A Quote to Start Things Off

"Passive Aggressive. It works for my mother, it works for Duolingo" Luis Von Ahn , co-founder of Duolingo from his TED talk, How to make learning as addictive as social media.

Search Me!

Pictures of Memories I

Pictures of Memories I
Snow kidding! These "kids" now range from 17 to 23

Monday, January 30, 2023

Random Videos

Over the years I have taken so many videos for my blogs.  Here are some random ones I'd like to share today.

This "kid" just got engaged.  11 years ago He was in robotics with my son.

LJ Smooth FKA Wolflina FKA Puppy
Her first HI

Bob Bennett playing at my church after taping an album locally.


Saturday, January 28, 2023

Top 100 Films: A Preparation


Five years, or so ago, I decided that I needed to make a listing of my 100 favorite movies. I was working in an office at a time and even had 2 of my coworkers make their own lists.  I worked on it painstakingly for several months and when I completed it, I promptly lost the list.  #ADHDLIFE.  

Sometime during Co-vid, my wife found a small notebook of mine that had 100 favorite movies scratched on it.  It unfortunately did not have the completed list , but it did have the names of over 150 movies and some rankings and notations.  I always intended to revisit the list every 5 years or so, but this feels more like starting over than revisiting.  

For the past few weeks, I have been laying out a groundwork for determining my top 100.  This process will include watching many of them again to see if they still resonate with me,  sorting movies into different groups, and ranking them by group while continuing to develop a philosophy for establishing the final ranking.

An important decision I'll have to navigate  is how exactly  I'll be  evaluating the movies.  Am I basing their  rank on their current importance, their historical importance, or simply  the quality of the film, or some hybrid form? I know this isn't going to be a  best film list, but I do  tend to base a film's quality with how much I enjoy watching it. 

Fortunately, I already have the top 15 worked out and can easily carve out the top 25 without much difficulty.  The tricky part, I expect, will be ranking from 26 to100 and  thus deciding what films don't make the cut. 

I decided  that it might help out thing considerably to pick what I think the 100th movie will be early in the process.  This way I can have a yard stick of sorts as if to to say "okay, I like this film better than 100 so it must be in the top 100." or "This film is not as good as 100, so it must not be in the top 100." Of course this is just a starting point and the film I pick as the place holder, may end up being ranked significantly higher or lower.

I think at this time that the film I would rate as 100th would be the 1996 film, The Spitfire Grill. The Spitfire grill did not make my top 100 movie list, the last time around.  The more I think about it, the more I think it should have.

Spitfire was release by Castle Rock and has a very Castle Rock feel to it.  In some ways it is an odd film, and does not always go where I want it to.  There are even certain parts of the movie, I don't like to watch on repeat viewing. These may be among the reasons why Spitfire did not make the cut on my original list.

Here are some reasons I have thought about revising my assessment.

The Cast: Marcia Gay Harden and Will Patton while secondary to the plot, anchor an excellent cast. Ellyn Burstyn does an excellent job as the irascible owner of the grill, and every time I watch this film, I am surprised that Allison Elliott did not become a Hollywood legend because she is a force to be reckoned with here.

The Cinematography: This like A River Runs Through It, Brave Heart, and Secret of Roan Inish, is a spectacle for the eyes.  The Atlantic North East is majestically shown in this film.


The Story:  The plot in many ways is predictable but that does not diminish how rewarding it is to watch. Like I said earlier, the movie does not always do what I want it to do; but, what it does, it does skillfully and memorably. While the movie doesn't have the redemption arc I want for it, it portrays redemption in a broader more wholistic way.

In short, it is  a flawed film with a high rewatchability level.  It will be interesting to see where it lands on the eventual list.

