Thursday, October 14, 2010
nellie is my new hero. who doesn't want to channel more inner bitch? alison reveals all in this brave and emotional memoir... and the quirky part - her journey to france for the first time changes her life; the french adore la garce nellie! a quick read, dishy, filled with interesting anecdotes - a must for LHOTP fans!
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Saturday, August 7, 2010
A Giant Ice island has broken off from Petermann glacier in northern Greenland. It is 100 square miles - more than four times the size of Manhattan.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
“Hey son, when I eat my sandwich there is never enough ham on it.” a customer told my friend Chris, who had been promoted to shift supervisor.
The problem remained, however I couldn’t save any money. I drank and partied away all of my proceeds like the responsible 25 year old I had become. Alas I decided to apply for another job at Hess gas station. I pictured it. I would sit behind the window and take money for the gas all the while reading Thoreau and Emerson, contemplate my next move and pocket a whopping $5.00 per hour. Opportunities like this didn’t grow on trees.
“Hi,” I hear Rob say. “Yeah, ah, John Salois can’t come into work today.” A long pause. I start to become a little nervous. “Well, because he’s ahh…well, he’s in Canada.”
Fifteen minutes later, my boss at Hess comes streaming through the double doors of D’Angelo’s sub shop. Hess gas station is one mile down route 28 from D’Angelo’s. Same street, same town. This, somehow never occurred to me while hatching the perfect plan. Rob, Mike and Chris scramble to the back room . I have never seen three grown men run so fast. They ran scared from a tiny woman in a Hess uniform. Suddenly, I become indignant at the intrusion into my privacy.
I realize my post-college dream life needs some work.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
On February 23, 2010 the Central Falls, Rhode Island school trustees fired over 90 teachers, the entire teaching staff. The decision was done supposedly because of declining test scores. Central Falls is near Providence, the smallest city in the state and also the poorest. In the greatest jobs crises since the Great Depression the city put out of work the entire school. In all 93 people were put out on the street, the school psychologist, nurses, reading specialist, etc. What actually happened was the school wanted to add duties without pay to teachers, the union objected and they retaliated. This is union busting, plain and simple.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Precious is a wonderful film. When I heard Oprah and Tyler Perry were producing I sought to avoid it at all costs. But, then I read the reviews and they were good. I saw it and was quite frankly blown away. Gabourney Sidibe gives a remarkable performance and is highly deserving of an Oscar nomination. Mariah Carey also stars in her role as the social worker. The teacher, I think gives the weakest performance. Mo'Nique gives one of the most emotionally charged performances on film I have ever seen. Amazing film.
#11 Crazy Heart
Jeff Bridges gives the performance of a lifetime, in what has been a remarkable career. I don't believe he has any competition for Best Actor this year. It is a great film, though Maggie Gyllenhall aggravated me. I am not sure why. She is usually wonderful on screen. It is a movie of hope, in a pretty hopeless and depressing situation with a completely unsentimental ending.
(Sorry for the terrible trailer for some reason Disney unembedded them). Up is a great film, though so visually beautiful it is hard to focus. Unlike any animated film you have seen. It follows Carl Fredrickson to his dream vacation, one that he has wanted to take for 75 years.
#9 The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Fantastic Mr. Fox was Wes Anderson's latest brain child and he delivers. George Clooney stars as the lead who likes to steal and Jason Schwarzman as Ash, his young overlooked son. The Village Voice summed this film up delightfully, "in the end this film is entirely human." When animation does that you have something special. The Fantastic Mr. Fox steals from some nasty farmers and we root like crazy for them.
This film, Sugar is like bizarro Bull Durham. And it is an entirely American film. We follow Miguel "Sugar" Santos through the travails of the Dominican camps to play in the major leagues. He comes to the states with a rocket for an arm and what he finds here is wholly surprising and the story becomes a story of survival, of immigration, hard work and of what dreams are really made of. Amazing film.
#7 Up in the Air
I loved "Up in the Air." I didn't expect to like so many movies more than this one. But, it is a great film. We watch Clooney and his new employee, Anna Kendrick completely derail everything they know about themselves and their world. Phenomenal performances from everyone involved. But, we watch a highly believable Clooney who has organized his life so as not to get hurt, so as not to have any surprises. But, it falls apart in the hands of Kendrick and then Vera Farmiga. Many surprises along the way wield crises for all involved. It is entirely about our society, what we hold dear, strong, together, organized, when none of us are that way at all. We are a hopeless lot, but we try anyway.
#6 The Messenger
The Messenger is the most provocative film of the year. It was startling to watch. Th emotional trauma of war has never been captured like it has here. Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton give beautiful performances, all worthy of an Oscar. The fact that the Messenger isn't nominated and trash, like the Blind Side tells you everything you need to know about the Oscars.
