Monday, January 30, 2006

The Zen of Joe Montana

It' s Super Bowl week. And I was thinking about a Super Bowl I saw in Miami many years ago. It was the 49ers vs. the Bengals.
The Bengals were winning with very little time left. Joe Montana began an amazing last minute drive that ended in a 49ers win. Some people call it the most amazing drive in Super Bowl history. Joe Montana, the quarterback was asked how he was able to concentrate when he had a minute left and 80 yards to cover. And he said that he never thought about the 80 yards, he just thought of the next play and the next ten yards. Those words have stuck with me forever. Concentrate on the now. Don't look at the long road ahead. Just think about this right now. And make the best play possible.

Merry widow

There is a very personal side to this movie that I was finally able to catch on Turner Classic Movies. When I was a kid, my grandmother would always talk about this movie. It was her favorite. She would tell me "Such and such a movie is good. But I wish I could see 'The Merry Widow' again. These were the days before 500 channel cable tv and the VCR was just beginning. So if a movie was not on one of the few local channels, you could never see it. So she never saw "The Merry Widow" again. So last night It was on TCM and I had to see it. I wanted to watch it and see what she saw in that movie. Try to figure out what made it special. And I really enjoyed the movie, it's romantic and kind of corny, but with a sense of humor too. I loved the movie. And, most important, while watching it I felt close to my abuelita who left this world 28 years ago.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Malia Jones

I shot a Budweiser commercial with her ten years ago. It was a commercial about women surfing. I remember sitting in the sailboat during the shoot, watching drop dead gorgeous Malia and two other Hawaiian women surfing off the coast of Pinones. It was a beautiful, perfect day. And I remember thinking..."this is is it..this is the coolest moment of my advertising career. Nothing will ever match this moment". Nothing has.


I started re-reading this book.I must have read it 10 times. It is such an amazing book. It is deep, sad,tragic, playful. It has WWII, metaphysics, aliens, time disconnection. It has an excerpt from a wonderful poem by Theodore Roethke. It 's about a man who lives in three places at the same time: in Dresden during World War II, in the midwest in the 1970's and in a planet called Trafalgamadore, where he lives with a porn star. There is joy in the way the words are written and there is joy in reading it, and there's also sadness too. A must read.


They want me to decide on vacation days for 2006. I have 20 vacation days so I must make the big decisions. Do I divide them up? Do I take them together and stay away from work for a whole month? What the fuck can I do during those days? It used to be that they would let you take vacation days when you were tired or burnt up. But now you have to PLAN your vacation. Will I be tired and burnt up in April? May? June? I don't really know. So I may end up taking a few days off when I'm most relaxed. Shit. They are making vacations a chore. Amazing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Vanity Fair

I love this magazine. Basically because it has a perfect combination of deep, thoughful articles about politics and life. And then it has fluff like pieces about Lindsay Lohan. Which is great, because in a way I am like that. With my deep side that cares about world events and the side that wants to know well....things about Lindsay Lohan.

Hotel Emperador

I have fond memories of this hotel, It was from my first trip to Spain when I was a kid. I went there with my parents and sister. We stayed at this hotel because this was the place my grandparents used to stay. It's an old majestic hotel, but was run down when we were there. There were no tv's in the room!!! But there was a tv room in the lobby that would eternally show soccer games. From this photo it looks like the Emperador has been renovated. Probably has satellite tv.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Carla Bruni

When I read about this CD on Entertainment Weekly I thought they were kidding. They were giving an "A" rating to a CD by model Carla Bruni. Well, let's make that extremly sexy model Carla Bruni. Inmediately I imagined it would be a silly, bubble gum album. Well, guess what? This is a wonderful, soothing album featuring basically Bruni's sexy voice and guitar. Sort of jazzy. It goes very well with a Saturday afternoon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Super Bowl

I was perfect on my predictions for teams heading for the Super Bowl. As for the prediction for the game...I don't know yet. Should be a good one. I am leaning towards Seattle...but don't want to commit yet.


