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Date registered: 06/01/2012

Latest posts

  1. A Sing-a-long Viewing of the film West Side Story: — 05/04/2014
  2. My own version of The Town: — 05/04/2014
  3. Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story (HD film) Concert at Symphony Hall, Boston, MA — 02/20/2014
  4. A Barbaric Act at the Copenhagen Zoo: — 02/09/2014
  5. Here’s a new, informative link on the ACA or “Obamacare”, by Ralph Nader: — 11/26/2013

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Mar 24 2013

Dinner and “Lawrence of Arabia” with a Friend of Mine:

Hi again, everybody;

Again…sorry for my prolonged absences.  I’ve been busy with my comissions/projects in silversmithing, but equally important, a friend of mine and I had a wonderful night out.    Because her car totally went on the fritz and she’s still looking for a new one, I picked her up at her house in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, and we went out to eat at a reasonably-priced Thai restaurant in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner area.   I then accompanied her while she walked a sheltie that she walks several times per week, and then we went to the Coolidge Corner Theatre to secure our seats.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre changed to digital projection, and, since I was one of the ones who donated some money to the funding for the theatre, in order to help make the changeover to digital projection possible, I had received an invitation in the mail to a free screening of the digitally-restored and remastered version of the film Lawrence of Arabia, another great old classic that I like a great deal and have seen more than once, although it still doesn’t hold the very special place in my heart regarding movies as West Side Story does.   I RSVP’d by email right away to the person who made this possible, after calling up a long-time good friend, who also wanted to see LOA, and had her put me on the list for bringing myself and my friend.  I immediately was confirmed with an email message back, telling me that I was on the list for two.  

The digitally-restored and remastered version of the film Lawrence of Arabia, like that of West Side  Story, was absolutely pristine and like new, as were both soundtracks to these films.  

Mar 24 2013

West Side Story–Another Round:

Hi, everybody:

Sorry for my prolonged absence from The Stars Hollow Gazette.  I’ve been preoccupied with other stuff lately, including starting that menorah for my sister.

Last night, sort of like a naughty girl, I took the evening off from my TKD classes and decided to take in a screening of my all time favorite movie, West Side Story.  Yup, you all read right–West Side Story.  Moreover, I still plan on going to the Tanglewood Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story concert on July 13th of this year.  I’m excited.  

A number of the cinemark theatres, which had bought out the Rave theatres in various parts of the United States, including the only one here in the central northwestern part of the Bay State, have been doing classic films and even independent films once a week.  Last night’s classic at the cinemark cinema, out in Hadley, MA, which is kind of near Amherst was West Side Story.  I had hung back for awhile, because I had my doubts about driving out to that part of the Bay State in mid-March, when the weather can be so unpredictable.  Since the weather was nice overall, I decided to go.  I went to Fandango, purchased myself a ticket, printed up the confirmation number, obtained directions through, and, after a couple of small errands and a walk in the sunshine, I drove the two hours out to Hadley, MA., to see West Side Story.  It was all worthwhile.  The film, which has been digitally restored and re-mastered, was pristine and like new, and the screen was quite big.  I’d sure love to see West Side Story on Cinema xD one day (the xD theatre(s) are twice as big, and the screen is from wall to wall and from the floor to the ceiling.  That, imho, sounds cool for something like West Side Story or any other classic of that kind, imho.  It took me just a little over two hours to get to the theatre, and, although the showing for West Side Story didn’t sell out, we had a good crowd;  the theatre was at least half filled.  

Of course, there was a two-o’clock showing of West Side Story, but I didn’t really want to spend a sun-shiny afternoon in the movies, so I went later, but left Boston early enough so that I didn’t get caught in really severe west-bound rush-hour traffic leaving Boston after an afternoon of work to go back to the suburbs.    

Jan 18 2013

Mehta–A Special Link:…

Here’s the question:

Given the subject of this link/video, what would any of you guys do/say if that had been one of your kids making fun of, insulting, and harassing this elderly woman until she cried?  What would you have done or said if it was your grandmother or another elderly relative that was being harassed by these rotten kids?    I’d love to have feedback from everybody, because I’m genuinely curious.  I watched the video and read through all the comments twice, and, believe me, if I’d had kids and one of my kids was part of that, I’d ground him or her for a week or two, and make her apologize personally to the elderly woman.  

Jan 06 2013

How I’d write The Town If I Were to Have Written It:

At this point, I no longer visualize The Town as a movie, but as a story.  

