Elster's World

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What Can Brown Do For Us?

Quick word on the Larry Brown hiring. What's with all the naysayers here? I don't get it. What, exactly, is the downside of bringing in a world-class, hall of fame coach to take an abolutely dreadful franchise and make them into winners?

Who cares if it costs 50 or 55 million dollars? It's not your money. Chances are you can't afford to pay for Knicks tickets at this point anyway. Dolan is picking up this tab and it dosn't hurt the salary cap.

But he'll never stay for 5 years. So what? He can change the mentality of the franchise in two. Heck, if Herm Edwards can do it with the lovable loser Jets, Larry Brown can certainly do it to a storied franchise with a (somewhat) winning history.

So kudos to isaih Thomas, for the first time in his tenure doing something positive.

And good luck to Larry Brown. He's going to need it. I know his reputation but this roster is terrible.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Truest Words Ever Uttered By A Rock Star

"Youth is wasted on the young." - Smashing Pumpkins

Kudos Billy Korgan, you are no doubt a big weirdo but you certainly got that right.

Summer

As I sit in my crappy office doing crappy work and feeling otherwise crappy, some musings on what summer is SUPPOSED to be (at least for me):

Blue greeen water, white sand, shorts and t-shirts, no shoes, trees in the breeze, swimming pools, swings, pretty girls, convertibles, creek in the forest, hiking, swimming, softball in the twilight, rivers, ceiling fans, afternoon rain storms, thunder, lightning, deer, fireflys in the darkness, boats, bathing suits, a cold beer, hot dogs, a hot grill, water parks, children's laughter in my ears, ice cream, mochachino, sneakers, basketball in sweltering heat, an exceptionally good book, lounge chair, beach blanket, cool wind, late August nights, friends, the solitude of an underwater swim, fish, flowers in bloom, an unexpected waterfall, a cabin, a road trip.

What does summer mean to you?

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Top 100

Wow - slow work day, thus the unprecedented three post-day. Actually, I HAVE posted three times in one day before but still...

I was looking at my profile (I do that sometimes to help remember who I am) and I saw that I was planning on posting my Top 100 movies of all time list here. The Top 100 was an idea I stole from my buddy Yoni. The process was an immense undertaking. I made three lists; The Locks, The Probables and the Fillers. I guess it's pretty self explanatory. As of this printing (haha) I have 40 locks, 49 probables and 15 fillers. And oh my, the fillers are bad movies. All of my guilty pleasures (Deep Blue Sea, Legend , From Dusk Till Dawn) have managed to make their way onto that list. But I digress.

Obviously, the list is not finished, though I guess you could argue that if you take the Locks and the Probables, you are at 89, thus being almost finished. Course, there's that whole pesky numbering thing, but again I digress.

Quick rule: I don't pretend these are the greated 100 movies ever made. Far from it. You will not find the AFI's Top 100 here, nary a "Rosebud" whisper in sight. Rather, these are the flicks that have touched ME, me and only me in some wat. You don't agree? Awsome. Just means that you and I are different and that's a good thing for both of us.

I figure that you can really learn alot about a person by the types of movies they like (unless, of course, the reader doesn't watch movies or hasn't seen the same ones - but I digress yet again). So here goes, in no particular order, some of my favorites with commentary. Enjoy:

Field of Dreams: To this day remains one of the only movies that keeps getting better every time I watch it. When Moonlight Graham steps over the first base line, it gets dusty in the room every time.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (as one, Director's cut especially for the third): My favorite books as a child. Potential to have been destroyed. Instead, Peter Jackson read my mind and seemingly put my vision on the screen. He can make another 100 The Frighteners and it won't make a damn bit of difference to me.

Star Wars: Second movie I ever say in a movie theater (the first was the In Laws - don't ask). I was just pulled in from the opening scene. I spent the next 8 years wanting to be Han Solo. I have never wanted to be anyone else for that long.

Pulp Fiction: The movie started an entire genre of pretenders. Including some of Tarantino's later works. This one stands out. Genius.

The Road Warrior: Absolutely the finest post-apocalyptic vision ever put on screen. The juice is everything. Also, finest truck chase scene ever filled. Not to mention a character described as the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla. Wow. "Two days ago I saw a rig big enough to haul that tanker. You want to get out of here? You talk to me." Goosebumps.

