Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tisha B’Av

Today is Tisha B’av.

It is one of the saddest says in the Jewish calendar.

It commemorates the the destruction of the second temple by the Romans.

While I am not particularly religious, I feel drawn to this day of mourning.

Students of history have often correlated this day of mourning not just with the destruction of the second temple by the Romans, but other times of crisis in Jewish history.

I saw this video on my Facebook feed this morning.

We know what happens when we give into hate, destruction and dictators who have no problem advocating the destruction of an entire nation.

Maybe we will learn our lesson this time and finally learn from the past.

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Filed under History, International News, World News

Guns In America

I remember the day of the Columbine shooting.

It was a warm spring day during my senior year of high school. The news reported the shooting and I remember thinking that it didn’t happen at my high school.

By the time the closing credits of the evening news rolled, 13 people, twelve students and one teacher were dead.

Thirteen years later, another school shooting broke our hearts. At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 26 innocents were murdered.

In the nearly 3 years since Sandy Hook, 87 people have been killed by guns in school.

The latest round of gun violence was in Louisiana this past week. John Houser, a man with a criminal record and a history of mental instability, killed two women in a movie theater and injured many others.

I respect the second amendment and what it represents. However, two important points must be made.

  1. The guns that existed during the American revolution are nothing compared to the firepower of today’s guns.
  2. This right was created to allow Americans to defend themselves against the then British oppressors, not to randomly kill innocent civilians.

We need common sense legislation on this issue. While respecting the rights of those who legally own guns, we must take control of our country. We must also confront our lax reaction to mental illness.

We have grieved too many times over lives lost due to gun violence. It’s time to end the grief and put laws into place that will prevent future tragedies.

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Filed under History, National News

Mr. Holmes Review

In the world of literature and sleuthing, Sherlock Holmes is a legend.

In 2006, author Mitch Cullin, wrote what can be boiled down to a professional fanfiction in A Slight Trick Of The Mind.

The new film, Mr. Holmes, is based on Mr. Cullin’s novel.

In the late 1940’s Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) is 93 years old. Retired from detective work, he is content to live near the sea and enjoy his final years. His housekeeper, Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) is a war widow with a precocious and curious son, Roger (Milo Parker).  Roger develops a father/son like relationship with his mother’s boss, in spite of his mother’s fears. Roger also helps Sherlock to remember the case that ended his career.

Thirty years before, Sherlock was approached by Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy). His wife, Ann (Hattie Morahan) has changed since her two miscarriages. He wants Sherlock to follow his wife and figure out why Ann is not the woman that she was. Can Roger help Sherlock to remember the case and maintain his faculties as long as he can?

I was excited to see this movie. Sherlock Holmes is a character that is very much a fabric of our culture. But more often than not,  he is seen in his younger days, not as a man who knows that the clock is ticking. To be honest, the movie was a little slow for me. While I enjoyed the relationships between the characters and the marked different between the two periods in Holmes’s life that the film explores, it was not what I hoped it would be.

Do I recommend? Maybe.

Mr. Holmes is currently playing in theaters. 

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Filed under Books, Fanfiction, History, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday-Big Daddy (1999)

We all have to grow up at some point. For some people, they have to prodded and pushed to grow up. For the last twenty years, Adam Sandler has played several variations on the man child character.

In 1999, he once again played within type in Big Daddy.

Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is 32 years old. He has a degree from law school and a nice apartment in Manhattan. He does not have a job and lives off of money he received from a lawsuit.  To maintain  his relationship with his girlfriend and to prove that he is an adult, Sonny adopts a five year old boy. He expects that it will be easy. But his experience in parenthood will teach Sonny a lesson on growing up and being a real adult.

This movie is an interesting one. As an actor. Sandler has one foot in his previous man child characters and has another foot in a character who realizes that he has to grow up.  While this is not my favorite Adam Sandler movie, it shows his maturity as an actor to stretch himself and the characters he plays.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Flashback Friday-Bruce Almighty (2003)

Of all the jobs in the world, G-d has the hardest. In whatever form G-d takes (if one believes in a higher power), he, she or it receives requests from billions every day. What would happen if an ordinary mortal took G-d’s place? What would be the consequences of this switch?

In Bruce Almighty (2003), Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey), complains to G-d (Morgan Freeman) just one too many times.  G-d responds by giving Bruce his job. Can Bruce play G-d while hiding it from his girlfriend, Grace (Jennifer Aniston)?

This film is interesting. In playing Bruce, Carrey is both playing the manic character that we saw in previous films while trying to step away from that type of character. Freeman, with his usual gravitas, was well cast as the almighty being upstairs. Aniston, sadly is still no more than the standard rom-comish girlfriend.

