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Does that ever happen, really?

I don’t think so. I, for example, would undoubtedly be better about — and perhaps even caught up with — blogging if I were able to blog something every time I think about blogging it. But then again, with today’s technological advances, not to mention the amount of time a day I spend sitting at a computer, I probably actually could blog anything and everything I ever wanted, the very second it crosses my mind.

However, I will never be that organized. Nor that committed. I mean: Gimme a break!

So, here are a few shots I have taken over the last, oh, 3 weeks or so … in no particular order … as usual!

This was taken yesterday on my way back from Akin Grade School. I had to snap it because of the haystacks/bales and the telephone poles and the water tower and the truck. Plus it reminds me of Jane and Ray.

Those shots were from our quick trip to Chicago, during which it was basically too cold to walk anywhere — except for a short jaunt down 2 or 3 blocks of Michigan Avenue on Saturday … and we did manage to mosey over to the big Christmas tree at Daley Plaza.

On Thanksgiving Day, Diane and I stopped at the Goat Tower en route to The Ville. She had read about the tower in American Profile: Apparently, a Shelby County farmer built it for his goats, which are from Saanen, Switzerland — where, apparently, the terrain is rather mountainous. (I have no idea if that’s true or not, but … well, it must be, no?)

Apparently, mountain goats the relocate to the flatlands of Illinois don’t mind relaxing on the decidedly un-mountainous terrain!

Later in the day, we relaxed in the recliners in front of my parents’ new doors, watching a little bit of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I posted this on another site as “Joey and Chandler” (like the Friends characters), but I have now decided maybe we’re more like “Alan and Denny” (as in “Shore” and “Crane” from Boston Legal, which I already miss more than I ever imagined possible).

Except for the scotch. And the cigars.

After dinner came the best part of the day (next to the pumpkin pie, of course!): Christmas crafts, courtesy of mi madre. From left are Aunt Janie, Diane, Delra, Di and Mom. We made Christmas trees, gingerbread men (complete with rolling pins!) and tiny bell angels.

I have the cutest cat in the entire world.

Which is kind of funny because — and I may have mentioned this earlier — the first time I saw her, I thought she was the strangest-looking cat I’d ever seen in my entire life.

I’ll post some pictures of her helping me decorate our Christmas tree and wrap presents … eventually. Maybe. Unless I get busy doing something else.

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I am already getting teary-eyed thinking about next week’s series finale of Boston Legal.

I have said farewell to a number of great shows in my lifetime — including, most recently, The Shield — and I find myself thinking I might miss BL most of all.

More than Seinfeld, Northern Exposure, thirtysomething, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wonder Years, Judging Amy, NYPD Blue, My So-Called Life — shows I never thought I’d be able to live without yet somehow managed to.

(Bonus points to anyone who recognizes Catherine’s ringtone on tonight’s episode!)

Well, guess what: I didn’t win the HGTV Dream Home.

I thought I wouldn’t find out until tomorrow (March 19) that I hadn’t won it, but turns out the announcement was made Sunday (March 16). So, for at least two full days now, I’ve been thinking I might still have a chance. (Actually, I was pretty sure the winner was going to be announced Sunday, but then someone convinced me the date was Wednesday, and so I convinced myself that there was STILL hope, even when I hadn’t heard anything by this past weekend. Bummer.)

I’ve entered the sweepstakes when the dream home was located in North Carolina and Colorado — I even convinced myself, last year, that I COULD learn to ski! — but when I found out this year’s home was on Islamorada in the Florida Keys, I was certain I was going to win. I mean, who loves the Keys more than I do … besides Diane?

I actually liked last year’s house better, architecturally speaking, but geographically: yeah, this should’ve been my year.

Plus, I LOVE this home’s kitchen!

Meanwhile, back at the Southern Illinois ranch, rain has fallen all night and all day, and my back yard is a lake. And it’s supposed to keep raining for another umpteen hours.

