hate that.

Jim: They're just expressing sympathy. You know, us humans usually express sympathy to other humans when something bad happens to them. Maybe you could just accept it graciously with a thank you instead of interpreting it as a weakness or loss of control.

Zef: Uh-huh, so what are you wearing?

Jim: An Easter bunny costume with big floppy ears.

Zef: HOT! You know I have an Easter bunny fetish, I'll be there in 2 minutes.

Jim: LOL, you are so not right, and on that note, say goodnight Zef.

Zef: Goodnight Zef.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Bridge Between Israel And Germany

Israel and Germany, now there are two words you can't use in a sentence without causing some tension. However, this hasn't stopped Eytan Fox, et al, from folding these two countries and cultures together to create an unexpected and amazing film, Walk On Water.

I can't remember who suggested this one to me through blog comments but thanks! Even though I loved Yossi & Jagger, Walk On Water is definitely my favorite Israeli film to date.

Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) is a descendant of Holocaust survivors, a Mossad agent, lethally precise and emotionally detached. After removing a terrorist from Turkish soil he returns Israel to face a horrific personal loss. With not so much as a tear or lashing out in anger he stoically pushes forward to his next mission: to befriend the grandson of a Nazi war criminal solely to gain knowledge of his whereabouts and kill him.

Axel (Knut Berger) is the happy-go-lucky, gay German grandson of the Nazi war criminal who comes to Israel to visit his sister who is on kibbutz. Eyal poses as his tour-guide and driver to complete his mission.

What you fear most in life you will encounter over and over again until its confronted and resolved. Or so my grandmother used to tell me. This is precisely what unfolds as the Israeli and German forge a friendship and mutual understanding, eventually leading to the confrontation and dismantling of the demons from their respective pasts.

The climactic scene is chilling and brilliant as each man puts himself in the other's postion, literally adopting each others values and life perspective. I watched this scene three times over, the acting is stellar, powerful and it solidifies the underlying message of the film with scary clarity.

I enjoyed the film's locations in Israel, Germany and Turkey. I also enjoyed the blend of German, Hebrew, English and Arabic languages. But, what I loved most about the film, was the juxtapostion of tensions, there are many: Israeli-German, Israeli-Palestinian, gay-straight, a man against himself, grandson-grandfather, right-wrong, guilt-letting go, anger-release.

In each case a bridge between them, now matter how fragile, is built.


Friday, May 05, 2006


When I first bought this place in 1997, I gutted it, completely, then started over. As part of that I had my general contractor hire some painters. The instructions were clear: white, no oil-based paint. Unfortunately white comes in many shades and I was stuck with Antique White, which is yellow-ish and it was oil-based and most importantly, they did a crappy job. I wasn't here when the painting occurred and my GC obviously couldnt tell the difference between a good job and bad job. When I finally tracked down the painter, he had been arrested on possession. Great! LOL.

I've lived with it for 8 years, simply keeping the lights low and painting everything else to match. Now that the unit will be going on the market is was time to suck it up and redo the whole thing.

See the difference between actual white (cabinets) and antique white (door)?

Notice the new wall color, the old color (ceiling) turned out more purple, even though the sample was light blue. I now loathe Ralph Lauren paints for that reason.

The dining room looks much cleaner in white than that silvery-gold color.

Buddha is approving of his cleaner view of the kitchen (although the flash makes this look much whiter than it is, lol)

In tandem with the whitening of the townhome, I have also been whitening my teeth. During my journey through another round of root canals I asked my dentist if any of the OTC bleaching products actually worked. He recommended Crest Whitestrips. So I tried them. Holy crap, years of caffiene abuse instantly wiped clean, amazing stuff! He did tell me to be careful however, some people have gone so far with the bleaching that now their teeth are starting to show the natural reds and blues that come with white. Gross! LOL.

He also recommended baking soda for brushing my teeth along with just the smallest amount of toothpaste. He said the baking soda counteracts the high-acid exposure for anyone who drinks alot of coffee, tea or soft drinks.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stick It, Mom

On your refrigerator that is, another 4.0 semester, Spanish grade pending.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Therapy, Lesson 2

First, open a bottle of wine. If you are lacking in wine ideas, try this one, Zancho Zabaco Zinfandel, 2002 Reserve. Moderately priced ($15) and a beautiful, spicy blend of deep blackberry and black pepper.

Next, make dinner. In this case cube up some apples, pears, Irish Cheddar cheese and Havarti with dill. Pour wine. Take wine and dinner upstairs to DVD watching room (the bedroom). Load DVD player with movies you haven't watched yet.

Press Play.


Gyllenhaal, look at him, go ahead. Aside from the Jake candy in this film, it was still decent. I noticed Gyllenhaal, in the last three films he did in 2005, is improving his acting ability steadily: Proof, utterly forgettable. Jarhead, moments of sheer genius combined with moments of mediocrity. Brokeback, sheer genius.

I read a snippet on moviephone that he had gone through a small workout program to get him into shape for Jarhead. Small? HA. Wait until the shower scene with full front and back shots. This was no small workout routine, this was 6 months of 3 hours a day of heavy lifting.

Jarhead gives a ground-up look at Desert Storm. Normally I don't care for war movies but this one was different. I liked that they didn't overwhelm the viewer with intense graphic violence and casualty. There is some, obviously, it is war afterall, but its presented without hysteria, without judgement, and without dramatic background music, just the sound of wind blowing against sand, much the way I would like it to sound, if I were there.

Somtimes wartime movies can be used as conduits for film maker's political statements. Not so in Jarhead. They have a few spankings to deliver to both ends of the political spectrum, otherwise the film focuses on the Marines and the losses they incur as human beings off the battlefield.

Jamie Foxx, who obviously was on the same "small" workout program as Gyllenhaal, delivers a very convincing role as the staff sarg.


Who makes a better criminal than a cop? Think about it, its much easier for a cop to throw other cops off track, its particularly easy when you are chief of police. 1970's apartheid Johannesburg, a horrible time and place in history, sets the stage for Stander. Its interesting that in the midst of human tragedy there emerges some comic relief and there is, albeit dark, quite a bit of humor in this film.

Stander is the chief of Jo-burg police but through a series of unsavory apartheid-related events (which, frankly, were nauseating to watch), he turns on the police department to become the most notorious bank robber in South Africa.

He is a criminal much like Robin Hood was one too. Although he robs banks, during his getaways he throws the money to some random black kid in the street. The reactions are priceless. He makes such a name for himself during this era that people are glad to be robbed by him. In one scene, after robbing a bank, the bank manager says "Hey, you're Stander!" Then the bank manager turns to the rest of the bank and says "Hey everyone we are being robbed by Stander!". Everyone smiles and looks at everyone else in a self-congratulatory way, as if they have all just been knighted by the Queen of England. Funny stuff.

There is a density of psychology going on throughout: Stander's emotional struggle between the responsibility he has to his job and his digust with apartheid. More struggles with frayed relationships with his father and the woman he married for the second time. The ending sums up the net result of those struggles but in true-to-life form, it is not storybook.

Amazingly, this is a true story.