Saturday, December 31, 2005

The matador

Joe Leydon
A quirky yet commercial commingling of black comedy, seriocomic psychodrama, heart-tugging sudser and buddy-movie farce.

"For a much better attempt at this kind of storytelling, make a mental note to some day check out Israeli writer-director Eytan Fox’s Walk on Water."
-- Kevin Biggers, FILMSTEW.COM

2/5 "Explores the friendship between a hit man and a suburban businessman that strains belief and leads to a totally improbable finale."
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, SPIRITUALITY AND HEALTH

3/4 "Like the down-and-out version of his Tailor of Panama character, Brosnan’s performance here is a sincere treasure; possibly the most entertaining of his career."
-- Erik Childress, EFILMCRITIC.COM

3/5 "Slightly more engaging than most, even when the plot starts to stretch rather thin in the final act"

8.5/10 "Shepard and his terrific cast turns a fairly simple premise into one of those rare buddy comedies that has both brains and heart!"
-- Edward Douglas, COMINGSOON.NET

B- "A deft psychological thriller."
-- Harvey S. Karten, COMPUSERVE

3.5/5 "Mixing comedy and the hit man thriller, Matador is a dialogue-driven buddy film about two disparate men (Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear) who meet in a hotel bar--and help each other go through mid-life crisis. "
-- Emanuel Levy, EMANUELLEVY.COM

8/10 "...a captivating comedy. Brosnan gives the best performance of his career. Kinnear is a true comic genius."
-- Tony Medley, TONYMEDLEY.COM

3/4 "...moves at a brisk pace and features a pair of exceedingly enjoyable performances..."
-- David Nusair, REEL FILM REVIEWS

"This occasionally stylish effort from writer/director Richard Shepard just can't make up for its lightweight script."
-- Jon Popick, PLANET SICK-BOY

1/4 "A painful morass of Odd Couple bickering and Elmore Leonard-style criminal kookiness."
-- Nicholas Schager, SLANT MAGAZINE

4/5 "Brosnan and Kinnear deliver one of the most satisfying "guy movie" duos since De Niro and Grodin paired up for Midnight Run."
-- Scott Weinberg, EFILMCRITIC.COM

3.5/4 "A testament to the relatively unknown Shepard’s imagination and smarts."

-- Click to read the article.
-- Hanh Nguyen, ZAP2IT.COM

4/5 "Rarely does an ensemble cast of such limited numbers create such charm and entertainment derived from plot and character."
-- Jules Brenner (FC), CINEMA SIGNALS

2.5/4 "Neither challenging nor incompetent, the picture isn't courageous enough to fail and thus not courageous enough to be a masterpiece."

B- "...plays a little classier, a little more hip than it otherwise might have due to Pierce Brosnan's rascally embracement of poking holes in his own image..."
-- Laura Clifford, REELING REVIEWS

3/5 "Manages to transcend the cliches of its basic plotline on the strength of the character-acting so richly developed by the film's two stars."
-- Francesca Dinglasan, BOXOFFICE MAGAZINE

6/10 "Sneaky, off-beat, satirically seedy psychodrama/thriller with Pierce Brosnan as a droll, comically demented hit-man"
-- Susan Granger, MODAMAG.COM

"...thoroughly enjoyable and equally shallow."

5/10 "Its Like 'after The Sunset' Without Salma Hayak."
-- Fiore Mastracci, OUTTAKES WITH FIORE

4/4 "Dark comedies like this one are far too rare these days."

4/5 "Told with kinetic flair and a go-for-broke style that's more amusing than engrossing."

3/4 "An effective, wise, and frequently amusing entertainment that fondly sticks in the viewer's memory after the end credits have finished rolling."
-- Dustin Putman, THEMOVIEBOY.COM

C+ "Where an actor's comfort zone and preconception of audience expectation intersect, Richard Shepard's The Matador exists."

3/5 "The Matador has that shiny sheen that quickly fades, yet is still fun while it lasts."
-- Daniel Wible, FILM THREAT

B+ Click to read the article.
-- Eric D. Snider, ERICDSNIDER.COM

Pierce Bronson is slimy and greasy and wears shiny suits and is stunning in this role..
its a good movie to pass a winter afternoon, quirky and...may drag a bit but its worth the 10.00

mr torres

i interviewed a man for a job who told me his tale. he was one of triplets, born in egypt. his mother egyptian and father from PRico.his mother was ostracized in her village for marrying a catholic. She was humiliated and when she had her child, she showed hte village a still born child . She then went on to have two more sons, even she didnt know she was having triplets. She hid the babies in a chest of drawers until her husband came from the states to rescue them..the youngest child died of malaria and that left the man i was interviewing.
he told me that his son and father were killed outside of his last job in NY. Going to NY became difficult and he ended up being laid off from that job.
he had no ties to NYC so he flipped a coin and moved to Dallas.
He had a friend in dallas and called and offered to open a novelty store with his friend. He had 18,000 dollars and his friend had 13,000. THe man did not suspect that his partners girlfriend had a coke habit and cleaned out their joint bank account. he then found himself evicted from the apartment he was living in with this friend in Dallas. so he had to enter the shelter system for a place to live.
as he was a job developer and career counsellor, he started working at the shelter for his stay..
when it came to hiring him and paying him at a salary he thought he deserved, they delayed and delayed, having him work and develop the program. when push came to shove, they explained they were a baptist organization in waco texas and wanted to hire only baptists
faith based organziations can do that even if they accept federal monies

so he came back to NY and is looking for work

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 29, 2005

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 29, 2005

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Germany and the Soviet Union failed to sign a peace treaty after the global hostilities of the mid-20th century. Technically, then, World War II never officially ended. This lack of closure doesn't seem to have had any lingering repercussions, though, so I won't worry about it. On the other hand, there are unresolved situations from your past that are still causing you problems. In my astrological opinion, 2006 is an ideal time to finally wrap up all the unfinished business that has been subtly draining you. It's a perfect opportunity for the ultimate karmic cleansing, preferably carried out with grace, gratitude, and generosity.

the rebel jesus by jackson browne

i woke up singing Jackson browne's rebel jesus

Original recording from the chieftain’s album the bells of dublin

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
They’ll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all god’s graces
And the birth of the rebel jesus

Well they call him by the prince of peace
And they call him by the savior
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel jesus

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel jesus.

the weather in Chicago ...


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Monday, December 26, 2005

the weather in Chicago ...


memoir of a geisha

Underneath the Mask of a Heroine

Published: December 9, 2005

Swathed in silk and longing (mostly for a bald guy called Oscar), the big-screen version of "Memoirs of a Geisha" arrives with good intentions firmly in place. Based on the best seller by Arthur Golden, this lavishly appointed melodrama was directed by Rob Marshall, lately of "Chicago," and features the Chinese superstars Ziyi Zhang and Gong Li, and the Malaysian transplant Michelle Yeoh, as Japanese geishas swept up in jealous rivalries during the 1930's and 40's. In this cloistered world, men come and go as do history and warplanes, amid spectacularly unfortunate metaphors about male eels and female caves and one regrettably brief catfight in a kimono.

That catfight happens late in the story, long after Ms. Zhang's character, a geisha named Sayuri, has realized that the greatest obstacle to her happiness is an older star geisha, Hatsumomo (Ms. Gong). Sold to a geisha household, or okiya, as a child, Sayuri has long lived under the same roof as Hatsumomo, first as a prepubescent slave and then as a fully ripe rival. With her eye for beauty, Hatsumomo plots her challenger's demise with a ferocity that brings to mind both Joan Crawford and the Crawford impressionist Faye Dunaway in all their nostril-flaring, no-wire-hangers intensity. Clare Boothe Luce, who wrote "The Women," a poison-pen letter to her sex that became one of Crawford's more famous and least agreeable vehicles, would have approved.

