Thursday, August 31, 2006

a movie favorite

This movie about students in their first year at Harvard Law School is a favorite of mine. First because when it came out, I had no idea what college life was like and it provided a small glimpse. Most movies only show you the frat house side of that life. But this movie showed you the academic side. The hours of study. The butterflies before a really hard exam.

The story concerns a Midwest student (Timothy Bottoms) and his study group at Harvard. Simple enough, but then he starts dating the Profesor's daughter ( a really beautiful Lindsay Wagner, before her "Mujer Nuclear" days) and in a way has to decide between law school and the woman he loves. By the way, the Professor (John Houseman) became an pop culture icon with his tyrannical demeanor.

This movie was later turned into an excellent tv series (when is the damn DVD coming out?) that won multiple awards and lasted around 4 seasons.

The Paper Chase is playing on Cinemax at odd hours.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The other day it was raining and I took this photo from my window.
I liked the way it turned out.

Why I love Showtime

Last night I was flipping channels and came across this amazing movie from the 1960's.Obviously inspired by the James Bond movies of the era, this is actually better and more entertaining than most of the 007 flicks. It's called "Dealier than the Male" and it stars Richard Johnson (The Haunting) as the man who must solve a series of murders of high profile, influential business leaders. They are being bumped off by
ravishingly beautiful female assassins, hence the title. Contrary to 007 ripoffs of the era, this film is perfectly serious about it which makes it really cool. It also stars
Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina, two famous euro beauties of the time. Lots of fun, especially for guys. Check it on Showtime.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I'm three days away from taking a small 3 day vacation. I'm not traveling this time but will probably head for the beach. Maybe just walk around and take photos. Read. Maybe go to the Metro theater and catch a couple of afternoon flicks. A vegetar se ha dicho.

The Roaring Twenties

These days I have been going way back in time in terms of movies I'm watching on DVD. Like this classic 1939 movie called "The Roaring Twenties" a gangster movie set in the 1920's of fun, jazz and illegal booze. In it, a young man (James Cagney) comes back from World War I and finds out he can't find a job so he ends up selling booze during the Prohibition era. The movie is very real in showing you the stupidity behind Prohibition, a time in which booze was available anywhere and organized crime and gang wars for the control of alcohol distribution were the headlines of the day. While watching the movie one couldn't help noticing the parallels to the "war on drugs" today. Cops getting bribes from the mob, the ridiculous and meaningless police "raids", the politicians in on the action.

But in simple entertainment terms, this is also a great look at a very special era in American history. It also shows you, how intelligent and gritty old movies could be. The fact that its also stars Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, makes it even better.
I found this on DVD, but it plays regularly on Turner Classic Movies
(channel 77-OneLink)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

my favorite all time quote. ever.

"No human being can really understand another,
and no one can arrange another's happiness"

Graham Greene, "The Heart of the Matter"

Saturday, August 26, 2006

one day long ago

Must have been 1976. The whole world was listening to a new thing called "disco" music. Everyone at school loved the music. All radio stations played it. Over here, rock was dead. I bought a couple of singles and I hated them. Thought there was something wrong with me. At that age, thinking different was always traumatic.

Anyway, one afternoon I was walking by Ponce De Leon Avenue and I went into the New York Department Store. In the basement there was a record store. I started browsing through the albums, one disco album after the other. Nothing new caught my attention. Then I came across "The Beatles 1967-1970". I had heard about the group, knew a couple of songs. I decided to figure out whether they were any good. Bought the album, wondering whether it was worth the investment of a double album.

Went home and played it. And for the first time, I felt an inmense joy about music. I listened to it again and again. "Hey Jude" was the one that made me a convert. What an amazing melody, what an amazing lyric to listen to. As a teen, I needed to hear that despite everything, you could make a sad song and make it better. And then "The Long and Winding Road", I knew nothing about love but I could relate to the feeling of loss in the song. I also liked "The Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Obladi, Oblada" two goofy songs I really loved. I still listen to them and feel joy.