I bought this book at Borders on Sunday. I guess, after an adventure book like "Capitan Alatriste" I wanted some deep reading. And did I get that! This is a brilliant, terryfying, infinitely sad little book about a teenager sent to a Nazi concentraion camp. He sees his mother and little sister sent to the gas chambers and sees his father die while screaming his name and he can't go near him because he is afraid of the guards. This book tears you apart.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ma Mere

Last night I saw the most fucked up movie I have seen in a while. It's called "Ma Mere".It's a French movie you can find at Blockbuster. It stars Isabelle Huppert as a woman who introduces her son to a world of decadence, depravity and every kind of sexual kink you can think of. It's really interesting movie that keeps you guessing as to where it's heading. It's kind of refreshing to see a movie that pushes sexual boundaries in a time when every Hollywood movie has to be PG-13. It's good to see the French still pushing the envelope. Check it out. This is a serious, adult movie. Not for the easily offended.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Looking for intelligent movies

Something interesting is happening now. Intelligent, award winning movies only play in one movie theater. Movies like "Pride and Prejudice", "Capote", "Brokeback Mountain", "Constant Gardener" ....they can only be seen at the tiny Fine Arts screens. Even Spielberg's "Munich" only played at 5 theaters. What does this mean? Does it mean that people in Puerto Rico just want to see CGI and horror movies? That they are too unsophisticated to watch a good drama? Or do they just see these movies because Caribbean Cinemas offers them no choice?

I side with Caribbean Cinemas in this one. More and more, when I talk to people (especially young people) about movies, they hate any movie that is "lento" (slow). Only movies like "Underworld" satisfy them. To them movies are just purely for fun, to get away, to stop thinking, to stop having to reflect about life, love , sex. To them, movies are meant to make you numb.

So it's no wonder Caribbean Cinemas are simply playing intelligent movies at the Fine Arts. They are businesspeople and they may have realized that there is no money on "Pride and Prejudice"...but plenty of dough on "Blade 10"

Thursday, January 19, 2006

cool places

Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. There is music, street performers. Visit it and can enjoy all the craziness and magic of the city .
And... can get some damn good chocolate there.

Peter Cushing

I grew up watching his movies. He was Van Helsing in horror films like "Brides of Dracula", "Horror of Dracula". He was also a great Dr. Frankenstein and a truly amazing Sherlock Holmes. I guess most people know him from the original "Star Wars". I miss his kind, the horror movie actor. And I also miss the kind of gentle, gothic horror movie he used to make. They were nicely crafted little gems made mostly by two British studios called Hammer Films and Amicus. They ruled horror movies in the 60's and 1970's. But then "The Exorcist" and slasher films became the norm and these wonderful movies vanished forever. Luckily DVD has brought them back. And I am able to enjoy them, popcorn in one hand, soft drink in the other.

The real greatest concert

The Stones are coming to town in the "top concert ever in Puerto Rico". But even though I'm going, I'm not that excited. Maybe because in September I went to Miami to see Paul McCartney. Nothing can beat that concert experience. It was over 30 songs, some of the greatest rock songs ever. He sang "Penny Lane", "Helter Skelter", "Hey Jude", "I will" and over 20 Beatle songs. The "Hey Jude" sing along has to be the most amazing concert moment of my life. You are watching Paul, someone who changed the world. The genius behind so much music and there you are singing along with him.

I guess my lack of real excitement has to do that, when you're my age, you're either a Beatle person or a Stones person. You may like both, but you only feel real love for one of them. And I am a Beatle person, I love the optimism, the magic. They were the greatest rock group ever. Ever.

Capitan alatriste

I just discovered this wonderful book. It is the first in a series of adventure books set in 17th century Spain. They are really interesting, well written and fun. Even though the plots are fast paced, the language is so rich and witty that you actually read the book slowly to savor every line. I love this book and I am already looking forward to reading the next one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

NFL picks

Next weekend are the NFl championship games. My favorites are the Seahawks and the Steelers.It could make for a different, cool Super Bowl.