And as I sit here, I’m afraid I’m breaking the 10th commandment … at least when it comes to my neighbors in Iowa who won the 2008 Dream Home!

I think it’s possible that I — and no small percentage of my co-workers — suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

I am attempting to cut everyone some slack because I know the past few months have been filled with loss and chaos, but … boy: Everything would be MUCH nicer if we’d get a few consecutive days of SUNSHINE!

Which reminds me of the episode of Northern Exposure in which Walt suffers from S.A.D. and ends up abusing his prescription sun visor! (Man, how I miss that show!)

Watched Part 1 of the season finale of Monk Friday night. Wasn’t overly impressed: It seemed rather dark, overall, but the second time through, I appreciated it more. And my Tony Shalhoub appreciation continues! Psych, too, was good; had to chuckle when Shawn said “Snuffleupagus” instead of “sarcophagus.” Fairly clever dialogue in this one, usually.

Started watching The Lion in Winter on Saturday. Didn’t get to see all of it — I was needed for a shopping excursion! — but can you really go wrong with a film that includes Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins? I think not. I will have to rent this one, sometime.

Watched True Grit Sunday morning. I had seen this movie over at my dad’s when I was a little bitty kid, and I remembered the part where Kim Darby falls into the rattlesnake pit as being a lot scarier way back then. John Wayne rocks, Glen Campbell was pretty good, too, and speaking of “can’t go wrong”: Robert Duvall is good in anything/everything.

Started to watch A River Runs through It tonight but (mistakenly) abandoned it for Cold Case … which I pretty much can no longer watch because, well, it seems everything has already been done … which is pretty much the reason none of the C.S.I. shows are currently on my watch list.

Watched Dexter for the first time tonight, and I can see what all the hype’s about. Michael C. Hall was great in Six Feet Under and is even better in this. Not that I’m much of a fan of serial killers, though.

On an unrelated note:

When did the weekends start getting so short? And when, pray tell, will spring ever get here?

This weekend, for me, has mostly been about staying inside and keeping warm.

Not that it was all that cold on Friday or Saturday, but for some reason, the only “going out” I did was popping by Diane’s house after work to play with the kiddos for a while, and then, on Saturday, going out to eat at the Nostalgia Grill, followed by a trip to CVS and Wal-Mart. Today it was quite frigid — though nothing like the 1 degree/minus-14 wind-chill that Patti and everyone else in Chicago is experiencing — but still, I managed to go outside only to go play tennis.

And tennis was rather … interesting. You see, I’ve actually been playing really well this winter, and I’m not sure why, but somehow I’ve been managing to keep the ball on the court … which seems easy, but for me — with my horrible footwork and my tendency to lose my patience and go for a winner rather than keep the ball in play and allow my opponent(s) to make a mistake — is certainly no cakewalk.

Today, though, I played rather poorly. Coupled with the fact that I was determined not to let any cusswords fly while I was playing … well, I let my racket fly, instead, a few times, and generally yelled and screamed at myself and, somehow, miraculously, Diane and I managed to win the second set.

Hopefully, I will play better Tuesday evening.

I did see a great movie Saturday night: Stand by Me, which, of course, I’ve already seen: I saw it at the Will Rogers Theatre in Charleston when it first came out (1986), with Patti and Leslie, I believe. And I’ve seen bits and pieces of the film on TV, at various times over the years, but oddly enough, I’m not sure I had ever seen the opening scene, with “The Writer” (Richard Dreyfuss) in his car, looking at the newspaper article telling how his buddy, Chris Chambers, had been stabbed to death.

Maybe it was because I was really, really tired last night when the movie came on — I’d stayed up until 11 to watch House on USA — but this time, watching Stand by Me, I was struck by how serious and sad the film really is. I mean, it’s very funny and sweet in some places, but last night, mostly, it made me feel sad. Partly because it reminded me how good of an actor River Phoenix was.

After the movie, I almost stayed up even longer because I saw that Dead Poets Society was coming on, but common sense prevailed.