Originally published in 1997, Mr. Golden's celebrated venture into higher-end chick lit centers on Sayuri, who survives a childhood of suffering to become a famous entertainer. Narrated in the first person, the book is embroidered with vaguely ethnographic exotica, Japanese words and phrases and a great deal of hothouse intrigue about who did what to whom and where. To the non-Japanese eye, the life of the geisha may appear intoxicatingly exotic, perfumed with face powder and the mildest suggestion of sex, but at least in the film, which is credited to the screenwriter Robin Swicord, the whole thing plays out like "As the Okiya Turns," complete with devious rivals, swoonworthy swains, fabulous accouterments, a jaw-dropping dance number recycled from Madonna's Drowned World tour and much clinching, panting and scheming.

Then again, there isn't all that much for a geisha to do other than serve and conspire. Rigorously trained from childhood, geishas dedicate themselves wholly to the paid amusement of male customers. Once upon a time in Japan, some women were in the service of procreation, others were employed for recreational sex, while the geisha operated in that gray area in between. (Curiously, the first geishas were men.) Geishas aren't typical sex workers; they're superclassy sex workers who sell their virginity to the highest bidder (the pretext in both the book and film for that unhappy bit about eels and caves) and rely on steady male patronage. But while serving a new customer every six months certainly sounds less untoward than, say, turning six tricks a night in a day-rate motel, who's kidding whom?

The book and the film attempt to attenuate the more distasteful aspects of geisha life, mostly by avoiding the contradiction between its degradations and its glamorous trappings. The story, after all, opens in the 1920's with Sayuri, then age 9 and called Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo), and her older sister being sold by their impoverished fisherman father and spirited away into the dark, rainy night. The girls are soon separated, with the older sister sold to a low-end brothel and the future geisha sold to her okiya, a beehive of female activity run by a pair of crones cum pimps and supported by the labor of its clipped-wing queen, Hatsumomo. Legally bound to the crones, to whom she must hand over most of her wages, Hatsumomo hopes to secure her future by one day running the okiya.

The exquisite Ms. Gong looks like a gift that keeps on giving when trussed up in silk, but she and the film come most alive when her hair tumbles down and she sashays about the okiya, stirring the air with her tremulous rage. Having seen a very different future for herself in the gray eyes of the new girl, Hatsumomo directs all that fury toward her eradication. In time, this enmity will assume soap-operatic proportions and involve the rival geisha Mameha (Ms. Yeoh), who takes Sayuri on as a trainee, and the two businessmen whose attentions consume so much of the women's and the story's time: the Chairman (Ken Watanabe, the majestic hunk from "The Last Samurai") and his partner and friend, Nobu (the great Japanese actor Koji Yakusho).

Mr. Marshall can't rescue the film from its embarrassing screenplay or its awkward Chinese-Japanese-Hollywood culture klatch, but "Memoirs of a Geisha" is one of those bad Hollywood films that by virtue of their production values nonetheless afford a few dividends, in this case, fabulous clothes and three eminently watchable female leads. Although it's always a pleasure to see these three in action, and there's something undeniably exciting about the prospect of them storming the big studio gate, the casting of Ms. Gong and Ms. Zhang ends up more bittersweet than triumphant. Ms. Zhang, for one, shows none of the heartache and steel of her astonishing performance in Wong Kar-wai's "2046." When her character crumbles with desire in that film, Ms. Zhang's face seems to break into pieces - you can scarcely believe she could put it whole again. Here, you can hardly believe it's the same actress.

Ms. Gong's hauteur and soaring cheekbones work better for her character, a woman of acid resolve. Although there are moments when Hatsumomo comes perilously close to Dragon Lady caricature ("I will destroy you!"), the actress's talent and dignity keep the performance from sliding into full-blown camp. But even the formidable Ms. Gong cannot surmount the ruinous decision to have her and Ms. Zhang, along with the poorly used Mr. Yakusho, deliver their lines in vaguely British-sounding English that imparts an unnatural halting quality to much of their dialogue. The. Result. Is. That. Each. Word. Of. Dialogue. Sounds. As. If. It. Were. Punctuated. By. A. Full. Stop. Which. Robs. The. Language. Of. Its. Watery. Flow. And. Breath. Of. Real. Life. Even. As. It. Also. Gives. New. Meaning. To. The. Definition. Of. The. Period. Movie.

"Memoirs of a Geisha" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). The film is as discreet as an unopened waterlily.

Directed by Rob Marshall; written by Robin Swicord, based on the novel by Arthur Golden; director of photography, Dione Beebe; edited by Pietro Scalia; music by John Williams, with cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma and violin solos by Itzhak Perlman; production designer, John Myhre; produced by Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Steven Spielberg; released by Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment. Running time: 144 minutes.

WITH: Ziyi Zhang (Sayuri), Ken Watanabe (Chairman), Michelle Yeoh (Mameha), Koji Yakusho (Nobu), Youki Kudoh (Pumpkin), Kaori Momoi (Mother), Tsai Chin (Auntie), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (The Baron), Suzuka Ohgo (Chiyo) and Gong Li (Hatsumomo).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

munich review

Spielberg film brilliantly acted, directed, written

By Paul Clinton
Friday, December 23, 2005; Posted: 2:02 p.m. EST (19:02 GMT)

Starring: Eric Bana, Geoffrey Rush, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, Daniel Craig

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Tony Kushner and Eric Roth

(CNN) -- "Munich" is a masterpiece.

The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a visceral, emotionally exhausting work that dares to ask questions -- and gives no easy answers -- regarding the horrifying events that occurred at the 1972 Munich Olympics and their aftermath.

That fall, the entire world watched as an extremist Palestinian group, Black September, kidnapped and massacred Israel's 1972 Olympic team. This was at an Olympics labeled "The Olympics of Peace and Joy."

The deaths were played out in real time on television, with the hostage drama culminating in a botched rescue mission at a nearby airport. Many historians point to Olympic tragedy as the beginning of the kind of worldwide terrorism we know today.

First-time screenwriter (and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright) Tony Kushner -- along with Eric Roth ("The Insider") -- helped Spielberg fashion journalist George Jonas' book, "Vengeance," into a thriller that examines the power and psychological toll of violence and retribution.

Publicly, Israel responded to the Munich massacre by bombing Palestine Liberation Organization bases in Syria and Lebanon, but privately the government, under Prime Minister Golda Meir, launched a highly top-secret group of special force teams to spread out across the world and assassinate all the Palestinians involved in the attack. The mission was called "Operation Wrath of God."

"Munich" is about one of those covert groups. Israel, to this day, has never confirmed the existence of these hit squads.
Building tension

Much of the action is seen through the eyes of one group leader, Avner, played by Eric Bana ("The Hulk," "Troy"). Geoffrey Rush plays Ephraim, Avner's contact, who intercedes when the shell-shocked Avner begins to have questions -- questions that become more philosophical and demanding about the ethics of the mission.

British actor Daniel Craig, who has just been named the new James Bond, plays Steve, a South African who is the most unwavering of the group.

Other members of the small group include Hans (Hanns Zischler), a German Jew who has a gift for forging documents; Carl (Ciaran Hinds), who is in charge of cleaning up the actions of his team; and Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz), a toymaker turned explosives expert.

(One interesting bit of casting is Guri Weinberg, now 33, who has a deep connection to the story -- he plays his own father. He is the son of Moshe Weinberg, the Israeli wrestling referrer and former champion who died in the massacre when Guri was just 1 month old.)

The hit team finds that the more they stay on the hunt, the more likely they too will become the hunted. Indeed, Avner's main contact, Louis (Mathieu Amalric), has no loyalties at all -- except to the money Avner pays him for his information. The idea can only make the men paranoid, Avner -- with a wife and child and another life waiting for him -- most of all.

"Munich" veers between scenes of incredible tension -- one sequence, in which the group accidentally finds the daughter of a target in their cross hairs, is almost unbearably hard to watch -- and relaxed, if meaningful, conversation. At one point, Avner, blindfolded, is taken to see Louis' father, a man who understands everybody's quandary -- but remains outside the fray, the better to exploit it.