When I first saw this movie years ago, I walked out of the theater. It was the most annoying, unpleasant movie ever. Not that it was violent or offensive. It was just just unsettling. Like one of those terrible nightmares in which you try to escape from something, but can't. But I saw it on DVD the othe night and realized what an amazing movie it is. It is unpleasant, and disturbing. It is full of starnge images, sounds that make you want to scream, to say "enough of this!" but if you keep watching you will be rewarded. Check out this film by David Lynch, his first. Just don't watch late at night because youwill have the strangest dreams of your life.

favorite places

The small village of Felanitx in Mallorca, where my grandfather was born.

Golden Globes

Who won the Golden Globes the other night? Nobody cares. It has come to the point where awards shows are about who shows the most cleavage. Yesterday all the tv shows were talking about Drew Barrymore's boobs and Scarlett Johansson's red dress. And in a way, it's a good thing. The whole "who is the best actor" thing is pretty silly and it makes for some horrendous choices (remember "Titanic" breaking every record?). So when the Oscars come in a month or so, I'll watch the red carpet, watch the Jon Stewart monologue and switch to Turner Classic Movies.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


One of the strange things that have happened to me in terms of movie tastes is that suddenly I like westerns. Must be a sign of age or something. But now I'm trying to catch every John Wayne-Randolph Scott movie I can find. I love the damn movies, the heroism they project, the beauty of the landscape. They are tales of honor, courage. They probably have no basis on history, but the mythology of it is very powerful. Those who think that things like "Lord of the Rings" or "Star Wars" are rich in mythology..well...sorry but any John Ford or Howard Hawks western is richer. Anyway..must go ...there could be a good western on TCM or Encore.

I love this poem

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

by Theodore Roethke

Friday, January 13, 2006

More Puerto Rico sci-fi

This seems to be the month for 1960's Puerto Rican horror movies on DVD. These three are from famous B movie director Roger Corman. He came to Puerto Rico to take advantage of some tax breaks and shot these three movies in a couple of months. In the only one I have seen "The Last Woman on Earth" , the last three survivors in the world after "oxygen dissapears from earth for few hours". They were scuba diving, so they survived. So they take refuge in the Caribe Hilton to decide what to do. They fight, they argue and, well,,,nothing much happens. It was written by the guy who would later pen "Chinatown". The other two movies on the set are "Battle of Blood Island", a WWII movie!!!! and "Creature from the Haunted Sea".They are sold as a set.


Religion and politics don't mix. Whether it's Pat Robertson from the Right or this asshole here from the Left. For some strange reason this representative of everybody's favorite pedophilic, woman fearing religion in Puerto Rico, has to speak his mind on everything from taxes, to status to local politics. And the local press, who is always eager to condemn jerks like Jorge Raschke, praise this motherfucker every time they can. And anyway. why doesn't this idiot spend more time looking for corruption inside his church full of perverts and leave us alone to make our own individual choices?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mars invades Puerto Rico- it's on DVD!!!!

The best Frankenstein movie shot in Puerto Rico comes to DVD. It's "Frankenstein vs. the Space Monster" also known as "Mars invades Puerto Rico". I'm not kidding. This was an ultra cheap movie made in the 1960's. An astronaut crash lands in Puerto Rico, becomes a monster and kidnaps "go-go" local beauties at a pool party. Film is truly bad but it gives you a glimpse of a gentler, more quiet Puerto Rico back in the 1960s.

favorite places

San Diego, California


This is the movie theater where I remember seeing my first movie, "Peter Pan" with my grandparents. It was a wonderful art deco movie house located in Loiza Street in front of the old Shannon's Pub. According to books on local architecture, it was one of the most beautiful examples of art deco in Puerto Rico. For years it was a first run theater, then a second run one showing double features. It closed down in the early 1980's and it slowly faded away.The photo you see is of its last days, when it was run down, but still maintained a certain majesty to it.
Unfortunately it was destroyed in 2001 to make way for an atrocious looking building.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A night at "Munich"

Went to see "Munich" at Montehiedra on Sunday. Between cellphone rings from assholes all around, I was able to enjoy a really good film. A film that takes you back to the 1970's in terms of history and in terms of movies. It tells the story of an Israeli hit squad that was formed to avenge the killings at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The acting is excellent, it contains so many suspenseful scenes. And it has a 1970's movie feeling since it refuses to divide the world into good guys vs. bad guys. It says both sides have a point in waht they are doing and more controversial to some, that both sides could be wrong in what they are doing. This is a very courageous movie.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Why the owners of Caribbean Cinemas are the spawn of Satan

