Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top Chef Bowl

This is has been a weird season of Top Chef. First the consistently inconsistent judges often sending the better cooks home. Then the number of theme shows seem at an all time high for Top Chef. First, Thanksgiving and now a take off of The Super Bowl, Top Chef Bowl. You could tell this was filmed well before the football season ended with neither actual participant of this year’s Super Bowl, Arizona Cardinals or Pittsburgh Steelers, being represented in Top Chef Bowl. Last season the swearing bothered me immensely. This year I must have gotten used to it because I don’t give it much thought anymore. What does bother me is how boring some of the contestants are. Also bothersome are the excessive promotion of products in their challenges.

Guest judge for this week was the owner of Scarpetta’s, Scott Conant. The Quaker Oaks Quickfire Challenge was to take a food group determined by what square the chefs wrote their name in, in a board called Football Squares. Then they were to combine Quaker Oats with the food group they selected and make an original dish. The food groups chosen were, Jamie (Fruits), Leah (Seafood), Fabio (Veggies), Stefan (Dairy), Hosea (Meat), Carla (Nuts & Grains), Jeff (Poultry). The top three chefs in Quicfire Challenge were Stafan, Carla, and Jamie. Stefan’s banana nuts with Quaker Oats Almond Petitie Four won. As like last week the winner of the Quickfire Challenge didn’t gain immunity.

Now comes the Top Chef Bowl with All Stars from previous seasons going against Season 5 in a cook off featuring dishes from the area of a chosen NFL team. The all stars were Andrew, Nikki, and Spike all from Season 4, Andrea and Miguel from Season 1, Josie from season 2, and from season 3, Camille. The NFL teams were the New York Giants, The Miami Dolphins, The San Francisco 49ers, The Seattle Seahawks, The Dallas Cowboys, The New Orleans Saints, and the Green Bay Packers. As winner of the Quickfire Challenge Stefan got to pick both his team and his opponent. Stefan picked the Cowboys and the cook he thought was the weakest, Andrea. The lesson there for us guys is never and I repeat never underestimate women! In the Top Chef audience were Ice Culinary Students. The cook winning the judges over got 7 points, the cook winning the audience over got 3 points. Here is the round by round results.

Round 1 - The New York Giants. Leah 7, Nikki 3.

Round 2 = The Seattle Seahawks. Hosea 10 Miguel 0, Season 5 17 All Stars 3

Round 3 - The New Orleans Saints. Carla 7 Andrew 3, Season 5 24, All Stars 6

Round 4 - Dallas Cowboys. Andrea 10 Stefan 0 (he kind of got the hots for Andrea after losing to her) Season 5 - 24, All Stars 16

Round 5 - San Francisco 49ers. Jamie 10 Camille 0, Season 5 34, All Stars 16

Round 6- Miami Dolphins. Josie 10 Jeff 0, Season 5 34, All Stars 26

Round 7- Green Bay Packers. Spike 7 Fabio 3. Final Score. Season 5 37, All Stars 33.

Carla ended up on top with her crawfish and gumbo over stone-ground grits and won two tickets two the Super Bowl. Those tickets sometimes run about a thousand bucks each.

As losers of their cook offs, Stefan, Jeff, and Fabio ended up in the bottom three. There was no way Stefan was going home. The judges aren’t going to boot off the season’s most interesting character. It came down to being between Jeff and Fabio. I thought it might be Fabio after a classless banter with the Scott Conant. Nope it was Jeff. I didn’t really like Jeff at the start of the show but he kind of grew on me and I thought he left with a lot of class. It was also obvious he was well liked by most the chefs, as most chefs, including Stefan, hugged him. There is also an Internet rumor that while Hosea and Leah were publically being stupid, that Jeff and Radhika quietly hooked up. I'd be surprised if that rumor were true.

For you Top Chef fans who is your favorite to win? Mine is Stefan but it wouldn’t surprise me if Cooky Carla slid in there and took the Top Chef crown. For you non Top Chef fans what is on your menu tomorrow? Both food and fun wise.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Update Day, A.K.A., A Day For Me To Vent

OK, since nobody wants to laugh let’s get serious with Update Day. The day when you tell me everything that is going on with you, your concerns, your joys, your questions, vent if you need to vent, or just to say hello to us. If you have been reading the blog for a while and haven’t commented now is a good day to introduce yourself. Or if you were brought here by a search engine and see something that interests you let us know about you and what you are interested in. Caring for elderly or not caring for elderly doesn’t matter we love to hear from everyone!

Been a different week. I wish I could say it was a week when I didn’t lose my patience with Mom but I can’t. Wish I could say it was a week where I didn’t have to change plans due to the actions of others but I can’t. First Mom, she gets these spells some days. They come about three in the afternoon. I *know* they are low blood sugar. However, it doesn’t matter now many times you tell Mom that you have to eat a decent lunch to avoid those spells she will never admit that it is low blood sugar. I just can’t be there every day at lunch time to make sure she eats the appropriate lunch. Of course I call everyday to ask her what she had for lunch but I’m not really comfortable with her answers. She also believes contrary to all the evidence that she eats enough and the spells are just because she is old and not because of the low blood sugar. Why an I worried about the low blood sugar readings? Because if they get low enough you pass out. If you don’t get food in you right away or are out for more than thirty seconds you could die.

Here is what happened yesterday, Started out with plans to go to a movie in the afternoon after Mom and I went to the foot doctor for our semi-annual appointments. I went over early and fixed her a decent lunch. She didn’t eat it all. Said he wanted to lose weight. I tried to get her to eat a snack before we went to the doctor but she is a Dahn so she tends to be bullheaded. After the doctor appointment we went and mailed some letters and back to Mom’s house. When I was helping Mom get out of the car she got dizzy. The garage is right off of the kitchen. So I got Mom in the kitchen and had her sit down. I asked her to take her blood sugar, “No, it isn’t low blood sugar, I just don’t feel well.” I damn near had to browbeat her to get her to take her sugar. It was 50. Pass out low. I quickly got some food into her. Solved the immediate problem of keeping her from passing out. However, when blood sugar reaches that low for someone Mom’s age it takes a couple of hours to recover. It also effects circulation so you get extremely cold. I got Mom in the living room, put her in her lift chair, covered her with two blankets, and fixed her a cup of hot tea. The caregiver wasn’t going to be there for a couple of hours so there went my movie plans. As long as I had to sit there for a couple of hours I went ahead and fixed dinner for her and the caregiver, whom arrived an hour late. The last time she was late was Wednesday night, so there went the comedy class plans! As to the low blood sugar scene, was this the first time? Try about the twentieth. Mom still doesn’t believe it was a low blood sugar bout. Every time she has a spell like this, I browbeat her into checking her sugar, and the scene replays. I really blew it yesterday and pretty much said things I regret. Like if you don’t want to take care of yourself and eat appropriately to avoid your low blood sugar spells than I’m going to quit worrying about coming to visit you and find you lying dead on the floor. Which is actually one of my fears. Do I owe Mom and apology? How would you have handled the scene? With the job starting Monday I am really worried that the scene will replay when nobody is there to watch Mom. Should I consider tubing the job so I can better watch out for Mom? The job is close enough that I can head to Mom’s for lunch but history is even if I fix a good lunch she won’t eat it all. I can call her from work every day at about 3 when the blood sugar spells happen. I need your advise here. Help me out.

Now let me know what is going on with you. How has your week been? Do you need to vent like I just did? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Laugh

Welcome to an irregular feature of The Dahn Report, Let’s laugh.

From The Edge in Today’s Oregonian:

Who invented fractions? King Henry The 1/8


On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students:

"The female dormitory is out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. The second time you will be fined $60. A third time will cost you a fine of $180. Are there any questions?"

A male student inquired, "How much for a season pass?"