Jaws: Anyone who watches this and sees a horror movie about sharks doesn't quite get this film. Roy Scheider's finest work (and yes, I now that's not saying much).

Platoon: Works on many different levels. When I saw it as a kid, it was just a great, rip-roaring action film. Then it was a great study on human reactions to crazy situations. Whichever. Sort of like Apocalypse Now, only it actually makes sense.

Untouchables: This movie was so good, even Kevin Costner was watchable. No small feat. Sean Connery deserves a lifelong pass into the Irish Actors Hall of Fame. So many good lines including this humdinger: "Just like a WOP, brings a knife to a gun fight."

Aliens: I know what you're saying. Huh? Aliens? The one with Sigorney Weaver? The sequel? YES YES YES!! It's only the best action movie ever made.

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective: If only because it was the first movie in over ten years to actually make me laugh the whole time. No small feat.

Schindler's List: Nothing need be said.

The Longest Yard: And for the record, the remake never happened.

Cool Hand Luke: Watch this movie and then tell me you don't like Paul Newman as an actor. Not possible. Really understated performace from an actor bred in the times of overacting.

Hoosiers: As any sports fan knows, this is the best movie ever made about basketball (with apologies to Jesus Shuttlesworth). It might also be the greatest sports movie too. Hell, it's just a great movie.

A Few Good Men: Though to be honest, I couldn't watch this movie any more even before the whole "Tom Cruise is insane" phenomenon.

Blade Runner: Not the weirdo director's cut either. The original. Sure it made no sense. Who cares? What a vision of the future. What work by Harrison Ford. Also put a pre-bloated Rutger Hauer on my radar.

The original Matrix: Sure it has more holes than Bonnie and Clyde's car. This movie was a superb piece of eye candy.

Beautiful Girls: Before there was Garden State, there was Beautiful Girls. 13 year old Natalie Portman just steals this movie.

Good Will Hunting: From my Probables list. But just saw it again. Amazing movie. What the hell happened to Be Affleck? Why did he become a paycheck whore but Matt Damon became Jason Bourne? Truly one of life's great mysteries.

Well, that's it for now. But this list kinda gives you a feel for me besides just being part of a greater list. And remember, each one of these movies comes with Elster's 100% guaranty. I guaranty 100% that these movies are on my list.

Later.

Vive Le Lance

Not that most people care, but I think it would be remiss of the Blogosphere if no one mentioned the career crowning achievement which took place in Paris yesterday. Lance Armstrong became the first seven-time winner of the Tour d' France. Not only that, he won it seven times in a row. After beating cancer that had spread to so much of his body, his chances for mere survival (forget about remission and cycling) were less than "ok".

Forget about Lance Armstrong, the athlete. Forget Lance Armstrong, the man who left his wife for Cheryl Crow. Concentrate instead on Lance Armstrong, the man who might very well be the poster boy for beating a disease which kills more people than any other. Which affects one in every four people. Which has touched someone you know. Any person who has been (or is) stricken with this disease can look at this man for inspiration.

In 1996 in a teary interview, he announced he had cancer. He talked about how it had spread to his lungs and brain. He said he was going to beat it. He said he would race again. Honestly, no one believed it. But beat it he did. Then he went on to beat everyone else around him in an event which is 1 part sports, 99 parts torture.

So I say, good job Lance. You have been an inspiration to countless thousands. Enjoy the rest of your life. And most importantly, thank you for what you have accomplished.

Reader, Know Thyself

I posted a comment on someone's Blog regarding the age I became "self-aware", for lack of a better term. In other words, when did I begin to figure out who I really was, as opposed to who I thought I was or, worse, who I thought I wanted to be?

I usually think this in the context of early marriage. In the orthodox Jewish community there is a propensity towards early marriage. Eighteen or nineteen year old girls fresh from Seminary, or pining away at college as the case may be, seem to have only this on their minds; "Why am I not married yet?" Let the record reflect that I am not expressing an opinion whether or not this is "good"or "bad". Far be it for me to say yea or nay. Rather, this topic just gets me thinking more about.... Me. (Can my ego be more unchecked?)

