15 Films That Have Stayed With Me

I saw this on Kayt Sukel’s wall on Facebook.

The Rules:
Don’t take too long to think about it. 15 films that you’ve seen that will always stick with you. List only the first 15 you can recall and in no longer than 15 minutes. Tag friends, including me, because I’m interested in what films you choose.

I have way overthought this over time and my top 10 plus. Here we go.

1. Brazil (1985 film) – Been my #1 for a longtime, surreal and fantastic
2. Intolerance (saw originally with a full orchestra) – I am curious to see this without the symphony in some ways, likely to not be as good.
3. The Empire Strikes Back – The Best of the Star Wars series, definitely better for the whizz bangs of the Special Edition
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Pure moviegoing fun
5. Citizen Kane – As good as everyone says it is. Masterful cinematography and writing
6. Singin’ in the Rain – Pure joy on film.
7. Casablanca – A wonderful movie.
8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – I would love to be Mr. Smith myself in a lot of ways. We really need it in Washington. It’s a film that makes more sense now that ever in the era of People’s United
9. Vertigo – Hitchcock at his best
10. Rear Window – I said this would make a great date movie in film class at Rutgers. I’m weird.
11. GoodFellas – Easily my favorite Martin Scorsese movie. Incredibly rewatchable for an epic.
12. Apocalypse Now – My favorite version was the one I first saw cut for cable. The original version feels like a bunch of music videos put together. The redux is way, way too long. The French scene belonged on the cutting room floor
13. Beauty and the Beast – Joyous musical.
14, Monty Python & the Holy Grail – Incredibly hilarious and as Lanna knows, I have quoted it way too long
15. The Naked Gun – Definitely not in my top 15 all time, but my favorite movie in high school. Pure slapstick.

So many others I could say but will leave the 15 for now.

Lucy – 0* (full of spoilers)

This review is full of spoilers and plot summary. I highly recommend you skip “Lucy” as it may be the worst movie I have ever seen, but going to give that warning.

—————————–

I went to see Lucy with my wife last night. The previews looked cool, I like Luc Besson and I like Scarlett Johannson. I read a horrible review of it but I thought I would give it a chance since it was the most interesting option at the movie theater.

It was absolutely horrible. Horrible, ridiculous setup. Seems like there should be much easier ways to transport drugs that with stomach surgery. Horrible druglord.

And when she becomes “enhanced” she just acts more and more like in a major mania where she should be hospitalized, while taking something like cocaine and angel dust. Kind of like Charlie Sheen when he was “winning.”

And she kept needing more, and was supposed to be somehow “enlightened” and could go through communication media.

Also if she had all this power couldn’t she stop the drug lords without a shooting sequence?

And all of the animal cut-outs were ridiculous and annoying too.

Luc Besson is a very talented director. This could have been a good movie but it was just horrible.

The idea that we only use 10% of our brains isn’t true. The concepts Morgan Freeman’s professor character gives for more “cranial capacity” are ridiculous. The idea that more brain power makes you worse to people is insane. Lucy’s lack of compassion for humanity is terrible.

Awful, horrible, ridiculous. Although I think this could use Rifftrax. There is so much to make fun of.

Thoughts on the Cost of College

I was reading an article in the New York Times this morning with the headline: “How the Government Exagarrates the Cost of College.”

I have already discussed before that the idea that 18 year olds should all go to college is absurd.

Here is my comment on the story:

When I went to college 20 years ago the caps on student borrowing were far, far lower. One major issue so many students have is crippling student loan debt. I know a lot of people who go to the University of Southern Maine and are taking out $10,000 year in student loan debt for a public college. I went to Rutgers for $2,000/semester and it’s skyrocketed since.

We also need to get rid of the absurd cost of intercolliegate athletics and move to club sports.

And the idea that everyone should go to college that is part of the American story right now doesn’t serve many well. A lot of 18 year old need to learn humility. There is a lot to be said for working out of high school and just getting by with your friends. There is no reason to pay tuition to get drunk, high and play Halo. Far too many college students do this.

Also college is not the place to “discover yourself.” Traveling overseas and working your way across the world for a year is a far smarter way to do it.

Also need to get rid of the idea that college is required for so many jobs where it’s irrelevant. Having a liberal arts degree for instance is totally irrelevant for selling insurance. The ones who would be good at that are popular kids in high school, naturally affable and good with people.

—-

We are moving toward a time where you can do most of your learning online. I think the college cost bubble is due to pop soon. I’m not sure it’s the way to go. Certainly if you don’t know what you are doing.