Doug MacRay and his men are lifelong Charlestown Townies, who, under Charlestown’s crime boss, Fergie, who runs a flower shop as a front for  his criminal enterprise, are working for him, robbing banks and armored cars.  Except for Desmond Elden, the youngest of the four, who has a fulltime, regular job with the telephone company, Doug and his men have extensive criminal records of grand theft, assault and murder.  One warm, sunny late-spring morning, after lying in wait for the bank employees to cone and open the Cambridge Savings Bank, at around 8:00 a. m., after lurking in the vestibule overnight and putting on their disguises, they decide to go to work.  After deliberately bumping into the cash-car driver to startle him,  Doug and his men storm the bank, dressed as grim reapers, with long black capes and scary-looking ghoul masks with their automatic weapons drawn, forcing bank employees and customers alike to the floor.  Everybody is threateningly warned by Jem, the nastiest and craziest of the four bandits, not to look up for even a second.  Doug and his men seek out the attractive bank manager, a woman in her late 20’s, and force her to open the vault at gunpoint, which she nervously does after Doug calms her down.   Doug and his men then take all the money from the vault and the cash  drawers, being careful to avoid any dye-packs, which could unexpectedly explode and  give them away.

Jan 01 2013

President Obama is up to his same old tricks (if one gets the drift).

Hi, everybody:

Read this:…

and either weep or gnash your teeth!

Hmm… -ek hornbeck

Obama Quietly Signs Abusive Spy Bill He Once Vowed to Eliminate

After Senate rejects oversight amendments, bill sails into law

Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams


Under the cover of holiday weekend slumber, President Obama signed into law a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, successfully solidifying unchecked surveillance authority for the remainder of his presidency.

Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law extends powers of the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls without obtaining a court order for each intercept.

The spying bill would have expired at the end of 2012 without the president’s approval.

Remind you of anything else?  Bueller… -ek hornbeck

Dec 28 2012

Viewing Movies: Who Else Besides Me Really Misses the Old Days?

There was a time when moviegoing here in the United States (and probably throughout the world) was considered a real pasttime and a big deal for many people, whether one went to the movies with family, friends, or even solo.  Yet, at the time when that was the case, going solo wasn’t the cool thing to do, so, due to my relative social isolation when I was growing up,  plus the fact that I lived in an idyllic suburban town with no adequate public transportation, plus I didn’t learn to drive and get my driver’s license until around Christmastime 1968, as a high school Senior, plus since I drove one of the family cars (a 1963 Buick Jalopy station wagon), I was limited as to how much I was allowed to use the family car.   I’ll also add that getting a driver’s license, particularly among suburban kids (like myself), was considered a rite of passage, if one gets the drift.  Most of the kids where I went to high school, and certainly in my grade, got their licenses by the summer before they entered their Junior year of high school, but was a year late in getting my driver’s license.  I had sort of a rocky start, but I mellowed out, and became a more confident driver.  

When I finally graduated from high school in late June of 1969, I was pleasantly surprised by a home-made certificate (by my sister, who was still quite ill, but managed to do stuff and go to my graduation, anyway) stating that I was entitled to one little auto.  It turned out that my grandparents were giving me a car.  I tried some cars when I visited  my grandparents (who’re now both deceased), who lived out West, and decided on a Toyota Corona, with a 4-gear & reverse Stick shift car.  It was then that I began to taste freedom, and was able to get around pretty much anywhere.  Having a car represented freedom, independence and responsibility.  It was still a rocky start, but everything mellowed out and fell into place after awhile here, as well.  

Dec 03 2012

The Town; The Alternate Ending might’ve saved this film for me, had it been left in there:


is the Alternate ending of Ben Affleck’s 2 year old movie, The Town. Imho, this is a much better ending than the ending in the theatrical version, where Doug magically escapes Charlestown for Florida and ends up in a little house overlooking a Florida bayou at sunset, hoping that lady Claire will come, after he’s left her tons of dirty money to do what she wants with, as well as a tangerine to hint to her where he is; Tangerine, FL.

Frankly, I think that had this ending been left in the movie, The Town might’ve been a much better film. In this ending, the Dominican men whose C-Town Housing Project apartment that Doug and Jem broke into, wearing hockey masks, beat up and permanently crippled for having thrown bottles at Claire when she’d been stupid enough to walk through a housing project by herself on the way to work, ultimately got their revenge on Doug, who was trying to escape from Boston to Florida. As Doug’s trying to get to his car, the two men who Doug and Jem had permanently crippled earlier in the film, are waiting for him. After afew words are exchanged, the Dominican man whose leg was permanently injured by Doug and Jem, unloads his pistol into Doug, killing him.