Spielberg does not demonize the Palestinians, nor make the Israelis into saints. He's already taking heat from numerous groups on both sides of this fiery issue. (Watch how "Munich" is angering many -- and also receiving support -- 3:00)

Indeed, "Munich" deliberately walks a tightrope. It's full of clashes of tone and reason and offers no pat answers. All it does is humanize the story of some decent men who -- in the end -- must come face to face with their own souls. That's plenty.

Spielberg's directing is brilliant, from Hitchcockian set pieces to jittery '70s-style movement. Kushner and Roth's script is thoughtful and provocative. The acting is uniformly excellent.

Near the end of the film, Ephraim asks a weary Avner, "What have you learned?" Ephraim wants to know about the mission, but the same unwittingly loaded question could be asked of everybody.

"Munich" is a great film -- and an important one. It's a brave work from a top-notch filmmaker, and one of the best films of the year.

i aint getting it

i am sitting listening to CBS sunday morning show and it is xmas morning, I understand their attempts to recognize Hanukah starting tonight but it seems like Lynda Lopez and her chairmate are tacking hanukah on as a tag on. i hate that Hanukah gets associated with that stupid Adam Sandler song. the holidays coinciding this year only remind that Hanukah is not Xmas. I never wanted it to be a Christmas copycat holiday. I read an editorial by Jonathan Safan Foer in the TImes and i thought that he would do Hanukah more justice. ITs called a Beginners Guide to Hanukah and references things like Harry Hanukah as a counter to Santa Clause. Personally, i am insulted that there are such things as well as jews who decided that they needed a Hanukah bush to try to have a version of Christmas. i dont get it

Hanukah is not christmas. it doesnt resemble it nor should it mock it. I dont get that Jews suffer from "christmas envy" as Safan Foer puts it that they would need to replicate the holiday. Sure, it could be additional assimilation or acculturation as changing names from Rabinowitz to Rabb to try to pass. Adding XMAS traditions to Hanukah may mean tyring to mainstream but i dont get it

Hanukah is not xmas and i dont wish to be wished a Merry Xmas. i dont celebrate xmas. i dont get it...

being raised in a small new england town, where being a jew was a minority and then complicated by spending most of the xmas season with a babysitter while my parents worked in my dad's store marked the xmas season. Dad put alot of weight and desire and need on this time of year for the financial survival of my family. spending xmas eve with the family next door, while they celebrated xmas eve was part of the ritual of the season. It took an ugly twist as they celebrated with gifts and decorating the tree and santa claus while my sister and brother and i sat on the couch and watched. we are not christian and didnt participate.

hanukah's 8 gifts even equaled the gifts that my friends got under the tree. My sister talks about having to go back to school and not having the ability to the share in the conversation of "what did you get for xmas?" we didnt. our hanukah gifts paled compared to abundance. i dont get it....

what did we do on xmas? we went to the movies or we went bowling. There were chinese restaurants open, so we ate chinese food. or we ate at home...MOstly i remember bowling. My parents have tried volunteering but i dont really do that. I say i am but i dont feel that generous in getting people home for xmas. I dont take off this time of year at work. I let those christians take the time. Its not my holiday to prepare and pack up and deliver presents. I am offended that people wish me a merry xmas when they know i dont celebrate xmas. with the last name Goldberg, i dont get that they wish me merry xmas..

i am not a grinch at xmas, i just dont get it... i have tried to participate with friends... share their xmas but it just aint right so this year i get it...

i dont have to celebrate xmas or even fake it. I prefer not to even get in the spirit. it is not my holiday and never will be ....

being a jew part 1

when i was a kid i would stay up late and sit in the sunparlor watching TV. i remember the nights being silent except for the glow of the TV set. I remember watching the Music specials, Midnight special and bette midler's revues on TV but there were TWO events that stick in my mind.

Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. I went and woke up my parents to tell them. I understood the scope of the event and i watched the grainy screen. I knew that the world would not be the same. The US was the greatest country and we accomplished the impossible, we sent a man into space and conquered the moon.

the second event i remember is when Jim McKAy announced that the Israeli wrestling team was executed in Munich. I grew up in a small new england town of 35 jewish families. In MIlford Massachusetts it was dangerous to be a public Jew. Schools did not close for the new year holidays of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, we made up the work. Hanukah was no a public display holiday. Being a jew also meant that you belonged to a larger community. Israel was a new country, much support came from american jewry through israeli bonds and direct donation. The wars of 1967, 1972 and then the munich disaster leading to the Yom Kippur war

so when Jim McKay announced the death of the Israeli wrestling team, it was an attack on israel and on all jews everywhere, reminding us that Jews cannot participate as the rest of the world can in the olympics and jews are not safe. The fact that the murders occured in Germany didnt help Germanys relationship to the Jews. the death and then proceeding action is captured by Stephen Speilberg in MUNICH..

i saw the movie on xmas eve. connecting to my jewishness while the rest of the world connects to their christianity was healing. the movie is violent and will cause some backlash by reviewers but its a good movie, right up there with Schindlers List and Private Ryan.
its yet another Jewish theme movie or Jewish related movie released in NYC for xmas and oscar consideration. WHY do you think Barbra Streisand released on XMAS...something for jews to do ..


WITH his latest film, "Munich," Steven Spielberg forgoes the emotional bullying and pop thrills that come so easily to him to tell the story of a campaign of vengeance that Israel purportedly brought against Palestinian terrorists in the wake of the 1972 Olympics. An unsparingly brutal look at two peoples all but drowning in a sea of their own blood, "Munich" is by far the toughest film of the director's career and the most anguished. Mr. Spielberg has been pummeling audiences with his virtuosity for nearly as long as he has been making movies; now, he tenders an invitation to a discussion.

The film's title suggests that this is the story of what happened at Munich in September 1972, and it is, though only in part. Most of the action - and if nothing else, this nail-biter is a full-on action movie - takes place in the immediate aftermath of Munich, after 11 Israeli hostages were murdered by members of a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. Based on George Jonas's disputed book "Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team," and adapted to the screen by the oddball couple of Eric Roth and Tony Kushner ("Forrest Gump" meets "Angels in America"), the film pivots on five Israeli agents, who, recruited to exact revenge by a country that will officially deny their existence, zigzag Europe as they hunt suspects over months and then years.

With its art-directed verisimilitude and promiscuous use of archival material (Jim McKay makes a cameo appearance in the film, as does the voice of Peter Jennings) "Munich" is one of those Hollywood fictions that seem to befuddle those who miss the nuance in the words "inspired by real events." Here, those events begin with members of Black September scaling the Olympic village fence and taking both Israeli athletes and coaches hostage. Most of what happens next, including the agonizing wait at the Olympic village and the catastrophic showdown, emerges piecemeal, in bursts of violence that periodically interrupt the narrative and increasingly trouble the sleep of the story's quavering moral center, a former Mossad agent named Avner (the Australian actor Eric Bana).

For Black September, Munich is both a theater of cruelty and a means to international visibility. For the Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen), who personally presses Avner into vengeance, Munich is more than the scene of a crime: it is a reminder, a warning, a defensive call to arms. It is also why, with Meir's blessing, instructions from a Mossad case officer (Geoffrey Rush) and hundreds of thousands of American dollars tucked in a Swiss bank, Avner leaves Jerusalem and his wife and travels to Europe. There, he meets with his team members, any one of whom could star in his own espionage potboiler: the sexy South African in tight pants, Steve (Daniel Craig); the tweedy, pipe-smoking Israeli, Carl (Ciaran Hinds); the smoothly urbane German antiques dealer, Hans (Hanns Zischler); and the nebbishy Belgian toy and bomb maker, Robert (Mathieu Kassovitz).

