Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘Movies’ category

A Great Movie List / Roger Ebert’s Gift To Us All

I have tried to find good movies to watch in the past by searching for great movie lists and this one didn’t show up on Google. And I was always disappointed by the lists of films I found. They contained a large number of popular movies. Some of them I had seen and many of them I was not interested in viewing.

But the list of movies at RogerEbert.com is different. The very first movie on the list is Departures, a Japanese movie with subtitles. I didn’t read the review preferring to take in the movie without any knowledge about it. And it was a wonderful movie, deeply moving and dealing with subjects that are rarely, if ever, addressed. It is about life and death from the point of view of your average person who has trouble finding a job or making a marital relationship work. I don’t want to say much about it. If you haven’t seen it you really need to dial up Netflix and enjoy a couple hours with it. It starts slowly but builds upon itself in a way that is wonderfully cathartic.

Not all of the movies on this list are available on Netflix. It may be necessary to look around for some of them on Amazon. But it’s worth the effort or the minimal cost to check them out if you enjoy movies that are more than just “entertainment”.


John Carter / Edgar Rice Burroughs / William S. Burroughs / Adult Fantasy In The Movies

Today the weather in central Virginia is “BE YOU” tiful!  Perfect.  Low humidity, cool breeze, warm sun.  I could go on but you get the picture.  I walked 8 miles with no discomfort and the birds were talking  the whole way.  The trees are still blossoming and I decided to take it over to the University of Richmond to see what picturesque scenes are on display there.  And what did I find?  Tulips!  Many colored wonderful flowers!  You thought I was going to say something else, right?  Well the girls are still looking good but it must be close to exams or something because they didn’t look particularly happy.  When is spring break?  Maybe it’s already over.  If you want to see some smiles you really need to visit a day or two before the great spring flight.

Today was not that day.  But I was preoccupied in any case with thoughts of John Carter and the music from his movie I just downloaded earlier for the walk.  Dagen Mcdowell on Imus was talking this morning about everybody downloading the music from The Hunger Games and so I went there on Amazon.  But, frankly, it was boring stuff although one person wrote to say she lives in the mountains of North Carolina where the movie was made.  And the music is great!  If you don’t like it don’t listen to it!

Okay.  Fine!  I won’t.  So I went to the music for  John Carter and it is great!  Or at least I want to listen to it even though the movie sucked!  Or maybe it didn’t suck.  Maybe it’s going to be a cult classic like some reviewers suggest.  There’s a long history of people loving John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs who created Tarzan, one of the most epic characters of all time.  Here’s a Youtube creation that clearly was done by someone devoted to the task.

So I was mulling this over on my walk but I was remembering doing some reading in my early days from ( I thought) this author about an apocalyptic vision and some poor dude lying in a drainage ditch with insects using him as their host for future generations of bugs.  I believe he was a gold buyer and hoarded lots of coins or bars as society deteriorated feeling, wrongly as things turned out, that this would see him through the disintegration of life on the planet.  How was it possible that Edgar Rice Burroughs who made Tarzan and was a great businessman felt this conservative fellow deserved such a sad end?

Well he didn’t! As it turns out this was William S. Burroughs who smoked opium and was crazy although an amazing writer who went to Harvard and helped to bring about the Beat Generation with fans like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.   These two guys represented the yin and the yang of adult fantasy writers in the twentieth century apparently.   Edgar wrote books that talked about strange things in the jungle but you were allowed to see them from a distance.  William felt they should be allowed to get under your skin and use you for lunch until, many moons later, you figured out a way to hold your breath until you died.  That would be where the drugs came in I suppose.

So Edgar is the guy  and I wanted to go see John Carter today but Betsy was not so fascinated with the idea and wanted to wait until he arrives On Demand.  Why pay 10 bucks when you can pay 5 and don’t care about the movie?  She has a point.  So I’m writing about it instead and pulling videos of  it from Youtube while try to remember what book I read that contained the sad tale of the gold buyer who was eaten by bugs.  I looked here but good luck trying to find it.  William was not easy to follow in print.  Following his book trail will also lead you into some seriously strange places.  It’s much easier staying with Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars The Old Republic and John Carter.  All have a fantasy element that makes us wonder about life as we approach the end of the Mayan Calendar in December.

I don’t mind thinking about all of those things.  Orcs and aliens are alright to imagine from time to time.  But you have to draw the line somewhere! And when it comes to bugs I prefer eating to being eaten. Which reminds me, isn’t Survivor coming on tonight?


Ghost Rider/ Satan Is Real/ Where’s My Remote?

Well the snow is going, going gone here in Virginia. And today we are looking forward to weather in the 70’s with a light breeze and lots of sun.

Very nice. The blogger is feeling better about life in general, too. He walked ten miles in the past two days, six the first day and four the second, and life is beginning to return to normal. He found his backscratcher and finished hooking up all the wayward wires in his room. He watched Ghost Rider last night for the umpteenth time and was once again happy to see good triumph over evil. There is a new Ghost Rider movie in theaters now, by the way, called Spirit of Vengeance, and we can only hope it lives up to the awesome standards of the original.