Also from: From

A man found a magic genie who would grant him one wish. The man said to the genie,” I wish that I had a non-stop bridge from here to Hawaii." The genie said,” I’m sorry, but that's going to be very hard. Do you have another wish?" The man answered, "Of course! I want the power to understand all women." The genie thought for a minute. He replied, "How many platforms did you want on that bridge?"

From Senior Personal Ads:

FOXY LADY: Sexy, fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty, 80's, slim, 5'4" (used to be 5'6"), searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion. Matching white shoes and belt a plus.

LONG-TERM COMMITMENT: Recent widow who has just buried fourth husband, and am looking for someone to round out a six-unit plot. Dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath not a problem.

SERENITY NOW: I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga and meditation. If you are the silent type, let's get together, take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.

WINNING SMILE: Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated! flosser to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy.

BEATLES OR STONES? I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar. If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen, let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.

MEMORIES: I can usually remember Monday through Thursday. If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let's put our two heads together.

MINT CONDITION: Male, 1932, high mileage, good condition, some hair, many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves. Isn't in running condition, but walks well.

Heard any good jokes lately? Want to share them with us? With things getting so serious now I thought it would be a good thing for us to take time out of the seriousness of life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Does A Bad Economy Lead to Violence? Slumdog Millionaire.

Times are tough and there have been signs just how bad the economy is from Portland to Los Angeles. From the loss of jobs, to restaurants being less busy, to the increased violence. Mom received some gift cards to Shari’s restaurants for her birthday. Tuesday has been my care giving night. Last night we decided to use one of the gift cards for dinner out. We went to Shari’s. We got there a little after five. We were the only customer for a while. There was one cook (usually two or three are working), one waitress (usually four or five are working), and one manager without an assistant. It was obvious their business has declined. Nobody can afford to eat out. I guess the good thing is we were waited on right away, the dinner came fast, and the service was good even with a shell of a staff.

Usually in bad economic times violence increases. We saw signs of that in Portland, Oregon last week when in downtown Portland in front of a teenage night club Erik S, Ayala, 24, went on a shooting rampage killing two teenage girls and wounding seven. It has been front page news for several days now, here is part of the first sentence in one of today’s articles “Erik S. Ayala, 24, long estranged from his family was declared brain dead at 2.22 p.m. Tuesday…” After his shooting spree he turned the gun on himself. Would this have happened in better economic times? Read one of today’s Oregonian’s story here:

We head about a thousand miles South on Interstate 5 to the Los Angeles, California area were a man killed his five children, his wife, and himself. In is a burst of anger reportedly caused by him and his wife losing their jobs, forty year old Ervin Antonio Lupoe roamed room to room starting Monday night and finishing Tuesday killing each of his children, his wife, then killing himself before the authorities arrived. While one of the police officers was quoted as saying “this is financially related”, it did come out that the husband and wife were being investigated by their employers for fraud. Would this had happened in good economic times? Read one of the LA Times articles here:,0,240432.story

Are we going to see more of this type of violence until the economy turns around? I really hope Congress changes stream from partisan bickering and the parties come together to solve the country’s economic woes.

On a more positive note, Monday I went to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. It was a really good movie and because I like to see indie films do well I still hope it wins the Oscar for best picture. However, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if such high expectations hadn’t been created by everyone from movie critics to friends. Sort of like finally getting a date with the prom queen only to find out she isn’t much different than the studious nice gal sitting next to you in English class. I also wasn’t prepared for the violence against children in the movie. Still all in all I would still give the movie five footballs, for direction, for the script, for the acting, for the scenery, and for it being the ultimate love story.

Has the economy created more violence in your area? What are the signs of either an improving economy in your area or a declining economy in your area?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Awards, Football, Job Delayed, Ugly Phrases

The Screen Actor Guilds Awards were last night. Very fast moving but not as relaxed as the Golden Globes. The results of the SAGS and the GLOBES tell us the OSCARS are going to be extremely interesting. There are going to be some battles. Looks like Best Actress and Best Actor will be really close Oscar Night. Kate Winslet won the SAG (Called Actor) for Best Supporting Actress for THE READER. She is nominated for an OSCAR for best actress for the same movie and will go up against last night's winner Meryl Streep for DOUBT. What could happen is Winslet and Streep splitting the vote and someone like Melissa Leo for FROZEN RIVER sneaking in and stealing it. For Best Actor it looks like last night's winner Sean Penn for MILK well split the vote with Globe winner Mickey Rourke for THE WRESTLER and Brad Pitt for CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON or Frank Langella for FROST/NIXON could sneak in there to win the Oscar. With Winslet out of the category, Best Supporting Actress appears to be wide open, right now my pick being Viola Davis for DOUBT. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE won the Actor for performance by a cast in a movie, the SAG Best Movie Award. Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for DARK KNIGHT for both the Globe and SAG. Those two seem to be a shoo-in for OSCARS.

For you sport fans the super bowl is this coming Sunday, February 1. It is the Arizona Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the Steelers seventh appearance in the Super Bowl. Arizona has never been there before. I'm all about the underdog so my pick is Arizona Cardinals 19 Pittsburgh Steelers 17. For those of you that just watch the game for the commercials Budweiser will most likely have the best commercial.

An update about the job that was supposed to start today. I went to their pre-tax meeting last Friday and it was very informative. It was good to see the folks. However, the storm in December has really pushed everyone back with their work and the information is coming into the firm slower then expected and they have delayed my start date to February 1st.

I don't know but for some reason I've been bugged lately by the bad grammar that has been on TV lately. Some phrases just bug the hell out of me. Some of those are:

"The fact of the matter is" when they really mean "my opinion is."

"If you will" Do I really have a choice?

"OK" This is really bad among athletes, OK after every sentence. I don't really know them so I don't understand why they are seeking my approval.

"My bad" I just dislike it, it makes me cringe.

"To be honest with you" I guess they have to put me at ease that they are telling the truth now since everything up to that point has been a lie.

"At the end of the day" I really don't want to wait that long to find out if what they are saying is the truth.

Questions for the day. Do any of the above phrases bug you? What are some of the other phrases that just make you cringe? Are you attending a Super Bowl party next Sunday? Are you even watching it?

May this day start off a great week for all of you!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Restaurant Wars, Kissing Wars

Any wars in your house this week? What is more important to you when you eat at a restaurant, service or food? Can a good desert overcome a bad meal? Changing from food to relationships can a great apology and a good gift overcome a significant other kissing someone else? Or is getting down on your knees and begging for forgiveness more appropriate? These are guestions that came to mind as I watched this week's Top Chef. And questions that I would love for you to answer! Your input and getting to know you a bit better is always cherished by me.

Lots of life's lessons on Top Chef this week. You can be the best at what you do but when they are choosing up teams personality will matter more than ability. Sometimes the teammate that nobody likes will save your butt. If you lay on a couch with a member of the opposite sex for most the night something most likely will happen. Great service can cover up less than stellar quality. Sometimes as a leader you have to recognize that your best place may not be out front but out of the public eye. Fish is better cooked but raw fish doesn't always mean you are going home on Top Chef.

The guest judge for restaurant wars was restaurateur Steven Starr owner of several restaurants including Morimoto and Biddakan in New York. The Quickfire Challenge for the Restaurant War episode of Top Chef was for the chefs to create one dish to showcase to an investor looking at investing in a prospective restaurant. For the first time all season the winner of the Quickfire challenge did not receive immunity from elimination. The winning dishes for the Quickfire Challenge were Leah's tempura poussin with dashi soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and Radhika's pan seared cod, butter braised corn, spinach, chqrizo with cream sauce.

As the winners of the challenge Radhika and Leah got to choose the teams to help them open their restaurant. Radhika chose first and chose Jamie. Leah then chose Hosea. Radhika went for Carla, Leah chose Fabio, Radhika chose Jeff, and the best chef on the show, Stefan, was chosen last by Leah. Stefan has pretty much alienated everyone on the show and nobody really wants to work with him unless they have to.