I think if you want success now you should learn to code and keep gaining credentials, languages and certifications. And try to find a job in the field you like. If you want to go to marketing and start at the entry level, you are better off with 4 years of experience and positive cashflow than a marketing or liberal arts degree, a ton of debt and no experience.

I also think that looking at default rates as a measure of “success” is absurd. Truthfully we need to move to a model where students pay debt as they can like the English model. Paying for rent, utilites, food and diapers is going to be ahead of student loans every time. The current system works great for banks and especially debt collection but not for students or America.

edmund

Things, People and Places I Will Miss in Westbrook and Gorham, Maine

Alex Steed — rare to find an activist who is in such great humor about the world and sarcastic — rare to find someone who can still dance like the silly idiot in Junior High School (which was me) as an adult
Allie Munier — Very cool, and one of the best blogs in Maine with Broke 207.
Keith Luke — Character, planner, fan of curling
Greg Daly — One of those wonderful distinctive artists characters you keep hearing about
Rick Hersom — A fellow man of skepticism and beer
Tod Gary — Good friend, better golfer than me (which doesn’t take much).
Dottie Maheux — It was great having my mother in law crosstown in so many ways.
and so many others.

Places:
Westbrook, Maine
The Dancing Elephant — Legit Indian food around the corner
The Frog and Turtle — Awesome brunch, poutine and atmosphere. Although sometimes they have bands that are too loud.
Catbird Creamery — Andrew Bird is a genius. Some of the best ice cream you will find anywhere. If you haven’t been here yet (across from Bank of America on Main Street) go. Your taste buds will sing. It’s 100% on Urbanspoon for a reason. And five stars on Yelp, get there this week in the afternoon if you can. I think this might be dinner tonight. Just reading the reviews is giving me a craving.
Baker’s Bench — Legit baked goods. Their prairie bread with lots of seeds is awesome with peanut butter.
The Saccarappa Falls — I can see them from my window during the winter. Not so much with the thick green trees of July. Awesome to hear on the quiet morning or at night too. Unfortunately the drone of Main Street and the William Clarke Extension drowns them out.
The Presumpscot River Trail — Right by the house and a lovely walk.
Riverside Park — Enjoy seeing the ducks.
Sunset Ridge Golf Club — Underused, a lot of fun, great challenges, good prices. Cumberland Avenue near Windham border.
Digby’s Variety — I didn’t go here enough. They make a wicked good hot dog and cheeseburger sub. Drove by it way too many times before stopping. On New Gorham Road about 3 blocks or so from 25.
Walker Memorial Library — No idea how I almost didn’t think of this. Probably my favorite place in Westbrook, so many great books through the library and the Maine Minerva service that allows books from many of the best libraries in Maine. I really hope there is something similar to Minerva in Connecticut.

Gorham, ME
Gorham House of Pizza — Wicked delicous, simple Maine food. Odd that one of the biggest pizza “chains” in Maine is independently owned by Greeks all over the state. Wish they had more Greek food but a great place for Maine staples like pizza and sandwiches.
Gorham Country Club — Accessible, moderate price, good challenge, pretty open for a terrible player like me. Beautiful.
Bennett Farm — Great place to play Disc Golf. Very long and there is a lot of long grass between the holes. The best disc golf place I have found in the area (only other ones I have played here are Pleasant Hill in Scarborough and the one in Saco.) About 4 miles from USM on 114 towards Sebago Lake on the left. $5 cash with drop off box so bring exact change.
The University of Southern Maine — So many mixed feelings about USM since it is so poorly run. But great job for my wife at the School of Education and Human Development. And three of my favorite Maine sports memories. Watching Bowdoin vs. USM in a match up of two top 10 Division III Women’s Basketball teams put on a coaching clinic of great defense. Gary Fifield is a better coach (for USM) than most Division I programs have. And watching St. Joseph’s vs. USM baseball for a few innings on a beautiful day and having a hot dog, easily the best baseball experience I had in Maine.