Despite the brief pop-cultural dissonance brought on by the sight of the Incredible Hulk, whom Mr. Bana played in the 2003 blockbuster, sharing the screen with the new James Bond (Mr. Craig) and HBO's Julius Caesar (Mr. Hinds), the actors quickly make these character types their own. The missions happen just as quickly, if not without incident. In Rome, the team tracks a Palestinian intellectual who has just translated "Scheherazade" (which, in a Kushner-sounding touch, the translator describes as a "narrative of survival") and may have terrorist connections. When the moment comes for Avner to face his prey, an older man with trembling hands, the agent fumbles his gun. Later in Paris, in a sequence that finds Mr. Spielberg outdoing Hitchcock with bravura crosscutting, Avner again nearly botches the job, putting his team and an innocent bystander in danger.

If Mr. Bana sometimes seems overly sensitive for an undercover agent it's largely because without his anxious eyes and jittery hands Avner would not be half as sympathetic or rhetorically effective. What makes Avner memorable, more than just an unusually animated action figure, is that he is never more human than when faced with killing another person. More than the story's slow-to-dawn ambivalence about Avner's mission, more than the obvious effort made to ensure that the Palestinian terrorists are more than faceless thugs (they are thugs with faces and speeches), it is Avner's humanity, however compromised, that gives "Munich" the weight of a moral argument. It's an argument, though, that has little to do with whether Israel has a right to exist or whether the Palestinians have the right of return. Only this matters: blood has its costs, even blood shed in righteous defense.

"Munich" is as much a meditation on ethics as a political thriller, but it takes nothing away from the film to say that the most adrenaline-spiked part of this genre hybrid involves getaway cars, false papers and the sight of the future Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who pops up during a mission in Lebanon, mowing down terrorists while dressed in a woman's wig and high heels. In between the cloak, dagger and drag, the telephone bombs and a veritable alphabet soup of intrigue (C.I.A., P.L.O., K.G.B.), the years pass with increasing desperation and the team's numbers dwindle. Forced into a new kind of exodus, far from the homeland meant to provide justification for their every action, Avner and his men wander the continent that three decades earlier had been the staging ground for the extermination of European Jewry.

For these wandering, bickering, argumentative Jews, every safe house and port of call becomes an occasion for yet another discussion about Israel and identity. Nothing if not conversational, "Munich" is organized around three crucial dialogues: Meir's discussion of vengeance with her advisers, which ends with her declaration that every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values; a brief discussion between Avner and a Palestinian who predicts Israel's defeat; and, finally, a bitter encounter between two Israelis who fail to find common ground even in that multicultural utopia known as Brooklyn. With its dead-eye view of Lower Manhattan and the twin towers, this scene makes clear (as if there was any doubt) that Mr. Spielberg is as worried about this country as he is about Israel.

As his tours of duty with the historian Stephen Ambrose suggested ("Saving Private Ryan," "Band of Brothers"), Mr. Spielberg can give the appearance of wanting to be seen as more than just a Hollywood director, particularly since he added "adult contemporary" to his playlist, mixing history in with his dinosaurs. That makes him a soft target, and "Munich" has already been strafed by op-ed attacks. The accusations might make sense if the filmmaker took us into the terrorists' homes for some moral relativism. But Mr. Spielberg is doing nothing more radical here than advancing the idea that dialogue ends when two enemies, held hostage by dusty history and hot blood, have their hands locked around each other's throats. You can't hold your children with your hands so occupied, though evidently you can send them off to war. t would do a disservice to Mr. Spielberg to linger too long on the pre-emptive attacks on the film: more than anything, "Munich" is a slammin' entertainment filled with dazzling set pieces and geometric camerawork. Different palettes help keep the narrative flowing (there's no danger of becoming lost on the way from Frankfurt to Cyprus), imparting a contrasting vibe to each landscape: the bleached-out Israeli exteriors are as faded as old family photographs, while the verdant French countryside where Avner meets a mysterious intelligence broker called Papa (Michael Lonsdale) has the seductive tug of an idyll. This pocket of green and Old World civility, embellished from Mr. Jonas's book, is the film's shrewdest and most entertaining conceit: a movie within a movie, it is a vision of evil as both seductive romance and bureaucratic banality.

Avner meets Papa through his son, Louis, a dandy with a German shepherd and a sneer played by the French actor Mathieu Amalric. Their organization supplies information for fantastic sums but insists on never doing business with governments, a philosophy that Papa explains during one al fresco meal at his compound. Nestled in haute-bourgeois luxury, surrounded by children and barking dogs, this self-described hero of the Maquis proclaims himself an equal-opportunity hater of all governments. Next to this weary sophisticate, with his blood sausages and free-market nihilism, Avner comes off as a punk, an amateur. But Avner is also an idealist and, unlike Papa, who believes in only his family and money, the Israeli clings to a dream of home. And if that dream remains out of reach, well, Mr. Spielberg asks, what other choice does he have?

"Munich" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). The film features extremely graphic gun violence.

Directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, based on the book "Vengeance" by George Jonas; director of photography, Janusz Kaminski; edited by Michael Kahn; music by John Williams; production designer, Rick Carter; produced by Mr. Spielberg , Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel and Colin Wilson; released by Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures. Running time: 164 minutes.

WITH: Eric Bana (Avner), Daniel Craig (Steve), Ciaran Hinds (Carl), Mathieu Kassovitz (Robert), Hanns Zischler (Hans), Geoffrey Rush (Ephraim), Ayelet Zurer (Daphna), Michael Lonsdale (Papa), Mathieu Amalric (Louis), Gila Almagor (Avner's Mother) and Lynn Cohen (Golda Meir)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

walked too much

sleeping kitty

this is my kitty o love when its hot and she sleeps all curled up

the weather in chicago


Friday, December 23, 2005

the weather in chicago


spotlight on christmas by Rufus wainwright

People love the working man
Who does the best that he can
But don't forget all the horses and toys
Never could fix the poor little rich boys
People say they love the maid
Who sweats and toils just like a slave
But don't forget all the diamonds and pearls
Never could fix the poor little rich girls

You can measure it in blood
You can measure it in mud
Let us say for these twelve days
Put the measuring away

Cause it's Christmas
And the spotlight's shining on Christmas
And the spotlight's shining on us

People love and people hate
People go and people wait
But, don't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Once were a family poor but rich in hope, yeah
Don't forget Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Running from the law, King Herod had imposeth
And they were each one quite odd
And mensch, a virgin, and a God
But don't forget that what kept them aflow
Floating through the desert doesnt take a boat no
Don't forget that what kept them above
Is unconditional love

And, you can measure it in blood
You can measure it in mud
Let us say for these twelve days
Put the measuring away

Cause it's Christmas
And the spotlight's shining on Christmas
And the spotlight's shining on us
And the spotlight's shining on Christmas
And the spotlight's shining on

People love the working man
Who does the best that he can
But, don't forget all the horses and toys
Never could fix the poor little rich boys
An Extended Family Holiday Outing, Onstage

Published: December 23, 2005

For the Canadian folkie sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Christmas could never be simply "the holidays." The intuitive and cerebral siblings require that specificity as they mine its place in their own past, familial intimacies, disappointment and heartbreak, and joys metaphysical and quotidian. On Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall, they alluded to the sacred nature of their musical inquiry. "We wanted to get pews up here," said Anna, "but it was too expensive."

Joined by an extended troupe of children and other kin, the sisters performed songs from "The McGarrigle Christmas Hour," an omnibus project involving lots of the same pals who sat in on "The McGarrigle Hour" in 1998. While their show's selection drew from memories of a Quebec childhood in a musical English-French household, the McGarrigles also used the concept of Christmas as a prism through which to view the history of popular song.

After opening with everyone singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," the show was a swirl of instrumental and choral configurations. The repertory ranged from the English "Old Waits Carol" to crooner classics to French traditionals and members' Christmas ruminations.

The onstage crowd of roughly a score included an elder McGarrigle sister, Jane; Kate's children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright; Anna's husband, Dane Lanken, and daughter Lily; and good friends Emmylou Harris and Sloan Wainwright, whom Kate introduced as her "ex-sister-in-law."