#5 The Cove
"The Cove" is the rare film that is both brilliant and a social commentary. It acts as a caper, like the Brinks Job, but it is so much more. Because there is also something the viewer can do to stop the inhumane treatment of animals, that also corrodes the food supply and is helping to destroy the planet. The film follows the lead, who was a trainer on the show "Flipper" who is now the premier activist to shut down a Japanese cove known for massacring dolphins. Best documentary of the year.
#4 Sin Nombre
I didn't think I would see a better film this year when I saw this in early 2009. It is both terrifying and heartbreaking. A young Honduran girl travels a trail of horror to attempt emigration to the United States through the Mexican/Texas border. What she has to do to get there is chilling. It is a story of beauty and the triumph of the human spirit.
#3 The Hurt Locker
This is the best American film of the year (only trailer I could find). Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackey give startling performances. Technically difficult, a great script and Katherine Bigelow's direction is astonishing. Like the great "Stop Loss" and "the Messenger" it is provocative and it feels as if we are there with them. An uncanny piece of filmmaking.
#2 White Ribbon
This masterwork may be the most memorable of all films of 2009. It won the palm d'or at Cannes last year. It is about a German village just before the onset of World War I. It has been misconstrued as a film about German fascism. What it actually is about is terrorism and our treatment of people who have no recourse, but to resort to their own savagery to survive. Haneke has made many a provocative film, Cache comes to mind, but none like this one. He pushes the envelope and never lets on exactly what is happening leaving the viewer to imagine their own secrets. This film is scarier than any horror film I have ever seen. Wonderfully acted and directed. Wow.
#1 Fish Tank
This film actually came in 2nd at Cannes to "White Ribbon." I think it is better, however. It is like "Precious" in that it exposes horrendous childhood trauma and like "An Education" with an older man in the mix, but it goes far deeper than both films, exposing a raw emotional charge rarely seen on film. Newcomer Katie Jarvis gives a performance 30 year veterans wish they gave. Nothing about this film is predictable and it left me searing afterwards unable to leave the conjured images of children as unwanted victims in a world gone mad.
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Actress - Carey Mulligan
Supporting Actor - Woody Harrelson (I haven't seen inglorious basterds)
Supporting Actress - Mo'nique
Director - Katherine Bigelow
Screenplay - The Hurt Locker
Adapted screenplay - Up in the Air
Song - The weary Kind
Film - The Hurt Locker
Prediction: Sandra Bullock wins. They will give her an Oscar for giving an ok performance in what has been a disastrous career. That is how they roll.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Coakley in the political fight of her life took time out to attend a Washington, DC fundraiser at $10,000 a plate. See the list for yourself. It is quite disgusting that Democrats are in bed with the likes of Pfizer, Merck, Brystol Myers, etc. Is there any wonder that Democrats cut a deal with Big Pharma about the reimportation of drugs to the United States that keeps their deal in tact and Americans out of the loop.
Is there any wonder really that Massachusetts might elect a Republican to Ted Kennedy's seat? Really, what is the difference between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown? One tells you he hates healthcare reform and that we should protect the lobbyists. The other one tells you we should pass healthcare reform and then gets in bed with all the lobbyists who want to kill it. It is truly disgusting and I could care less anymore whether Martha Coakley wins or not. There is no party that protects and represents the people anymore. Who can tell the difference between corporate parties?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
On Thursday, St. Vincent’s who “accepts” both insurances requested Juliette bring the films as soon as possible. Since I work from home I volunteered. The UMDNJ is a typical hospital, white floors, white walls and white ceilings, however friendly medical staff dressed in blue pajamas smile at you and ask, “can I help you find something?” This is the same hospital I attended Physical and Occupational therapy for my hip and elbow. Memories. I picked up Juliette’s films from UMDNJ, paid a bored cashier and waited for the films. Directed to a waiting room, I sat and watched Rachel Ray as she made eggplant balls for Thanksgiving. “Do people actually watch this?” I said out loud. Seven pairs of eyes stared at me as my name was called. Clemency.
I arrived in the city at St. Vincent’s, a beautiful facility on the west side not far from the structure on Seventh Avenue. The first thing I noticed as I walked in was a cappuccino maker, various teas and thousands of magazines. Not bad I thought. I can wait here in peace. The walls were bright, the office neat, it felt like a children’s hospital. A beautiful young looking Chinese American woman, nervous stood before me, Juliette’s age, waiting to speak to a Secretary. We both hemmed and hawed for 10 minutes as they stood just outside our vision talking. Not a good sign, I thought. Though, quickly after we caught their attention, they attended to us and I was on my way back to Jersey City. They gave me a date of November 17th for an appointment. Everything we could possibly do done, we took a sigh of relief and settled in for the week’s wait.