For part of this morning and afternoon, I watched three episodes of Band of Brothers on the History Channel. At the moment, I’m half-listening to Saving Private Ryan. I wouldn’t classify myself as a fan of “war movies” per se, but sometimes I am compelled to watch them. And don’t get me started on those afternoons, many years back, when I’d watch China Beach repeats on Lifetime — after I’d already watched an episode of thirtysomething.

Talk about one of the more depressing periods of my life!

Yes, I’ve got some items to post, but now it’s bedtime and I’m too sleepy to do so. Despite the fact that — or perhaps because — I took a nap this evening, sometime between 6:30 and 7:30, mostly to celebrate finishing that DAMN special section and also because, heh, I was sleepy!

I want to write about the overnight fire that destroyed the Shelbyville Moose Lodge  because, of all the places I remember from my childhood, the Moose is one that I remember most. It was my dad and stepmom’s true “home away from home,” so I have plenty to say about it, good and bad. Mostly good, it seems; isn’t that what time does to memories, sometimes?

I also want to mention how much I am enjoying The Riches, my newfound guilty pleasure Monday nights at 9. (I kicked CSI: Miami to the curb … for the time being, anyway.) That, too, however, will have to wait until tomorrow. Or some other time.

Oh, and now I’m suddenly craving a glass of milk. Cold, cold milk. And of course I’m out of milk.

I was mildly disappointed not to find a decent movie playing somewhere on cable Saturday morning; however, my frame of mind improved once I realized how nice the weather was. Plus, the usual suspects were in town for the weekend, and that meant one thing:

Baseball.

Shannon, Diane, Johnell (sp?) and Samantha vs. me, John, Shelby and Shane, for all the marbles — on this day, at least. (I think my team won, but after a while, it became a matter of which team could keep all its players interested in the game. Stinkin’ girls!)

Once I broke free for the evening and headed home, though, I checked the preview channel once again and saw that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was playing on Turner Classic Movies. Perfect! I thought, as I had never seen this film nor read the book — although, admittedly, I had been intrigued by it ever since watching George Costanza’s antics while he was trying to prove to his girlfriend that he was, indeed, capable of reading an actual book. (He eventually tracks down the people who are watching the movie on video, invites himself in, helps himself to juice and popcorn, shushes the mom when she returns, quibbles with the daughter over whether he “called” his seat or not and ends up spilling grape juice all over the family’s couch.)

Of course, thanks to that episode of Seinfeld, I started watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s with the notion that Paul Varjak was gay.

Other than that, to be honest, I had no idea what the movie was about, going in.

All I really know, afterwards, is that I am even more smitten with Audrey Hepburn than I was before. And as for the film’s “hosts,” Carrie Fisher and some white-haired guy whose name escapes me at the moment (and, yes, I am WAY too unconcerned to Google), saying that Miss Hepburn’s accent wasn’t right and that they believed Marilyn Monroe should have been cast as Holly Golightly, I say: HA! Get real!

Audrey Hepburn gets my vote for Most Beautiful Screen Actress Ever. Not just because of this film, but this one certainly helped me decide. In fact, I am now rethinking an earlier decision that Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass had my vote for Most Beautiful Screen Couple Ever, in large part because of Audrey, but also because George Peppard — in this movie, at least — is pretty good-looking, too. (Still have to give the edge to Warren, though, mostly ’cause he has such great damn hair! And I wonder: Did Warren Beatty and Audrey Hepburn ever star in a film together? Wow, that might’ve been enough beauty on the silver screen, all at once, to cause an actual explosion!)

Anyhoo, I enjoyed Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Mostly for Audrey and George, but also because I suspect I, too, have occasionally suffered a case of “the mean reds.” And also because they did, indeed, go back and find the cat. (OK, OK, I admit it: That scene made me well up a little bit.)

On Sunday, I ran across a couple of “old” favorites: Vanilla Sky and As Good as It Gets — both of which I have on DVD, but of course I never seem to be able to take my eyes off either movie when I run across them on cable. (What can I say? I enjoy commercials!)

