Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
For the most part, what you're eating that you THINK is cinnamon is in fact cassia. Also, for those cantalope lovers out there -- in this country, it is VERY unlikely you've ever had a cantalope since they aren't sold in this country. What they "call" cantalopes are in actuality musk melons.
Do you have E-Z Pass? Well, get ready for a ticket. Because several states use the information about your E-Z Pass use to give out speeding tickets. Here's how it works: If you go through one toll and subsequently go through the next toll in a shorter time than is possible if you are observing the speed limit, the police will mail you a speeding ticket. Nice, huh?
If you are being audited, NEVER bring copies of your previous years tax returns. Now, this might sound weird because they TELL you to bring 'em. However, the IRS rules state that you are only required to provide information that relates to the specific tax year listed in the audit notice. You are not required to bring any information other than that specific tax year (unless it relates to the year under audit i.e. carryover items). If the auditor asks you for a previous year's tax return, simply smile and say "I don't believe that this relates to the year or issues being examined." That will usually end things right there.
Making a hotel reservation? Well, do it after 6 PM. Why? Because this is when the hotels wipe out all the no-show reservations that were unsecured by a credit card. This means that the rooms will be going for much cheaper.
How to make your home less appetizing to burglars. First, don't hide valuables in your bedroom; this is the first place burglars look and the place where they spend the most time looking. Under the mattress. The underwear drawer. Please. You should keep REAL valuables in a safe deposit box. For those you must keep at home, try putting them in the freezer or above a drop ceiling. You can even put them in fake soup cans on your pantry shelf. Also don't hide ALL your valuables in one place. A crook is not likely to find everything if they're spread out all over the place. Also, if you've got one of those "This house if protected by so-and-so security system" signs on your house then you've just told the burglar how to disable your alarm. All they have to do is buy a diagram of how that particular alarm system works and you're out of luck. In addition, big dogs may LOOK scary but they're usually not barkers; get a small "yapping" dog that will make a lot of noise -- and frankly, smaller dogs are nastier. If you're going away on vacation, do not stop your mail and newspaper delivery; crooks can easily find out you're away when you do this. It's better to have a friend come over daily to pick up your mail. Ask them to come at different times of the day as well since activity at your home coupled with unpredicatibility is a deterrent to criminals. Leaving your lights on also clues a burglar in that you're not there. You can buy timers that turn lights on and off at irregular intervals as well as motion detectors which turn on the lights at any sign of movement; these cost about $20.
Got one of those supermarket "loyalty cards"? You know, the ones you have on your keychain you swipe each time you buy groceries or stuff at the drug store. Well folks, the cards track every single purchase you make. Not a big deal, right? Until you find out that the stores SELL this information to life insurance and health insurance companies who use this info to determine whether you are a bad risk. In other words, if you buy a lot of junk food and chips they may decide you're a high health risk and deny you life insurance or at least gouge you with the rates. How sweet.
Are you impotent? OK, don't answer. There are a lot of people around. But if so, don't buy Viagra when you can get an amino acid called arginine at any health food store. Arginine helps the body produce nitric oxide: a chemical needed to achieve the ole wood. This amino acid relaxes smooth muscle contractions which boosts arterial dilation and results in stronger erections. The typical dose is 1000 - 2000 mg twice daily. Make sure you take it between meals since a lot of foods contain lysine which is another amino acid that counteracts arginine. You're welcome.
Your kitchen sponge is gross! Seriously, even if you wash it frequently, the thing has more germs and bacteria than your toilet seat. Here's how to detox that nasty thang: rinse it, wring it out and microwave it for 30-60 seconds. The microwave will kill those yucky bugs dead.
E-mailing a resume? NEVER attach it to an email unless you're specifically instructed to do so. Why? Well, most companies don't really like downloading attachments that might carry computer viruses. You should cut and paste your resume and put it into the actual email itself rather than attaching it as a file.
Got arthritis? Yeah, Arthur's a bitch! So, drink tea and eat grapes. Green tea contains polyphenols which suppress a gene that causes arthritis inflammation. Drink one or two cups of tea (hot or cold) a day. Also, grape skins contain resveratrol which also suppresses the gene which causes arthritis inflammation. Eat one cup of white or red grapes a day. Happily, purple grape juice and wine both contain resveratrol as well!
