Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Man Movies - Drag Me To Hell

Admit it, you've been waiting years to see a toothless gypsy slobbering lime-colored saliva all over a nubile young loan officer, haven't you?

If that's a yes, then Drag Me to Hell is the flick that'll satisfy that craving. If it's a no, then stay far, far, far, far away from this Sam Raimi flick, because there's no shortage of saliva, mucus, embalming fluid and probably a host of other nameless body fluids waiting for you here.
I'll confess, I went to this one out of some sense of morbid curiosity because the reviews were stellar. Many praised the movie as a successful amplification of Raimi's Evil Dead series, this time with a big enough budget to spruce up some - but not all - of the schlock special effects.

The plot was interesting (just say no to buttons), there's laughs woven in seamlessly amid the fright (here, kitty) and there's a handful of jump-out-of-your-seat moments (though mostly predicated on the building crescendos of deafening background music) so overall, yeah, it was a fun take.

But damn, I just can't get past that saliva!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Big Kahunas

The hills were alive in Chelmsford, the runners, not so much.

Four E-Streeters took to the mean streets of Chelmsford for the Big Kahuna race on Sunday. They represented well, nabbing high honors for team runs, with finishes at 25th, 26th, 29th and 30th. Respectable but ugly finishes.

Thankfully, everything that goes up does come back down, so the roaming hills did include one decent downhill trot down Locke Road.
If you're wondering about the smile on Joey's face as he and Tommy head to the finish, it's because he was decoyed by Scanlon heading into the finish chute, as Tommy distracted him with a cordial hello then roared past him, a commonplace raceday tactic of the elder Scanlon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An In-Timlin-dating Race

Hopkinton plays home to two great races each year, one of them in April when the heartiest of fools embark on their 26.2 mile trek. The other was today, the 6th annual Sharon Timlin Memorial 5K Race to Cure ALS.

Cheers to Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin and his sister Dawn who organize the race each year and draw quite the crowd to the center of Hopkinton to support a terrific cause.

Jeers to race organizers who cap the race at 1,500 runners, and then only have 1,266 runners/walkers participate, turning away perspective runners (and $$$!) in the process.

Anyway, the last two years, there's been a couple of staples at the race - loyalist Sue Spence, who tried valiantly to pull together a running team for this year's race six months ago, and Andrew Cook, who got his butt handed to him on the course last year thanks to a fake-out ending to break his spirit.

This year, Sue's husband Scott joined her for the course, but not before taking my son on a grueling 3.5 mile warm-up in muggy conditions, forcing them both into a mad sprint to make it back to the starting line in time for the starting gun.

Take a gander at some of the race pics. Big-time props to Scott, finishing 23rd out of the huge field.

Andrew, meanwhile, is determined to make a return to Hopkinton for the Timlin race next year to erase the two torturous ones he's experienced. Wait till he experiences Hopkinton in April!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Man Movies - The Hangover

For years now, there's been a group of us who, on certain occasions, gather at ye olde movie theatre to catch the newest of flicks to hit the silver screen - you know, the ones our significant others have no interest in viewing. We call these the man movies.

Examples of recent man movies include Iron Man, the Hulk, Star Trek, Transformers, the Watchmen, etc. Get the picture?

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying those of the female persuasion don't enjoy those movies, just that if you take a gander around the theatre during these flicks, the audience is usually tipped pretty heavily in favor of the testosterone crowd.

While the pack I run with (literally) tends to be folks of similar age, my son Andrew (himself a movie buff) often proves the exception to the age scale, and always fits in fine with the crowd. Every once in a while, though, he's barred from one of the movies because of its content.

Such is the case with this week's undertaking - the Hangover.

If you haven't read any of the promos or reviews about this movie which is currently tops at the box office, add me to the list of thumbs up the film is getting.