The music was anchored by a band of longtime collaborators including the violinist Joel Zifkin and the singer-guitarist Chaim Tannenbaum. Still, the night belonged to the headliners and their daughters, who often formed a chorus and sang at times in pairs, contrasting Kate and Martha's piquant style with Anna and Lily's ethereal tones.

Conjuring the kookiness of a parlor gathering, Kate played piano and sometimes banjo, and Anna the accordion and guitar. Martha Wainwright and her cousin Ms. Lanken made a jaunty duet of Jackson Browne's "Rebel Jesus." But the room's acoustics were kindest to Rufus Wainwright, whose voice cut through group numbers like a solo instrument. On the first verse of the odd 1951 carol of cultural understanding, "Some Children See Him," his voice powered lines like "Some children see Him bronzed and brown/ The Lord of heav'n to earth come down," with the chill-inducing reverberation that the hall exists to complement.

Teddy Thompson, son of the English folk stars Richard and Linda Thompson, and Ms. Harris lent their solo voices, respectively, to "The Holly and the Ivy" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem." But Sloan Wainwright garnered the most applause with the folk-gospel "Thank God, It's Christmas."

The mood was festive, yet certain moments verged on the artistically holy, as when the charming "Il Est Ne" gave way to the haunting, mandolin-backed "Ça Bergers," or when Martha's Wainwright's voice achieved an exquisite alto dissolve on the French "Three Angels." When Mr. Tannenbaum joked before singing "Blue Christmas" with aplomb that "In my house, we thought Elvis's Christmas album was a piece of liturgical music," one McGarrigle beat the other to the quip: "Well, it was!"

see you in spring

Thursday, December 22, 2005

from the TWU website

Times: Union Leader Says Pension Issue Is Key to Ending Strike


Dec. 21-Roger Toussaint, the leader of the transit workers union, said today that his members would return to work only if the Metropolitan Transit Authority took its pension proposal off the table, but he added that the union was ready to resume negotiations right away.

His remarks during a news conference this afternoon came as the city's first transit strike in 25 years stretched into its second day and as the heated verbal jousting between Mr. Toussaint and the governor and mayor intensified, with both sides complaining about the propriety and legality of the other's conduct..

"Provided that the pension issue comes off the table, that would be a basis for us to go back to work," Mr. Toussaint said. He later added: "We are prepared to resume negotiations right away. We wouldn't end the strike as a condition of negotiations."

Soon after he spoke, several government employees' unions including those representing teachers, firefighters and municipal workers backed the transit workers union's demand for the M.T.A. to drop the pension issue from negotiations.

Earlier in the day, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg assailed the strike as illegal and said negotiations would not resume until transit workers returned to their jobs.

In another significant development, Justice Theodore T. Jones of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn ordered Mr. Toussaint and two other officials of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100, to appear in his courtroom at 11 a.m. Thursday, saying that he might sentence one or more of them to jail. Today's hearing took place as Mr. Toussaint was meeting with a mediator from the state's Public Employment Relations Board.

The judge's remarks, which appeared to surprise lawyers on both sides of the case, came as the lead attorney for the state argued for a contempt order against the three union officials. The state attorney had been expected to seek fines of $1,000 a day against the union officials under the Taylor Law, which bars strikes by public employees.

Justice Jones also put off until Thursday his ruling on a request by New York City for a temporary restraining order against the transit workers as part of a lawsuit the city filed against the union.

At a news conference this afternoon, Mr. Bloomberg said that jailing union leaders would not help resolve the strike and could make negotiations more difficult and contentious.

"I never thought that putting someone in jail and making them a martyr would help," he said. "I would urge the judge not to put them in a jail and to raise the fines."

Noting that transit workers made more money than teachers, firefighters and police officers, he again hammered the union for an illegal strike "designed to take place at a time of the year where it will hurt the most people."

Mr. Pataki echoed those remarks and said no negotiations would take place until the strike has ended. "I have one message for them - there aren't going to be any talks while you are walking," the governor said in a news conference in Albany.

Richard A. Curreri, the director of conciliation at the Public Employment Relations Board, met with Mr. Toussaint this afternoon, joined by two other professional mediators. Mr. Toussaint said they would meet again after his news conference.

It remained unlikely however, that Mr. Toussaint would agree - if mediation fails - to submit his contract dispute to a three-member panel of arbitrators whose decisions would be binding. Mr. Toussaint has repeatedly ruled out arbitration as an option. Arbitration was used to end the city's last transit strike, an 11-day walkout in April 1980.

"As I said before, our concern and problem with arbitration is that it removes any say-so from transit workers," Mr. Toussaint said this afternoon. "That is precious and important to us."

In arbitration, the union and the M.T.A. would each choose one member of the panel, known as an "impasse panel." The union and the authority would each have the right to strike names from a list of candidates for the third member of the panel.

After the 1980 strike, the transit union supported the state's binding-arbitration clause, but Mr. Toussaint, who was elected in 2000, has said he does not believe arbitration would give his members the best deal. The state's binding arbitration clause applies to only three categories of workers: police officers, firefighters and M.T.A. employees.

Traffic was snarled again today along many of the city's major roadways, including the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, as many commuters tried to get into Manhattan before a 5 a.m. ban on cars with fewer than four people took effect. The prohibition ends at 11 a.m. each day there is a transit strike.

Though getting into Manhattan south of 96th Street seemed a little easier on the strike's second day, things remained hectic at trouble spots like the 96th Street police checkpoint on the Upper West Side where traffic had been backed up for many blocks on Tuesday, and at the Long Island Rail Road station in Jamaica, Queens, where there were long lines of people throughout the day.

To ease congestion, Mr. Bloomberg said today that the city would start letting non-emergency vehicles onto Madison and Fifth Avenues, which since Tuesday had been closed to passenger cars and taxis from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Now, only one lane would be reserved for emergency vehicles on each thoroughfare.

The strike began after talks between the union and the transportation authority were halted Monday night after the union rejected the authority's last offer. The authority had agreed to drop its previous demand to raise the retirement age for a full pension to 62 for new transit employees, up from 55 for current employees, but said it expected all future transit workers to pay 6 percent of their wages toward their pensions, up from the current 2 percent.

The offer was rejected, and at 3 a.m., union officials announced the strike. On Tuesday, Mr. Bloomberg decried the walkout as "thuggish," and "selfish" and declared that negotiations - in which the city does not participate.

Mr. Toussaint responded vociferously to those remarks today, saying that "maybe it's very difficult for a billionaire to understand what someone who is making some few tens of thousands of dollars is going through."

"We are not thugs, we aren't selfish, we are not greedy," Mr. Toussaint said. "We are hard working New Yorkers, dignified men and women who have put in decades of service to keep this city moving 24/7."

But Mr. Bloomberg sought to discredit that argument calling it a "fraud" and noting that the strike was most damaging to workers who are far poorer and more vulnerable than Mr. Toussaint and his members.

"They are the people starting up the economic ladder who are basically living day-to-day," Mr. Bloomberg said. "And if they don't get paid, they can't eat. These are not people who are making $50-$60,000 a year. These are people making $10-$20-$30,000 a year. And they're the ones that are really suffering."

On Tuesday, Justice Jones called the strike illegal and ordered the union members back to work. He also hit the union with a contempt order requiring a $1 million fine for each day it is on strike. And he said he would consider $1,000 daily fines of its leaders, on top of the automatic fines against individual workers.

"This is a very sad day in the history of the labor movement in New York City," the judge said as he issued his contempt order.

The order sets off penalties against striking members of Local 100 of one day's pay, in addition to one day of lost wages for every day they are on strike, as stipulated under the state's Taylor Law. Those fines are separate from any fines that may be levied as part of the injunction being sought by the city.

Mr. Toussaint has called the Taylor Law fine excessive and predicted that, "in the end, I think it will be abated."

On its Web site this morning, Local 100's parent union, the Transport Workers Union of America, reiterated that it did not support the actions of its subsidiary. During Tuesday's hearings, the union said the authority had engaged in "extreme provocation" by demanding changes in the rules governing transit workers' pension benefits. Arthur Z. Schwartz, a lawyer for Local 100, said the Taylor Law stipulated that pension rules for the local's members were not subject to collective bargaining.