So, that's about it for this go 'round. I hope some of this stuff helps you out in the day to day struggle not to get eaten alive. With any luck, maybe I'll have some more choice information to pass along to you later. So until then, don't let the bastards grind you down.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
- A. I. Bezzerides, screenwriter "Kiss Me Deadly"
- Del Reeves, singer
- Magnus Magnusson, TV host "Mastermind"
- Yvonne DeCarlo, actress "The Munsters"
- Iwao Takamoto, producer "Scooby-Doo", "Super Friends"
- Carlo Ponti, producer "Dr. Zhivago", "Smashing Time"
- Tudor Gates, screenwriter "The Vampire Lovers", "Twins of Evil", "Barbarella"
- Ron Carey, actor "High Anxiety", "Fatso", "Barney Miller"
- Peter Ronson, actor "Journey to the Center of the Earth"
- Art Buchwald, humorist/author
- Denny Doherty, singer "The Mamas & the Papas"
- Liz Renay, actress "The Thrill Killers"
- E. Howard Hunt, Watergate shenanigans-doer
- Steve Mitchell, actor "The Killing", "Thriller - Late Date"
- Tige Andrews, actor "Star Trek - Friday's Child"
- Sidney Sheldon, producer "Charlie's Angels"
- Molly Ivins, political journalist/author
- Frankie Laine, singer
- Anna Nicole Smith, blonde
- Sir Ian Richardson, actor "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead","Gormenghast"
- Janet Blair, actress "Night of the Eagle aka Burn, Witch, Burn"
- Bruce Bennett, actor "Mildred Pierce"
- Hideo Takamatsu, actor "The Last Emperor"
- Arthur Schlesinger Jr., historian
- Pompin Iglesias, actor
- John Inman, actor "Are You Being Served?"
- Richard Jeni, comedian "Platypus Man", "The Aristocrats"
- Betty Hutton, actress "Annie Get Your Gun"
- Arnold Drake, screenwriter "The Flesh Eaters", "Who Killed Teddy Bear"
- Freddie Francis, director "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors", "Tales From the Crypt"
- Calvert DeForest, comedian "Larry Bud Melman"
- Luther Ingram, singer "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)"
- Marshall Rogers, comic book artist "Batman", "Dr. Strange"
- Calvin Lockhart, actor "The Beast Must Die", "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me"
- Dave Martin, writer "Doctor Who", "co-creator of K-9"
- Bob Clark, director "A Christmas Story", "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things", "Murder By Decree"
- Dakota Staton, singer
- Roscoe Lee Browne, actor "Soap"
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author "Breakfast of Champions"
- Don Ho, singer "Tiny Bubbles"
- Tran Bach Dang, Vietnamese dude, patron saint of free soda
- Kitty Carlisle, actress "What's My Line?", "A Night at the Opera"
- Jean Pierre Cassel, actor "Murder on the Orient Express"
- Boris Yeltsin, Russian leader
- Bobby "Boris" Pickett, singer "Monster Mash"
- Jack Valenti, former assistant to LBJ/chairman of Motion Picture Academy
- Mstislav Rostropovich, musician
- Dabbs Greer, actor "It! The Terror from Beyond Space", "The Vampire"
- Tommy Newsom, band leader "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson"
- Tom Poston, actor "Newhart", "Thriller - Masquerade"
- Wally Schirra, astronaut
- Curtis Harrington, director "What's the Matter with Helen", "Night Tide"
- Jerry Falwell, hypocrit
- Charles Nelson Reilly, actor "The Match Game", "Lidsville"
- Nellie Lutcher, singer
- Mala Powers, actress "Thriller - The Bride Who Died Twice"
- Kurt Waldheim, UN secretary general/ Nazi guy
- Ed Friendly, producer "Backstairs at the White House"
- Chris Benoit, murderer
- Fred Saberhagen, author "The Dracula Tape"
- Joel Siegel, critic
- Beverly Sills, opera singer
- Boots Randolph, musician
- Kerwin Matthews, actor "7th Voyage of Sinbad"
- George Melly, singer/writer "Smashing Time"
- Charles Lane, actor
- Lady Bird Johnson, first lady
- Kieron Moore, actor "Dr. Blood's Coffin", "Day of the Triffids"
- Jerry Hadley, opera singer "Liverpool Oratorio"
- Tammy Faye Bakker, makeup wearer
- Mike Reid, actor "EastEnders"
- Tom Snyder, TV host
- Michelangelo Antonioni, director "Blow Up"
- Ingmar Bergman, director "The Seventh Seal", "Autumn Sonata"
- Bill Walsh, football coach
- Tommy Makem, singer
- Lee Hazlewood, songwriter
- Merv Griffin, TV host/producer
- Phil Rizzuto, baseball player
- Michael Deaver, political consultant
- Hilly Kristal, former owner of CBGB's
- Miyoshi Umeki, actress "Sayonara", "Courtship of Eddie's Father"
- Marcia Mae Jones, actress "The Gang's All Here", "Haunted House"
- Madeleine L'Engle, author "A Wrinkle In Time"
- Luciano Pavarotti, opera singer
- Loretta King, actress "Bride of the Monster"
- Jane Wyman, actress "The Lost Weekend"
- Brett Somers, actress "The Match Game", "The Odd Couple"
- Alice Ghostley, actress "Bewitched"
- Karl Hardman, actor "Night of the Living Dead"
- Marcel Marceau, mime
- Charles B. Griffith, screenwriter "Little Shop of Horrors", "A Bucket of Blood"
- Lois Maxwell, actress "The Haunting"