It was quite a day of discovery, that one. The blue album had changed my life. But there was the red album to discover. I must have revisited the New York Departent Store
quite quickly after that.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bill Maher quote

"All stereotypes are true."

A night at the movies 70 years ago

Warner DVD has done of the coolest things. They have recreated in many of their classic DVD's a night at the movies from long ago. So when you buy a movie like "G-Men" (1936) with James Cagney, you get a newsreel, two short features, coming attractions, a cartoon and the movie. All of them exactly the ones that played when the movie was exhibited seventy years ago. The same way our grandparents probaly saw them at the Riviera theater or a place like that.

A wonderful idea. By the way, the movie is pretty cool. No one like James Cagney to play a tough guy, this time on the right side of the law. Plenty of action, thrills and tough "dames". All in all, a fun time. Prepare the popcorn and go back in history, for just one night.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


It's almost Labor Day. Blink and it's Thanksgiving. Blink and it's Christmas.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I am a Vitamin World junkie.

Some funny things start to happen when you reach 40. Suddenly, out of the blue, maintaining a youthful life becomes an obsession. And you become a Vitamin World kind of a person, actually believing all the health claims "not approved by the FDA". You start taking supplements that may work, others that a study somewhere said might work.

First, the multivitamin. But no ordinary one, a multivitamin "for men" with herbs that add "vitality" (nudge, nudge). Then Vitamin C because, well, it's good for you. Then Saw Palmetto, supposed to be good for the prostate. Then Gingko, for the brain (a study said it's good). Then Soy, because I read somewhere in Men's Health that its healthy. Then Fish Oil, for cholesterol, this is one that is really supposed to be great for your health. Then Calcium. Then Blueberry extract, also supposed to work, plus it tastes like Flintstones vitamins. Finally, Oat Bran...fuck I don't have to tell you why I take that.

So there you go, the over 40 "I want to be healthy- I am wasting my money on Vitamin World" diet.

Sick , isnt it?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Reassuring movies

Last night I was changing channels and, of course, checked out what Turner Classic Movies was showing. Well, they were showing a really corny Christmas movie called "The Bishop's Wife". Well, it's a corny movie starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young, so it is a really good one. I had seen it maybe 20 years ago and well, I saw it again. Cary Grant plays an angel who helps the bishop realize what a good life he has.

Which takes me to the idea that we sometimes need this kind of movie. I don't believe in angels and organized religion is not my thing. But one finds reassurance in this kind of movie. It presents a simple world where good is rewarded and evil is punished. Where the good guys get help from above and live happy lives. We know it's not like that in real life but it's good to see it happen, even if its just a corny movie. Well a corny movie starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young.

Monday, August 21, 2006

hockey at the choliseo

Remember all those that were suddenly soccer fans when the World Cup was on? All the people with the Brazil shirts? Well, in September, they have something new to do. NHL Hockey is coming to town. Yes, the top hockey league in the world is playing its season inaugural game in Puerto Rico. The New York Rangers vs. Florida Panthers. Get your shirts at Champs. I will.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday musing

This is the nice swimming pool of my building. Heated and everything so the temperature is perfect. It's one elevator ride from my apartment. I've swam in it maybe four times in the last year. I used to swim in it a lot, but now, I forget its there. People are amazed when I tell them that. I wonder what it is that makes take wonderful things for granted, forget about them, ignore them. We move on to other new wonderful things. Everything has to be new.

This search for something new reminded me of a story. I once told a friend, a wise 60 something year old man, "I am bored in Puerto Rico. This place is getting old. Maybe I should move to a more exciting city." And he told me; "Even the most exciting city, in the end, gets boring.Just enjoy what you have here".

So look around today. And rediscover what you had forgotten in the search for a new thrill. The forgotten park, the long lost book, the forgotten friend.

Friday, August 18, 2006


A friend of mine moved to New York a few weeks ago and I'm suddenly realizing how much the world has changed in terms of being in touch with family and friends. When I went to college all those years ago, my only contact with my family was a weekly long distance "collect" phone call. Talking to them once a week was quite an event. As for friends, an ocasional letter would be it. Sometimes one had things to talk about, concerns to discuss, but you could not share them. One had to talk them over with newly met people at college, not with people who had known you for years and years. One got homesick, there was nothing to do. Just face it and that was that.

