Movie Review: Hope Springs

October 22, 2012

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We are hitting the movies again, so here is another movie review. This week we saw Hope Springs. The movie stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. You will recognize a lot of other actors and actresses throughout the movie in bit parts. The most intriguing aspect in this movie is the reversal of roles. Steve Carell is the serious character with Meryl and Tommy being the comics. Tommy has had experience being the straight man in comic movies throughout the Men In Black series, but in this movie, he is the comedian. His delivery, facial expressions, responses to dialog and situations is supurb. Meryl continues to be the best older lady actress, playing her age. I would rate this as a third success following The Iron Lady and July & Julia.

The trailer sets up the action as an older couple in the doldrums of a boring marriage. The wife decides to spice things up. After reading a self help book, she pays for a marriage counseling session. The couple live in Omaha (and from the scenery, it looks like they actually filmed in Omaha) and the counselor is in Maine (again it looks like if was filmed on location). The wife drives the husband into attending and the action moves on from there.

The advertisements and even the movie suggest that the problems are all because of Tommy Lee’s character. As the story unwinds, there are plenty of problems for each to solve. The attempts at physical reconciliation are well played, along with the deeper character development. This is a good movie, especially for the over 40 crowd. Teenagers may be disturbed to find out that their parents and even their grandparents might still be sexually active.

I would recommend full price theatre, but if you missed it, pick it up on video or at the discount theatres.

Next week I hope to have seen Hotel Transylvania.

The Best Movies Of All Time

February 8, 2012

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OK, OK.  These are my favorite movies of all time.  You’re not going to see the same old movies that pepper everyone else’s All Time Best list, and this list leans very heavily toward movies from the last 20-30 years (sorry, Charlie Chaplin).

Without further ado, my top 9 list.  (Hey, who says the list has to be 10?)

The Last Supper I have a fondness for dark comedies, and this is one of the most bizarre ones you’re likely to encounter.  A group of politically active college students take their rhetoric a wee bit too far.  A young Cameron Diaz is in the cast.  Also, the movie is set in Iowa, which gives it a bit of a boost for me.
8 Airplane I picked a bad week to quit explaining the obvious.
7 Planet of the Apes I love the premise of this classic film.  But for a few quirks of evolution, this might be our reality. Bear in mind that when this movie hit theaters (1968), Neil Armstrong had not yet set foot on the moon.
6 Office Space I work in information technology, where this flick is a legend.  Of particular interest to me is that fact that the computer is the movie are running a hybrid operating system that never existed in the real world (yes, I notice these things in movies – constantly).  I’ll never buy any stapler other than a Swingline (although mine are black).
5 War Games I list Matthew Broderick as my favorite actor, and War Games is the major reason why.  I’ve also always been opposed to nuclear war (OK, I doubt too many people are actively FOR nuclear war) and enjoyed Joshua’s brilliant deduction – the only way to win is not to play. Obviously, the computer technology from a 1983 movie is going to be a bit dated – but note the nice bit of social engineering David uses to get the password to the school’s system.
4 Jurassic Park Living, breathing dinosaurs in a theme park!  If Jurassic Park really existed, I’d be first in line for tickets.  I’ve watched the entire trilogy, but the original is the best of the lot.
3 Field of Dreams It’s a baseball movie that was filmed ten miles from my house.  What’s not to like.  Seriously, how can you not choke up a bit when Ray asks John if he wants to have a catch.
2 Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker How did a Chinese movie with English subtitles pop up on the list?  I was going through a foreign film phase in the late 90s and found this movie incredibly enjoyable.  The plot does have some holes, but the fireworks will keep you on your feet. 

This movie is incredibly hard to find for a fair price (thus the reason why you’re probably seeing an insane price on the Amazon widget).  I finally tracked down a copy on DVD.  The only problem?  It doesn’t have the English subtitles. 

I was also amused at the amount of detail on the back cover.  Nearly every element on the plot is included in the summary – surprises and all.  By far the most text I’ve ever seen on the back of a DVD case – probably 500 – 1000 words.

1 The Thirteenth Floor The movie came out the same year at The Matrix.  The Matrix garnered a lot more attention and made a lot more money, but it was The Thirteenth Floor that blew me away.  A simulation company has created a virtual San Francisco, circa 1937.  One of the scientists is savagely murdered immediately after returning from a trip to 1937 – and his friend needs to go into the virtual world to look for clues.