Juliette and I spoke about the procedure, what this means. Everyone we spoke to seemed to know some relative, aunt, mother, sister who had a similar procedure. “It will be fine” we were told. Except sometimes it wasn’t fine, which scared us a bit and our luck ran with the Irish. Non-existent. We decided to not discuss it and muddle through until the 17th, after all this is something thousands of Americans are experiencing at the same time, right? We need to wait and see and breathe.
On the Saturday before the procedure we received a letter in the mail from St. Vincent’s. “No need to come in for an appointment.” Juliette continued to read. “Wait six months. Probably benign, come back for a new mammogram in six months,” with a bill for $50 tucked in for all the work the medical staff perfromed. “We’re still going to the appointment I announced to Juliette.” “What are you talking about? They just cancelled the appointment!” “They can’t do that” I argued. “Well, they just fucking did!” Juliette said angrily. We pumped ourselves up for the appointment and now it is not to be. “Fuck!” I yelled. “What do we do?” I asked. “Is this reliable? Is this a good thing?”
The fifty dollars was a bill for their services. Juliette called them and said her insurance should cover it. “Well, you didn’t meet your deductible.” “What deductible? I have insurance.” “Right, but this is 'an out of network' claim.” Perplexed Juliette asked them “what the fuck are you talking about. I thought you said you accept healthnet?” “Technically we do “accept” healthnet, but only out of network benefits.” She connivingly said. In "out of network benefits" she explained, “You pay.” So, basically as long as they get their money? No need to tell the patient they will be paying the first $500 or $1000 in deductible instead of simply a “co-pay,” or “in network benefits.” Thank god, we didn't have them perform the procedure, I said.
We weighed our options. Some told us to wait the six months. Juliette would receive another mammogram, and eventually have the biopsy anyway” was the advice. What is the point of that? Juliette asked her personal physician, “what should I do?” “If it were me,” she said. “I just don’t know.” Helpful. Juliette did not want to have her boobs shoved in a machine again, just to be told you need to have a biopsy, “what is the point of that?” she repeated. I agreed and encouraged her to seek a second opinion, though she was not happy about it.
Like controversy was made for us, new mammogram guidelines were released on November 17th, the day we were supposed to be attending an appointment with St. Vincent’s. These new guidelines sparked immediate controversy. A government advisory board made up of medical professionals said women should not be receiving mammograms until the age of 50. Our eyes perked. The guidelines written by a government panel essentially said that getting screened for breast cancer “so early and so often leads to too many false alarms and unneeded biopsies without substantially improving women's odds of survival.” That sounds about right actually. They sparked outrageous controversy and fear, the media talked about them for a while especially the Rethuglicans who thought it was a good way to derail healthcare reform.
Still, what if? What if Juliette is in that category of women that have no warning signs, could she afford to wait until she was 50? We decided that because she was already screened we would receive a second opinion. We wanted to see what an actual surgeon who examined her would indicate.
We arrived at the doctor’s office at 5:00 PM, right on time. We needed to be buzzed in, "come on this is Hoboken, are we afraid of robberies now?" I said. Not a seat in the house as Juliette checked in with the receptionist. Also, not a white face in the room, all low-income, primarily Latino clientèle. “What is this guy doing,” I thought to myself and intimated to Juliette. "Scheduling everyone he can before healthcare reform passes?" Juliette rolled her eyes with abandon and scoffed the first seat available. After about an hour of waiting and several chapters read in “the Last of her kind” I looked at Juliette and said, “what the fuck?” He comes recommended Juliette said. Dr. B, her personal physician that operates as a community clinic recommended him.
We were called in, he was young, our age actually, he just turned 40. Is that still young? He was Latino, good looking and competent, and calming. He immediately told us “you should have the procedure done.” He explained the procedure and why he thought Juliette might benefit. "Most likely, in six months you will be right back here anyway." he said. "Plus, it is probably benign, but there is no way of telling unless the procedure is actually done." Juliette felt comfortable with him, so we scheduled the procedure for December 23rd. Done. The scheduler seemed nice, but she told us “I can’t schedule you at Hoboken Medical Center. I am having problems there and the Radiologist there is not on the schedule.” So, she scheduled us for an "ambulatory center" in North Bergen. Only two weeks to wait.
A week flashed by and we still hadn’t heard from the office, she informed us she would call to approve the procedure with Oxford, Juliette’s insurance company and then call us back. We started to worry. Five days before the procedure we started to panic. Juliette called her insurance company. “You are not covered at the ambulatory facility” she was told. "You will pay upwards of 2,000 dollars if the procedure is performed there." "You have not been approved, nor will you be approved.” "No one has called you from Dr. Costa’s office?” Nicole asked. “Nope.” And she intimated, "It sounds like they want you to use "out of network benefits."