I got married at 25. I began self-realization at about 20. The only statement regarding early marriage is the following one: Once you become part of a married "unit", it becomes much more difficult to fully realize your own individuality. (Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, it just is.)

More about me for a second. I grew up in the middle. Not really cool, not really a loser, just in the middle. I had my core group of friends in high school, also not the coolest guys. But damn if we had good times. Damn if all we ever did was laugh. I am sort of a shy person, especially around new people. More especially (grammar be damned) around girls. Definitely not easy to be Mr. Popular when your alter-ego is Mr. Shy.

But back to the point. When I hit twenty, I began to realize something. It's not so important for this discussion what it is I discovered or how I came to this discovery. For everyone it will be something else. It was a small starting point, but enough for me. I stopped focusing on the person I wasn't and began realizing who I was.

Self-realizations like a light. It goes on and you are less worried about what other people think about you, less concerned with how many people want to be your friend. You see your "lot" and you are content. It doesn't matter whether you are smart or cool or good looking. It only matters that you know what you are and you are ok with it.

That was at twenty. Now I'm thirty-two. Twelve years, one wife and two kids later and the picture is still not completely in focus yet. But I firmly believe that had I gotten married at 21 or 22, I would never be the person I am today. Heck, maybe I would have been a better person, but I never would have been the individual I am.

When I was 31 I realized I wanted to be a writer. So I wrote a book. 450 some odd pages, double spaced. In my humble opinion, it's a pretty good book. I am trying to get it published. I am even writing a sequel (hope springs eternal after all). Had I wanted to be a writer at 20, the only thing I would have been able to produce would have been crappola.

Why am I writing this? Because someone asked me what I discovered at 25. The answer is, it doesn't matter what I discovered. The question is, what will YOU discover?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Story Time

The shrill, high pitched scream of the alarm pulled him awake. With sleep crusted eyes, he checked the time. 5:15. Jesus Christ, he thought. Why couldn't I have just spent the $14.99 and gotten a clock radio like normal people?

He rolled out of bed. The first hints on sunlight were peeking through the shades. Even with the window AC going full bore, it was warm in the room. Outside it would probably be eighty degrees. But noon, it would be close to a hundred, with high humidity to boot. The man smiled. Perfect.

He got his coffee maker percolating and then stepped into the shower. He let the warm water sluice off his long night. He had barely slept, first making final plans and then finally falling into a fitfull sleep, tossing and turning and fighting off the demons in his dreams. He wasn't sure but he may have gotten three hours if he was lucky. He shut the hot water tap and stood under the cascade of freezing cold water as long as he could stand it. The cold water and the now steaming coffee waiting for him in the kitchen would wake him up.

He dressed in light khaki carpenter's pants and a military olive t-shirt. He put rubber soled black workboots on over black sweat socks. He took a desert style camo floppy hay off of his nightstand and let it hang from his neck by the string. He exited the bedroom and tuned back for one more look. Nice and empty, except for a bed, a nightstand and the godawful alarm clock. It occurred to him that he might never see this room again. He supposed he should have felt some nostalgia for the place he had been living for the last nine months, but couldn't really summon any up.

He toasted himself a bagel and spread on light cream cheese. He sat down at the small kitchen table with the bagel, a mug and the entire pot of brewed coffee. He went to work on breakfast, eating but not really tasting, pouring coffee down his throat as though it was fuel. Without air conditioning, it was sultry in the kitchen. Sweat leaked down his face on the way towards his shirt. He didn't mind. Sweat cooled him off. That's what it was there for after all.

He finished breakfast and placed the dirty dishes in the rented house's sink. He turned on the water and splashed his face, drying off with paper towels. Then picked up the Sunlight, paused, and put it back down. Screw it. If he wasn't coming back, he certainly wasn't going to clean of the freaking dishes.

He went down to the basement, leaving the main light off. It was slightly cooler and he reveled in it. He shook his head. Time was short and there was a lot to do today. He smiled. Today was the day he was going to change the world. Move your ass soldier.

He moved to the far corner of the basement, found the overhead fixture, and pulled the string down. After standing in complete darkness, the harsh light from the naked seventy-five watt bulb momentarily blinded him. He allowed his eyes to re-adjust before pulling the gym bag to him.