 Which movies are on your top 9 list?  Any obscure films among them?

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

April 20, 2011

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I consider SVB over at The Digerati Life to be a friend. I’ve never actually met her in person, but we have a lot of interests in common (perhaps most notably a fascination with crime and forensics). We chat back and forth over email, and when she recommended a particular book, I gave it serious consideration, despite having a large backlog of unread books in my library.

The book was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I was aware of the book. It was an international best-seller, and the author, Stieg Larsson, died before the book (and the subsequent sequels) were printed. The circumstances surrounding Larsson’s estate (more about that in a guest article I wrote for SVB) added some intrigue for me. I nabbed a copy at Target for $5.99. Hey, I’ll give it a shot.

Now that I’m finished, I’m happy to report that it was one of the better books I have read in a while. The book has something for everyone – mystery, romance, murder, fraud, family squabbles – and much more. Even better, everyone seemed to use a Mac!

What I liked:

Culture – The book was written by a Swedish author, so I learned some things about Sweden by reading the book. I was barely into the book before I hopped onto the internet to check the value of the Swedish krona in US dollars. I pegged the value at about 16 cents and used this for currency translations. Then I got to the end of the book, where the topic comes upm in the text – the exchange rate being used is just under 10 kronor to the dollar.  Hmm.  I also learned that there is a statute of limitations for murder in Sweden. Avoid getting caught for long enough, and you’re home free. (What??!?!?)

Characters – The girl mentioned in the title is Lisbeth Salander, a young woman who works as a private investigator – putting her hacking skills to good use, She works an irregular schedule and lives an irregular life. She is a victim – or is she?

I’d argue that Lisbeth isn’t even the lead character in the book. Much of the book centers around Mikael Blomkvist, a financial reporter finds himself convicted of libel at the beginning of the book. The magazine that he co-owns is on the brink of ruin – can Blomkvist and his partners avoid financial doom?

That’s the tip of the iceberg. The book contains a rich cast of characters – hackers, lawyers, murders amongst them.

The story – In general, I need to be told an interesting story in order to enjoy a book. This book has a great story. Actually, a few great stories. There’s the story of Lisbeth’s own life, the story of Mikael’s personal and professional life, and thirty five years in the lives of the Vanger family, who are central figures in the plot. Although the threads do cross at times, they are actually separate and distinct stories that could hold up as their own individual novellas.

Verdict – Big thumbs up! I’m going to begin reading the second book in the series (The Girl Who Played With Fire) immediately.


Charlie Sheen and Other Topics

March 1, 2011

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Charlie Sheen

Yesterday, in the midst of the disaster that his life has become, Charlie Sheen demanded a 50% raise, to $3 million per episode, to continue starring in 2 1/2 Men.  I’ve never been one to begrudge entertainers and athletes their millions, but at some point, the producers have to decided whether it’s worth the headache at this point.    As it stands, the show is in end game, as Angus T. Jones (the kid) isn’t getting any younger – he won’t be half a man for many more years.  Perhaps it’s best to pull up stakes and reap the cash cow that is syndication.

Among the many strange comments Sheen has made during this time is his assertion that producer Chuck Lorre uses that name to hid his Jewish ancentry (his given name is Charles Michael Levine).  Apparently, nobody else in Hollywood uses screen names that mask their ancestry.  Good call, Charlie Sheen (given name Carlos Irwin Estevez).

Fact is, Chuck Lorre was a success before he began working with Charlie Sheen and he’ll continue to be a success after their partnership ends.  Can we can we say the same for Sheen?

(OK, time to catch your breath before the flood of Amazon affiliate links begin …)

The Oscars

I hear that the Academy Awards were held the other night.  I get bored to tears by award shows, so I only caught snippets of the broadcast.  I should probably make an effort to watch The King’s Speech at some point.  It seems like the type of flick I would like, in spite of the paucity of serial killers in the movie.  Another movie I wouldn’t mind seeing is Princess Ka’iulani – has anyone seen it?

Avril Lavigne

I generall y don’t get that excited about cd releases, but I am eagerly anticipating Avril Lavigne’s new disc, Goodbye Lullaby, which is due out on March 8.  Although my music tastes run very heavily toward country (Alabama, in particular), I’m also a fan of good music, regardless of genre, from Tchaikovsky to Jimmy Buffett to Bon Jovi.  Despite not being in her target demographic, I’ve been a fan of Lavigne’s since the first time I heard Sk8ter Boi, nearly a decade ago.

