Tag Archives: Massachusetts

You aren’t clutzy…

Poor Jimmy Fallon.

He fell yet again in Massachusetts, hurting his right hand. This is the same year he hurt his left hand so badly, he spent a week in ICU, and chipped a tooth trying to open a tube of lotion for said hand.

What a clutz…or maybe not?

You may recall I got bit by a stingray on my family’s beach vacation in Florida.  There were 10 of us; I got the chomp.


Now it appears a spider bit my right arm sometime over the past two days,  and I have a swollen lump of itchiness near my elbow.

We, Jimmy, are the chosen.

I will let you know if I figure out how to get off the list.


I’m okay not knowing everything.

For instance, I had never heard of the Asian long-horned beetle. Then I saw this poster in the subway.

Now I not only know what the gnarly bugs look like, but that they’re killing our trees. And we need to stop them…and never move firewood.

Never move firewood?  Okay.

Hardwood trees in my adopted state of New York have been destroyed; trees in Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey, too. Trees in forests and cities all across America are at risk.

I went into the subway for a ride, not an education on scary bugs.  But unfortunately, you can’t erase unwelcome memories Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-style in real life.

So, if I have to have this tree killer’s image in my head, so do you.

If you see one, report it to 866-702-9938.  Better yet, they recommend you catch a few in a jar and freeze them, or take digital pictures.  Both will aide officials in identifying the beetles.

Got it?  Good.  Now go de-bug your brains.  Pet a warm, fuzzy puppy…or read celebrity dish in US Weekly.

That’s my plan.


I see a lot of movies…at least one a week.

And never has a director’s ‘stamp’ been so obvious to me as during the double feature I saw yesterday:  “Conviction,” starring Hillary Swank, and “Hereafter,” with Matt Damon.

I hadn’t intended to see two such heavy films back-to-back, but the times worked out and the screens were right next door to each other…so off I went.

“Conviction” is the true story of a working class mother who puts herself through college and law school in an attempt to free her brother who is serving a life sentence after being wrongly convicted of murder.  Director Tony Goldwyn, who has worked behind the camera in television more than film, really brings the audience into the story.  The scenes between Hillary Swank and Sam Rockwell, who plays her brother, are particularly heartbreaking.

I don’t know how anyone could leave the theater untouched by that movie.

I can’t same the same about “Hereafter.” Directed by Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood, this movie tells the story of three people — an American man, a French woman and a British boy — who are all touched by death and whose lives intersect in their quest to connect with life beyond.

Eastwood’s movie  has a bold opening that took my breath away, but when the emotion should have matched the CGI, the film instead pulled away.  I felt like a spectator from a very great distance.  I still cared about the people; I just didn’t share in their experiences.

So…why was the material handled so differently?

Did Goldwyn, who has lived in in Massachusetts (where the “Conviction” story took place) have a more personal connection to the material…and that subsequently came through in the final product?

Could Eastwood’s own feelings about life-after death have caused him to ‘observe’ the story himself and unintentionally give the audience the same experience?

Or did I bring my own biases to the party that colored my view of both films?

If you’ve seen “Conviction,” “Hereafter,” or both, leave a comment with your thoughts.

And we’ll see.  We’ll see.

Killer nose

I lived in Boston for six years, and never knew Lizzie Borden’s house was just down the road.

(Random learning from the Internet #725)

Turns out Lizzie Borden and her poor, axe-murdered parents were from Fall Rivers, which is an hour outside of Boston.  Their house has been turned into a museum and bed-and-breakfast, and was recently chosen by The Huffington Post as one of the “10 Strangest Lodgings to Stay Around the World.”

I would second that notion.

Visitors can take a “time tour” of the murders — even see the carefully preserved skulls of the Bordens —  then stay overnight in Lizzie’s room or the rooms of her dearly departed mom and dad.

Well, that certainly sounds restful.

Of course, we have to remember that Lizzie was found not guilty at the murder trial.  But the made-for-TV movie, “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” starring Elizabeth Montgomery, is what is burned on my brain.

There she was — sweet, nose-twitching Samantha  — spooky scary as Lizzie Borden.  After watching her re-enact how the police thought the murders had taken place, I was never more certain in my life that any woman was a cold-blooded killer.  Based on her performance alone, there is no way I would stay overnight in that house.

If the ghost of Lizzie Borden doesn’t get you in your sleep, I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Montgomery will.

Smart foods

Retinal scans.  They’re all the rage in action films.

  • How do you gain access to most high-security labs?  Retinal scan.
  • What unlocks the CONTROL headquarter doors in “Get Smart?”  Retinal scan.
  • Why does Tom Cruise steal eyeballs in “Minority Report?” Retinal scan.


And now retinal scans are coming to a vending machine near you! (Well…if you live outside the United States, that is.)

Massachusetts-based Next Generation Vending and Food Service has begun testing machines that use retinal scans to identify and charge customers for their vending machine purchases.

Kinda creepy, kinda invasive.  Which may be why in the United States, they decided to instead test cash-free machines that link a person’s thumbprint to his or her credit card.

Not sure why that’s less creepy…but it is.  Maybe because we shake hands with people all the time, but it’s rare that we rub eyeballs.  Or let people scan our heads unless it’s medically necessary.

Buying a PayDay doesn’t seem like a medical necessity.  Unless it’s been a really hard day at work.