"They are putting the union against the wall, demanding something that the law says we cannot be asked to agree to," Mr. Schwartz said.

Mr. Schwartz also argued that Local 100 could not afford to pay the $1 million daily fines imposed by the court, and he introduced tax records for 2004 that showed the union's assets to be about $3.6 million. "This begins the process of crippling the union," he said.

Later Tuesday, the state's Public Employment Relations Board dismissed the union's complaint that the authority had violated state law by negotiating pensions.

The board said the strike "is neither a consequence of the M.T.A.'s bargaining demand regarding a new pension plan, nor within control of the M.T.A." The panel also said that both parties still had more opportunities to resolve the dispute and that any injury to the union because of the strike would be "self-inflicted."

But leaders of other public employees' unions insisted that the transportation authority was acting illegally in insisting that pension changes be part of a settlement.

"If that issue was taken off the bargaining table, there could be an imminent settlement," said Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers and chairwoman of the Municipal Labor Committee.

Ms. Weingarten said that when the city wanted changes in the pension system, it in the past sat down with many city unions instead of picking one to try to force through changes.

Other union leaders called for changes in the Taylor Law, arguing that it unfairly allows for large penalties against unions and workers while doing little to punish cities when they drag out contract negotiations for years.

mayor bloomberg on TWU and Toussaint -day 2

Roger Toussaint and the TWU board have sought to portray this strike as a fight for working people. That argument doesn't hold water. Working people are being hurt. Busboys are getting hurt; garment industry workers are being hurt; owners of mom and pop businesses are being hurt. No one is being spared.

"What frauds, claiming to be a champion of working families when their illegal actions are costing New Yorkers their livelihoods. They should stop trying to pass blame, stop their lame attempt to spin their indefensible actions and get back to work.

statement by bloomberg

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

F8ck the transit authority and f*ck the union

this is a pissing war for grown men. Two men digging in their heels, asking for unrealistic things, not willing to give an inch and using one of the worlds largest cities and millions of people as their pawns..

shame on the MTA, shame on Toussaint
curses on both of them

the MTA has coffers of billions that they found, the union wants it

i want a job where i can retire at 55, get my pension and sit around and do very little..

i want to work for transit

i have no sympathy for this union working man....i have no sympathy for the MTA

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 22, 2005

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 22, 2005

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Happy Holy Daze, Capricorn! I've been meditating on the perfect holiday gifts for you. What items might inspire you to take maximum advantage of the cosmic currents in 2006? And the answer is: anything that makes you laugh harder, deeper, faster, and more often. For me that would be something like DVDs by comedians Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and Sarah Silverman, but you might need different stimuli. The point is, you've got to significantly raise your Laugh Quotient in the coming months. The astrological omens say it's the only strategy that's guaranteed to make you an expert problem-solver, increase your intelligence, and keep you in peak health.

the weather in CHicago


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

the weather in Chicago ...


the weather in Chicago ...


Thursday, December 15, 2005

two dreams

i woke every hour on the hour. Once because i was too hot. Once to open the window and get a soda. once due to a dream

I dreams that my cat had paperclips or needle type objects stuck through her skin. It was my task to extract them from her skin. I had to hold her on her side and remove the paperclips from her nipples where she had been pierced. I laid her on her side and removed them without my effort. my adreneline was pumping but i got them removed. I woke up panting.

my second dream had me walking infront of this oceanside mansion, like in newport but this one was in disrepair. I remember seeing it in a dream before and this time there was scaffolding and it was being repaired. I said or thought in the dream that it was my dream house and i wanted to own a place like that. The house had 6 windows in front and two pools with fountains and a large yard and a long walk way to the beach front. I may have been looking at the back of the house, like in newport where you walk the waterfront which is the back of the house.
The next scene i was in a home that was old like a cabin and in disrepair. Dar appeared and wanted to call St Louis and use two phones. she said she would call for me and wanted a second phone. She dialed 215 and i remember telling my mother who appeared that I would pay for the calls.
the next scene had two women but i had to go to the bathroom and i gather up arms full of browning and aging photographs to take into the bathroom. My sister asked me what i was doing and i told her i was trying to get into the bathroom. I went into the room and there was a latch lock and i could not do the latch. I had to empty myself but i couldnt get the privacy
i woke up and had to go to the bathroom

the weather in chicago


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

what nicole blackman wants for xmas, what do you want ?

What I Want For Christmas
by Nicole Blackman
What I want for Christmas:
I want a new religion, one that doesn't make me feel bad all the time
I want to talk to my Grandfather in heaven and tell him I love him
I want to change your mind
I want the music industry to quit marketing to me
I want a second chance
I want that notebook back that I lost two years ago - there was some good
stuff in there
I want to know where all my socks went
I want to smack a couple of ignorant people around
I want everyone to have a place to sleep and someone who loves them
I want you to know I'm serious
I want to test drive a couple of kids to see if I really want to have
children later
I want the water to boil faster when I'm really hungry
I want to go home
I want the tomatoes to taste year-round like they do in the summer
I want everyone to have their own record label, typeface and fanzine
I want to do whatever you want to do
I want that guy on the internet to quit bugging me
I want to leave all my friends something really special in my will
I want you to stop calling me
I want waitresses to quit looking at me funny when I order tea instead of
I want bands like Pearl Jam, Counting Crows and REM to stop being so earnest
I want to be an excentric old lady so I can get away with YELLING ALL THE
I want an answer
I want to fly in real life just once like I fly in my dreams
I want to have my own TV show and do all the commercials, too
I want you to come over
I want Laurie Anderson to stop...talking... like... that
I want Pamela Anderson to let me in on the joke
I want to rock and roll all night and party every day
I want 2 or 3 people to get what they deserve
I want Sony to give it up with the minidisc - it's just not happening guys
I want you
I want you to want me
I want a law that makes men who spit on the sidewalk have to lick it up
I want to party like it's 1999
I want a bottomless cup of coca cola and clean bathrooms at truck stops
I want you to tell me the truth
I want to be able to see the stars better in New York City
I want people to stop trying to sell me things over the phone
I want to see more men wearing nailpolish
I want some more of that
I want everyone to stop saying "Dude"
I want everyone to start saying "Fuck right off!" - today
I want to know what love is
I want you to show me
I want people to start eating more cheese
I want to live in a world where rock stars don't have to die to prove
I want to know what your favorite fairy tale is
I want candy
I want some extra hands so I can get more stuff done
I want to come up with a new amusement park ride that feels like you're on
really good drugs but doesn't make you want to throw up afterwards
I want more rock and less talk
I want to understand the appeal of White Castle hamburgers, because they
taste like turds on a bun
I want to take a nap
I want cab drivers to start wearing deodorant
I want network anchors to stop with the cute perky hairdos
I want to see anchors in afros, corn-rows, dreadlocks and big-assed wigs - go
I want to get off here
I want people to stop saying words like "user" and "interface"
I want someone to play with
I want women's magazines to stop making me feel so bad about everything and
instead run stories like "You're fabulous! Don't change"
I want to boogie-oogie-oogie till we just can't boogie no more
I want someone to develop stamps that actually taste good
I want you to just leave me alone

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 15, 2005

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 15, 2005

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
The British edition of Cosmopolitan still provides women with practical, no-nonsense advice like "How to love yourself after a pig-out" and "8 sizzling sex lessons your man needs to learn," but it has also added a spirituality column. "I've come to the painful realization that men and shoes are not enough to make me happy," wrote Hannah Borno, introducing the new section. "The key to true contentment lies elsewhere." Cosmo readers now get helpful tips on consulting their guardian angels, tapping into the wisdom of dreams, and trying out various meditation techniques. If this renowned hotbed of the sensual approach to life has finally acknowledged the subtler dimensions, maybe you Capricorns, traditionally the hard-core materialists of the zodiac, might also be inspired to expand your spiritual perspective. I hope so. It's a perfect moment for you to get delightfully zapped with a sacred epiphany.

three dreams

i was feeling shitty last night so i went to bed at 9pm..
who would think i would get a period after 9 months of getting none. its too cold and my body was just tired.. i could feel it coming on -the EBV bout
not the period... who would have thought.

i was feeling worn out so i went to bed and came up with the following dreams

1. i was in an open market and the vendor of jewerly had a necklace that said Je suis
in gold block letter. i bought the necklace for 60 dollars. I knew that he sold one previously for 65 dollars and wanted to sell this one. So i bought it and wanted it

2. i dreamed of speaking to dar. In my dream she referenced something and informed me that she moved to Detroit. She had left her husband and had renovated a house in detroit. I thought how sad for stephen to be away from his paternal grandmother who is so close to him and a caretaker at times and how sad for dar to be separated from her husband.