Do I recommend this film? Maybe.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Throwback Thursday-Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

The stereotype of the nerd is prevalent in our society. The stereotype is that nerd is book smart, but his or her social skills, self esteem and appearance are lacking.

In Revenge of the Nerds (1984), the nerds are Adam’s College whipping posts/second class citizens.

Lewis (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert (Anthony Edwards) are psyched to begin their college career. But they will soon learn that the jocks rule the school and anyone who does not fit that image is given the short end of the stick. Lewis and Gilbert decide to create their own fraternity and stand up to the ruling jocks. Can they gain the respect of their peers or will they continue to be the nerds that everyone makes them out to be?

This movie is very dated, in a certain aspect. In my opinion, it relies a little too heavily on stereotypes to cast both protagonist and antagonist. But the message of standing up for yourself and not giving a flying fig about what the world thinks of you is timeless.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Can men and women ever truly be friends? Can they enjoy each other’s company without getting involved with each other either romantically or sexually?

This is the question that When Harry Met Sally (1989) asked.

Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) have been around each other for years. Their relationship is strictly platonic. That is the way they both like it. They have their own lives, their own relationships, nothing could ever change their friendship. But fate has something else in mind for Harry and Sally.

This movie is rom com gold. A standard bearer for the genre for a quarter century, it both sticks to the script and steps out of the traditional narrative of a romantic comedy.

I absolutely recommend it.

And P.S. Just for fun, here is Meg Ryan faking an orgasm like the best of them while eating at Katz’s Deli, one of the best restaurants in NYC.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-Son In Law (1993)

College, for many is an eye opening experience. It is often the first time we are away from the comforts of home and family. But it is also the opportunity to grow and find out who you really are and what you want out of life.

In Son In Law (1993), Rebecca Warner (Carla Gugino) is the all American girl from a small town in the midwest. Her choice for college is a school in Los Angeles. Her first few weeks are rocky, until she meets Crawl (Pauly Shore), who helps her integrate into college life. Feeling sorry that Crawl has nowhere to go during Thanksgiving, Rebecca invites him home.  When conservative small town America meets Los Angeles party animal Crawl, Rebecca, her family and her small town will never be the same.

This movie is very early 90’s. But it does not feel that dated because anyone who has gone away to college for the first time understands the anxiety that comes with the experience.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

You Might Be A Downton Abbey Fan If….

You might be a Downton Abbey fan if…

  • If you are an American fan, you avoid social media and the British press during the fall to prevent yourself from finding out spoilers.
  • You find a way to watch the current season on the internet before it airs in America.
  • The episode when Anna was raped had you in tears.
  • When Joanne Froggatt won best supporting actress, you jumped for joy (and then preceded to congratulate her via twitter).

  • As soon as the date of the season premier is announced, you start counting down the days.
  • You cried when Sybil and Matthew died.
  • You have read or written fanfiction.
  • You wish Robert would just stop being so nostalgic for the past and use his brain when it comes to business matters.
  • You thank Julian Fellows profusely for Maggie Smith’s profound and hilarious one liners.
  • You become interested in the history of the period.
  • You are waiting for an Odd Couple/Downtown mashup spinoff starring Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton.
  • You cheered when Edith took control of her life and her child.
  • You want to smack Mary for being so nasty sometimes.
  • You have seen or want to see the following movies, regardless of the reviews or the box office returns:
    • The Guest
    • The Cobbler
    • Cinderella
    • Winters Tale
    • Non Stop
    • Anna Karenina
  • You would love to dress up like the female characters (minus the corset), if only for a short time.
  • Every clip and interview that is released before the season starts is conversation starter.
  • You are waiting eagerly for the sixth and final season.
  • And finally, when the end credits roll for the final episode, you will need a huge (and I mean huge, box of Kleenex)

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Filed under Downton Abbey, Fanfiction, History, Television, You Might Be A Fan If....

The Void

There is a dark void in all of us. It is our mistakes, our scars, the darker sides of ourselves that we normally keep hidden.

A woman committed suicide yesterday. I didn’t know her personally, but she was part of a circle of friends with whom I frequently socialize with.

From what I understand, the void in her was so deep, it was easier to jump in and silence the pain forever.

Even though I did not know her, my heart is still heavy.

I understand what it is to stand at the precipice of a dark void and feel the call to jump and silence the pain forever.

But somehow, I have found the strength to move forward with my life.

I won’t state her name here for privacy’s sake, but RIP. You will be missed.


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Filed under Life, Music