The night before the big openings. Hosea and Leah, both with significant others at home, after laying on a couch for over two hours were seen kissing. The next day on the day of the restaurant wars both expressed regret and found it stressful to work with each other. In my humble opinion the best way not to get burned is not to play with fire. I pity their boyfriend and girlfriend that had to watch this unfold.

Opening Sahana (means strength) were hostess Radhika, desert expert Carla, kitchen lead Jeff, and main entree cook Jamie. Sahana's opening menu was Curried Carrot Soup, Grilled Scallop with chickpea cake, braised lamb shank, seared snapper, baklava, chocolate cake, frozen yogurts.

Opening Sunset Lounge was host Fabio, desert expert Stefan, kitchen lead Hosea, and main entree cook Leah. Sunset Lounge's opening menu was egg roll, sashimi two ways, short ribs, coconut curry bisque, seared cod, chocolate parfait, panna cotto.

Radhika turned out to be a very poor hostess, spending more time in the kitchen then in the front of the restaurant. Once she didn't notice that diners were sans silverware. Then she forgot to say goodbye to the judges. She should have made Jeff the host. As a leader she also didn't lead Carla into not serving lousy deserts. Carla sent out frozen yogurt that wasn't frozen but she sent it out "with love."

Leah didn't cook the fish. It was so un-edible that the judges sent it back and didn't ask to have it replaced. Fabio turned out to be a remarkable, charming and attentive host. Stefan served two remarkable deserts.

The restaurant war was close but by a very slim margin Sunset Lounge won over Sahana thanks to Fabio and Stefan. The winner of the restaurant challenge was the last member chosen, Stefan. It was also stated that if Sunset Lounge had lost the war, Leah would have been sent packing.

The losing team at the judges table were partially raked over the coals. Jamie and Jeff were complimented for holding up their share. Radhika was reamed for not being a leader. Carla gave the weirdest defense ever on Top Chef. Carla's defense was so way out there that I would have sent her home. The judges didn't, they sent Radhila packing.

Just wanted to note that in a poll taken and shown at the end of the show 88% of the respondents said Hosea and Leah should knock it off and keep the heat in the kitchen. I'm sure their boyfriend and girlfriend would agree! Personally, I don't think it is going to be a problem after next week since Leah is my pick to go home next.

May this be a great day for all of you!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Update Day, Bill Gets Ticked.

Time sure goes fast as my favorite day of the week is here again! Update Day! The day when you tell me everything and ask me anything. If you are new introduce yourself. Caring for parents? Have questions, need support, want ideas? We have a really great group to offer all of that for you.

Been an up and down week. One movie, DEFIANCE. One great birthday for my Mom. A bruised hip. Then the biggie. The storm in December brought to the fore that Mom's house had really damaged siding that needed replacing. We hired the guys that remodeled the bedroom to replace the siding. We were happy with their work on the bedroom. When they started replacing the siding they found carpenter ants that had eaten through some of the plywood. The pest control guy was out yesterday and he was without a doubt one of the nicest young men that I've met in a longtime. He took care of the ants, respectful towards mom and myself. We called his boss and reported what a nice employee they had.

Now on to the guys doing the siding. They are doing nice work but I kind of got upset at them. They cut Mom's phone line. So mom had no phone service. When I told the siding guys about it they were extremely cavilier. Their response was to tell us to call the phone company. When I pointed out that to call the phone company it would be several days before they would come out, the response was at least she has a cell phone. OK, so we have a 93 year-old woman with heart trouble with no service but a cell phone. I don't know how it is in other areas but in Oregon they have so many erroneous calls to 911 from cell phones that if you call 911 with a cell phone it goes on hold first and isn't answered for from between sixty to one hundred and twenty seconds. Calls from regular phones get priority. Thank God for friends. I called our friend Ted who owns a phone repair service. He was out within fifteen minutes. He hooked up one jack so Mom would have service. He will come back out after they are done with the siding and hook up all the other rooms in the house. I was kind of upset at the siding guys because I felt they should have apologized along the lines of something like "I am sorry we cut the phone line, we will pay for you to restore it." They acted like oh so what. Bugged the heck out of me. It gets even better, the one jack that Ted could hook up was on the side of the house where the siding guys were working and also under a window they were replacing. The phone is a cordless phone and has to be plugged in for mom's phone to work. Every time the siding guys had to come into the house to do something on the inside of the window, the would accidently unplug the phone. By tripping over it. It happened five times before I put a note on the door, "don't leave this room until you plug back in the phone, that you disconencted by tripping over it." OK, it wasn't really charitable of me but for some reason I didn't feel all that guilty about it. What would you have done? How would you have felt?

OK, My Mom's birthday gift. Fixed her lunch on Monday. Bought KFC on Monday night and served it to her and the caregiver. Made lunch on Tuesday. Cooked a dynamite pork roast on Tuesday night. Fixed her breakfast on Wednesday (turkey sausage, pancakes, and fruit), made lunch for her (half of sandwich, nonfat chips, fruit), and took her to dinner on Wednesday night. Thursday made her lunch and put a dinner together from the leftovers from the restaurant. I was able to add some veggies, fruit, and jello and make three really good dinners out of it. Today I have a luncheon meeting so Mom is on her own for lunch. I am thinking right now about what to make for dinner tonight and Saturday night when my gift officially ends. Any suggestions?

Just wanted to mention one more thing before turning the blog over to you. The lady that I had lunch with from the Payroll service? While she was working at the payroll company she always made sure I had a tax guide. Even when she moved up and quit being a rep she made sure my rep gave me an annual tax guide. The supplies of the tax guides are limited. They also run about twenty bucks. Apparantly I am still of the list to receive the guide because my new rep stopped by my house yesterday and gave me one. Her name was Carol. Very nice woman. We talked a bit and it came up that she was a recent widow. Her husband was killed in a car accident right after Thanksgiving. He was 56. How tragic is that? I don't think I could handle that kind of grief. My heart just went out to her.

OK, the blog is now yours. Tell me everything, ask me anything is the motto for the day!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And The Nominees Are!

Best 93 year-old Mom in a restaurant:

Best Supporting Grandson (My Nephew):

Best Supporting Son: (I am better looking in person)

Here's a complete list of all of the Oscar nominations. The Oscars will be awarded February 22. As reported on NJ.COM

1. Best Picture: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire."

2. Actor: Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"; Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"; Sean Penn, "Milk"; Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler."

3. Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"; Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"; Meryl Streep, "Doubt"; Kate Winslet, "The Reader."

4. Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, "Milk"; Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"; Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"; Michael Shannon, "Revolutionary Road."

5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, "Doubt"; Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"; Viola Davis, "Doubt"; Taraji P. Henson, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler."

6. Director: David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"; Gus Van Sant, "Milk"; Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"; Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire."

7. Foreign Film: "The Baader Meinhof Complex," Germany; "The Class," France; "Departures," Japan; "Revanche," Austria; "Waltz With Bashir," Israel.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"; Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"; David Hare, "The Reader"; Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire."

9. Original Screenplay: Courtney Hunt, "Frozen River"; Mike Leigh, "Happy-Go-Lucky"; Martin McDonagh, "In Bruges"; Dustin Lance Black, "Milk"; Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, "WALL-E."

10. Animated Feature Film: "Bolt"; "Kung Fu Panda"; "WALL-E."

11. Art Direction: "Changeling," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "The Duchess," "Revolutionary Road."

12. Cinematography: "Changeling," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire."

13. Sound Mixing: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Slumdog Millionaire," "WALL-E," "Wanted."

14. Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man," "Slumdog Millionaire," "WALL-E," "Wanted."

15. Original Score: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Alexandre Desplat; "Defiance," James Newton Howard; "Milk," Danny Elfman; "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman; "WALL-E," Thomas Newman.

16. Original Song: "Down to Earth" from "WALL-E," Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman and Gulzar; "O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam.

