29 December 2008
24 December 2008
19 December 2008
This blog was originally published in Travis McClain's Journal - Patient on We Are Crohns on 19 December 2008.
One of the nice features of Google is being able to sign up for instant alerts to any and all news articles that contain key words. I, for instance, have signed up to be informed the moment anything is published containing the word "Crohn's." Frequently, I get local news articles about a citizen functioning with the diagnosis (or occasionally dying from it). I am also alerted any time a new study is published, which also happens with a higher instance of regularity than I would have suspected. Today is no exception, and I thought this important enough to share.
15 December 2008
- "Another Way to Die" - Jack White & Alicia Keys (didn't like at first, but it's addictive)
- "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles (so catchy!)
- "Cheater, Cheater" - Joey + Rory ("Where'd you meet that no good white trash ho?" That's great writing!)
- "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" - George Strait (sorry, Chesney)
- "Little Toy Gun" - Honeyhoney (goofy, yet fun; very fresh)
- "Johnny and June" - Heidi Newfield (walks the line--pun intended--between crass cash-in--pun also intended--and nice tribute)
- "I Only Want to Be with You" - Shelby Lynne (it wasn't easy picking just one cut from that album)
- "Honey Bee" - Lucinda Williams (right, like we don't know what she means by 'hav[ing] your sweetness all up in [her] hair")
- "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" - Bruce Springsteen (sorry, Kid Rock, but this was the best summer anthem of the year)
- "Outlaw S***" - Waylon Jennings ("Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand" reworked as a wistful ballad? Crazy, I say!)
- "She Left Me for Jesus" - Hayes Carll (so wrong, yet so fun)
- "Merry Christmas Baby" - Elvis Presley & Gretchen Wilson (see earlier blog entry on the Christmas Duets album)
07 December 2008
27 November 2008
24 November 2008
Through a partnership with Google, LIFE Magazine has published its archive of photographs online for free. There are some killer pics in this collection, including this one of President John F. Kennedy in 1961. You can search the collection by clicking here. If you find something you really like, you can order it as a framed print. The pricing is high, though. Here is the pricing scale I've seen:
Friday (21 November 2008) I kept my appointment with my GI clinic at U of L Hospital. They were typically overbooked, so I was delegated to one Dr. Lauren Briley. She spent the first two minutes apologizing for shuttling me around doctors and explaining the whole thing, to which I kept responding, "I'm fine with it." The truth is, when you visit a clinic and not a doctor's private practice, you really shouldn't get too excited about seeing different doctors at different times. It's part of the nature of the thing, and to be honest, I had only met the guy that passed me on to her once, anyway.
21 November 2008
Directed by David Wain
Starring: Seann William Scott, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jane Lynch and Elizabeth Banks
Theatrical Release Date: 7 November 2008
I forget who, but one movie mogul insisted years ago that he would only listen to story ideas that were concise enough to be written on the back of a business card. Role Models fits that criteria: Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd are court-ordered participants in a mentoring program with misfits--that's the entire premise of the film. Because of the simplicity of the plot (and the track record of the lead actors), it's easy to enter the film with virtually no expectations beyond laughing periodically.
Paul Rudd's Danny Donahue starts the film at his tenth anniversary in a job he hates, working with Seann William Scott's Wheeler, who adores the freedom the job affords his partying lifestyle. As Danny's early-mid-life crisis mounts, he decides to propose to his girlfriend who responds by breaking up with him and moving out of their house. One comedic set-up after another ensues and voila! Danny and Wheeler are compelled to participate in a program bonding with young boys who, naturally, have their own issues. Bobb'e J. Thompson's Ronnie Shields has a chip on his shoulder and a particularly vulgar mouth--he, of course, steals every scene he has.
The standout of the entire production is Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who absolutely shines as the nerd Augie Farks. Augie isn't "real" enough for his mother and stepfather, and they ridicule his fantasy interests every chance they get. His role playing becomes the backbone of the film's plot, uniting the four characters's threads. While Danny is pleading with his girlfriend's voicemail to meet with him, Augie insists that he tell her he misses her "silent eye," which Danny does. As soon as Danny is off the phone, Mintz-Plasse completely breaks up laughing, "It means 'vagina'!" which he repeats several times, finding it funnier each time. It's terribly absurd, and that's what makes it brilliant.
I entered the film less than two weeks from my thirtieth birthday, and Danny's arc particularly struck me. I found myself identifying with Paul Rudd's portrayal of Pete in Knocked Up, and again this time out. As an actor, he does a great job with his eyes of conveying the frustration of someone who has a lot to say about something, but is too apathetic to find it worth the trouble to even speak up half the time. I know that frustration and apathy, and I suspect I'm not alone.
