2.28.2011

So, I'm a little late with this

Just a few comments about last night's Oscars.

  • Overall: pretty lackluster show.
  • James Franco - What happened, dude?
  • Anne Hathaway - she tried, but too much giggling. I think she was overcompensating since James wasn't giving her any support.
  • The King's Speech = Best Film. YAY!
  • Colin Firth's win--love it. Loved his speech too.
  • Christian Bale--loved his win too...these were the only three I really cared about.
  • Sandra Bullock - looked gorgeous, and based on her few minutes on stage as she present the Best Actor award, should be next year's host.
  • Natalie Portman - I think she's a terrific actress and think her Oscar is so well-deserved, but didn't it seem like she got about three times as much time for her speech? Where was the orchestral nudge?
  • I didn't know "Chuck" can sing!
  • FINALLY, during the In Memoriam section, they either muted out the applause, or asked the audience not to applaud until the end. FINALLY.
  • The In Memoriam ended with Lena Horne and then Halle Berry came out for a short tribute. The tribute was nice, but it kind of seemed like an afterthought. It was like the producers realized, "Oh man...we don't have ANY black people on this show. Let's bring out Halle Berry and do a tribue to Lena Horne." Token.
  • Loved the guy who won for Best Live Action Short Film, Luke Matheny. Can't wait to see his God of Love on iTunes.

That's all folks.

In other news, I'm finally all caught up on American Idol and will start blogging about that again tomorrow. I already have a few favorite guys...looking forward to watching them perform.

2.26.2011

Stand by Me as you've never heard it!

That was the first line of an email I received from a friend of mine.  It continued: This video was done by 5 sound engineers who went around the world recording individuals performing this song.  They then blended them together into one song and video, which is wonderful.

It's is wonderful--I love it. Here you go:



Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World
from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.


In other news, I went on vacation last week and completely lost focus and some interest in the Oscar race. Of course I'll watch, but I'm just not up to making predictions or keeping track of which movies I still need to see, or anything like that. I will say this, I am pulling for Christian Bale to win Best Supporting Actor, Colin Firth to get Best Actor, and The King's Speech for Best Picture.

Beyond that, I'm just trying to figure out when I can get back to that sunny beach. :o)

2.22.2011

I should go on vacation more often.

The last time I posted a book review, I noted that I want to read at least one book per month, and I barely made it for January.  Well, last week, I was on vacation and read not one, but TWO books.  I loved having hours of time available to read, and sitting on a beach with a fruity rum drink made it that much more enjoyable.

ZeitounZeitoun by Dave Eggers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an excellent book about one family's experience during hurricane Katrina. Since I already knew so many details about the horrors of Katrina, I felt so anxious as I read about Abdulrahman Zeitoun's decision to stay in the city to ride out the storm. At some point, he notices people in line at the Super Dome, ready to take shelter, and I felt such a sense of doom knowing what happened there. The story is extremely well written and exposes the complete failure of the government and legal system before, during and after the storm. It was appalling, and I can't help but think about the hundreds of others who may have had similar experiences. I'm thankful that Dave Eggers brought this story to light, and feel it is required reading for everyone.



Little BeeLittle Bee by Chris Cleave

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was intrigued by the promotion on the back cover of this book:
We don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book.

It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don't want to spoil it.

NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:

This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--the story starts there...

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.
I thought the first half of the book, which takes you through the "terrible choice," and the reunion of these two women, was excellent and compelling. The story's told alternately from Little Bee's voice (a 16-year-old Nigerian girl) and Sarah's voice (a 30-something white British woman). But then a third character, Lawrence, came on the scene and the story started to lose credibility for me. The ending felt rushed and simplistic. After the teaser on the back of the book, it was also anti-climatic. I kinda felt duped.

So, I'd give the first half five stars, but the second half, only two.

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2.01.2011

I finally finished a book.

I've been trying to tackle Cleopatra:  A Life by Stacy Schiff since before Christmas.  I'm having a hard time getting into it, and each time I pick it up, I have to go back a few pages for a refresher on all the names and places that are mentioned.  A friend of mine told me the book doesn't really pick up until about halfway and then it gets good, so I'm going to stick with it. Still, I always try to read at least one book a month, and on Saturday, I realized I only had two days to finish a January book.

I decided to read: 

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel ChristThe Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I liked this book, but I didn't love it.  The premise is great--Mary didn't just give birth to Jesus.  She had twins...one named Jesus, the other named Christ.  After Jesus meets John the Baptist and begins to preach draw a following, Christ follows in the shadows, taking notes and writing Jesus' story.  Some may find it blasphemous, but to me, it's an intriguing idea.  I felt that something was missing though.  When I read the book jacket,  I though the book would be humorous, and it was not.  I was expecting something more along the lines of Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff (which I loved). Still, the book is thought-provoking, and it's a quick read.  And hey, I met my goal of reading a book in January.

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