17. Costume: "Australia," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Duchess," "Milk," "Revolutionary Road."

18. Documentary Feature: "The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)," "Encounters at the End of the World," "The Garden," "Man on Wire," "Trouble the Water."

19. Documentary (short subject): "The Conscience of Nhem En," "The Final Inch," "Smile Pinki," "The Witness -- From the Balcony of Room 306."

20. Film Editing: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk," "Slumdog Millionaire."

21. Makeup: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

22. Animated Short Film: "La Maison en Petits Cubes," "Lavatory -- Lovestory," "Oktapodi," "Presto," "This Way Up."

23. Live Action Short Film: "Auf der Strecke (On the Line)," "Manon on the Asphalt," "New Boy," "The Pig," "Spielzeugland (Toyland)."

24. Visual Effects: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man."

Pat you were right, Winslet went into the best actress category. Redwhistle it looks like DEFIANCE got shut out but then maybe I was wrong about it qualifying this year.

May this be an Oscar Nominated day for all of you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The List Isn't Complete

Today is my Mom's birthday. She was born January 21, 1916. These are some ot the things that she either witnessed or lived through in her lifetime:

World War 1
World War II
The Korean War
The Viet Nam War
Two Gulf Wars
The Afghanistan Invasion
Pearl Harbor
The first television
The first color television
The first fax machine
The first computer
The first cell phone
The first I-pod
Schools in the South integrated
The Watts Riots in the 60’s
The Rodney King riots in the 80’s
Women gaining power and slowly breaking the glass ceiling
The Berlin Wall coming down
Bomb shelters
Alaska and Hawaii becoming states
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and John F. Kenendy
The death of FDR
Trickle Down
The first intercontinental flight.
The building of the interstate freeway system.
The dedication of Mount Rushmore
The Great Depression
The opening of Disneyland
The first black president
Bread churners
Ice Cream Makers
The Hula Hoop
Rubik’s Cube
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Pet Rock
The microwave oven
The copy machine
Man's First landing on the moon
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" FDR
"One small step for man, one big step for mankind" Neil Armstrong.

After going back and forth and giving much thought and consideration to what to get Mom today I decided on a gift of time. I am going to cook her and/or her caregivers dinner every night this week through Saturday. Anything else, like the List Yourself Book, wouldn't arrive by today. So I'm Chef Dahn for the week.

Happy Birthday Mom. Thank you for standing behind me when I needed a shove, next to me when I needed support, and in front of me when I needed leadership. I think you molded me in to a damn good man. I hope to honor you with leading a honorable life every day the rest of my life. I know there will be times when I fail miserably but you taught me to get up and keep trying. I will.

What would you add to the above list that has happened since 1916?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Today is a historic day. Will you watch the inauguration of Barrack Obama? Will you watch the first African-American President take his oath of office? If you watch where will you watch, what will you be eating, and who will you be watching it with?

I will be watching with my Mom. Serving homemade snacks. Then for dinner we will be having my special pork chops. In my lifetime I have never witnessed so much excitement about an incoming president. The hope is alive. However, what worries me is that the expectations are also very high. The country has never been in such sad shape, in so many areas. Two wars. A failed economy. Corruption alive and well in American politics. Weather patterns changing. Banks going broke. The Auto industry on the brink of disaster. The housing market declining daily. Thousands of jobs being lost each month. I can't help but wonder if with such high expectations if we haven't set up President-elect Barrack Obama for failure. He hasn't even take his oath of office yet and we have anointed him Savior.

I love that President-elect Obama has been honest with us by saying he won't be able to keep all of his campaign promises as he had originally scheduled. I also love that he has told us that all of us are going to have to sacrifice. That is leadership.

I do think, however, that we should all take a deep breath. Remember that our incoming president is human and will no doubt make mistakes. I wish him well, he has kept my hope alive, and as long as he is working for the betterment of all Americans instead of those of a certain class standing or a certain political party I will stick with him, even if he falls of that lofty pedestal that we have put him on.

Something to watch for during the Inaugaration Parade. From Portland, Oregon THE GET A LIFE marching band. With band members from 18 to over 70 this is a lively fun band watch. Don't miss them.

A non Inaugratioin note let all of us wish Bev good luck on her cataract surgery!

What are you feeling today?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Questions Answered

Just a short post today that I may add to later in the day.

Pat asked when the Oscar Nominations are announced. They will be announced January 22at 5 a.m. in the morning Pacific Time.

Red asked if DEFIANCE qualified for the Oscars this year and the answer is yes. It was released in a very limited fashion on December 31, 2008. I also went to DEFIANCE and thought it was a really good movie. Quite a contrast between brothers, one is a hero seeking revenge, the other his a hero protecting a community. Both saved a ton of lives. I may review it later.

The party for Mom got even smaller then I hoped for when my nephew spilled the beans and mom put the stop to having the two married couples there, she really doesn't want to have any kind of a party at all. So my plans for her birthday are to surprise her early on that day by going over and cooking breakfast for her! Then take her to dinner that night together with my nephew. I am now trying to decide what to get her for her birthday. She needs a new wheelchair but I have some emotional problems with a wheelchair being a gift for her. Kaye who posts here once in a while suggested a book called LIST YOURSELF. Here is a link that describes it What do you think of the idea?

We had a nice pre-birthday dinner at my niece's and my favorite relative, my nephew-in-law. Ryan just cooks the best pork ribs and my Mom loves them. They had a birthday cake there that was also great. The highlight, however, was a letter that my brother had sent there for my Mom. It was really a very touching letter, in his handwriting so we know he wrote it and not his wife. Something out of character for him but such beautifully written and touching. It really picked Mom up.

Yes, I am looking very forward to starting the job next Monday. I do have some worries about it but I am still looking forward to it. I'm getting kind of bored and lonely lately and hard work and exercise are usually good cures for that!

If I start taking the comedy classes again the first one will be on the 28th. I can't go on the 21st as that is Mom's birthday. I may be to tired to go to the one the 28th as it may take a while to get in the rhythm with the work schedule. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do in the class with more experienced people then I am!

This year's Super Bowl will be between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. This is the first time in their almost one hundred year history that Arizona has made it to the championship game. I'm picking Arizona all the way!

Hope this is a great day for all of you! If you asked a question and I ignored it, it wasn't intentional. Ask it again either here on the blog or send an email to

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gran Torino

As part of my research for the book that I am writing I did a lot of research on gangs. The Asian gangs were noted for being the most violent. It was also almost impossible in a poor Asian neighborhoods for a teen to avoid joining a gang, if the teens didn't join the gang willingly, they were either intimated by violence into joining the gangs or if that didn't work threats against family members usually did. The movie GRAN TORINO really brings that to the forefront.

GRAN TORINO is a 2008 American drama film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The film features a predominantly Hmong cast, as well as Eastwood's younger son, Scott Eastwood. Eastwood's older son, Kyle Eastwood provided the score.

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), a Korean War veteran, is living in a changing Detroit neighborhood dominated by immigrants. At the start of the movie, Walt is attending his wife's funeral, bristling at the shallow eulogy of Father Janovich
(acted well by Christopher Carley). He similarly has no patience for his two sons and their families who show little respect for Walt or their late mother. Throughout the movie Walt views them as spoiled and self-absorbed children who avoid him.

Kolwalski is prejudice, not wanting to have anything to do with his Hmong neighbors. As the movie unfolds Kowalski is seen by his neighbors as saving first their teenage son, Thao, played expertly by Bee Vang and then later saving the teenage daughter Sue, played even more expertly by the marvelous Ahney Her.

As the movie unfolds Sue gets into Kowalski's heart and softens his prejudice. We also see a developing relationship between Thao and Walt. Mentored by Walt we see Thao growing and becoming stronger.

The title of the movie is after Kowalski's 1972 GRAND TORINO in mint condition, cherished by Walt's granddaughter.

