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Well not exactly Hollywood but I have learned I have the opportunity for a part in an  independant film being shot in New York.

A few weeks ago when I was in New York I went to a party with a friend.  We meet a guy who turned out to be a producer of small indie films.  He said I had the look he wanted for a role in one of his films (old, bald grandfather?).  I did not take him seriously, I spent more time looking at his companion.  I later found out she was the actress, Ali Larter from Heroes.  She smiled at me and I thought she ran her hand down mine, but that was probably my imagination.

To my surprise I got a call and was told to go the set in New York.  I don’t know much about the part but the movie has something to do with a young girl with a father fixation, or in my case a grandfather fixation.  It’s a small role so I may only be in a few scenes.  I was told the film is expect to be R rated, and I may have to appear in the nude.  Appearing nude in a scene with Ali Larter, well we all have to do are part for art.

I did have some exposure to the film set back when I was a young man in the party scene in NY.  I had a brief affair with a actress whose name modest prevents me from saying.  Okay you dragged it out of my, Susan Sarandon.  I had to break it off, our worlds were too far apart.  I hope I didn’t hurt her too much.

I did also make the mistake of giving Shirley McClain my telephone number and it was hard not to answer the phone when she keep calling.

So when I get my Oscar I promise to remember all my old friends.  I will try to remember to send you guys my autographed picture, I’ll only charge you half price.

April fool!

If you could be a fictional character in any movie or TV show who would you pick?

1) The following video shows the most amazing robot I have ever seen.  A problem for robots is that they have limited mobility and don’t navigate obstacles very well.  The one in this video, “Big Dog”, can get through difficult terrian, like ice, better than I can.  Big Dog was developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from the US Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense is also funding projects to give armed robots artificial intelligence to decide if a target is friend or foe, and when to fire on the target.  In my opinion the final decision to fire on a target should always rest with a human.

2) At the opposite scale of robots researchers at Havard Univiersity have developed a flying robot the size of a fly, http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19068/ .  At present this robot can only fly up and down.

fly_robot_x220.jpg

From the Technology Review article:

“Us Defense Advance Research Projects Agency is funding Wood’s research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance for the battlefield and urban environments.  The robot’s small size and fly-like appearance are cirtical to such missions.”

We all know these robots will be used to spy on people.  The next time you see a fly on your bedroom wall be sure you are not doing anything that you don’t want to have seen on streaming video.

3) The current administration wants to give, or perhaps has already given, the Homeland Security Dept. unlimited authority to record all telephone calls and read everyones mail and e-mail.  History has shown that giving any government department unlimited power is not a good idea.

Questions:

1. To what degree are you concerned about the authority given to the Homeland Security Dept.?

2.  To what degree are you concerned about the growing use, and dependants, on robots, and eventually, artificial intelligence? 

This coming Monday, March 31st, is the holiest day of the year for me.  That’s when Major League Baseball gets into full swing.  From 1 pm, the starting time of the East Coast Games, until 1 am, the ending time of the West Coast games, it’s baseball, baseball, baseball.

I never played in any organized leagues, just pick up games with my friends.  I can only hit a curve ball in my imagination.

My favorite team growing up was the Brooklyn Dodgers, Da’ Bums as they were affectionately know to us fans.  My favorite player was Edwin “Duke” Snider.  The Yanks had Mickey Mantle.  The New York Giants had Willie Mays.  The Duke was #1 in my eyes.

It was tough growing up a Dodger fan in a family of NY Yankeee rooters.  Every October the Yanks beat up my Dodgers in the World Series, until that glorious year 1955.  An old pitcher, Johnny Podres, shut down the Yanks in the seventh game and a part time player, Sandy Amoros, made a game saving catch.  I got to do my victory dance for the first time.

Tragedy struck in 1957.  My beloved Dodgers left New York for Los Angeles, and left me broken hearted.  😦  The Brooklyn owner, W—– O’M—–, He-who-must-not-be-named, will live in Brooklyn infamy forever.