I was reading the other day that moviegoers in the States are very angry at the fact that they now have to watch 10 minutes of commercials prior to a movie. In fact, this is mentioned as one of the main causes people are preferring to watch movies at home. Well, they should come to Puerto Rico, where the evil people at Caribbean Cinemas subject us to 40 minutes of ads!!! And it's hard to decide which ads are the worst...the Burger King ads with people singing the praises of the Whopper, the Ponderosa ads. Every ad, no matter how good, becomes an insult to the moviegoer. Each ad is saying " Fuck you, asshole! You are not seeing the movie yet!" I was reading that more and more ads want to create empathy with the brand. Well, placing you commercial in movie theaters may just do the opposite.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cat Stevens-Teaser and the Firecat

There are old music albums that one used to listen to that seem kind of silly now. But there are others that acquire new meanings as the years go by. And this is one of them.
It contains some of the greatest songs of the 1970's in one place. I love "The Wind", a gorgeous song that Cameron Crowe used in "Almost Famous", then there's "Rubylove", an upbeat love song. Then "If I Laugh", one of the most heartbreaking songs ever. It's about unrequited love and it's amazing. And then he gives you a second song about the topic "How Can I Tell You", another haunting love song. "Morning Has Broken", "Peace Train" are also here. In an age where "Gasolina" passes for great lyrics and musical craftsmanship, listen to someone who wrote some of the most heartfelt lyrics and great melodies.

cool movie- The Constant Gardener

Kurt Vonnegut once said that once you enter a love story into a novel, it ruins everything because automatically the novel becomes about the love story. Everything else becomes secondary. Well, I guess he's wrong this time. This is a movie that perfectly combines a love story, politics and spying. It is , of course, based on a novel by John Le Carre, perhaps the greatest writer living today. He wrote such classics as "The SPy who Came in from the Cold". Anyway, this one is about a British diplomat who loses his activist wife in Africa, in mysterious circumstances. I can't tell you anything more. The acting is great, Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz are amazing. Check this movie out.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

cool movie- "Broken Flowers"

If you liked "Lost in Translation" you will love this one.
Bill Murray receives an anonymous letter informing him he has a 19 year old son. So he decides to set on a road trip to visit the four women who could possibly be the mother of his son. Movie is funny, sad and sometimes plain melancholy. It is slow moving and there is no CGI, but it is a thoughtful, wonderful movie.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

People I want to kill Part One.

The assholes who go to Borders in Plaza and turn the place into the biggest mess on earth.
See magazines in the music section!!!
See Beatles CD's in the jazz section!
See Monty Python movies under "Horror"
See soft drinks on the DVD section!!!
The only section that is untouched is the "Literature" section.
Which kind of tells you a bit about the people creating the chaos.


I was noticing that all the movie theaters I used to attend as a kid have disappeared (except for the Metro).
This was the Cinerama, a theater with an amazing screen that seemed to surround you. I used to see all the epic films there, from "Reds' to " Earthquake" (in sensurround!!!) and many others. It is also the place the place where I saw the coolest movie promo ever....for the movie "Finishing School" a terrible Spanish horror movie, they gave out Excedrin capsules to everyone entering the theater!!! The Cinerama closed down in the early 1980's, one of the first Santurce theaters that disapeared when Plaza became THE place to watch movies. Too bad. It is a carpet store now. I have never visited the carpet store, but one day I will to see if there's anything left from the old Cinerama.

Hooked on VH1 Classics

In order to turn me more into a couch potato, our local cable system has
introduced VH1 Classics to the digital lineup.
Now I'm tuning in to see 80's videos
and cool music from the 70's and 60's.
See Kaja goo goo!
See Men Without Hats!!!
See John Lennon walking around Central Park!
Debbie Gibson asking you to "Shake Your Love"!!
Fuck, there's that German woman singing "99 balloons"!!! (a peace song using balloons as a symbol!!! try topping that!!!)
I can't keep my eyes off this!!!!
Someone help me!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006