Vanilla Sky is sorta trippy and weird, and it still takes me back to a particularly trippy and weird situation I was going through at the time I first saw it. Five-plus years later, though, I’m pretty laid-back and normal (relatively speaking), so the film doesn’t have quite the same effect on me now.

Still makes me feel a lot, though, and some of the scenes and songs still get to me. Not because of then, but just because they do. And I still consider this one of my favorite films.

Same with As Good as It Gets, as far as being a favorite. The performances are so perfect in this movie, and it has become one that I find myself quoting, right along with Simon and Melvin and even Carol.

I rounded out the day/night by watching parts of a couple of other Jack Nicholson movies, Anger Management and The Shining. Can’t say I’d rate Anger Management as a fave, but it did make me laugh out loud a couple of times. (Still not a big fan of Adam Sandler movies, yet I find myself drawn to his new one, Reign over Me.)

As for The Shining: When it first came out, I couldn’t bear to watch the previews, this film looked SO stinkin’ scary! I still am not crazy about watching it when I’m alone; there’s just something so maniacally homicidal about Jack Torrance. (I still say the book is better because you get SO much further inside his mind, but … not bad if you want to get a little creeped out for a couple of hours!)

Much like last weekend when I happened upon Love Actually first thing Saturday a.m., this Saturday ended up being a good movie day, too. Mostly during early afternoon on a day that was far too cold for playing — or even venturing! — outside, I discovered that two of my “old favorites,” Frequency and Big Fish, were playing on USA Network.

I fell in love with Frequency not long after it came out. I’d been wanting to see it but hadn’t managed to when it was in the theater, so, one Saturday night, The Lovely and I rented it. I had no idea how much the plot device of modern-day John Sullivan being able to communicate with his father, circa-1960s Frank Sullivan, via Frank’s ham radio would remind me of my own father and his love of CB radios.

Dad — better known in those days by his CB handle, “The Hustler” — had just about every gadget imaginable as part of his “base unit,” a Cobra model something-or-something, call letters KCPO362, boosted by a 50-foot tower on top of his double-wide. He gave Debra and me a 3-channel walkie-talkie to start out with, then a mobile (car) unit and then one of his old bases when he upgraded to a new unit.

He would talk on that thing day and night. If we couldn’t get ahold of him on the phone, we’d try the CB — he was always around.

In Frequency, John Sullivan is a cop who’s a bit of a lost soul, in no small part because he has spent most of his life without his father, a firefighter who died when John was a kid. Once the two make sort of a “back to the future/time-space continuum” connection via the airwaves, though, they are able to change history: John basically saves Frank’s life by telling him to take a different turn during the formerly fatal fire. In doing this, however, they alter other events as well — among them, a rash of serial killings that John, a New York police officer, has been investigating.

All in all, this film is a very good drama, with a fair amount of intrigue mixed in.

Mostly, though, it slays me when Frank tells John he loves him, and John replies, “I’ve missed you so much.”

Big Fish, too, is one of those father/son bonding films. I saw this one during one of my January trips to Indy, and I have to admit, I was underwhelmed by my initial viewing of it. Then, sometime later, I watched it again on TV. And again. And then it all clicked.

Yeah, it’s kind of silly in parts, and it certainly helps if you’re a Billy Crudup fan (which I am, majorly) or a Jessica Lange fan (ditto!) or especially a Ewan McGregor fan (which I am not, necessarily, but I could be … and if I ever get around to watching Moulin Rouge, I’m sure I will be). And the part where Sandra Bloom gets into the tub with Edward and tells him, “I don’t think I’ll every dry out” … whoa. I am slain again.

Good flicks. Good weekend.

Another positive aspect was the Scrabble competition that went on between The Lovely and me. Positive because we had two oh-so-close games, Saturday and Sunday evening, and also because I have finally learned how to score — rather than merely be impressed with my clever use of letters. (Previously, I was a lot like a basketball player who was content to hit a 3-pointer from 30 feet, once a season, as opposed to a true scorer who took the ball to the hole as often as possible, hoping to get fouled every time for a chance to tally more points.)

