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Showing posts from February, 2015

To the Departed

You all cross my mind, perhaps more often than the dead really should. You are no longer living, breathing, thinking entities, though maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe the stories of so many religions across the millennia are true: maybe you all still exist somewhere, perhaps not alive (in the sense that we know it), but still cognizant of some form of reality?
All I know for sure is that I miss you and, for many of you, I feel like you were gone too soon. Along with missing you is, in some cases, a twinge of guilt. For those who took their own lives I wonder, "Could I have done more?"  For those who passed away naturally I ask, "Did I convey to you how much you were appreciated?" Questions with unknowable answers. That could be why they resurface far too often.

Live Long and Prosper

"I'm touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful - collecting these shards of spirituality - that we may be helping to bring about a healing."
                                                               -- Leonard Nimoy

It's not very often that a celebrity death rattles me. They are, after all, people I don't really know. For whatever reason, River Phoenix's sudden passing hit me hard back in 1993, and I was pretty sad this past November when author P.D. James died. It didn't matter that she was 94-years-old. She was my favorite writer, and had been active up until her death, often making the news. And, of course, there's Roger Ebert. I've written much about what he means to me already.
Now, dear reader, another celebrity death has occurred that has, frankly, left me gutted. Actor Leonard Nimoy -- most famous for portraying Mr. Spock on Star Trek -- has died today, aged 83. It is difficult to put down in words exactly …

Pic of the Week

Trying to stay on a more regular schedule with this, so, fresh from the debut of his new movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, our pic o' the week is none other than British actor Taron Egerton!



The Films of 2014

The Academy Awards are a little over a week away, so I thought it would be a good time for the annual Matt Awards. Begun in 1998 (for movies from 1997), the Matt Awards are my personal picks for the best in film each year. So, when I say "best movie",  I really mean my favorite movie of the year.
As many of you know, movies mean a lot to me. Quite often, I disagree with what is nominated (and wins) for the Oscars, so this is my little way of seeing things done right (because of course Matt's way is the right way). So, without further adieu, here are the Matt Awards for Best-in-Film for 2014….

Picking Battles

The ad popped-up on my Facebook sidebar, and I both smiled and rolled my eyes. It was an ad for some Obama apparel, specifically a jacket and t-shirt, both deep blue in color, with the words: "I know, I won both of them" spelled-out in very big letters. It's a reference, of course, to President Obama's zinger during the most recent State of the Union address, when he mentioned that he has no more campaigns left to run. When Republican members of Congress applauded his 22nd Amendment limitation, the president shot back a reminder to them that's because he had, of course, bested their candidates in 2008 and 2012.
I smiled at the wording on the apparel because I liked the zinger at the time. Damn right Obama beat McCain and Romney. 'nuff said. It would be a lie to say that I didn't holler at his comeback line to the applauding GOP. I rolled my eyes, however, that folks would take it beyond that -- a one-line, one-time zinger. It may seem odd, but I feel lik…

Grandma's House

The Garden Hills neighborhood in my hometown often gets a bad rap. Granted, its best days are, so far, behind it, but I hold-out hope for its future. A visit to the neighborhood will, on a surface-level, note some areas of much-needed improvement, from the houses to the curbs. But, whenever I drive through there, I always think fondly of my Grandma Callie, and her time living there.
68-years-old by the time I was born, Callie Mae Hubbard Gladney was already an old woman by the time I remember her living on Hedge Rd. in Garden Hills in north Champaign. A bit hard-of-hearing, grandma was nevertheless still pretty spry. A former teacher from Mississippi, she spent many of her days reading from her bible, then putting it down and mouthing prayer for a few minutes, her eyes closed, her mind focused.
Callie Mae liked herself some chewing tobacco. That always made me a little uncomfortable, watching her bottom lip curl-up with chew, then discarding it in her spittoon next to the couch, thou…

Pic of the Week (Bonus)

Hot on the heels of Patrick Schwarzenegger being announced as our Pic o' the Week, I learned that today is the 22nd birthday of none other than UK diver Chris Mears. Happy Birthday, Chris!
Here is pictured (on the right) with fellow diver and roommate Jack Laugher.

Pic of the Week

It's been a long time since we've had a Pic of the Week (which, let's face it, has rarely been weekly), and so without further ado, here is our latest: Mr. Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Ah-nold and Maria!

Final Exits

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."                                                                            --- Cloud Atlas
Recent events in our community have left me reeling. Vicente Mundo, a 20-year-old student at the university here, was murdered last week, shot in the head as he tried to escape from people attempting to rob him of drugs and money. By all accounts, he was a nice young man, definitely handsome. Came to our community from Chicago, working on getting his bachelor's degree, preparing to start his adult life in earnest. That's all gone now. It's sad, it's terrifying, it's anger-inducing.