- Ronnie Hazlehurst, composer "Yes, Minister", "The Two Ronnies", "Last of the Summer Wine"
- George Grizzard, actor "Advise & Consent"
- Deborah Kerr, actress "The Innocents"
- Joey Bishop, comedian
- Teresa Brewer, singer
- Chef Tell, TV chef
- Porter Wagoner, singer
- Robert Goulet, singer
- Linda Stein, manager "The Ramones"
- Norman Mailer, author
- Laraine Day, actress
- Ira Levin, author "Rosemary's Baby"
- Ronnie Burns, actor "The Burns & Allen Show", "The Honeymooners"
- Dick Wilson, actor "Mr. Wilson on Charman ads"
- Verity Lambert, producer "Doctor Who"
- Reg Park, actor "Hercules in the Haunted World"
- Robert Houghton Hepburn, brother of Katharine Hepburn
- Mel Tolkin, writer "Your Show of Shows", "All in the Family"
- Evel Knievel, daredevil
- Ike Turner, musician
- Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer
- Dan Fogelberg, singer
- Frank Morgan, saxophonist
- Frank Capra Jr., producer
- Jeanne Carmen, actress "The Monster of Piedras Blancas"
- Michael Kidd, actor/choreographer "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"
- Oscar Peterson, pianist
- Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani Prime Minister
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945) - heartbreaking and quietly gut-wrenching
DARK VICTORY (1939) - classic Bette Davis tearjerker
DESTINATION MOON (1950) - very realistic riff on what space travel might be like circa 1950; some find it dry and slow but I found it surprisingly watchable
DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) - one of the greatest ensemble casts
DONOVAN'S REEF (1963) - simply an excuse for John Ford & John Wayne to have some fun; and I loved every minute of it
FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965) - the trashiest of cult movies; unbelieveable, wacky and pure Russ Meyer
GRAND HOTEL (1932) - another of the greatest ensemble casts ever assembled; but nothing ever happens at the Grand Hotel
HELL DRIVERS (1957) - who ever thought a British B&W movie about truck drivers could be so gripping?!?
INTIMACY (2001) - sexually explicit and gut-wrenchingly tragic
THE KILLING (1956) - I'm not a Kubrick fan but this early EARLY Kubrick heist film was very enjoyable to me
THE LETTER (1940) - Bette Davis at her ice-cold nastiest. What's not to love?
LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE aka THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE (1974) - outrageous color zombie film which pre-dates Romero's Dawn of the Dead; this one is stylish and very imaginative. An overlooked gem.
THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (1936) - John Ford's unhistorical but surprisingly gripping tale of Dr. Mudd and his imprisonment for mending the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth
RAW DEAL (1948) - great, hard-hitting film noir; one of the best
RED RIVER (1948) - Howard Hawks' classic western is one of the greatest
THE RED SHOES (1948) - stylish, bizarre, haunting, tragic. I'm not ballet fan but the "Red Shoes ballet" sequence is breathtaking.
SANTO & THE BLUE DEMON VS. THE MONSTERS (1970) - delirious entry in the "Mexican masked wrestlers fighting monsters" movie series
THE SECRET GARDEN (1949) - I've been a big fan of the 90's remake but I like this one just as much; a classic children's tale brought to the screen
SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960) - John Ford gives us the tale of an innocent black cavalry officer court-martialed for the rape and murder of a white woman
SHANE (1953) - another classic (if odd) western
STAGECOACH (1939) - I absolutely loved this classic John Ford western which features a dream cast interacting on a stagecoach journey west.
THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE (1933) - Fritz Lang's hallucinatory half horror/half police procedural film of the omnipotent criminal mastermind
WEST OF ZANZIBAR (1928) - this silent movie is chilling, shocking and brutal and surprisingly packs a wallop even after all these years. Wow!
WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) - classic Agatha Christie courtroom drama which is a lot of fun besides.
ZODIAC (2007) - surprisingly factual and low key filming of the story of real-life serial killer Zodiac; can't wait till 2008 when they release the 2 disc special edition jam packed with documentaries about the case. Absorbing.
Well that's thems: the movies that I watched for the very first time this year and enjoyed the most. There were, of course, other great movies I saw for the first time this year which didn't quite make the cut of top 25: Action in the North Atlantic, Anatomy of a Murder, Broken Arrow, Casino, Cheyenne Autumn, Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, The Informer, Jezebel, Thomas In Love, Vampira the Movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Witchcraft and Once Upon a Time in China II. Here's to next year and another passle of great movies to watch and discover!