Portland, ME: One of the best small cities in America
Port Veritas: Been with them a few years, even moved my schedule around to be out earlier on Tuesdays. Saw them a couple times at Acoustic Coffee, the last few months of the North Star Cafe (still missed), Blue, Local Sprouts and now Bull Feeney’s upstairs. Slam poetry has been probably my favorite reason to go out the last few hours. Planning to spend time at Poetry Slap in Bridgeport, CT when I move. If you are interested go to the website and sign up for the e-mails. Have seen so, so many great poets through PV. Lauren Zuniga, Theresa Davis, Billy Tuggle, Ryk McIntyre, Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie, Heidi Therrien, Ellyn Touchette, Wil Gibson, Ryan McLellan, Brendan Constantine …

Rhythmic Cypher — The second poetry slam in Portland (amazing we have two of the 72 teams that competed in Boston/Cambridge for the 2013 National Poetry slam last year) designed for the outsiders. I have seen some amazing poetry here from queer, trans, the mentally ill, and just outsiders. Also great to have poetry with music behind you.

Miyake — Seriously amazing sushi. Expensive so don’t order everything. Hamiyake is one of the many delicious things here. I also discovered monkfish liver, which is so rich and full of umami, almost tastes like pork. Here is the Yelp on it.

How We Do by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is easily my favorite writer and poetry discovery of 2014. I started with her last book “The Year of No Mistakes” which includes this poem “How We Do”. I have also read her first three books My Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut and Working Class Represent. I will admit to having difficulty spelling her name, but she is fantastic and funny. “Hot Teen Slut” ***** is easily my favorite book so far this year. Bawdy, hilarious, raunchy about a recent college graduate and virgin who works as an editor at the porn industry. It’s fantastic and captures a lot of the awkwardness of porn, being a college graduate and the bizarre and short lived culture of the 1990s internet boom. It is easily the funniest book of poetry I have ever read. “Dear Future Boyfriend” *** is about being young and awkward. It’s amazing that Ms. Aptowicz even started the Urbana Poetry Slam in New York City at age 19, that one the 2000 and 2002 National Poetry Slam with Taylor Mali among others.

“Working Class Represent” ***1/2 is about being a young poet with a day job. And includes the poem “Ode to People Who Rejected My Work” which any writer and poet would recognize. And “Ode to My Morning Cup of Coffee” which is perfect for someone waking up at 4am for work (an hour earlier than I planned) and enjoying local Silvery Moon Creamery yogurt (Westbrook, ME) with coffee.

“The Year of No Mistakes” is about breaking up with a long term partner and finding next steps in your life. It shows her growing as a writer and is wonderful. ***1/2

How We Do by Kristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (With Permission from the Author)

I tell my best friend, See?
This is proof of how close
friends we are,

that I am telling you
all this stuff in such
graphic detail!

And she said,
And my proof is
that I’m still listening!

—————

I think we have all experienced this.

You can buy Ms. Aptowicz’s work at:

Her publisher Write Bloody Press:

And I get my copies through Bull Moose a local record store chain (NH and Maine) that started Record Store Day and offers 35% off new books. Hooray for independent bookstores and record stores. Now more than ever. They actually have “Hot Teen Slut” and “Working Class Represent” in stock now. I guess it’s good to buy books through your local shop.

You can also read some of her best poems published by the Legendary. A total of 10 poems.

The first group is from “The Year of No Mistakes”, the second from “Hot Teen Slut” (warning NSFW) my favorite is the “Sass Manifesto”, and the third from I am not sure but I love “Crack Squirrels”.

Her website is: www.aptowicz.com.
Twitter is @coaptowicz
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Aptowicz

Bad Houses **

Bad Houses by Sara Ryan (story) and Carla Speed McNeil (illustration).

Story just didn’t grab me.

I think there definitely could have been more there.

I think graphic novels are most interesting when they either embrace the spare in a beautiful work like Jeff Lemire’s Essex County. Or if they provide a snapshot of an unknown world in Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang or Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”.J

There is also the power of work like Palestine by Joe Sacco. But for relatively standard storytelling the effect can actually be pretty thin.

I feel like this could have been more interesting in more traditional narrative, like the characters live richer lives that what is shown in the book. The central couple’s story is just beginning in the book, and I think can get richer.

Ok at best. Definitely disappointing.

Numbing Agents

We are often uncomfortably numb.
Not engaging.

Using crutches
pain pills
alcohol
Facebook
cigarettes
pot
TV
Radio
Internet.

Keeping feeling internal
hard to shar

Afraid to say what we feel
Worried about offending others.

Wanting to be the good guy.

Not connecting to people in person,
social media isn’t that social.
It’s a lot of words,
a lot of noise
not much connection.

Texts
for hours
for hundreds of messages
while driving
while with an actual person
in front of you.

There are a lot of things out there
retail therapy
commercialism
you need more crap, more stuff,
more shit.