The bottom line is that you should come for the obvious comedic value and stay for the completely over-the-top climax. Other films might concern themselves with taking a stand on the issues of the manchild; Role Models is content to explore the fun of being one.
16 November 2008
Directed by Marc Forster
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Giancarlo Giannini with Jeffrey Wright and Judi Dench as "M"
Theatrical Release Date: 14 November 2008
Date of Screening: 15 November 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Intense Sequences of Violence and Action, and Some Sexual Content)
Daniel Craig returns as Ian Fleming's James Bond in Quantum of Solace, a direct sequel to 2006's Casino Royale. And when they said it was a sequel, they meant it--the film starts roughly ten minutes after the end of its predecessor. Bond works his way up the food chain of Quantum, the SPECTRE-like organization behind the events of Casino Royale. Along the way, he uncovers a plot by faux environmentalist Dominic Greene to engineer a coup for a military general in Bolivia in exchange for a seemingly worthless chunk of land. Everyone speculates that Greene is after oil, and no one bothers to consider that he is instead working to dam up water.
Daniel Craig has spoken the classic line, "Bond...James Bond" once in his two films--it was the final line of dialogue in Casino Royale. Nor has his Bond continuity included a Miss Moneypenny or Q. For that matter, if they ever reintroduce the latter, they ought to consider calling him (or her) "S" instead, because the only technology present have been items commercially produced by Sony. What matters, though, is that Quantum of Solace manages something that too many moviegoers may not appreciate: the 22nd film in the series proves that James Bond is not defined by the Bond formula.
Quantum of Solace's run time of 106 minutes makes it the briefest 007 outing to date (previously, the shortest was Tomorrow Never Dies at 119 minutes), and saying that it moves quickly is like saying Michael Phelps can swim. When the end credits began to roll, my freinds and I were able to count three scenes in the entire film that we thought may have lingered for perhaps as many as five or ten seconds. Was this an example of catering to an increasingly short attention span, or was it simply the style of storytelling favored by director Marc Forster? Ian Fleming's original novels rarely reached 200 paperback pages in length and were meant to be read on a train. That being the case, then, Quantum of Solace does perhaps the best job of the entire cinematic series of conveying that sense of working quickly while disbelief is suspended.
12 November 2008
After waiting all year for anything official from the forthcoming James Bond film Quantum of Solace, Sony has finally complied and put up the first trailer on Moviefone.com today. I've watched it thrice already, and it appears to me that it's less Casino Royale II and more Casino Royale Again. We all knew that QoS was going to be a direct continuation of CR; there is a sense from the trailer, though, that we're going to get much the same film this time, however. M chastises Bond about setting out for revenge; laments, "I thought I could trust you" and orders him grounded.... It's fine for M and Bond to not be on great terms all the time, but it seems that ever since Robert Brown took over the role in The Living Daylights there's been an increasing amount of almost hostility between the characters and a lot less mutual respect. Fleming's M and Bond got on fairly well; Bond found his boss a bit of a social bore, yes, but would have gladly gone to hell and back for the guy. For his part, Fleming's M had nothing but respect for Bond's talents and abilities and made sure not to waste them, or to risk Bond unnecessarily. This cinematic trend of a lack of any kind of relationship between them has gotten tiresome, and it's sad to think that Tomorrow Never Dies is the only entry in the Bond series since 1987 in which the relationship is pretty consistent with Fleming's world.
Having said all that...the rest of the trailer appears to be about what we had in mind for this picture. It opens with Mr. White (the guy Bond tracked down just before the credits rolled at the end of CR) being interrogated, baiting Bond. The rest of the clip is a quick montage of Bond-on-the-run-again set to the aforementioned M-doesn't-trust-Bond-and-wants-him-restricted voiceover and ends with a shot of Bond hoisting an assault rifle as he walks across what appears to be the desert. Looks fun, looks intense, looks...like the last movie.
I know I sound disappointed with this trailer, and the only reason I actually am disappointed with it is because of the emphasis on the Bond/M tension about which you've already grown tired of reading me complain. I am greatly relieved that, from the trailer at least, they've kept the tone of this film consistent with its predecessor and haven't gone Roger Moore on us. No outrageous gimmicks, no slapstick humor, just good ol' fashioned gritty spy stuff. It remains to be seen, of course, how Fleming-esque the film actually is, but it appears to be a candidate for Bond "best" lists.
Annual medical expenses for Crohn's disease patients were $18,963 versus $5,300 for a matched comparison group. Ulcerative colitis patients' annual medical expenses were $15,020 versus $4,982 for the matched comparison group.That's just for having Crohn's or colitis. Now, add in surgery and those figures become unimpressive altogether.
Annual medical costs for patients with a gastrointestinal surgery were $60,147 for patients with Crohn's disease and $72,415 for patients with ulcerative colitis.