You might also want to check out the new country group The Band Perry.  You can find good prices on their disc everywhere (I paid $7.99 for my copy).  I’m a big fan of the song “If I Die Young.”

On the bookshelf

The time I spend writing means that I generally have limited time to read these days.  I finally finished up Jeffery Deaver’s newest Lincoln Rhyme book,  The Burning Wire.  The book features a villain who uses electricity as his weapon.  The book fell a bit short of expectations, but that’s more because of how high the previous books set the bar than a shortcoming of The Burning Wire.

I finally bit the bullet and bought the late Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, just to see what the fuss was about.  I don’t usually grab the popular books without a good reason, but when Silicon Valley Blogger over at The Digerati Life mentioned the book, I decided it was time to read it, since SVB and I have quite similar interests when it comes to literature and cinema.

I’ve also been attempting to read J.D. Salinger’s classic The Catcher in the Rye.  I really wanted to appreciate it as being a seminal American work, but it’s really not grabbing me.  If I didn’t “know” that the book was a classic, I would have long since abandoned it.

Speaking of abandoned tomes … I have been reading The Fountainhead since 1992 (very slowly).  After a recent restructuring of my library, the book has turned up missing.  If I can’t find it, maybe I’ll buy a new copy in another decade or so …

What Is Up With Movies These Days?

July 19, 2010

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I watched two movies with my wife this weekend, both good, but very different in quality.  The first we found in the sale bin at the local Wal-Mart; Doctor Zhivago.  The second we watched at our local second run theater; Iron Man 2.  In the classic, so much more attention was paid to the grand vista matched with equally grand music.  The modern concentrated on flash and boom.  Now I admit that these two movies represent more than just different eras, but also different genres as well.  There were plenty of action films made back in the day, but I would argue that there was a greater effort put forth to create a larger picture which integrated with you other sense of sound and feeling.

In the classic film, there were plenty of times where literally nothing was going on.  This allowed you to recover from previous action or think about the previous scene before leaping into the next event.  Remember the Doctor Zhivago is set during World War I and the Russian revolution, so there are battle scenes and explosions, it is not just a love story.  Iron Man 2 also attempts to have a love story entwined with the action, so there are similarities.

Doctor Zhivago is also a truly feature length film of over 3 hours.  Modern films seldom pass the two hour mark.  (Dr. Zhivago actually has an intermission for bathroom breaks that is even on the CD with music and there is a prelude with music as you get yourself situated in the theater.)

Many would say I shouldn’t complain.  If I don’t like the modern methods, I should not go to see the movies.  Well I do like the latest releases from the film industry, it just seems that they are concentrating on the visual only right now.  There are movies made for the full spectrum, but those are not widely distributed.  The Last Station is a good example.  It is the story of the last days of Leo Tolstoy and was not available in my home town until it came out on CD.  I do not believe that our local video store would have gotten a copy if my wife had not specifically requested it.

The last general consumption movie that I remember that had the whole package from my point of view was Silverado, at least the opening scene was panoramic.  It is easy to pick on some films, which are concentrating on the special affects to the detriment of all other facets of film making.  Transformers is one such movie, where there are spectacular battle scenes that just suddenly happen.  If you have not watched the cartoon, you don’t even know who the participants are.

I believe that Hollywood can merge art, action and special affects.  The original Star Wars films had magnificent music to set the mood of every scene.  Even the latest Star Wars and Star Trek films are still filling the story before leaping to the next event.

I once complained to my grandmother that there were no good movies like when she was young.  She assured me that on the good ones were replayed now and she had seen plenty of losers in her day.  I am sure that is true today.  If there are only 2 good movies each year, that is 50 good movies just since I was a teenager.  And I am sure that there have been more that 2 good movies produced each year.  Here is a short list on movies I think would be on that list, add your own if you please.