It’s pretty obvious, in this ending, to me, that Alex, the Dominican man who Doug permanently crippled for throwing bottles at Claire, and his buddies, had also been working for “Fergie” the Florist, and, in addition to seeing Jem’s face, not only knew how and where to track down Doug MacRay, but had two reasons for killing him:

A) Fergie didn’t like Doug’s response when Fergie asked him to participate in the Fenway Robbery, and set Doug up to be killed by the Dominican men that he and Jem beat up and permanently crippled earlier, and who were also working for Fergie.

B) Alex and the other two Dominican men who Doug and Jem beat up and injured earlier in The Town were only too happy to exact revenge on Doug for permanently crippling them. Like his buddies/accomplices in crime, Doug died playing his own game. Ever heard the quote “Those who live by the sword die by the sword”? That applies here, perfectly, imho.

Doug, like his buddies/accomplices in crime(s), got his comeuppance, and, hopefully, Claire won’t be so stupid in the future. I still don’t like the fact that Claire spent all that blood money on the restoration of the C-Town ice-hockey rink rather than anonymously turning over to the proper authorities with the help of FBI Agt. Adam Frawley and finding more honest ways to get funding for the hockey rink. Too bad that Claire got off scott-free and wasn’t also criminally prosecuted, or at least given a suspended sentence for obstructing justice (helping Doug escape being caught by the Feds and jailed, by a “sunny days” code tip-off to him), and for receiving stolen goods. (Doug’s dirty, stolen blood money)

I also think that the Alternate Ending to The Town provides a different message; that actions and behaviors have consequences, that people have to be held accountable for what they do, no matter what their walk of life or upbringing, and that escaping or attempting to escape a life of crime, as well as one’s birthplace, parental and environmental upbringing, are much, much easier said than done.

Having this alternate ending and spending less time on the Doug/Claire romances, imho, might’ve saved The Town for me.


Oct 10 2012

On Mandatory School Busing Here in Boston:

Hi, everybody;

Lately, there has been some discussion over Boston’s mandatory school busing debacle..almost 40 years after it first got underway, by many Bostonians and former Bostonians alike.  Many people agree that not bringing it out into the open and talking about it honestly is part of why Boston has not moved as far forward as it could’ve regarding racial issues, insularity, and most, important of all, education for their children.  Only now, 40 years after Federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that the Boston School Committee had unconstitutionally segregated the Boston Public Schools, has any kind of discussion begun about it.  I myself, hope it continues.  Many people from Boston who experienced it first hand, both white and non-white alike, wish to have their stories heard, which is only fair.  

Here is my own personal essay on Boston’s mandatory school busing, which is cross-posted over on firefly-dreaming, docudharma, and afew other forums:

On Mandatory School Busing here in Boston:

Unlike  many, if not most of the Southern areas,  Boston’s busing program was confined to the city limits,  which  was also partly  why Boston became so explosive during the mid to late 1970’s when  mandatory school busing was implemented there.    A Metropolitan solution was considered in a number of areas including Boston, but it got scrapped.   People in Boston’s all-white suburbs would not  accept it,  and Boston’s black  community, already small, and fearful that the limited amount of influence and power that they had, would be “diluted in the sea of suburbia”,  also rejected it. 

However, the Boston area also had a METCO program (I forget what the letters stand for), in which black students from Boston were bused in to a number of the outer-lying bedroom communities,  including my old hometown, which implemented METCO later.  The METCO program was a  voluntary program aimed at inner city students from Roxbury,  Mattapan and North Dorchester who wished to participate in it,  and a great many METCO kids benefited by getting a better education at better schools in wealthier communities.

Sep 20 2012

Why Do People Riot?

The above  question has been sort of dogging me for several days, and I felt the need to write about it.  Why do people riot in the streets?  Why are the riots throughout the world presently taking place?   Is it one incident or event that causes a given riot, or is it a whole set of other factors at play that only needs a specific set of incidents/events to set off a riot?

Riots, in general, are quite complicated, and nobody really knows how or why  even the most respectable, law-abiding people will sometimes engage in this kind of civil disorder, or allow themselves to be influenced by a small percentage of people in a given group who are prone to this kind of behavior in the first place?  Again, nobody really and truly knows.  