I found this movie to be both entertaining and thought provoking. One football for Eastwood's acting and directing. One football for a realistic look at gangs. One football for the budding starlet, Ahney Her. Three footballs.

What is on your entertainment schedule for the next week?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Top Chef, Ariane Goes Home

Ariane was robbed. She didn't deserve to go home. I'm not the only one that thought that. You could tell that Jamie and Carla were shocked that it was Ariane. I also think that Padma really wanted her to stay because she defended Ariane with the other judges. I thought the slackers Radhika or Leah or the wimp Hosea should have been sent packing,

There were some amazing life lessons on Top Chef this week. It is hard to be a third wheel. A team has to have a leader. Don't take on a task when a teammate has more experience performing that task. Speak up if you think you can do something better than a teammate. Even if you dislike a teammate you can work together for the betterment of the team. What you do today is more important than what you did yesterday. A lot of time you can make something tasteful from what other people would see as a throw away. And from the shot at the end of the Top Chef, don't put yourself in tempting positions.

The guest judge for the Quickfire Challenge was Top Chef's season three winner, Hung. He is noted for being the fastest cook in Top Chef history. The Quickfire challenge was to create in fifteen minutes a delicious dish without using fresh ingredients, only using canned and store bought items. The top three were Stefan's baked bean and spam winner soup with grilled cheese and spam sandwich, Hosea's split pea soup with spam, onion rings pork rinds, and hearts of palm, and Jeff's deep fried baby conch with coconuts and pina colada. Stefan won immunity with spam. Can you believe that, these great chefs winning with spam!

For the elimination challenge the group was divided into three teams. Chicken - Carla and arch enemies Jamie and Stefan. Pig - Jeff, Fabio, and Radhika. Lamb - soon to be lovers Hosea and Leah and third wheel Ariane. The elimination challenge was to create a family style meal using for sixteen using fresh farm ingredients. The guest judge for the challenge was Dan Barber executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The chefs were taken to Stone Farms where they were to get their ingredients, none store bought. The guests for dinner were to be the farmers and chefs that work at Stone Barns

Team chicken got off to a bad start with Stefan and Jamie getting along as well as the Bobbits used to. I gained respect for Jamie for sticking up to Stefan, lost respect for Stefan for not letting the women shine. He had immunity for heaven's sake. With Carla serving as mediator the team settled in on the winning menu. Chicken cutlets, Lemon Herb roasted chicken, chicken ravioli soup and Carla's desert, nectarine and strawberry tartlet. Dan Barber picked all three as the winner!

With Team Pork we really got a team with no leader that ended up basically being three individuals. Team pork was picked in the bottom two mostly because of Radhika's willingness to do very little and Fabio being to heavy handed with the pesto. Team Pork was saved by Jeff's creative thinking and willingness to use tomatoes found on the ground of Stone Farms that would have normally been thrown away to create fried green tomatoes with tomato jam. Radhika and Fabio should be kissing Jeff's shoes.

With Team Lamb we also had a team with no leader. And a team with two members so close to each other, Leah and Hosea, that they shut out the third team member, Ariane. Even though Ariane had no experience butchering lamb and Hosea had a ton of experience doing it Ariane was given the assignment of butchering and tying the lamb. Why didn't Hosea step up to the plate and butcher the lamb? Was he trying to hang Ariane out to dry, therefore, eliminating his competition. Or was Hosea trying to save Leah? Leah's claim to fame for this challenge was doing nothing. Also at the judges' table Leah failed to take any responsibility for her actions. During this season of Top Chef, each week at the elimination failing to take responsibility was the kiss of death and a sure elimination. Not this time. Ariane was sent home.

At the end of Top Chef we see Leah lying on top of Hosea. Leah has a boyfriend at home. Hosea has a girl friend at home. Hosea is quoted as saying "I can't let anything happen," If you aren't going to let something happen why put yourself in that tempting of a position? I know I am terrible at fighting temptation. What I am good at is knowing that I am not good at fighting temptation and not putting myself in a position where I would end up hurting myself or others. I couldn't help but wonder what Leah's and Hosea's significant others were thinking watching that unfold on national television before their eyes. OK, I am really curious. If you were involved with someone and saw them on national TV laying on a bed/couch with a member of the opposite sex, would you be upset? How would you handle the situation? I think I would be hurt but before exploding ask for an explanation. OK, everyone I have an open mind so give me a relationship lesson here. I want to learn as much as I can so when I find the one I am ready!

Friday, January 16, 2009

An Early Update Day!

Update day is here a day early. I’ve kind of got writer’s block so I’m turning the blog over to you a day early. Also I’d like to welcome a new member to the blog family. She has posted a couple of messages on the blog under “All over the Map”. I’d like to welcome and have you welcome redwhistle to the blog. Here is the first message she posted: said...

"I feel I should join this group. I too felt trapped and have no family. Am an only child, wasn't raised by my parents, never knew my grandparents, have never had cousins and am single! Being an only child is really hard and gets harder as you get older. Geez, talk about holidays being tough. I too understand. I've been following this blog but never posted. 2009 has got to be better and I agree with Bill, I'm not going to be here another snowy winter again. It's too hard to be house-bound for that long.” She did say in a second message that she didn't mean to go on about being alone and wasn't looking for sympathy and that those with families should feel lucky. We knew she wasn't looking for sypmathy, didn't we? And it sure didn't come across as a plea for sympathy did it? I thought it was a very nice introduction to the blog. Welcome redwhistle and thank you for taking the first step in getting to know us!

Before starting my update I just want to mention how incredible the pilot was on the jet that ended up in the river in New York. One passenger with two broken legs. A few with mild hypothermia. NO DEATHS. Let’s hear it for Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III.

As to me my update is pretty slim. The big news of the week is that because of the snowstorm they delayed my start on the job until the 26th instead of the 19th. A lot of companies had key accounting employees that weren’t able to make it to work during the snowstorm. W-2’s didn’t get done. Other important tax statements didn’t get done. Can’t do tax returns without those. I do have to attend a pre-tax meeting on the 23rd.

The other big news is that my Mom will turn 93 on the 21st. I’m having a hard time trying to decide what to get her. She doesn’t want a party. Should I refuse to listen to her and schedule a small surprise party at a local restaurant? I’m kind of leaning that way. It would only be with my nephew, one caregiver, two married couples that mom knows and mom. Also what do you get a 93 year-old woman anyhow?

Monday I went to Hillsboro to pick up all the state forms I needed to do my annual and quarterly payroll tax reports. From Hillsboro, I went to downtown Portland to pick up the forms that I needed to do the federal quarterly payroll tax reports. At the IRS I couldn’t help but think how things have changed since I first started out in the business. There never used to be any security, you went to the building and walked in. Now a picture I.d. is required. You have to through the scanner. You have to take your shoes and belt off. I made it through in flying colors! The security started before 9-11. It started with the Oklahoma City bombing.

Tuesday I did all the reports and also roughed out both my corporate and individual tax return. I’m getting a refund! Now I have to wait for the software update. Oregon is always late with their forms due to being shorthanded. The software company is shipping the cd on the 19th. Wednesday I went to Mom’s and spent the day there doing her books. We did fit in a couple of games of Scrabble. I’m getting better, we split the two games. Yesterday there was a few hours at Mom’s playing Scrabble again (we split) and taking her to the Dollar Tree and The library. She returned several books and picked up four books to read “this week.”. After Mom’s I was able to fit in a movie, GRAN TORINO. The rest of the week is unplanned! I miss the Sunday breakfasts with Ted but he has been in Palm Springs since before the great storm of 2008.

I did make the decision to start going to the comedy classes again. Every Wednesday Comedy Sportz has a couple of classes that as a graduate of their beginning and intermediate classes I can attend for five bucks. With the job I may not be able to go every week, but, I will get a few weeks in. Do you want reports of the classes again?