3. i rented a taxi or town car and returned it. I saw myself overfilling the gas tank and spilling over. the amount the tank took was 11.25 and then i pushed it to get to 50 cents and overfilled it. The woman who i returned the car to gave me the bill and it was a handwritten bill that detailed some expenses. I was worried about the bottom line and how much it would cost me becasue i has been quoted a price when i took the car of about 11.58 a day and wanted to keep it that price. at the end of the encounter the price was as quoted and no misunderstanding happened

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

the weather in Chicago ...


is warmer than NYC

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Brokeback Mountain a review again

The lonesome West.
Running time: 134 minutes. Rated R (sex, nudity, profanity, some violence). At the Lincoln Square, the Chelsea, the Loews Village.

A love story is a machine for keeping two people apart, and you can't argue with the idea that there are problems in store for two men who begin a romance while herding sheep in 1963 Wyoming. "Brokeback Mountain" is a machine that works.

It works well enough that you wish it would work perfectly instead of gradually getting gummed up with melodrama. This is one of the best serious films about homosexuality ever made, but though it's sad and sobering it's still only a rough draft of a great movie.

Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two cowboys - sheepboys, actually - who take a job protecting a flock against the wolves of summer on Brokeback Mountain. They joke around and graduate to playful shoving matches. Then one cold morning Jack makes a move and Ennis stops shoving back. The sex scene that follows is fairly graphic, and director Ang Lee ("Sense and Sensibility," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") must know that he could have tripled his audience by trimming 60 seconds. But the scene is there, and if it will make some viewers uncomfortable it also plants us firmly in reality.

That's why it's a surprise when the film first hints it's heading for the most obvious, unsubtle ending and then goes there. Jack and Ennis agree to forget what happened and part for four years, during which time each takes a wife and becomes a father. Jack's wife, Lureen (Anne Hathaway), is never developed; whether she's in rodeo togs or buried under a pile of fake blond hair, she's a look, not a character.

The writing is often eloquent in its spareness, but you don't expect one of America's greatest authors, Larry McMurtry, who co-wrote the script with Diana Ossana, to illustrate a lovers' quarrel with Garth Brooks lines like, "I wish I knew how to quit you." If any situation calls for implying rather than saying, it's the desperate one between these two tortured men.

The film's finest moments are largely to the credit of Ledger. Ducking from the world under the brim of his hat, Ennis pulls his head like a turtle and speaks as though he's being charged by the word. He's a man worn down by the constant, crushing burden of being someone he is not.

Despite his efforts to be there for his daughters and his wife (a touching Michelle Williams), some combination of shame and longing turns him into an angry, even violent man. He keeps getting in bloody fights not because people suspect he's gay but because he needs to punch somebody. Another girl tries to connect with him but is forced to give up. "I was probably no fun anyhow," he says, having long since given up on himself. The craggy, aching voice Ledger does is in itself enough to make this one of the year's great performances.

Ledger is an actor who didn't work as a poster boy, but Gyllenhaal is nearly the opposite. He's goofy and callow in the early scenes, but even as the character ages 20 years and Gyllenhaal dials down the antics, he never seems like an adult. If anything, the smudgy mustache he wears as a supposedly 40-year-old man makes him look about 15, and his voice remains a boy's.

"Brokeback Mountain" will rightly be praised for trying to make an honest assessment of the emotional wreckage done to men and women by the closeting of homosexuality. That idea is so powerful and so little explored on screen that it's bound to be revisited in a more complete film in the future.

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Brokeback Mountain a review

Ang Lee's unmissable and unforgettable Brokeback Mountain hits you like a shot in the heart. It's a landmark film and a triumph for Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who bring deep reserves of feeling to this defiantly erotic love story about two Wyoming ranch hands and the external and internal forces that drive them from desire to denial. Directed with piercing intelligence and delicacy by Lee, the film of Annie Proulx's 1997 short story -- the unerring script by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana is a model of literary adaptation -- wears its emotions on its sleeve.

That leaves the film vulnerable. The media keep tagging it as the gay cowboy movie, the queer Gone With the Wind, the Western that puts the poke in cowpoke. Coupled with the rise of homophobia as church and state shout down gay marriage, the film is up against it.

Do me a favor: See the movie first and make your judgments later. It's an eye-opener. The story begins in 1963, when ranch boss Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) hires Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) to herd sheep up on Wyoming's Brokeback Mountain. Ennis is quiet, but whiskey and Jack's talk about his rodeo riding loosens Ennis' tongue and his inhibitions. One cold night they share a bedroll. Jack gives the impression of experience. For Ennis, this is nothing he'd done before, but no instructional manual is needed.

Proulx writes it this way: "They never talked about sex, let it happen, at first only in the tent at night, then in full daylight with the hot sun striking down, and at evening in the fire glow, quick, rough, laughing and snorting, no lack of noises, but saying not a goddamn word except once Ennis said, 'I'm not no queer,' and Jack jumped in with 'Me neither.' "

Lee and the gifted cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Amores Perros) transform Proulx's terse prose into expansive visual poetry. Shooting in Alberta, Canada, Lee avoids trite postcard prettiness to find the beauty and terror in nature that mirror the vivid and sometimes violent relationship between the two men. "It's nobody's business but ours," Jack tells Ennis.

He's wrong, of course. Joe spots them with his binoculars and never hires them again. Ennis marries Alma (Michelle Williams) and has two daughters. Jack moves to Texas, marries Lureen (Anne Hathaway) and has a son. Living a lie is easier than dealing with the truth, at least it is for Ennis until Jack pays a visit -- his first in four years.

Lee's filmmaking mastery has never been more evident. Watch the skill with which the Taiwanese director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sense and Sensibility walks the volatile ground of this reunion scene. Ennis can't contain his excitement. Running down the steps to greet his friend, he collides with Jack's body, kissing him fiercely and Jack returning the heat. Alma sees it too, from the window, finding reinforcement for something she's always felt. Without dialogue, Lee creates a whole world that can be read eloquently and movingly on the faces of the actors.

And what actors. Though the characters must age twenty years, Lee has cast the film young, a risk that pays major dividends. Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) excels at showing Lureen's journey from cutie-pie to hard case. And Williams (Dawson's Creek) is a revelation, using what Proulx calls Alma's "misery voice" when her husband goes fishing several times a year with Jack. Who can blame her? They never bring home any fish. When Alma remarries and lets Ennis feel the knife of her resentment, Williams lets it rip.

Of course, the movie would not work at all if the two lead actors didn't deliver the goods. Gyllenhaal finds the reckless core in Jack, who cruises alleys and bars in Mexico when Ennis rejects his offer to settle down and run his father's ranch. Ennis lives in fear of coming out -- he relates a harrowing childhood incident in which he saw a man tortured and killed for the crime of living with another man. And so he forbids himself happiness with the one person he has ever truly loved.

Ledger's magnificent performance is an acting miracle. He seems to tear it from his insides. Ledger doesn't just know how Ennis moves, speaks and listens; he knows how he breathes. To see him inhale the scent of a shirt hanging in Jack's closet is to take measure of the pain of love lost. As Jack told him once, "That ol' Brokeback got us good." That's the key reason -- besides its daring, its bravery, its dead-on relevance to right now -- that this classic in the making ranks high on the list of the year's best movies. It gets you good.