What a blast. No A-list celebrities, just a bunch of guys who look as though they had a ball making a movie about a quartet of friends whose overnight bachelor party in Las Vegas goes horribly wrong. From an apparently innocent rooftop toast, a missing person case, improbable situations and hilarity ensue and last straight through to the side-splitting credits.

But while the characters are a blast - with special props to Ed Helms, he of Andy-Bernard from the Office fame - it's the situations that really resonate.

In our crowd, our younger days rife with bachelor parties still reign in infamy. We never encountered tigers like the one that roams the suite in the movie, although there was that alleged donkey incident in New York. We certainly never hit the good luck streak the movie boys hit at the black jack tables, but we did have quite a run going on that slot machine that early morning in Atlantic City until the floor manager shut the machine off. We did have our version of the Mike Tyson right hook, with Scott on the receiving end. No baby left in our rooms, but we did meet the Baby-Faced Assassin. And while we didn't have live chickens and no one ever slipped a rufie in our drinks, there was that infamous bottle of wild turkey that made the rounds.

Bottom line, there was just enough familiarity in the people and the situations in the Hangover that hit close enough to home to tickle the funny bones of those of who survived those halcyon days of bachelor parties. And just as in Vegas, whatever happened in (FILL IN BACHELOR PARTY LOCATION HERE) stays in (FILL IN BACHELOR PARTY LOCATION HERE). Right guys?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Night of the Dead Fish

Ever wonder what kind of fish are swimming around the waters of Martha Vineyard late at night?

Wonder no longer, courtesy of John, whose eyes are bulging out further than those of the fish he landed:
To hear the fish tale, this was a 17 pound striped bass that John caught late Sunday night in one of the estuary ponds on Chappaquiddick. Said fish was subsequently filleted, and is sitting in John's Vineyard freezer, awaiting his final fate on a dinner table at a date TBD.

According to the Old Man of the Sea, he caught him using something called a Sluggo, which is either Mr. Bill's arch-enemy or Nancy's boyfriend:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leave It to Benari

Iraq is a big country. Lots of sand, lots of territory to cover. So when Stephen Colbert, newsman extraordinaire makes a foray into Baghdad to visit with the thousands upon thousands of troops assigned there, what are the chances he's going to bump into one boy from Chelmsford - a former Congressional staffer from the trenches of the Fifth District, part-time stand up comedian, and fellow comic afficionado?

Well, seeing as how it's never-met-a-camera-I-didn't-like Sgt. First Class Benari Poulten, stationed over there on active duty, the chances are pretty good. As a matter of fact, bet on it.

Here's a pic of both Captain America and Bucky at the Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad during Colbert's recent USO tour. You figure out which is which.

So How Cool Is This?

Okay, geek-out moment here.

Look what Disney-Pixar feature debuted with its own comic book this week:

Buzz, Woody and friends hit the newsstands this week in their first issue, courtesy of Boom Comics. Rex, Hamm, Bo Peep, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head, Etch, they're all in there.

Yeah, it's a kids book. Yeah, it's a comic about talking toys.

But damn, it's Toy Story, and how can that be bad?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting Back on the Horse

After FAR, FAR, FAR too long a time away, it's time to do some wicked good blogging again!

While it's no excuse, life gets in the way, and something as fun as a blog can become a casualty of a busy schedule. Well, no more. With lots going on in the world of entertainment, a whole bunch of fun on the sports front (Red Sox/Yankees anyone) and even more exciting stuff happening in the Cook family (lacrosse and road race pics sure to follow) it's long past the point where I need to start weighing in again on cyberspace.

First up, here's a look at this past Sunday's Lowell Firefighter race. Andrew finished 17th out of 215 runners, leaving his old man (39th) in his dust on a hot Sunday morning.

Stealing a page from the John Piekos school of posing for pics whist racing, here's Andrew finishing, in what has become his trademark gun show show pose, a pic of Superman running locally, and Barry Scanlon, moments before he ducked into the adjacent donut shop.