I expect the process of making a new list to take me at least a year.  I hope to use this blog as a way of talking about some of these films and then eventually presenting the list here in one way or another,



Monday, January 23, 2023

23 23 Mariska Hargitay

As you know this is the year 2023.  My father and I were each born on the 23rd day of our birth month.  I decided that this year on the blog each month on the 23rdI would feature someone famous or otherwise who was born that day.  I am writing this on February 23rd and postdating it on January 23rd as I clean forgot about doing this for January.  

Mariska Hargitay was born on January 23rd, 1964.  I was born on September 23rd, 1964.  She and I have the 23rd and 1964 in common.  She is now 59 and I have 8 months (or so) to have that in common with her as well.  


                                                        This is the go-to pose of her SVU character

Hargitay's mother was actress Jayne Mansfield who died when Hargitay was 3 years old.  Hargitay is best known for her role as Olivia Benson on the Law & Order spinoff series, Law & Order SVU.  

On January 23rd, 1964 the # 1 single in the United Kingdom was Glad All Over by The Dave Clark 5.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Jim Kaat Full Baseball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech and Jim Kaat on Dick Allen

Amy gave me some White Sox Ticket vouchers as a Christmas gift and while I am excited for the future of the White Sox, I still love the past of the White Sox. Here are some videos featuring HOF pitcher Jim Kaat, The former White SOx hurler. The first is his induction speech at the Hall if Fame last summer.


The second is an interview he did on the MLB network after the passing of Dick Allen.


I was very glad to see Kaat finally make it to Cooperstown. It's too bad Allen did not make it in his lifetime, I hope that He will make it soon. Love, Crazy Uncle Dave

Friday, January 6, 2023

The Music of Poetry - The Pain That plagues Creation

Hello, Poetry Fridayers.

On the Poetry Friday that took place on June 30th, 2022.  I shared the inaugural Poetry of Music post and stated I wanted to share songs that were more like poems set to music about once a month or so.  6 months later, here I am sharing the next installment. I landed a lot closer to the or so part of my prognostication than the once a month part.  

Today's song comes from the  late Mark Heard, producer, singer, songwriter, and poet all wrapped into one.  Mark Heard died in the Summer of 1992 a few weeks after having a heart attack while performing at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Bushnell, Illinois.

My last post contained a bit of a lament on some of  the present difficulties associated with my life at this  time.  The Pain That Plagues Creation is a haunting  reminder that while  life is  fraught with difficulty it also equally fraught with hope.. 

The Pain That Plagues Creation
By Mark Heard

As this planet falls around the sun
Trapping us in the orbit
Creation groans in unison
Like a race of frightened orphans

The darkness of this raging storm 
Is covering up our portals
But a yearning for the light is born
In the heart of every mortal

And day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

Heaven knows our lonely ways
Heaven knows our sorrows
Heaven knows the things that we don't know
And the joy of eternal tomorrows

But through this glass we dimly see
This world as it was made
And the good we know must surely flow
From the heart of a kind creator

And day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

So hold on in this restless age
And do not fear your shadow
Your alternating tears and praise
Are prayers that surely will matter

And day to day we ache
With the pain that plagues creation
Night to night we lie awake
And await its restoration

 The Pain that Plagues Creation appears on the Mark Heard album, Eye of the Storm.  You can find the lyrics by clicking here.

Thanks for Catherine Flynn for hosting this weeks Poetry Friday at Reading To The Core.  
Thanks also to my wife Amy for listening to me read the lyrics to her even though we had already said good night.  

Love, Dave

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Spiritual Thursdays: One Little Word .


I am trying to get into the New Year blogging.  So I have decided to participate in Spiritual Journey Thursdays.  It's a first Thursday blog hop that is being hosted this month  by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche. Margaret is part of the Poetry Friday community.  Her theme this month is One Little Word.  

Given the theme I immediately went into full Martin Luther mode and started belting out the third verse of A Mighty Fortress is Our God.  For future reference 10:45 on a weeknight is not the best time for belting out reformation hymns.  At least that's what my wife tells me.  Click here to have it belted out for you by the good folks at Hymnary.