(Posted: Dec, 1 2005)

Brokeback Mountain

its seemed that the NYC gay community, curious, readers of the NYer reviewer, Anthony Lane that DID NOT Trash this movie, Ang Lee fans, Heath Ledger fans , Jake Gyllenhaal fans, Michelle Williams fans and haters...

The lines were long and not going FANDANGO left me getting tickets at 4pm for the 540 showing. it was cold and i entered the theater which got crowded quickly. People were on time for this one..

The movie is directed and beautifully shot. the music ranged from Linda Rondstadt to Steve Earle to Emmylou Harris to Willie Nelson and was perfectly scored. Both performances were great but i struggled with believability. WHen Heaths character was present in the relationship with Gyllenhaal, it was theater at its best but maybe it was it struggle between his relationship with Gyllenhaal and this desire to be more in a straight world. This character articulates his struggle more than Gyllenhaals does.
The two men are in two different places in their head except when they are together. When they are together, i didnt always feel their passion or their connection. THey get together for more than sex. they get together as old friends and are friends.
their complicated relationship is harder to describe than their relationship with their women partners.

Gyllenhaal goes on to take more risks and meet up with other men when the occasion arises or when he is hurt and goes to mexico to get laid where after his divorces Heaths character does not. he remains alone. His love for his friend is evident at times and not always evident even when they are together. He goes off with him and is committed to the THING they have but its complicated in his head. Gyllenhaals character is clearer about HOW he wants their future to be and it cant be in 1969 or the 70s..

i didnt find this stereotypical or corny...its not a clear cut love story but its a love story....

the year of the cat

Friday, December 09, 2005

snowflakes dont ripen til january

Patty: Try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. It's fun.
Linus Van Pelt: Mmm. Needs sugar.
Lucy Van Pelt: It's too early. I never eat December snow. I always wait 'til January.
Linus Van Pelt: They sure look ripe to me.

the meaning of xmas

"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt

weather in chicago


Thursday, December 08, 2005

to write or not to write

NPR invites you to share the beliefs that guide you in your daily life.

write your own essay for NPR on what you believe or not

sound like fun and fun to read

writers out there, on your mark-get set go

the weather in chicago


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

the weather in Chicago ...


a dream

i had a dream that there were people saying goodbye to Olga Sierra. they were lined up to share their words with her. She was alive in the dream. THe next scene there was a greyish poodle that fell or jumped off a cliff in to a river and a boy and his father were the owners and they were shocked that the dog had drowned and was gone forever. In the next scene, i watched a golden colored dog rise from the water and then appeared the poodle looking dog who shook out its fur and it curled up. the boy and man were overjoyed that the dog was alive and infact survived what they thought was a tragedy.
i was amazed that it all unfolded so quickly and so naturally..

the dream reflects things going on at work....and events that happened yesterday

i woke up tired...

and its cold..

HOW COLD IS IT In CHicago, you ask????

0 degrees
Freeze Frame
says the Chicago Sun Times

I miss aaron brown and dont watch Anderson COOPER 360

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 8, 2005

Capricorn Horoscope for week of December 8, 2005

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
"If in the last few years you haven't discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse. You may be dead." So said the humorist Gelett Burgess, and now, just in time for your Shedding Season, I'm offering his advice to you. It's high time for you to get rid of all the old stuff you possibly can, including not only the major opinions that you've outgrown, but also mementoes that have lost their meaning, clothes that no longer match your self-image, and once-exciting adventures that have succumbed to numbing habit.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

cat juggling is illegal

the moscow cats are juggling


MOSCOW CATS THEATRE – the only entertainment of its kind in the world - features non-stop action by a troop of talented felines performing original and astounding acrobatic feats, integrated into a non-verbal, colorful and fun-filled family show.

Created almost 30 years ago by renowned circus performer Yuri Kuklachev, MOSCOW CATS THEATRE has grown into one of the most popular weekend outings for Moscow kids and adults, selling out every performance. Kuklachev decided to start working with cats after finding an abandoned kitten in a park. A juggler, flying gymnast, illusionist and clown, he kept on training cats, disproving a widespread belief that cats cannot be tamed.

a dream

i dreamed that i saw my cat with her mouth open and she had no teeth. All her teeth suffered from neglect and fell out and she was a toothless cat..

Sunday, December 04, 2005

could have gotten any better???

thanks to Valjean615 i went to long island, port washington last night to see Patty Larkin play in this little theater. We went to dinner with Gene Frey who is one of my favorite people. I just never seem to see Gene enough. I hate it when i see him to say hello and have to be somewhere or in my seat.

Dinner was at a mediterranean style fish place. Warm Bread with hummus on every table, greek salad or a romaine and feta in a lemon dressing. the side dishes were broccoli and carrots steamed and the side was rice pilaf or wheat bulgar( that was to die for) i had the grilled salmon and ate the skadolia( potato and garlic) scoop at appeared on my plate.

it was out of this world. I eat salmon all the time but it was great to have someone else cook it and for it to be cooked well not overcooked like i like it. Grilled salmon rocks..

we entered the hall with minutes to spare and took our seats. we sat infront of two ladies..a woman in her 60s and her 80 something mother.. they had no problem saying things like" is that Patty larkin, it doesnt loook like patty larkin, last time i saw patty larkin she sounded better, looked better, i liked that other song better"
i whispered to Chris that they were like the old men in balcony on the muppets.
they also commented on the other patrons and had to question why a couple brought their kids
They left during the fourth PL song..
they were replaced by our neighbors to the left where the man of the couple went out for food during intermission. All we smelled was grilled chicken as they proceeded to eat their dinner in the seats that hte old women abandoned...
the chicken smell and rustling of papergoods was as disruptive as the old ladies

it really made for a disconnected and disrupted show

vicki genfan opened

why is that some folkies sing covers and interpret them and end up sounding like a saturday night live skit.. well Vicki Genfan hit the skit.. with Norweigan Wood and Joy to the World last night

Cris Williamson is a satruday night live skit but that is another blogger entry..the day i had to crack up when i saw cris williamson, g-ddess to the ladies music world, parody to me..

back to Patty Larkin the guitar genius...

patty put on a good solid set of solid songs
most i knew

me and that train
wolf at the door
the book im not reading
italian shows
beg to differ
st augustine
all that innocense
winter wind
at the mall

i am sure i am missing some...but that seems to be what i can recall

thanks Chris for taking me along for the ride and the ticket

the weather in chicago


Friday, December 02, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005


You are MARLIN!
Which Finding Nemo Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizillawhich NEMO CHARACTER ARE YOU

weather in chicago


capricorn for week of December 2

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): You might want to listen to "Doing the
Unstuck," a song by The Cure. It could prod you to do what you know you
should, which is expel yourself forcibly from the rut you're lodged in.
"It's a perfect day for letting go/ for setting fire to bridges," the
lyrics advise, "for rip-zipping and button-popping/ for dancing like
you can't hear the beat." Maybe some of you are protesting, "But I want
to use logic to *think* my way out of this jam." Here's what I have to
say in response: You probably won't get unstuck with your rational mind
alone, which is why you should do irrationally constructive things like
singing liberation songs very loudly.

Cure - Doing The Unstuck Lyrics

It's a perfect day for letting go
For setting fire to bridges
And other dreary worlds you know
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for making out
To wake up with a smile
Without a doubt
To burst grin giggle bliss skip jump sing and shout
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

It's a perfect day for kiss and swell
For rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well...
There's loads of other stuff can make you yell
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for doing the unstuck
For dancing like you can't hear the beat
And you don't give a further thought
To things like feet
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the beat is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!

It's a perfect day for getting wild
Forgetting all your worries
And everything that makes you cry
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for dreams come true
For thinking big
And doing anything you want to do
Let's get happy!

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the dream is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!