We live in bizarre times.
Don’t know out neighbors,
have hundreds or thousands of “friends” we hardly know.
That are at most acquaintances.

I like social media,
I can like TV,
like beer.
But there is just too much noise right now,
too much static.

We need to connect,
need to talk,
need to interact,
with people in-person,
not just online.

Need to connect with people,
of different classes,
races,
ages,
genders,
backgrounds.

Realize we have more in common,
than different.
That those with a difficult life,
little money,
families in jail,
addiction,
illness,
madness,
need love.

What a better life we would live if
we could just be
“Excellent to each other.”

Don’t be a dick,
listen,
too many people are bogus.

Love people for who they are,
“party on dudes,”
listen,
cry,
laugh,
love.

The world needs you.
Needs you to love.
To listen, to write, to create,
to be only the person you can be.

I am trying,
it’s not easy,
there is so much shiny, so much debt, so much hardship.

We are all in this together, kid.
Cliches and all.

Love. Love. Hug. Cry. Listen. Or just be there.
There is someone who needs you,
and someone you need,
blessings to you all.

Peace.

edmund

Time of Renewal, Time of Peace

Easter.
Time of Renewal.
Time of Peace.

Mid-April.
Green slowly returning in Maine,
an explosion of color in most of the world.

April in Paris.
Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC and Japan.
Magnolias in the American South.

Easter.
Time of Egg hunts
and chocolate.

Of the scary bunny,
with hollow dead eyes.

Of eating off the top of
chocolate bunnies
head first.

Jelly Beans.
Easter Grass,
odd plastic stuff.
What weird times we live in.

Of thankfulness,
family,
forgiveness.

Of praying for your sins,
to improve.
To flower along with the trees
and grasses, annuals and perennials.

Jesus.
The Prince of Peace.
May you help heal a broken world.
Help the meek,
help the poor,
help those suffering.

People need help
in these greedy times.
Capital is merely a tool,
Capitols aren’t supposed to
controlled by capital.

Enjoy the green,
enjoy seeing winter trees slowly bud,
the birds slowly return.

The sun is almost set,
Easter in the morning.
Blessings to all
in this holy time
of Easter, Ä’ostre and Passover.

May it bring renewal to your life.
May it bring peace.
After a difficult 2 years I could use peace in my heart.

Blessed be.

A Day Without a Smartphone

Smartphones are amazing things. What would be considered a super computer not that long ago in the palm of your hand.

The ablility to send a Tweet around the world. The ability to send a Facebook message to all your friends and followers. Amazing apps, games, messaging ….

You know you can turn them off. No, seriously you can.

My phone died on Tuesday afternoon. Put it in my coat pocket, went to fix my car and then weird squares on the bottom left.

I went to the Great Lost Bear for mac and cheese and beer and it wouldn’t work. I tried removing the Otterbox (which has a horrible design on the Galaxy S4 that already broke from Thanksgiving with loose rubber and breaking plastic that doesn’t seal), and changing the battery but the problem continued.

I want to tweet and message about the the first date going on next to me. It did seem to be going relatively well and I think they will have a second date, not sure if it will be a long-term relationship, but they will likely be friends.

I also tried the crazy mix at Great Lost Bear that is mac and cheese, topped with baked beans, topped with cole slaw and then three fried pickles in a mason jar. It was good but I think wicked farty.

Yesterday, I didn’t really miss my phone that much. I was mainly zoning out and watching stuff like “Orange is the New Black” (which is awesome.)

Usually at work I use my phone more. I check in with my wife, I use it to listen to music since I lost my iPod a few weeks ago, and I play smartphone games (been addicted to FIFA 14).

But the Galaxy is down for the count and the SD card is missing from my old Evo so most of the apps don’t work.

So on my downtime I read more. Read a bunch of the April “The Bollard” (easily my favorite free paper in town and favorite newspaper considering the Portland Press Herald kind of sucks these days.) And I read quite a bit of the 2013 Entertainment Weekly with the 100 best of all time. Really “My Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West is the 8th best album of all time, really? Between Aretha Franklin and “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys, really?

And as much as I love Woody Allen and adore Annie Hall, I just don’t like Manhattan **, I have tried multiple times but it’s just ridiculous. Why would he really fall for Muriel Hemingway’s HS character, does he have some weird thing for young girls?

But, when I left work I felt like my mind was working on writing ideas. That I wasn’t as distracted all day. That I had a very good day.

