Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Stew

Yes, I know that's a terribly trite name, but I wasn't sure that I could spell smorgasbord. Oh wait, I CAN spell smorgasbord! At any rate, today is going to be more of a hodge-podge of things rather than a single entry -- it's been that kind of weekend.
Yesterday, I took part in the draft for one of the two fantasy football leagues in which I'm involved. It was actually a nice change of pace from the stress of my other league, which operates on an auction basis; throwing out players for bid, trying to outbid everyone else for that key running back or franchise quarterback, and then having to participate in a second round of drafting players and -- if your roster isn't full at the end of that -- possibly taking part in a supplemental draft.

This one was much nicer; Commissioner Dave got a great group together for the Yahoo league, and I'm joined by teams with such great names as Footsies (Coach Julie), We Are the World (Dave) and Prime Time (Coach Kim). I opted for something representative of the area where I live and work and dubbed my franchise Beltway Bandits (insert lobbyist comment here.....).

At the end of the 15 rounds, I ended up with perhaps the best roster I've ever had in any league in which I've participated -- and while that's exciting for me, there's an extra sense of anticipation in this league due to the fact that limiting it to eight folks means that everyone has a great roster, and every week will have some ridiculously high scoring and terribly close games. As I head into opening weekend, I have the following weapons at my disposal:

QB - Matt Hasselbeck
QB - Jon Kitna
RB - Edgerrin James
RB - Jerious Norwood
RB - Steven Jackson
RB - Brian Westbrook
WR - Marvin Harrison
WR - Steve Smith
WR - Plaxico Burress
TE - Alge Crumpler
TE - L. J. Smith
K - John Kasay
K - Jeff Wilkins
Defense - Pittsburgh
Defense - Jacksonville

Let the games begin!
A. and I had a chance last night to leave the girls with my in-laws and head out for a mini date night. We opted to go see the new British comedy, "Death at a Funeral," and it turned out to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I was surprised to learn that it was directed by Frank Oz (he of Miss Piggy/Yoda fame), and heading into the first 15 minutes I wasn't quite sure how funny the film would be, or how well Oz would be able to pull it off.

From 15 minutes on, though, there was no question about the level of humor -- and the nice thing is you don't necessarily have to be an afficianado of British comedy to get the jokes in this movie. There were a few sight gags, but the situations which develop, the great dialogue and the oustanding acting (from an ensemble cast that included very few people with whom I was familiar) made for a great time. Adding to the great atmosphere for the film was the fact that we went and saw it at the first "talkies" theater built in Roanoke, the Grandin, and the crowd -- while not terribly big; maybe 30 or 35 total -- was really into the film and laughing the entire time.

I've read a lot of mixed reviews on the film, and they seem to be split down the middle. Some reviewers say that it got only an occasional smile out of them, while others call it a laugh riot in the tradition of Peter Sellers or Monty Python. I thought Variety had one of the better reviews (excerpt):

"With a circus parade of mourning Brits and enough appalling circumstances to set proper Englishness back to the Dark Ages, "Death at a Funeral" pits decorum against sex, drugs and dysfunction. The winners? Auds who know you laugh hardest when you're not supposed to, and who appreciate the humorous qualities of embarrassment, blackmail and the twitting of the upper classes. Box office will likely be modest, but reaction will be strongly positive."

I give it four out of five stars, and the NOVA Dad critic's award. As a bit more of a teaser, here is the trailer for it:

Lastly, I've picked up my copy of the new book on Mother Teresa that has generated so much controversy and debate during the past several weeks, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. For those who may not be aware, some of the letters included in this book reveal that she endured a period of several decades (up until the time of her death in 1997) where she didn't feel the presence of God at all in her life. Many people have said that her feelings on this are no different than the dark period experienced by many major religious figures throughout history, while others are arguing that continuing her work while feeling this way and proclaiming God's love for the poorest of the poor amounts to nothing more than living a life of hypocrisy.

I've read many blog posts and internet discussion group entries on this book, but have declined to offer any input until I've actually read the entire book and looked at the letters in question in the context of her entire life. My hope is to put something on here (maybe one entry, maybe a series) when I've read it, and possible engender some discussion above and beyond that which I've already seen.


Ampersand said...

Hey, I was just reading this as you commented on my blog.

Sorry about the injuries. I did not check them either, but I think I am ok.

I'm really looking forward to my first year of FF with this group.

Yes, we are just outside of the Beltway too, but in your neighboring state to the north.

It's okay though, some of my best friends live in VA. ;)

Nancy said...

1. We saw the movie on Saturday and laughed ourselves silly. Especially the scene where Martha's boyfriend meets the widow and adores her hat. Laughed ourselves silly.

2. Hypocrisy? Good grief. Doesn't the essence of faith lie in living for God even when God seems remote? I've not read the book yet, but read one long review and am eager to read it. I would think that one effect of it would be to strengthen the faith of those experiencing doubt.

Dave said...

Matt, you packed a lot into this post. I am eager to hear your thoughts on Mother Teresa. I have more to say on our list but since others haven't really joined in much, I don't want to go on a monologue tangent!

And my team is called "We Are The Night" not "We Are The World"! "We Are The Night" is the name of the new Chemical Brothers CD (electronica) and I really love the title song. It's awesome and imposing and I would love nothing more to see my team come roaring out of the tunnel wearing sinister looking black uniforms striking fear into the hearts of their opponents... all in good sporting fun, of course!

And we are matched up in Week One, so let's see the Bandits make a clean getaway, or the Night engulfs them in gloomy doom! :o)

Dan said...

Man, I want to see this movie!
But the sucky thing is...I live in Tulsa. It's not considered a "primary market." So I can't go out and see it yet. I've got to wait and see if it gets popular enough to expand or until it goes to DVD.

Lucky you!