In 1962 a new team came to New York, the Mets.  They were a team in name only and lost 120 games that year, a record.  As their manager, Casey Stangel said, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

I wasn’t a fan of the Mets at first.  Then I went to a double header between the Mets and my old team the Dodgers.  In the first game the Mets were losing something like 10-0 in the last inning.  The first Mets batter, Marvelous Marv Throneberry, came to the plate.  Throneberry had once hit a triple but was called out because he missed touching 2nd base.   As Stengal was about to come out and argue the call the first base umpire motioned to him that Throneberry had also missed first base.   This time Throneberry hit a home run and the fans went wild, cheering, “Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go Mets!”  I got caught up with the crowd and have been a Mets fan ever since.  They did lose the game 10-1 of course.

In 1969 a miracle happened.  After losing game after game manager Stangel was reported to have said, “There will be a man on the moon before the Mets win a championship.”  On July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong took that historical first step on the moon.  In October the Mets beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.  For the second time I got to do my happy dance.

Once every decade the Mets have a winning team.  I have high hopes for this years team.  So for the next seven months my mantra is baseball, baseball, baseball.

What is your favorite sports team.  Do you remember when you became a fan?

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
It began in the simplest way. Over lunch with girlfriends, Debbie Tenzer listened as they argued over the state of the world – war, crime, schools in Los Angeles – and how they felt helpless to change anything.  Ms. Tenzer found herself resisting that view – and began to think what she could do.  “OK, I can’t fix needy schools, but I could give them my children’s old schoolbooks,” the mother of three recalls telling herself.  “I can’t end the war, but I can send a phone card so a soldier can call home and feel comforted.  I decided then I’d find a way to do one nice thing for someone every week. 
Tenzer, a marketing professional, started with small gestures of kindness on Mondays, her own most difficult day.  Friends soon suggested she post these activities on a website, and DoOneNiceThing.com was born.
Now she communicates with “nice-oholics” in 53 countries – people inspired by the website to pour tons of school supplies into Afghanistan, meet the needs of students fleeing hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, send sweaters to help people endure the bitter winter winds in Iraq, and so on.

The site set up in 2005 has grown gradually by word of mouth, and it’s taking over her time.

“I love it – it’s my rocket fuel!” she says in a phone interview.

Her Monday gestures buoyed her and others so much that she stayed with that plan, posting a new project idea each week, with many suggestions coming from a growing Web membership.

“I don’t believe there is any small nice thing,” she adds. “Some things are less labor intensive than others, but you never know the impact you can have.”

After Katrina devastated parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Tenzer brought some unusual help to students at Jefferson Middle School in Columbia, Miss. The school itself survived the storm, but homes and trees in the community were severely damaged. Meanwhile, families who had lost everything poured into Columbia from New Orleans and the coast.

What did the assistant principal ask for? Belts.

“Who ever thinks about belts?” Tenzer asks. “But if you’re 12 and need a string to hold up your pants, a belt is something to get excited about!”

That wasn’t all, of course. People from across the country also sent school supplies and backpacks.

“Debbie and DoOneNiceThing were just a ray of sunshine in the storm,” says assistant principal Angie Burkett. “They met needs we couldn’t meet at the time … and continued to help for a couple years.”

Another initiative that has galvanized ongoing support began in 2006 with an e-mail from a soldier deployed in Afghanistan. Maj. Walter Woodring told of schools being rebuilt and increased safety in western Afghanistan, but of students not having any supplies, not even pencils.

People were urged to send a large ziplock bag containing a notebook, pen, two pencils, a pencil sharpener, a healthy snack, and a small toy. Tenzer managed to get on Fox TV to talk about it. That helped open the floodgates.

“The project is still going, and people have sent 70 tons of school supplies so far,” she says.

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I grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  My childhood wasn’t a very happy one and I preferred to spend my time in the world of my imagination.

One of the first books I remember was “Little Toot”.  A little tug boat that would rather play then work but who ends up saving an ocean liner.  There was a record that came with the book to go along with the story.

We had a “bread man” who made home delievers.  He gave me comic books about the “Adventures of Peter Wheat”.  My favorite comics were Tarzan, the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician.  I read all the Tom Swift novels.

On radio I listened to Sky King and Sargent Preston of the Yukon.   On TV there was the “Merry Mailman”, Howdy Dowdy and Benie and Cecil.  My favorite TV hero was Hopalong Cassidy.

I am very interested to hear about anyone else’s favorite childhood books, comic and heros.

A song about a girl’s childhood I like is “Fireflies” written by Lori McKenna.  The only video I could find of the song is by Faith Hall.