The bag was dark blue, except for the brilliant white Swoosh on the side. He had always been particular to Nike. Maybe it was Jordan, maybe not. He shrugged. It didn't really make a difference, did it?

The man unzipped the bag and took out the case which lay within. It was long and made of hard black plastic. He undid the combination lock and popped it open. Inside was death. Death in the form of a disassembled Slessinger Mark IV scoped automatic sniper's rifle. He took each section out carefully, as though dealing with a newborn, wiping them down with a newly oiled cloth. He began assembling the rifle, piece by piece, section by section. He was a pro, trained by the best. Under different circumstances, he could have assembled the rifle in just under 45 seconds. But he had time. Why rush it? He looked through the scope. He had checked ranges with it yesterday, it would be fine.

When the weapon was fully assembled, he reached into the gym bag and pulled out a clip which held fifteen specially made rounds. Dum Dum rounds. They exploded on contact, causing the most possible damage. They did not fly as straight and true as other rounds but that would be no problem for him. He was the best after all.

He took the weapon, leaving the case and bag behind. He wouldn't need it. The rifle would be staying where he fired it from. Now he felt a moment's nostalgia. The Mark IV was a truly wonderful piece of equipment. He would miss it.

He went into the garage and put the rifle into the trunk of his nondescript grey Taurus. Just another car on the road, just another anonymous driver inside. But not for long, he thought. Because today's the day he was going to change the world for the better. He turned on the ignition. Let's do this, he thought.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

ARGH!!

Wow - The Blogosphere is a tough place to get noticed. You can't just wear a multi-colored shirt, jump up and down and say "look at me" alot.

Either people know about your blog (few), people stumble onto it (non so far) or you read and comment on other people's blogs, thus advertizing your own blog (not so much, just a couple).

I feel as though I have a lot to say, both in general and to specific people. The good news is that I'll probably keep saying it anyway. I have always found writing very therapeutic. As with my (as of yet, FINGERS CROSSED) unpublished book and fifty pages of sequal, I obviously don't need much of an audience.

So what to say? After three monmths (including a silent June) I still have no idea what my blog is about. It may never be about anything more than whatever pops into my head at a given time. I'm pretty sure I'm cool with that too. Clearly, as of now no one else will be objecting too much either.

But hey, if you ARE reading this, give a shout out. Feedback (positive or negative) is always appreciated. No one wants to be completely alone in the blogosphere. And in the meantime, I'll keep churning out my stuff. Maybe my readers are just a silent majority.

Later....

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Off the Top of My Head Part II

Some more quick random thoughts for you all to chew on:

- If you want to hear the "perfect" summer song, try Fat Old Sun from Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. For English guys, they really hit the nail on the head with that one. Brilliant, as the English say.

- Something you may not have known: Writing a book is easy in comparison with trying to get it published. Go figure. Writing it was hard work. Trying to get it published? Well, it's more on par with trying to kill yourself by holding your breath. Or finding that ol' needle thing in the haystack. In other words, freaking hard dude. I'm early in the process and already at wit's end. Not good times.

- So word on the street is that hockey will be back next season. I was a big hockey fan. But NHL, if you want me back, you are going to have to earn it. Good luck with that.

How's THAT for random??

The Doctor is In

I have answers to all your questions...

Off the Top of My Head

Quick thoughts on a slow Wednesday:

- No one is reading my blog. Yet I keep writing. Why? Simple. I write for myself, not for other who might want to take a peek. Though, obviously, peeking is more than welcome.

I suspect this is true for most bloggers. Writing is good fo the soul. It's like talking to a shrink without the weekly bills. So when I "stumble" onto blogs with 0 comments, I understand perfectly. No matter who is reading keep writing; it'll still make you feel better.

- Summertime is good. It's good in so many ways. Yes, it's brutally hot. So what? Summer brings back so many happy memories. Swimming, playing ball, just being free. Worker drones of the world, do you still remember freedom? It still lives inside all of us, deep deep down.

Also, there's nothing on TV. Frees up time for other things; late night BBQ, maybe dinner with old friends? Whatever floats your boat.

- Ok, more to follow.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Now you Know the Truth AND

I was the only one reading.