OK, it is your turn. Tell me everything, ask me anything. If you are new to the blog or if you have been reading the blog for a while and haven't posted follow the lead of redwhistle and join the group! OK, everyone what was your last week like, what do you expect your next week to be like?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Starting Anew, The End Of A Relationship

She has been with me over twenty years. Whenever I needed her all I had to do was reach for her. Lately things have been rough with the economy, caring for my mom, a new job and with all that is going on she has been falling apart. Since she stuck with me even when she had the perfect opportunity to leave I should probably stick with her. However, all good things must come to an end and I am replacing her with a newer and younger model.

Those that were part of old section 16 and the long time readers of the blog were introduced to her when I told the famous wallet story. For those that are new to the blog you can read the story here:

I made the decision this mornning that is time for me to part with the famous good luck wallet, here is how it looks twenty years after spending several hours by itself in the parking lot of the Tattered Covered Book Store in Denver, Colorado:

When my dad passed away my mom gave me a wallet that dad had had only a few days. I found that wallet this morning. It is a perfect replacement for Good Luck Nellie. We got off to a great start this morning. When I opened up the wallet there was thirty-three dollars in it. Thirty-three dollars has been sitting in the new wallet for over five years. Of course I called mom and told her the money was hers. She refused to take the money. So I decided to put it in a jar and use it to pay for the lunches and dinners when I take Mom out.

With the beginning of 2009 have you decided to end your relationship with valued itemas and replace them with new items? I'd love to hear about it if you have.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Golden Globe Summary

I really enjoyed THE GOLDEN GLOBES last night. It was a fast moving award show a lot more relaxed than what the Oscars usually are. The most touching moment for me was when THE DARK KNIGHT'S director, Christopher Nolan, gave a simple elegant acceptance speech in honor of Heath Ledger "All of us who worked with Heath on THE DARK KNIGHT accept this with an awful mixture of sadness but incredible pride. After Heath passed you saw a hole ripped in the future of cinema." Nobody could have said it better.

I was also elated that an indie film with an unknown cast, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, became the darling of the night winning in all four categories that it was nominated for.

Although I'm anything but a fashion guru both Renee Zellweger and Maggie Glyllenhaal
had me mumbling to myself, "what in the world were they thinking." While I was stunned with the elegance and beauty of Beyonce and the simple beauty of Kate Winslet.

This is the first time in a few years that my prediction rate for the Oscars or the Globes has been less than fifty per-cent. I was seven out of seventeen which works out to a forty-one per-cent rate. Of course the percentage would have been higher if I used my should wins instead of my will wins.

For the Best Movie I picked THE READER but my should win SLUMDOG MILLONAIRE surprised me. Best director I picked Ron Howard for FROST/NIXON but again my should win Danny Boyle of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE took home the trophy. I was way off with best actor as the comeback kid of the very violent THE WRESTLER, Mickey Rourke took home the award instead of my pick, Brad Pitt of BENJAMIN BUTTON. Best Actress my pick, Meryl Streep, was beat out by the overwhelmed Kate Winslet for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. My pick in best comedy, MAMA MIA, was trounced by IN BRUGES. My should win in Best Actress Comedy, Sally Hawkins for HAPPY GO LUCKY, came from nowhere to beat my will win Meryl Streep of DOUBT. Gabriel Byrne from IN TREATMENT really surprised everyone beating out my pick, Hugh Laurie of HOUS. Anna Paquin of TRUE BLOOD beat out my favorite Sally Field of SISTERS AND BROTHERS. 30 ROCK beat out my THE OFFICE for best television comedy. Pat was right with her pick of Alec Baldwin of 30 ROCK over my pick of Steve Carrell from THE OFFICE.

My wins were the Best Actor in a comedy, Colin Ferrell of IN BRUGES, Best Supporting Actor in a landslide was Heath Ledger for his role in THE DARK KNIGHT. Best Supporting Actress was my will win, Kate Winslet for THE READER. Best Television Drama was my pick, MAD MEN. I was right on with my pick of Tina Fey for 30 ROCK. I also won with supporting actor and actress, Tom Wilkenson for JOHN ADAMS and Laura Dern for RECOUNT.

How did you do?

I hope this is an award winning day for all of you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bland Leading The Bland

I’m a little late reporting on Top Chef this week due to car appointments and doctors’ appointments. It was a great week on Top Chef with a lot of life lessons to take from it.

Admit your mistakes, don’t be afraid to bring your creativity to the forefront, don’t have such an ego that you refuse to take advise from those more successful than you are, always make sure your meat is well done, always be kind to your competition because they may judge you some day, sometimes if you get a second chance you can excel at your craft and don’t smell up the place.

Guest judge this week was desert specialist, Jean-Christophe Novelli. The QuickFire Challenge was to make sugar free desserts that didn’t taste sugar free. The top three dishes were: Jeff’s Frozen Cherry & White Fig Yogurt with s baklava spring roll; Leah’s Crepe with whipped ricotta strawberries and balsamic reduction; and the immunity winner Radhika’s bread pudding with sautéed white peach and roasted cashews.

On the elimination challenge. The new judge replacing the honeymooning newlywed Gail Simmons is U.K. food critic, Toby Young. Young seems a little more brutal than the other judges with comments like “it tastes like cat food”, “the bland leading the bland “ and “we found the weapons of mass destruction in that soup.”

The elimination challenge was to create a family style mean for a blind tasting. The cooks were divided into two groups. Group A - was Melissa, Fabio, Eugene, Jamie, and Hosea. Group B- was Stefan, Ariane, Jeff, Carla, and Leah. As the winner of the Quickfire Challenge Radhika got to choose her group and chose Group A to avoid Stefan. The judges for the Elimination Challenge? Padma, Toby, Tom, Jean-Christophe, and each group of chefs judging the other group’s dishes!

The best three dishes were my gal Ariane’s skate wing with pineapple and cauliflower puree, Stefan’s roasted duck and braised cabbage with bread dumplings, and Jamie’s seared scallops with fennel garlic, oranges and olives. This weeks winner? Jamie went to the bottom three the last time she cooked scallops but this time she redeemed herself and took home this week’s trophy!

The bottom three dishes were Carla’s seared scallops on top of risotto with Grenqlata topping, Melissa’s ani tuna crudo tacos, and Eugene’s crispy red snapper with tomato, basil, and daikon fettuccini. At the judges table Carla admitted her mistake and said she wasn’t surprised to be in the bottom three because her dish didn’t turn out the way she wanted. Melissa was reamed for making to simple of a dish and not being creative enough. Eugene as he has in the past showed an ego the size of New York by saying he shouldn’t try such hard dishes but should do easy ones like his competitors. Eugene has consistently throughout this season of Top Chef refused the advise of those more successful than he is, the judges. Toby referred to Eugene’s dish as “:the bland leading the bland.” Two of the three were sent home. The one staying is the one that admitted her failing, Carla. Eugene and Mellissa were sent packing.

I hope this week your life will more exciting than the judges found Eugene’s dish and this week the bland won’t lead the bland in your life!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Golden Globes

Tonight is the Golden Globe awards. Last year due to a strike we didn't really get the Globe show so this is the first one in two years. Often the Globes predict the outcome of the Oscars. I love award shows. Love the glitz. Love the glamor. I even love watching the Red Carpet before the shows. I will be glued to the TV from about four o'clock on. Love the men often dressing inappropriately not even wearing a tie, showing a tremendous lack of respect towards those that promote them and award them. Love the women making every effort to be what they want to be instead of accepting who they are. Spray tans, enhanced cleavage with a myriad of tricks. While some men may go ape over the tans and the cleavage I don't. It just humors me. I think a woman is much sexier with wet hair, pajama bottoms, and a top then she is with a phony tan and more cleavage than humanly possible. Because that is who she is and that is who I would prefer to be with. There is just something bothersome to me when a woman has a spray tan, enhanced cleavage, a wig and then tells me she is afraid I'm not who I say I am. Boggles the mind.