1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God's own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4 That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

Psalter Hymnal, (Gray), 1987

There is an excellent article from Desiringgod.org entitled 'What "One Little Word" will fell Satan?'  In it, the author speculates what Luther may have meant by what word is being referred to at the end of verse 3.  He states that Luther wrote that the word he meant was "liar." Or at least the German word for liar.  

I can tell you that this makes perfect sense to me.  

Many times in the course of my life I have told myself and believed lies.  The past few months have been a particularly difficult season in what has been a very difficult series of years for me and my family.  

These past months as I alluded to in my Last Poetry Friday submission have been some of my most challenging in my work life.  They have also been extremely taxing in almost every aspect of my life.  

In September my family left a church we had been at for 10 years that never really felt like our home.  We have spent the fall and early winter looking for a new church which has brought both comforts and challenges to us.  

In September on my wife's birthday, I went to visit my Dad in the hospital and was told that day that his leg needed to be amputated. His foot was amputated on that very day.  On my birthday a few weeks later my Mom and I had a phone appointment with a neuropsychologist who diagnosed her  of having some type of dementia, perhaps Alzheimer's.  We cancelled birthdays for a while after that.

Somewhere in that time a part of me snapped.  I didn't notice it at first, but my wife did. I still did all the things you do to get from one day to the other.  I'd been in full on crisis mode before but this was different.  I tell you that even right now I can hardly function  at work or anywhere.  

But I think I am beginning to figure it out.  I've been believing lies.  I've been believing that I am powerless in the train wreck season I've been going through and in reality I've tied myself to the track with those lies.  I have two daughters who both have mental health issues.  My wife and I continually tell them to stop believing lies and tell themselves the truth,  As Tom Hanks's character Jimmy Dugan (sp?) said in A League of Their Own. "That's good advice! 

 John 8:31 through 8:36 says (in the NIV), 

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘ You will become free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; . the son does remain forever. 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 

 The truth is that God has been with me every step of this journey. Today I received what I perceived to be a body blow but when I told that perception to my wife, she told me the truth and I decided to believe that truth, then act upon that truth, and pray that truth. This evening what can usually be a very stress filled event was pleasant. When I got home instead of being in a zombie like stupor I was ready for the next thing. I know I'm still many miles away from a new normal but I'm closer than I even imagined I could be on New Years Eve. 

 Love, Dave

For more SJT click HERE

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Closing the book on Barbara Walters, Pope Benedict, and Pele and opening a book on Heaven

 In the last 3 days of 2022 3 cultural icons, game changers in their respected fields of sports, newscasting, and theology had their lives come to an earthly end.  To put it simply there was really no one like either Pele, Barbara Walters or Pope Benedict XVI.  Each of their lives were characterized  by a passion for their calling that transitioned into being a revered elder statesperson as their journeys continued.  


                                                                            Pele 1940 - 2022

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters 1929 -2022

Pope Benedict XVI

While people were shuffling off this mortal coil left and right at years end, I was spending some time preparing for the new year.  Putting things away in proper places, working on the design and content of my blog, I even spent some time putting together books I'd like to read this year. One such book was a small 60 page pamphlet called Heaven by Randy Alcorn.   I collected the booklet somewhere in my travels, it is a book of answers to questions about Heaven.  The questions and answers were culled from a bigger book by Alcorn, also called Heaven.  

I'm not really trying to tie in the recent deaths of international icons with a book I'm preparing to read.  When my Grandfather died in late 1997 I had just proposed to Amy.  At the wake, I felt like discussing my engagement would be taking away from the celebration of my Grandpa's life.  I remember my Dad encouraging me to talk about it.  He said that people needed to be reminded that life goes on even in the midst of death.  In the same way, I think making plans for the future and reading up on my future home are good ways for life to go on.

I hope all of you are enjoying a woinderful beginning to your new year.  





A to Z 2023 Road Trip

#AtoZChallenge 2023 RoadTrip