Now, long distance phone calls are so common. With cellphones, they are part of the monthly plan. One can call and just say hi. One can text message and do the same. One can go to messenger and have long conversations or simply wish the other person a good day. There are e-mails where one can send photos or just share a stupid joke with people half a world away.Then there are the blogs, when one can vent everything and people, known and unknown can comment on it. It's really mind boggling, when you think about it.

So in the last two days, I have talked to my friend a couple of times. I will probably see her in messenger this weekend and I may send her a couple of photos.I may visit her blog to see what's new, she will visit mine.
And all the distance between us, will magically disappear.
Think about that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


This movie, already on DVD, is now playing at the Fine Arts. It won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. It's about a young couple, at the bottom of Belgian society. They have a baby. He decides to sell it in the black market, in order to get some cash(he is a petty thief). I won't explain what happens later, but this is a grueling movie to watch. It's a powerful movie and it feels very real. And the ending is the kind that will have people talking. It's a movie about redemption or maybe it isn't. You decide. Anyway, it's worth a look.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Interesting quote

A lot of good has come from drugs. I think 'Penny Lane' is worth 10 dead kids. Dark Side of the Moon is worth 100 dead kids. Because a lot of kids wouldn't even be born if it weren't for that album, so it evens out.

Bill Maher

The New Land

The United States is a nation of inmigrants. And there have been movies dealing with the inmigration of the Irish, Italian, Greek, Mexican. But there has only been one movie, and a forgotten one, about the inmigration of Swedish people into the nation. This excellent movie is it. It's called "The New Land" starring Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman and it's playing at odd hours on Cinemax.

It tells the story of a Swedish family in the 1850's who decides to settle down in Minnesota and begin a new life there. While other ethnic groups settled into a crowded city and had to deal with crime, gangs etc, the Swedish, peaceful people that they are, settled in houses by the lake where they built their new life in an atmosphere of peace, tolerance and camaraderie.This is a story that needed to be told. After all, these are the ancestors of the people who created America's breadbasket, the farmers who today, basically, feed the world.

This is an excellent movie. We see all the heartbreak, homesickness and struggle of these early settlers. We realize their courage in trying to build a new life. We also realize the beauty of the land and why they fell in love with it. This is one special movie.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

about the morning

After posting about "the 8 things about me" I figured it would be cool to explore some of the things I wrote about in more detail.

The first thing i write about is the "madrugador" aspect. This is something that is now becoming part of my everyday life. It used to be I loved to sleep late,especially on weekends. This phase of my life reached its peak in my early 30's when I suddenly became a night person, hanging out and drinking the night away. So sleeping late became the norm.

But now, I am much calmer, and I love waking up early and just enjoying the morning. There is a silence at that time of day, a silence that ends around 8am, when all the trucks start appearing on the streets and the noise from all the construction sites remind you that you are in the middle of a city.

There is also the peace of mind that the morning brings. The old, dark thoughts of the night are gone and you are faced with a new day. A new opportunity, a new chance to change whatever you want to change.You probably won't change a thing, but there is always the feeling that you COULD change it if you wanted to. It's the old Cat Stevens song come to life:

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Well, enough about the madrugador. I must take a shower, get dressed and go to work.
Mornings are for that too.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Goddess tagged me. So here are 8 things about me:

1. madrugador-will wake up early no matter if its a holiday.
2.hate shopping mall movie theaters.If a movie doesn't play at the Metro or at Fine Arts, I will wait for the DVD.
3.have seen Paul McCartney live four times, at two Super Bowls and at two concerts in Miami.
4.Believe Graham Greene books teach you more about life than all "self help" books combined.
5.have a inmediate mistrust of anyone who talks a lot about being "a Cristiano"
6.must have a Diet Coke or Diet Sprite at 3pm every day.
7.hate "Stars Wars", the absolute ruin of American movies in the 1970's. looking at the ocean.