I love some of the acceptance speaches. The touching ones are always my favorite. I'm sure there are going to be some touching moments tonight, especially when Heath Ledger wins the award for best supporting actor.

I also love to dream. That against all odds my book, "Searching For Justice", is published made into a movie, and nominated for an award. Then we get a special table at the Globes for all my relatives, Section 16 and blog friends and have a ball! However, if you are at my table no spray tans allowed, maybe some cleavage but no spray tans.

Here are my predictions:

Best Movie:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

Who I want to win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who will win: The Reader

Best Director:

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road

Who I want to win: Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Who should win: Boyle Slumdog Millionaire
Who will win: Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon

Best Actor - Drama

Leonardo DiCaprio,Revolutionary Roa
Frank Langella ,Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke,The Wrestler

Who I want to win: Frank Langella Frost/Nixon
Who should win: Sean Pean, Milk
Who will win: Pitt, Button

Best Actress - Drama

Anne Hathaway ,Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, The Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

Who I want to win: love of my life Kristin Scott Thomas
Who should win: Anne Hathaway Rachel Getting Married
Who will win: Meryl Streep, Doubt

Best Picture - Musical/Comedy

'Burn After Reading'
'Happy Go Lucky'
'In Bruges'
'Mamma Mia'
'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'

Who I don’t want to win: Burn After Reading
Who should win: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Who will win: Mama Mia

Best Actor - Musical/Comedy

Javier Bardem 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
Colin Farrell ,'In Bruges'
James Franco'Pineapple Express'
Brendan Gleeson 'In Bruges'
Dustin Hoffman ,'Last Chance Harvey'

Who I want to win: Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey
Who should win: Hoffman
Who will win: Colin Farrell, In Bruges

Best Actress - Musical/Comedy:

Rebecca Hall ,'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
Sally Hawkins 'Happy Go Lucky'
Frances McDormand 'Burn After Reading'
Meryl Streep 'Mamma Mia'
Emma Thompson 'Last Chance Harvey'

Who I want to win: Emma Thompson, Last Chance Harvey
Who should win: Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
Who will win: Streep, Mamma Mia

Best Supporting Actor:

Tom Cruise ,'Tropic Thunder'
Robert Downey Jr,'Tropic Thunder'
Ralph Fiennes 'The Duchess'
Philip Seymour Hoffman 'Doubt'
Heath Ledger 'The Dark Knight'

Who I want to win: the man my siblings say that reflects my offbeat personality
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

Who should win: Heath Ledger, Dark Knight
Who will win: Heath Ledger.

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams ,'Doubt'
Penelope Cruz 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
Viola Davis 'Doubt'
Marisa Tomei 'The Wrestler'
Kate Winslet 'The Reader'

Who I want to win: The other love of my life Amy Adams, Doubt
Who should win: Viola Davis, Doubt
Who will win: Kate Winslet

Best Television Drama:

In Treatment
Mad Men
True Blood

The winner: Mad Men

Best Actor - Television Drama:

Gabriel Byrne,In Treatment
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, The Tudors

The winner: Hugh Laurie, House

Best Actress - Television Drama:

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit'
January Jones, Mad Men
Anna Paquin, True Blood
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Wow some really great women her but my choice to win: Sally Field. I like her, I really like her.

Best Television Musical/Comedy:

30 Rock
The Office

The winner: The Office

Best Actor - Television Musical/Comedy:

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Kevin Connolly, Entourage
David Duchovny, Californication
Tony Shalhoub, Monk

The winner: Steve Carell, The Office

Best Actress - Television Musical/Comedy:

Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Debra Messing, The Starter Wife
Mary Louise Parker, Weeds

The winner: Sarah Palin, aks, Tina Fey.

Best Supporting Actor - Television:

Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Denis Leary, Recount
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Blair Underwood, In Treatment
Tom Wilkinson, John Adams

The winner- since I'm related to John Adams, Tom Wilinson.

Best Supporting Actress - Television:

Eileen Atkins, Cranford
Laura Dern, Recount
Melissa George, In Treatment
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment

The winner is: Laura Dern, Recount.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's Your Turn

Update day #2 for 2009. I want to hear everything going on in your life, whether you are caring for an elderly parent or not. If you have been following the blog but haven't posted, would love you to introduce yourself. You may make some new friends!

Negativity has been big with me this week. How negative Mom is really got to me yesterday. I can be really positive, really enjoying life, and then whammo I visit Mom. It brings me down below bottom. I really try to be positive around her and bring her up. A lot of the days I manage to do that. Not yesterday. I finally said to her "do you suppose in the next ten minutes you could maybe say one positive thing before I go crazy?" The response. "I'm not being negative, I just don't get it. I was being upbeat." Her pains are bad, she is sick all the time, my brother never calls, they messed up her drugs at the pharmacy, she is alone to much, sis just doesn't understand her getting old, I'm not there often enough (right like every day isn't enough. I'd really hate to see what her take is when she thinks she is being negative. I made mom check her sugar, checked her blood pressure, everything was normal. Then I left. A few more minutes there and justifiable homicide might have been an option. Would I have been convicted?

The rest of the week was preparing. Preparing for tax season. I'm trying to get all of my errands out of the way before the job starts. My car got its normal checkup on Friday. I got my annual eye checkup on Thursday. Wednesday was lunch with my old friend. Tuesday was getting all my documents in order to do my corporate tax return. Monday was grocery shopping. Today it is getting my mom's books done. I have to be at Mom's most of the day to accomplish that. Watch the news reports just in case I go over the edge. I'm also going to watch Top Chef tonight and will report on it tomorrow. I kind of watched it Wednesday night but recorded it so I could view it a second time. Double elimination week on T.C. Tomorrow it is shopping for new duds. January of every year I buy a few new shirts, a couple of pairs of slacks and the marry some old clothes with Goodwill. Sunday I also plan on going to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and then Sunday night watch The Golden Globe awards. Last year's Golden Globes were a shell due to a strike so this year should be really good. Next week I really haven't planned much but I am sure there will be a lot of Mom time. I'm also sure since Mom's 93rd birthday is the 21st, I will do some gift shopping.

OK tell me everything. Ask me anything. Give me advise. I'm all ears! (at least that is what they said when I was growing up, but fortunately my head grew into my ears)
I will anxiously await getting to know more about you!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Good Lunches And Good Doctors

Been an interesting couple of days. Yesterday I had a really enjoyable lunch with an old friend. It has been over five years since we connected. We ate at Ruby Tuesday's, I had never been to one of those before. The last time I was at this particular Ruby Tuesday's it was a Beaches restaurant. Lorraine is just the most charming, pretty, intelligent, fun person to be around. I met her when she was a payroll rep for a payroll company, she was pregnant with her first child. She now has three children, all teenagers. Wow does time ever go fast. Watching her rise from a rep to eventually a district manager for the same company, one of the few women to rise to that level in the company, was just a joy to watch. She just recently started a new job for a large company. Her new company better watch out, she may be C.E.O. before you know it!Her husband also started a new job recently going from real estate to a sales person for a large TV network. Real estate just is at a stand still right now and I know he will do great at the new job.

Today was my annual eye appointment. My eye doctor and his assistants are just really great. I don't know how I feel about his assistant calling me dear several times. I took it as a compliment but maybe I should have been offended. The good news is my eyes had no change from last year and there is absolutely no sign of eye disease. I go back in a year. I did get a new prescription for glasses, not because I had to but because the glasses I have now have been through hell. They have been sat on, been stepped on, been dropped from high places, I'm surprised those classes stuck by me for five years. They should have divorced me a long time ago.