So, I am getting my phone back on Monday, ok a replacement phone, but I think I will just turn it off more. I really don’t need to keep checking Facebook or Twitter or FIFA 14. It’s a weapon of mass distraction.

I am ADDish enough without it.

So, I hope to read more and smartphone less.

One of the things I love about my retreat every Memorial Day weekend in the Berkshires is that phones and the internet don’t work. I engage with people more. I don’t hear the traffic. I hear the running water, hear the birds tweeting their songs, not the clatter of millions in under 140 characters. I experience the green and beauty of a sacred place. It’s magic.

I have been feeling the need for a smartphone vacation. I miss my old Evo dying of battery faster. The Galaxy is too good at being a mini-computer. The Google Chrome works too well. Sometimes it runs better than my laptop at home.

So, I don’t think I will disconnect, but I will connect less. People are much more important than devices, if you find you can’t ignore your phone at a poetry reading, turn it off. If you can’t ignore your phone while having lunch or dinner with someone, turn it off. Seriously. If you want to connect it will still be there. If you really want to connect with actual people you should turn if off.

Seriously. Try it!

C’mon. Try it!

I know you don’t believe you can, but your public can wait. Especially if you have to pay attention to the road.

Be safe. Be mindful,

edmund

Overrated Places

Felt like a ranty post this morning.

Starbucks: overroasted, overpriced. Especially when you can go into Portland, Maine and go to get excellent coffee at places like Coffee By Design, Bard, Arabica, Others …. If you are having coffee at Starbucks when Bard is across the street, Arabica a block away and Others 3-4 blocks away, you are doing it wrong. Also pretty terrible pastries. Although I do enjoy a frappucino but that’s almost closer to a milkshake, it’s certainly dessert.

Dunkin’ Donuts: I haven’t figured out Mainers insane love of Dunkin’s. There is almost always a line for the drive thru on Main St. in Westbrook, and the coffee is fine. Although I do like cream and sugar in my coffee which is the regular at Dunkin’s. I honestly think the Cumby’s (Cumberland Farms, i.e. a gas station/convience store) has better coffee. As does Big Apple down the street with Green Mountain. And the donuts are terrible, not longer made fresh, but in a big facility where they are frozen. Most of the food is really bad too, although I do like the hash browns and the bagels are okay. I do love Tony’s Donuts, but the Holy Donut didn’t speak to me at all.

Applebee’s: How is there so many of these across the country? No food is more likely to feel sick after. Ewww.

Olive Garden: I grew up in New Jersey with real Italian food. The unlimited breadsticks and salad is nice and having 2 waitresses in a section is a good idea. But the food, meh. Of course, Maine isn’t exactly an Italian food capital? Does anyone have a favorite place? Really need to go to the North End of Boston at some point.

Macy’s: Federated Department Stores is bad at running retail stores. They can have all the celebrity lines they want but the quality is just mediocre to fine usually. Some good stuff but a lot of crap.

Johnny Rockets: Johnny Rockets makes a good shake and ok burger for a pretty high price. But, could be so, so much better. Always disappointed. It’s a good concept but can’t compare to a good local California burger place or In-N-Out Burger. If they actually spent the time to have employees learn to make a great burger and paid better this could be much better.

Panda Express/ Sbarro’s: Basically very similar, mediocre food that often feels old for a relatively high price. I think school lunch pizza is better than Sbarro’s.

Abercrombie and Fitch: Ick. Overprice, crappy clothes with overloud, terrible music and obnoxious employees. And the CEO of Abercrombie seems like a hard core douchebag

The Apple Store: Sure it’s shiny. Sure it has Apple stuff. But at full price. I found the service “genius” annoying. When I did need to get an iPod fixed I got the same model at a cheaper price, should have just upgraded to the new model but wasn’t even given a choice. Apple is great at getting high margins. They do have good products but at an incredibly high pricepoint. And with their price they could easily afford to manufacture in the US. I know Appleheads may hate this one.

Neiman Marcus: Been inside one a few times. Saw high prices, and not great service. Don’t get the brand equity.

Barnes and Noble: There is a reason big box bookstores like Borders closed and Barnes and Noble isn’t doing well. All I saw at the Barnes and Noble in Allentown area of PA was full prices and boring books. No real service just some people at registers. It seemed like a ghost town. I love books but would rather get them at the library, Longfellow Books, Goodwill, Amazon, etc. Barnes and Noble dying wouldn’t be a huge loss, hopefully it would be a chance for a town to gain a better bookstore. Portland is lucky to have Longfellow books.

There is some for now. Any others you would want to add.