I tag...
3.nanel(when he decides to write a blog)

Once you have been tagged, you have to write a post with 8 facts/things/habits about yourself and say who tagged you. In the end, you will need to choose the 6 people you tag and list their names. No tag backs.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

great quote

"I have prepared one of my own time capsules. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like."

Alfred Hitchcock

better late....

I must have been maybe 5 years old when this movie came out. But I remember the posters for the film all over the city. I also remember that it played in the old Cinerama theater in Santurce.And I recall telling my parents I wanted to see it. I even recall a Mad magazine parody of it that I read at the hospital when I broke my arm. But I really don't recall having seeing the movie. So when I read that "Grand Prix" was finally coming out on DVD I rushed out to Borders to buy it.

The movie had a reputation of having some of the most amazing racing footage ever that of course, would be more exciting in a Cinerama screen. But seeing the movie on a small screen, it still works. And what also works is the concept of the danger of Formula One racing. Who will live? Who will die?

Summing up, the kid in me that wanted to see this movie so badly so many years ago really enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


The other night I was browsing through an old book of EE Cummings poems and I suddenly discovered this one. What a cool thing to suddenly find a new poem, especially one like this!

it is at moments after i have dreamed
of the rare entertainment of your eyes,
when (being fool to fancy) i have deemed

with your peculiar mouth my heart made wise;
at moments when the glassy darkness holds

the genuine apparition of your smile
(it was through tears always)and silence moulds
such strangeness as was mine a little while;

moments when my once more illustrious arms
are filled with fascination, when my breast
wears the intolerant brightness of your charms:

one pierced moment whiter than the rest

-turning from the tremendous lie of sleep
i watch the roses of the day grow deep.

Popcorn movie

One thing about me is that I'm a huge horror movie fan. But I like mostly old fashioned horror. I grew up watching the old Christopher Lee-Peter Cushing-Vincent Price movies at theaters and on "Cine de Terror" on tv. Which means that many of the movies made today fail to pique my interest. And when a movie tries the old fashion route, it turns out to be crap like "Van Helsing" which turned all the old movie monsters into a CGI festival.

So it was really interesting to see this Spanish made horror movie playing on Showtime with the English name of "Werewolf Hunter". It's an old fashioned werewolf movie with a pretty decent story and no CGI. It features some good acting, some nice photography reminsicent of old Hammer Films. It has a menacing villain (Julian Sands) and a beautiful heroine (breathtakingly beautiful Elsa Pataky). This is the kind of movie popcorn was made for. The kind of movie I would see as a kid at the old Puerto Rico theater in Santurce.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hitchcock's 100th birthday

If you haven't discovered him, here's your chance. A three day Hitchcock marathon on Encore Mystery channel, starting today.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A bit of Shakespeare

Hundreds of years later, still the best rules to living ever.
From Hamlet, Polonius advice.

There ... my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel but, being in,
Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cool movie

This movie begins with one of The Monkees jumping off a bridge. And it ends with the four of them doing so. And in a way, that was what they were doing: committing career suicide. Their tv show was cancelled, they had become the joke of the hippie generation because (this sounds funny today) they didn't play their own instruments.

So they made this movie poking fun at themselves and of everything having to do with the 1960's. Directed by Bob Rafelson and written by Jack Nicholson in a drug induced haze, this is one of the great movies of its era. It has really cool music written by The Monkees, the best thing they had done. It has some amazing cameos and the last 20 minutes are just brilliant in their pure insanity.

It's playing on the Movie Channel at odd hours. Thank God for DVR. Worth seeing, to say the least.

By the way, the movie is called "Head" because Jack Nicholson thought it would be funny that if they ever did a second one, they could advertise it as "From the people who gave you "Head"..." He was on drugs.

Much better than selling chocolates

Masturbating For Fund Raising

On Saturday, more than 250 people from all over England flocked to a photo studio in central London, for what was billed as Europe's first "Masturbate-a-thon". The event, hosted by sexual health agency Marie Stopes International, attempted to raise awareness of safe sex, and money for health care charity Terrence Higgins. Donations were determined by how many minutes, (or hours) participants masturbated and/or how many orgasms they achieved. Organizers hope the "Masturbate-a-thon" will stamp out the "Tabooness" (I guess making up words is a turn on?) of masturbation and encourage young people to use it as an alternative to unprotected sex.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

V for Vendetta

"People shouldn't fear government. Government should fear people."