  • The Thin Man Series (6 films) – actually made before I was born
  • The Quiet Man
  • The Princess Bride
  • Hopscotch
  • Silverado
  • Patton
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Midway
  • True Grit
  • The Star Wars Series (6 films)
  • The James Bond Films (most of the 17 films)
  • The Lord of the Rings (both live action and animated)
  • The Star Trek Series (most of the 11? Movies)
  • Most Mel Brooks films
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • The Last Station
  • Young Victoria
  • Most Pixar Films
  • The Bourne Series

Favorite Movie Quotes

July 11, 2010

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My daughter, age 2 (soon to be 3), seems to have acquired a favorite quote from a TV show.  Last weekend, she started saying “Wait a minute!  coconuts don’t have feet!”  The line, of course, is from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode Goofy’s Coconutty Monkey.  Spoiler alert: Chip and Dale stole the coconuts.

This got me started thinking about my favorite lines from movies.  There’s the old standby – “My Name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die!” – uttered by Mr. Montoya in The Princess Bride.

My very favorite line from a movie actually requires an explanation.  The quote is this: “Oh.  Dog and a beer.

OK, how many of you know exactly where that comes from?  There’s probably one person out there.  It comes from The Field of Dreams, an all-time favorite movie of mine.  The brilliance isn’t in the line itself.  It’s in the setup.  Prior to this, Ray Kinsella had asked Terence Mann “What do you want?”  Mann had responded “I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.”  This is a perfectly fitting response for a reclusive author who hates the spotlight.

Then we see Ray gesture up at a concession stand and he asks “No, I mean, what do you want.”  At this point, the question shifts from something that requires an answer from deep within the soul to something that requires an answer from deep within the stomach – eliciting the request for a hot dog and a beer.  The setup is everything.

What’s your favorite movie line?

Lessons I’ve Learned from Stupid Killers

March 20, 2010

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Since the birth of my son at the tail end of last year, I have been recording lots of episodes of TruTV’s Forensic Files and watching them during nighttime feedings.  In the past three months, I have watched literally dozens of episodes.  During this time, I’m learned lots of lessons from some of the killers who are, well, not so smart.

Note: we don’t condone any sort of criminal activities.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice …

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t mess with success.  If something works the first time, you should try it again, right?  Not always.

A recurring theme are men who kill their wives.  Sometimes, after a suspicious – but apparently accidental – death, an anonymous caller will notify the police that the man’s first wife died in similar circumstances.  If the women died in car accidents, you can make the argument that it’s simply coincidence.  Car accidents are fairly common.

If the women both drowned in the bath tub, this is a bit harder to explain away as a coincidence.  This isn’t a particularly common way to die, so the odds of it happening to two of your spouses is pretty unlikely.

Moral of the story: mix it up a little bit.  If you’re going to kill multiple spouses, you need to use different methods.  Or, of course, you could simply refrain from killing people.

Failure to observer a proper mourning period

Everyone has a different length of time for mourning.  Some people never get over the death of a spouse.  Others are able to move past the tragedy and eventually find love again.

But if you return from Vegas with a new wife a couple of weeks after your first wife died, police are probably going to take a second look at you as a suspect.

In one particularly notable case, the husband and his fiancée actually sent out wedding invitations (just to HER family and friends, apparently) BEFORE the first wife was dead.  I guess this is somewhat understandable, since people need to be able to save the date on their calendar.

Moral: Thirty days hath September, April, June, and minimum mourning periods.

Gotta give them credit

Every once in a while, the cops are able to determined that a killer purchased poison (or other items involved in the crime) by examining credit card receipts.  Apparently, the term “paper trail” means nothing to these people.

Moral: Cash is king!

Not what it’s cracked up to be

When examining broken windows at a crime scene, the cops check to see if the window was broken from the outside or the inside.  If the window was broken from the outside, most of the glass will fall inward.  If it is broken from the inside, most of the glass will fall on the outside.

Since the vast majority of criminals break into houses rather than out of them,  when there are indications that a window was broken from the inside, it typically means that the scene was staged.

Moral: Take a moment and actually step through the crime scene, starting at the point of entry.  If you’re going to kill someone, you needn’t be lazy with the details.

The Best Comics Ever

February 10, 2010

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Before we started subscribing to the Sunday paper several years ago, my wife asked my if I’d read the paper if we got it.

“Sure,” I replied.

Within a few weeks, she noticed that I was only reading the sports section and the comics and asked why I wasn’t reading the paper.