Sometimes, even good, law-abiding people can get caught up in all the excitement of rioting, and become aroused when the people all around them are acting as such.  What makes such people prone to that?  Is it because they, too, are under some sort of pressures that they don’t particularly wish to discuss with others?  Is it because they, too, are bothered by things that’re beyond their control, or at least tough to change?  Is it because they, too, fear that they’ll one day end up with no job, no home, money, food, or opportunities for education and meaningful employment?  Is it because being under martial law puts a ton of pressure on them, they feel trapped in a cage and need to throw things out, so to speak?  Is it possible that people believe that if they don’t partake of the riots, they’ll either become outcasts, or get beat-up or possibly killed?    I believe that all these things definitely produce a sort of a powder-keg situation, where all it takes is one seemingly small (or not so small) incident or event to set off a riot.   On the other hand, however, riots are often instigated by people who are prone to breaking the laws to begin with, and find further excuse for law-breaking when they instigate such civil disorders.  Without a small band of angrier people to set things off, riots might not occur, either.  

Sep 12 2012

The Homecoming of Aziza:

As I pointed out at the end of the last long diary that I posted here on the Stars Hollow Gazette, I did get another exotic bird, after my 20 year old Noble Macaw, McGee, passed over the Pet Rainbow into Bird Heaven, in early February of 2010.   I did some research on birds, both on and offline, and decided on a beautiful, adorable baby Congo African Grey Parrot.

This is a photograph of Aziza, where she looks like she’s doing a dance.  She’s in one of her favorite poses, on her favorite outside-her-cage height and place:

Homecoming of Aziza

Here’s yet another photo of  Aziza,

Homecoming of Aziza

playing in her cage, looking curiously down at something while she’s on her bong rope swing, which is a favorite inside-her-cage perch of hers.

Here’s another more exuberant photo of Aziza.

Homecoming of Aziza

She certainly reveals her beauty, exuberance and gracefulness when she’s in that position.  It’s great!

This is a photo of Aziza perched on my forearm/hand.  You now have a close-up view of her, and you can see her beauty on a somewhat larger scale.


Here’s yet another photo of Aziza, in one of her most pensive modes:

Aziza my baby Congo African Grey Parrot.

This photo, too, reveals how beautiful she really is!  One of my favorite photos of Aziza.Now that I have presented afew (albeit familiar) pictures of Aziza, many of them taken when she was even younger than she is right now, I will proceed with the essay itself.

After the unfortunate passing of my (almost) 20-year-old Noble Macaw, McGee in early February of  2010 due to unknown and natural causes, I knew in my heart that I wanted another exotic bird.  Yet, going out and getting another bird right away didn’t make sense.  I needed time to mourn and do research as to what kind of bird that I wanted.  It was at about ten-thirty on a Sunday night, when I went to cover McGee’s cage.  Seeing McGee lying still on the bottom of his cage, I called his name, and caressed him, hoping to wake him up.  There was no response forthcoming, so I immediately knew the worst;  McGee had passed over the pet rainbow to bird heaven.   Probably not the best thing to do, but, being in shock, I was just thinking on my feet, so to speak.  The next morning, I called my sister and told her the sad news, and then I got a call from my brother a few minutes later, after my sister had called him and given him a message.  I received much condolences from my family, friends and some of my neighbors who I told.  I knew that I  wouldn’t be getting another bird until the spring, and, although it was a fairly short time, I began to feel the emotional pain of  not having a pet to greet me when I walked in the door, and I often found myself looking over at McGee’s old cage in the corner of the living room, expecting him to be there, but finding an empty cage instead.

A week later was my birthday, and one of my birthday presents was a couple of books about parrots;  One was called Parrots for Dummies, and the other was a complete book on African Greys, because I was leaning towards getting an African Grey Parrot.  I did much research on African Greys and other parrots both on and offline.  I asked around about a reputable pet store in our area, talking to the veterinarian that I’d taken McGee to, a couple of her assistants, and a neighbor who’d purchased a Red-Lored Amazon at that same place ten  years before.  All roads pointed to a pet store down in East Walpole, MA, called Bird and Reptile Connection.  After I explained about the passing of my Noble Macaw,  I went down and visited the place, and looked at a not-quite-a year-old Goffins Cockatoo, which is one of the smaller cockatoos.  It was a beautiful bird–all white with a sort of orangey-pink coral color underneath.  The Goffins and I got along splendidly, but after doing much on and offline research, I decided against getting the Goffins cockatoo, and I concentrated on the African Grey instead.  I asked about the baby Timneh African Greys that were due to arrive in April, which were a little cheaper than the Congo African Greys and were reputed to be somewhat more easygoing.  I decided to look at the Timneh, being set on that.  I bided my time, doing as much research as I could, on the Greys, housing for them, care, and food for them.  I kept in touch with the people at Bird and Reptile Connection via telephone and email.  April finally came.  

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