Interesting story about how I ended up choosing Dr. C as my doctor. A few years ago my Mom had cataract surgery. Mom ended up with an infection that they said happens in one of every five thousand cataract surgeries. The doctor that did the surgery went on vacation right after the surgery. When Mom started having problems she called Dr. L's office and was referred to Dr. C., he saw her immediately. When he examined Mom's eyes, he just said "I'm sorry this is way beyond me." and referred her to Dr. D, called him made an emergency appointment with him and we went right from one office to the other. When we got to Dr. D's office he immediately performed a procedure on Mom's eyes saying she didn't have time to get to the hospital. Dr. D saved mom's eyesight. As did Dr. C. I really respect a doctor that knows what not to treat as well as he knows what to treat. So many doctors would have tried to perform a procedure on Mom's eyes rather than admit they didn't know what to do. I've been going to Dr. C. since. I know he will perform what he knows how expertly and what he doesn't know how to do he will send me to the person that does. I find that extremely comforting.

How did you choose your doctors? I often thought we spend more time choosing a car or a TV then we do a professional, whether it be an attorney, a CPA, or a doctor. What steps to you go through before making the leap to a professional?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


What if you were eighty-six years old when you were born and got younger every year? Would you look at death differently? Would you look at love differently? Would people view you differently?

The CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON starring Brad Pitt tries to answer some of those questions. Based loosely on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Oscar nominated worthy roles by Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button, Cate Blanchett as Daisy and a marvelous supporting role by Jared Harris as Captain Mike the movie is to long at two hours and forty-five minutes.

Benjamin's mother died while giving birth to him, overwhelmed with the ugliness of his new baby Thomas Button abandon's Benjamin, leaving him on the door step of a nursing home. Queenie played marvelously Taraji P. Hanson finds the baby and raises him as her own together with her husband Tizzy. The African-American couple manage the nursing home where Benjamin learns death is normal.

As Benjamin grows younger he goes to brothels, learns to drink, learns the value of the dollar, goes to war (where he learns death isn't always normal), falls in love, first with a married woman played marvelously by Twilda Swinton, then with the beautiful Daisy. As Daisy ages, Benjamin gets younger. Their love grows.

We see the story unfold as Daisy's daughter (played beautifully by the beautiful Julie Ormand) reads from a diary to her dying Mom in a hospital in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches.

I start with one negative football because of the length, but I give one football each for Pitt, Blanchett, and Harris, I add another for the cinematography, another for the screenplay, another for the questions it had me asking myself. Five footballs.

The questions that the movie had me asking myself? If I lived life in reverse how would my life have been different? Were there moments during my life that if I had made a different choice my life would have been better or worse? Do I now view aging differently? I am pondering those questions as I write this and if I get the courage may blog about a couple of moments in my life that I wish the decision I had made would have been different.

A couple of questions for you and admittedly they are very difficult ones. If you had the choice of being born young and then aging like we do now or being born old and then getting younger which would you choose? Does aging scare you? If so how?

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Holiday Officially Ends, The New Year Begins

I'm looking at today as the true first day of the New Year. The Schools reopened today, many parents went back to work. This is a great day for me to start the work on my goals. It isn't even nine o'clock in the morning yet and I've already knocked nine items off my to do list. I feel energized today, it just seems like a new beginning. This is the first time in three weeks when there wasn't snow or ice in my driveway or on my car. It just felt safe to walk again and everything felt right with the world.

Now on the list today is grocery shopping. Then maybe a movie. Both my brother and sister said Benjamin Button was a good movie so I might take that one in. It is showing at 11:30 in Sherwood. Then there is some time with Mom, she needs to go to The Dollar Tree. She wasn't feeling well yesterday so stayed in all day. I talked to her this morning and she sounded great. She said she kind of felt energized too.

Tomorrow I take my car for the regular service and will also take mom to dinner at Rose's tomorrow night. They have a special $9.99 dinner special that we want to try. No caregivers tomorrow night. Just my nephew staying with mom. He always comes to late for dinner so I thought this would be a great way to spend time with mom and save her from cooking. Wednesday is lunch with my old business associate and friend. Not to mention watching the first new Top Chef in three weeks! Thursday is my annual eye appointment. Friday is knocking things off my list that I have to get done before the job starts on the 19th. In between there is checking web sites for LA, Phoenix, Palm Springs, etc to see what living options they have there. How much winter homes would cost. What rent is, what property is selling for. I will also check the cost of living in those areas. See how many accounting firms each locale has. Next winter we will in one of those places!

Do you feel energized today? Does this feel like a start of a better year for you? What is on your to do list for today? DR how was the doctor appointment?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Update Day of 2009.

Today is my first favorite blog day of 2009! Update Day! This is the day when you tell me anything you want to tell me about anything that is going on in your life. You can ask any questions of me or maybe you need some suggestions with how to handle the elderly relative that you caring for. The posters her are both supportive and helpful so ask away.

I've pretty much already updated my life in the previous posts. A couple of things though that I haven't mentiond. One is my annual eye appointment Thursday. Looking forward to it. My eyesight has remained the same for about ten years now and I am hopeful that it will be eleven. Wednesday the day before I am going to have lunch with an old friend and business associate that gave me a really surprise call last Tuesday night. She was the manager of a payroll service company that I referred my clients to. I never liked doing payroll so I always farmed it out. I met Lorraine when she was pregnant with her first child. She has three children now, all teenagers. We really enjoyed each other's company so we became friends. Even when they changed her territory she kept me as a client. Her husband Pat is a darn nice guy too. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with her.

As part of Update Day I am going to pass along a question that Lady Dr. emailed me. Here is her email:

"Bill, I don't know if this is a possible discussion item on the blog, but it's a question I've been dealing with for some time and I think it applies to single caregivers going out with friends, as well as married caregivers going out with spouses. How do you feel about this issue, cause it's been a pondering point for me for several months.

You have a parent who's capable of going out to eat, whether they're living at home or independent living or even assisted living in some cases. A parent who loves to get out and loves to eat out. You take him/her out for Mothers/Fathers Day, his/her birthday, date of wedding anniversary. You take him/her to lunch before/after doctor appointments or sometimes grocery shopping or just because and sometimes out to dinner. But... it comes to your birthday or your spouse's birthday or your anniversary or just the fact the two of you need a treat and you want to go alone as a couple or, if single, out with a good friend or two.

Does anyone else feel guilty about this? Leaving Mom/Dad at home/wherever, while you go out and indulge in a nice dinner? Especially when he/she raises the question, "Where are you going to celebrate" Is it easier if you're single or do you still want to celebrate with friends and take this as a break you deserve? Where the heck is the balance on this issue? "

Back to me. I'm not the best one to answer this one since most of my personal celebrations include Mom. I don't feel guilty, however, when I do things by myself, go on a date, or take a personal day. Mom has gradually become very supportive of me having a life away from her. She was extremely supportive of me taking the comeday class even though it meant one less day that I would have to do things for her.

OK, the blog is now yours. Tell me anything. Ask me Anything. Give Lady Dr. some help or support. I am looking forward to your responses.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Goals For 2009.

I used to do resolutions but had such a poor record about keeping them that I do goals instead of resolutions but I do make one resolution every year that I know I can keep. I resolve not to get pregnant in 2009.

My goals for 2009:

1. Since I'm not sure how much time Mom has left, try to make her life as enjoyable as possible.

2. Stay the course until all my fitness goals are met.

3. Complain less.

4. Go out of my comfort zone more often.

5. The one I've made every year for ten years, finish the book I am writing, with your support I made more progress on the book in 2008 then I ever have. This year I want to not only continue the process but finish it.

6. Find a winter home away from Portland.

7. Take a standup class.

8. Travel more.

9. Finish getting my minimal assets into the trust I set up

10. Date more. Hopefully meet the one. I know you can't schedule or put a time deadline on love, however, it would be a trip to put an engagement ring under next year's Christmas Tree, then
have a celebration on New Year's Eve!

Did you make any resolutions this year? Goals? If so what were they? Have any exciting plans for 2009? Inquiring minds want to know!