Two of the most under reported stories about America are the increase in the number of people doing volunteer work and the dramatic drop in the crime rate since 1974.

Just about everybody I talk to thinks there is more crime and people don’t help each other “like they use to”.

I don’t know why so many have this tendency to believe the worst.  One reason may be that stories about crime sell newspapers and get the big ratings on TV.   I also think that most people only read stories that reinforce their own view of the world.  I am gulity of that, which is why I take the time to research the “facts” on important issues.

I’ll bet the first newspapers were full of stories about crime and gossip.  I’ll be the first cavemen complained about their children and thought the world was falling apart.

1) A Bureau of Justice report shows the rate of violent crimes fell from 47.7, per 1,000 population, in 1973 to 21.0 in 2005.  That’s a 55% drop in just twenty-two years.  There was a corresponding drop in every catergory, rape 2.5 to .5, robbery 6.7 to 2.6, aggravated assuault 12.5 to 4.3.  There was also a drop in the murder rate which not over .1 percent during the period.

2) A report from the National Community Service site indicated that the percentage of Americans doing volunteer work has reached a 30 year high.
From the report:
“The adult volunteer rate declined between 1974 and 1989 (22.6 to 20.4) but rebounded to a new high today (27%).”
“The growth in volunteering has been driven primarily by three age groups:  older teens (16 to 19); mid life adults (45 to 64) and older adults (65 and over).”
“Volunteering that takes place through an educational or youth group had the largest increase between 1989 and today, 15.1 to 24.6.”
“The proportion of Americans volunteering through religious organizations decreased slightly from 37.4 to 35.5%”.  It should be noted that religious groups still make up the largest proportion of volunteers.
“The proportion of American volunteers serving through civic, political, professional and international organizations dropped substantially from 13.2 to 6.8.”
For anyone interested in volunteering a good site is

So America is becoming a safer place and the number of people doing volunteer work, especially teenagers, has risen significantly.
Oh well, I guess I’ll have to stay in my lonely world of optimism.  I’ll let the rest of you guys do the complaining.  🙂

The most beatiful religious song I have heard is “Ava Maria” by Luciano Pavarotti.

For a modern, more upbeat, song Mandy, in her blog http://mandythompson.wordpress.com , stated her favorite Easter Hymm was “My Reedemer Lives, by Rueben Morgan of Hillsong.

 Hillsong – My Reedemer lives.

I hope everyone have a joyous Easter weekend.

My favorite religious painting is “The Sacarment of the Last Supper” by Salvatore Dali painted in 1955.  I saw it in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and purchased a print copy.  That print is on the wall next to my dinning room table.

dalilastsupper1.jpg

Do you have any favorite religious paintings, or photographs, displayed in your home?

I love the simple beauty of religious chants.  No backgound music except the human voice.  Most of the time I have no idea what the words being sung mean, but the sound those voices make is some of the most beatiful music I have heard.

I hope you enjoy the following religious chants.

What is your favorite Easter song/hymm?

1) A Gregorian Chant by the St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.

2) Conception Abbey-Easter Alleluia 

3) Resurrection of Christ | Byzantine Divine Liturgy in Arabic

4) 2007 Holy Saturday–Jerusalem Matins

1) I will be having Easter Dinner at my counsin’s house.  We will be having “Glazed Ham”.  I don’t know how she is preparing the ham, and I don’t know anything about receipes in general.  I just like eating food.  I’ll leave the cooking to some one else.
I am interested in knowing anyone else’s favorite Easter meal.
2) On the Food Network site I found the following glazed ham receipe.  I looks delicious.
Bourbon Honey Glazed Ham
2/3 cup of bourbon or whiskey
1 cup clover honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup 100% friut orange marmalade
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (5-pound) whole bone-in smoked ham, fully cooked, unsliced
1/8 cup whole cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3) In a medium saucepan, heat bourbon, honey, molasses, and marmalade over low heat for 15 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. (When measuring honey and molasses, spray measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray to keep measurements accurate).  Set side.
With a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern on the fatty part of the ham.  Stud whole cloves in each diamond, at points where lines cross.  Spread half of the bourbon glaze over the ham and roast for 30 minutes, uncovered.  Baste occasionally, with remaining glaze and continue to raost for another 15 minutes.  Let ham stand for 20 minutes before slicing.

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