“But I AM reading the paper,” I insisted.  Well, the only parts that are worth reading …

I am a person who has a pretty broad sense of humor and loves a good joke.  On occasion, I have been known to laugh so hard that I eventually started crying.  Other times, I’ll crack up just thinking about a story or joke I heard hours earlier.  Truly, laughter is the second-best medicine (baseball being the best).

We’ve covered sports aplenty in The Soap Boxers.  So, today we shift the focus to comics.  I’ll break down my 5 all time favorite comics.

5.  Wow.  This is a tough call. I could go a lot of directions here – Blondie, Family Circus, The Far Side, Dennis the Menace, Retail, a few others.  But I’ll settle on Beetle Bailey.  The military theme differentiates the strip from its competitors, and Beetle and Sarge have a good dynamic going.  The secondary characters also have quite a bit of definition to them (gotta love Zero).

4.  Dilbert – A few years ago, Dilbert would have been top 2.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  It’s possible that the strip has simply gotten less funny over the years – or it may simply be that a dozen years living in a cubicle have taken some of the humor out of cubicle life.  I do remain a devoted member of Dogbert’s New Ruling Class (DNRC), so I’ll be on board when we run roughshod over the InDUHdividuals.

3.  Get Fuzzy.  Huh, what’s this?  Haven’t heard of it?  By my estimation, this is the most underrated comic strip on the market today.  It’s a bit of a Bizarro Garfield (whoa, double points for back-to-back comic references) with a man, a cat, and a dog.  The dog (Satchel) never seems to get a fair shake (like Odie) but that’s where the similarity end.  Rob has a bit more control over the Get Fuzzy household than Jim does (although we’re talking in relative terms), and the cat (Bucky) is bent on world domination (or, barring that, weasel domination).  There’s also quite a lot of sports content (Rob’s a Sox fan; Bucky is a Yankees fan), which is always good for extra credit in my book.

2.  Peanuts – Perhaps the most beloved comic strip of all time.  The strip has a lot of baseball content, which gives it a huge boost.  It also has a dog who thinks his doghouse is a Sopwith Camel, which is slightly odd (in a good way).  The hockey battles between Snoopy and Woodstock on the frozen bird bath, Linus and his blanket, Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, Schroeder eluding the romantic overtures from Lucy – and, of course, the completely unintelligible adult voices (yeah, that’s exactly how we sound to our kids – blah, blah, blah).  I have Peanuts books, I love the TV specials, but my favorite comic strip of all time is …

1.  Calvin and Hobbes.  Has there ever been a greater tribute to the sheer power of imagination?  Not only does Calvin possess it in spades (the transmogrifier, Calvinball with its crazy and never-the-same-twice rules, and of course the fact that Calvin thinks his stuffed tiger is actually alive), but his dad chips in with some wonderful answers to Calvin’s questions.  The strip was short lived (just 10 years) and Bill Watterson resisted the temptation to license it (if you see Calvin and Hobbes merchandise, it’s certainly bootleg – Calving urinating on a Ford logo is not a licensed use of the character) to preserve the integrity of the comic strip.  And who can forget that final strip, with Calvin and Hobbes sailing off in their wagon to go exploring?


That’s my top 5 – what are yours?

What’s Keeping Kosmo Entertained?

January 17, 2010

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Our entertainment column has been on hiatus for a while, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to read and watch lately.  I’ve actually been watching more TV than I have in a long time – because I’ll watch in the wee hours of the morning when feeding the baby.

Monk – This was a show that my wife and I always watched religiously, until Ugly Betty popped in the same time slot for a while.  Unfortunately, the show has come to a conclusion.   I was pleased with the way it wrapped up, though.  I do have a couple of seasons on DVD that I can watch when I start going into withdrawal.

NCIS – Since I’m an aspiring crime novelist, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that crime dramas top my list of shows to watch.  I’ve eschewed CSI.  Despite the strong basis in forensics, it just doesn’t seem particularly believable and seems a bit contrived from the small bits I’ve watched.  NCIS mixes forensics with other investigative techniques, all within a military setting.  I really like Mark Harmon as an actor, and the supporting cast is good as well.  NCIS is a favorite show for me to watch on my wireless headphones while I’m shoveling snow.  The fact that it’s an hour long means that I can make decent headway shoveling during the course of a show.