Now watching: The last few minutes of this week’s Amazing Race All-Stars, mostly ’cause they’re whitewater rafting. Been there, done thatand fell overboard and lived to tell about it! (I was pushed, I tell ya. Pushed!)

The awards season is upon us, and I have found myself inexplicably drawn to some of the televised coverage of the handing-out of various honors: The Golden Globes. The SAG Awards. The Grammys. Tonight, I might catch some of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — which, obviously, is not an awards show for humans, and, as such, is thankfully devoid of any long-winded acceptance speeches. Still, if Joan and Melissa Rivers are doing their red-carpet interviews before the doggies do their stuff, I’ll probably get sucked into that, too.

One year, I gave up awards shows for Lent. Wasn’t one of the more difficult things* I’ve denied myself, either.

I was thrilled that two of my relatively new faves, Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and Hugh Laurie (House, M.D.) won Golden Globes. Or SAGs. Actually, I think Laurie won one of each, but I would’ve voted for Kyra for both, also … if only I had remembered to renew my membership in the Screen Actors Guild. Heh.

I used to detest Kyra Sedgwick, and I have no idea why. OK, I didn’t detest her — I try not to expend that much negative energy on anyone, for any reason — but I sure wouldn’t spend more than a minute watching her in any movie. She always struck me as a Julia Roberts wannabe, only not as pretty (hey, how shallow am I?) and not as good of an actress. And then I watched one — count ’em, one! — episode of The Closer, and I promptly renounced any previous criticisms I’d ever had for ol’ Kyra. She totally rocks!

If I were giving out TV awards, in good faith, I could present them only to actors who appear in shows I happen to watch and enjoy — because, heh, if I don’t enjoy a show, I generally don’t watch it. (Which is one reason ER, a show with which I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship over the years, is just about to be OFF’d, indefinitely.)

So, here are my picks in various hit-and-miss categories:

Best Comedy: Two-and-a-Half Men … mostly because this is the only comedy I watch on a regular basis … though I do like Elaine’s new show, sorta, and the one and only time I watched The Office, it made me laugh out loud … and I’m tempted to list Boston Legal, actually, but I’m not sure it officially qualifies as a comedy, but it certainly does crack me up, at least 10 times an episode … so, like I said: Boston Legal.

Best Drama: Criminal Minds … with kudos to House and Bones (mental note: Remember to drop Comcast if it somehow can’t manage to reach an agreement with FOX!), and also the Criminal Intent and SUV versions of Law & Orderwhen I can manage to find them not playing opposite any of the other shows I regularly watch.

Best Actor: William Shatner (Boston Legal). Hands down. Followed ever-so-closely by the guy who plays Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) on Criminal Minds. Followed by Hugh Laurie and Shatner’s co-star, James Spader, and Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent).

Best Actress: Kyra Sedgwick. Easily. And I’m kinda likin’ the Arquette girl (Patricia, I think) who’s on Medium.

As for the Grammys: I missed the Police, so I wasn’t all that interested in the rest of the show. Although I must admit I am very alarmed by my growing fondness for Justin Timberlake — ever since that appearance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago!

And speaking of SNL musical guests: I also have this undeniable attraction to Keith Urban, and I’m not quite sure if it’s simply a matter of me liking his music or the fact that I have an ever-so-slight thing for Nicole Kidman.

And, on that note: Am I the only one on the planet who noticed the extreme … irony or something over the fact that, no sooner had Urban finished his first song (“Stupid Boy” or something like that; I don’t know his music well enough to know titles) on what I assume was his first live TV performance since his recent three-month stint in rehab, when a big promo for Budweiser took viewers right to commercial?!

Timing is everything, I guess.

* — That would be the year I gave up red meat, yellow cheese and brown soda. That was a killer Lenten season … and I’m not even Catholic!

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