Finally a mainstream movie with something in its head. Ideas. I'm kind of amazed that this movie got greenlighted because it is a tough critique on using the excuse of terrorism to seize political power. In a way it's like a companion to "1984" in the way that it portrays government, but unlike the Orwell book, it offers hope. It says people can make a difference. Anyway, it's a movie worth seeing. In this age of sequels, remakes and movies based on bad tv shows, it's a true find.

20 years later

These days I realized that it's been 20 years since I began working in advertising.
I remember how nervous I was those first days trying to figure whether I would be any good at my profession. How relieved I was when people started liking my work. But mostly I remember the words of a veteran of advertising whoin those first days told me a very important thing:

"In this business, we are simply guns for hire. Nothing more.Always remember that"

And twenty years later, I still do.

to a.

Friday, August 04, 2006


"What goes around
Comes around,
Baby, don't look back when you hear that sound.
What goes around
Comes around,
And i won't be here when it all comes down on you,
It all comes back to you."

Ringo Starr

So true

From Citizen Kane
Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane):
"Well it's no trick to make a lot of money if all you want is to make a lot of money."


This had the makings of a Lifetime network movie, but it isn't. The story of a woman married to a struggling rock musician. They are both heroin addicts. He dies from an overdose. She is acccused of possesion and loses custody of their child. She decides to go clean. A simple story, but one that goes against all cliches you expect from this kind of plot. She is not entirely sympathetic. Her in-laws are not monsters trying to make her life miserable. They are all simply human beings trying to do the best they can.

Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love, 2046) is excellent as the mother . She won the Best actress award at Cannes for this role. And Nick Nolte is just brilliant as her father in law, a man trying to raise the child but who realizes his age and mortality and figures he just has to trust his daughter in law.

This is a really good movie that never got a major release in the US and ended up being distributed by a small company. Soit's not likely that you will find it at Blockbuster. Maybe it will play on Cinemax one day. But your best bet is to find it at Borders.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I guess this proves the point I made on the last post

Jenna Jameson has become the first porn star to be immortalized at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

about Jenna and society

The other night HBO showed a pretty interesting documentary. It was a short film about the making of photographer Timothy Greenfield's Book "XXX:30 Porn star portraits". This was an artist that had made famous portraits of musicians,writers, even US presidents. But he wanted to do this book with porn stars, because they are the "new celebrities."

The documentary shows the behind the scenes of the shoots and features interviews with the porn stars.But more than that, i shows how porn has become part of the mainstream media and how porn performers are now true celebrities. Regular media outlets such as E! have reports about them. Now you can talk to someone about Jenna Jameson and chances are they will know who you are talking about. Just the fact that a Time Warner outlet like HBO has a show about this subject full of nudity and sexual talk tells you how much this industry has become a regular part of society.

Anyway, this is a documentary that is sure to polarize people into those who think porn is offensive and those who think that it is about time that we stop being so prudish and accept porn as simply entertainment.

Check it out.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Left wing revolutionary with a Condado apartment

time to samba

In these days in which the local media is trying to scare you about a tropical storm that is passing 100 miles north of the island, it's nice to have some great music to relax to. And one of my ways of doing just that is listening to some Brazilian music. There's something to the rhythm and to the happy go lucky feeling of that music that is just right. I especially like the music that was written in the 1960's by Jobin and others.

So it was great to find this album by Debora Brum at Borders the other day. It's a really cool CD with some really great tunes, new and old. And it's by a local singer! She's the one that sings at Dunbars on Sundays. So you're not only listening to some wonderful music, but suppporting local talent.

So, sit back, relax. And enjoy some soothing, refreshing samba, dammit. You deserve it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

John Cleese quotes

He who laughs most, learns best.

I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.

If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.

You don't have to be the Dalai Lama to tell people that life's about change.