M*A*S*H – When I was a kid, M*A*S*H and Wheel of Fortune competed in the same time slot.  My mom liked Wheel (and actually won something in a call-in contest through the local TV station once) and Dad liked M*A*S*H.  Personally, I thought both shows were pretty stupid.  Years later, I’m still not a fan of Wheel of Fortune, but I love M*A*S*H. I really need to snap up the DVD collection at some point. (All 11 Seasons (Amazon), All 11 seasons + Movie + Bonus Material (Amazon))

I’m also doing some reading, of course.  Yesterday, my fresh new copy of Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster for 2010
arrived on my doorstep.  This book is one of my tools for fighting the winter blahs.  Shandler analyzes secondary statistics in order to determine if a player’s basic statistical inputs accurately reflect his skill set, or are based largely on luck.  It’s a handy tool to have before your fantasy draft – did a player that you like actually have a breakout year in 2009 (and thus great things on the horizon) or was he lucky?

And, of course, I’m reading short stories by the master, Lawrence Block.  I’m currently reading One Night Stands and Lost Weekends, a collection of some of Block’s very early work.  The stories are great, but be sure to read the introduction as well – it’s as interesting as any of the fiction stories in the book.

I’m also reading a few blogs, of course.  I highly recommend all of the blogs that you see in the right column.  Today, I’ll give special attention to Living with Balls.  The author writes about sports and other manly pursuits (such as relationships and farting), with an unabashedly male point of view.  Haute couture it is not, funny it often is.  Be forewarned – if you don’t like it, you’ll probably hate it.  I can’t imagine that there is much middle ground.

Country Music, Computer Scams, and Baseball

November 12, 2009

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The CMAs

Last night was the Country Music Association’s awards show (also know as The CMAs).  I’m not much of a fan of award shows in general, but I like country music, so it served as a good soundtrack for the evenings work (which, unfortunately, consisted of battling some annoying technical problems with the web site).

The star of the evening, to no great surprise, was Taylor Swift (see Cheri’s Nobel’s August article about Taylor here).  Taylor has been the talk of country music since bursting onto the scene as a sixteen year old in 2006.  Swift is now a veteran in the business and is rapidly approaching the advanced age of 20.  Last night was her coronation as the new queen of country music.  Not only did she nab trophies for female vocalist of the year, album of the year, and video of the year she also snatched Kenny Chesney’s crown and was named the entertainer of the year – the most prestigious honor the CMA bestows each year.  She became the youngest performer to win the award and was also the first female to win since Shania Twain a decade ago.

The show also featured a farewell performance by legendary duo Brooks and Dunn, who will hang up their guitars later this year.  Incredibly, it has been eighteen years since their debut album.  I’m really not sue what it says about me that See Jane Dance is my favorite B&D song.

Rock musicians were popping up all over the place during the show.  Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blowfish fame) nabbed the trophy for new artist of the year.  [Note to self – pick up a copy of Rucker’s album, Learn to Live.]  There was also a trio of duets featuring rock artists.  Kid Rock, who has also charted with country songs, performed with country newcomer Jamey Johnson.  Dave Matthews sang with Kenny Chesney, and Daughtry partnered up with Vince Gill.

Blue Hippo

Blue Hippo, which advertises computers “with no credit check”, is in trouble with the FTC.  The first time I saw a Blue Hippo commercial, my eyes popped out of my head when I calculated the amount of revenue they were raking in for each computer sold.  The Blue Hippo financing plan features a down payment and 52 weekly payments.  After 13 weeks, they send you the computer and you then continue to make the remaining 39  payments.  One problem is that for the amount you pay in those first 14 payments (down payment + 13 weekly payments) you could make a substantial dent in the cost of a new computer.

The second problem is that Blue Hippo is not actually delivering the computers as promised.  The FTC has filed complaints about Blue Hippo regarding its business practices in the past.  The FTC says that those business practices have continued, and today asked a federal court to  issue a contempt order against Blue Hippo.

It seemed to me that Blue Hippo could have scored sizable profits by simply delivering as promised.  Instead, they chose the cross swords with the FTC?  If there was ever a case of a company killing the goose that laid the golden egg, this would be it.

Baseball Free Agents

Baseball free agency is upon us!  While the rest of the world has been going about their business in the past week, I have been assembling a panel of baseball fans to weigh in and make prediction on where the top free agents will land.  Swing by on Saturday to check out the predictions.

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