Friday, September 9, 2011

Words of Wisdom

-- Roald Dahl, author of such notable children's books as James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Matilda.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Look

The 2011-2012 TV season will be kicking off in the next couple weeks, and in addition to looking forward to the return of some old favorites ("Modern Family", "The Middle", "Dancing with the Stars"), I'm equally as excited to check out the new crop of shows hitting the major networks. Here's an exclusive first look at my list of the lucky few new shows that have caught my eye and which I'll be tuning in to see (at least the first episode).

"New Girl" (Tuesdays, 9-9:30 pm, Fox): This new comedy features Zooey Deschanel as Jess, a young woman who after a tough breakup becomes the new roommate to three single guys. Looks sweet and quirky. (Premieres Tuesday, September 20)

"Up All Night" (Wednesday, 8-8:30 pm, NBC): This seemingly funny and charming new show (at least if the commercials are to be believed) features Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as new parents struggling with their new roles and responsibilities. (Premieres Wednesday, September 14)

"The X Factor" (Wednesday, 8-9 pm, Fox): Looking forward to Cowell's acerbic wit in his return to the small screen in this new singing competition. Also can't wait to see what new kinds of crazy Paula brings to the judging table. (Premieres Wednesday, September 21)

"Person of Interest" (Thursday, 9-10 pm, CBS): This drama is from "Lost" executive producer J.J. Abrams, and stars Michael Emerson (aka Ben from "Lost") as a mysterious millionaire who has developed a software program which identifies people that are about to be involved in a violent crime, either as the perpetrator, victim or witness, and who hires a presumed dead CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) to help him stop the crimes from taking place. (Premieres Thursday, September 22)

"Once Upon a Time" (Sunday, 8-9 pm, ABC): This fantasy stars Jennifer Morrison as a bail bonds collector who finds out she's the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and that as a result she holds the key to saving both the Real World and the Enchanted Forest. The town of Storybrooke, Maine serves as the parallel world in which fairy tale characters look like normal people and don't remember their true identities or anything about their true lives. The parallel storylines might make things a little confusing, but it sounds interesting enough to give it a try. Who doesn't love a good fairy tale? (Premieres Sunday, October 23)

There are any number of additional shows hitting the airwaves, including "Terra Nova," "Charlie's Angels", and "2 Broke Girls" to name a few. One thing is sure, along with a few gems in this 2011-2012 class (some maybe listed above), there are bound to be a few duds, two which I'll call right now: "Pan Am" and "The Playboy Club." Here's to finding one or two new favorites in the bunch.


Silhouettes is my "America's Got Talent" favorite this season. I found their audition performance a little shaky, but their last two performances have been phenomenal, and I think they're a lock to reach the finals. Given the 9/11 anniversary date almost upon us, this performance to the tune of God Bless America is very apropos. It makes me teary-eyed every time I watch it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Riveting Must Read

A friend who subscribes to "The New Yorker" recommended I read one of their recently published articles, Getting Bin Laden, written by Nicholas Schmidle, that detailed the mission to get Osama bin Laden. Having read the article, I'm going to now pay it forward and offer the same recommendation to you guys.

This must-read article reads like the type of spine-tingling spy thriller novels you just can't put down, and which you know will soon end up on the big screen. The article was an enthralling read which detailed the harrowing events which took place the night of May 1st, when two Black Hawk helicopters loaded with a total of 23 Navy Seals took off from Jalalabad Air Field in Afghanistan and embarked on their designated mission to kill "Crankshaft" - the target name that the Joint Special Operations Command, had given bin Laden. The risky plan was to land one of two helicopters directly inside the compound where bin Laden was holed up, overpower and dispose of any of bin Laden's guards and then kill him and take his corpse back with them to Aghanistan; of course, as in any great story, all did not initially go as planned.

From paragraph to paragraph, every detail ropes you into the tale and brings you along for the ride; from the intelligence work which lead to identifying the trusted courier which was hiding bin Laden, to the Seals initial training exercises in North Carolina where a replica of the compound where they believed bin Laden was hiding was built for practice maneuvers, ending with the culminating moment when one of those Seals confronts bin Laden, shoots him in the chest, followed by a second round in the head, and then per the Native American theme code words which had been given to each stage of the mission (Geronimo was to signify bin Laden was found), reports through his radio the words "For God and country, Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo," followed by "Geronimo E.K.I.A." - "enemy killed in action."

Since the article was published, there has been some criticism from other news outlets (The Washing Post) to the fact that at no point in the article does the author describe the sourcing of the story, and the fact that the story is not based on first-hand interviews with any of the Seals themselves, but instead based on interviews with others who debriefed the men. I don't think this fact takes away from this riveting read which in addition to offering some previously unknown details, such as the fact that initial plans considered tunnelling into the compound, it also helps to correct false reports originally out in the media, such as the fact that the Seals were wearing helmet cams during the mission. It's an informative and gripping read which you'll recommend to your friends as well.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blog of Note

I find it awe-inspiring whenever I read something which transcends the page. I marvel at the brilliant few who can with the mere use of words – a random compilation of nouns, verbs, adjectives – somehow manage to give a reader a glimpse into their soul, their feelings – be they sadness, fear, anger or joy. I found such a writer in a recent blog I discovered, Enjoying the Small Things, which is written by Kelle Hampton. Given the newness of my finding, I haven’t gotten a chance to read all of Kelle’s posts, but those I have are beautifully written and insightful. In particular, let me direct your attention to a post titled “Nella Cordelia: A Birth Story,” which literally moved me to tears. In it Kelle offers us a glimpse of the special night when Nella came into her life; she shares with us the incredible joy and excitement of awaiting her second child, the pain of contractions once labor starts, and the initial pain and fear when she realizes Nella has Down Syndrome. It is an honest and unabashed look into Kelle’s heart in those first hours (the fear, the hurt, the uncertainty), followed in quick succession by the overpowering feeling of love and gratitude at being blessed with this truly beautiful and perfect little girl who was made just for them.

Be prepared to cry, so have tissues on hand, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to read this beautiful story which brings us the beginning of this family's journey.

Enjoying the Small Things is a great blog which helps us to remember to keep things in perspective, not sweat the small stuff, and along the way teaches us a few lessons about hope, faith and unconditional love.