Because Satan is real! I had no idea! But the current political debates have been very educational. The blogger has learned a lot. But one thing he already knew, thankfully, is that suicide is not a solution. So when he wants to stick a gun to his own head after listening to these guys he quickly thinks about something else. Something happier. Like connecting his Comcast box to the stereo receiver or locating the remote control.
It would be great if we could all whip up some enthusiasm and get together behind Nick Cage, the Ghost Rider. And then confront Evil. But Satan is probably rolling his eyes because somehow we have managed to convince ourselves that he is the guy next door. Or the leader of some political party we abhor. And it doesn’t help at all that some of these religions believe themselves to be the only way. Guess what?! It’s not that easy! It would be so much easier to fight real evil if some of these faiths were not so busy fighting with each other!


The blogger realizes he is taking his life in his hands just talking briefly about politics or religion. And both at the same time? Maybe he is suicidal! Or, maybe he is just warming up as the weather reaches into the seventies. Feeling strong and ready to take on the world.

So I’m putting up photos of our recent winter wonderland. Here’s a photo of our long driveway decorated with snow. Thank goodness the city plows it for us, ha-ha.


But what would be even better is the Ghost Rider rumbling up the drive! Melting snow as he goes! That would be so cool! No politics. No religion too. Just power and a pure flame!!
Where the story begins. . .

Preview: HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road To The NHL Winter Classic/ Winter Sports/ It’s Time To Be Tough

HBO Movies and TV Series


Betsy just came into my cave and told me that it’s 24 degrees outside.  And  I am watching Imus and Company as they nearly wax poetic about HBO and their 24/7 videos.   This one has some very beautiful photography along with the intense competitive content.

But it starts out with kids scraping off the pond and lacing up their skates.  That brings back memories of the pond off Milk Street up there in central Massachusetts where the ice freezes thick on days like this one.


It’s cold outside!  But the holidays are over and it’s time to grab the world by its throat!  Take those cold, stiff hands and beat it into submission.  Do the things you promised yourself you would do as you sat in that deep chair, full of holiday treats and turkey, watching blinking lights and listening to Burl Ives sing A Holly Jolly Christmas.  Guess what?  Burl is no longer with us and it’s time to deal with it!

And what about the hockey?  Especially hockey played on a baseball stadium in the middle of winter.  Well, that’s fine.  Finally someone has figured out a way to keep the people awake when they go to the old ball park.  And it’s a good thing, too, because you could easily freeze to death if you fall asleep in this subzero clime.

So let’s get it on.  Walk or run around your neighborhood with all its hobbit-like dwellings.   Gift the booze in the trashcan for your loyal trash collection guy.  Tear up the cigarette pack.  Kiss your overweight mistress good-bye and start sending your kids heartfelt letters EVERY WEEK.  Even if they are still living at home.

It’s the New Year.  And it could be our last one.  So let’s GET IT ON.

And watch the professionals as they demonstrate how tough it’s possible to be while skating backwards.

HBO Movies and TV Series

Walking And Being Safe/ The Debt/ Movie On Xfinity/ Happy New Year!


Yesterday I was watching a ten minute preview of the movie The Debt on Xfinity.  It’s a pretty violent movie about the search for a Nazi war criminal. Here’s the L.A. Times review in case you are interested in seeing it.  In the short preview I watched there is a scene on the side of a busy road.  This older man decides he does not want to go for a ride with another gentleman and he turns to cross the road.  And, at this exact instant,  a truck drives by and flattens him.  It’s very graphic.

And so I decided this was not the movie for me.  Too violent.  Too gross.  I’m searching for peace on New Years Day (and many other days as well).   The trailer for the movie didn’t include this scene but there was something similar on YouTube that actually happened.  A young man gets off a bus and doesn’t look where he is going.  In a second his life changes. Warning!  Graphic violence.



So why am I fixating on this stuff?   Well, a short while after deciding not to watch a movie I decided to take my daily walk.  I dressed for the event and plugged in the ear buds then headed out the door.  At about the three mile point I was headed up a hill and making a right turn on the road that forms the top of a T on this portion of my daily trek.  And I could see a car coming so I didn’t cross the road to walk on the left side (I always try to walk on the left side so I can see cars coming and jump out of the way if the driver falls asleep or is talking on the cell phone and not paying attention).   The car passed and I moved to cross the road with a glance over my shoulder.  And it was a good thing. . . that glance!  Because at this exact moment a car passed going in the opposite direction at way too high a rate of speed for this quiet neighborhood and way too close proximity to a pedestrian.

This is how it can all end in an instant.  And after it happened I thought about the scene from the movie.

One of the things we use when walking is our ability to hear.  But it can be compromised by other sounds.  I listen to music and this makes me super cautious when changing directions on the roadways.   In this case I heard the sound of the oncoming car and I saw it as well.  When it went by I confused it’s sound with the sound of the oncoming car and was completely surprised as I turned to see it rapidly pass.

Can you think of a similar moment in your life when you zigged instead of zagged and avoided an accident? 

Thank you to everyone who sent out prayers for a safe and happy New Year  on FB!   Have a great 2012! 



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