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West Side Story–Another Round:

Hi, everybody:

Sorry for my prolonged absence from  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.    

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.  

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.

Doug, Jem, Gloansy and Dez are about to escape with their loot when Claire, the bank manager, kicks the vault alarm with her foot, setting it off immediately.   Then things go from bad to worse.   Amanda, an equally attractive female customer in her mid 30’s,  who is an artist, paramedic and martial artist, and her boyfriend, Dave, a construction worker, also in  his mid-30’s, have been waiting in line to deposit some money through a teller, when they, too are somewhat roughly forced to the floor by Doug MacRay and his men.  Despite having been warned by Jem to stay down on the floor and not look up, Amanda’s boyfriend, Dave, makes the mistake of looking up for a split second when the alarm goes off.  That’s enough to send Jem (who’s Doug’s best friend and righthand man and the craziest, most hot-tempered of the four.) into an uncontrollable rage.  Thinking that Amanda’s boyfriend, Dave, had set off the vault alarm, Jem attacks Dave in a fury, hitting him directly in the back of the head with the butt of his automatic weapon a half dozen times, as hard as he can,  before Doug can stop him.  Much blood flows from Dave’s head, and Dave is ultimately killed by the blows, as we shall see.  Upon a paramedic’s instincts, Amanda attempts to find a pulse in Dave, but is unable to.  She immediately realizes the worst.

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

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.  

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.  

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.  

Memoir to McGee:

Sadly, my  beautiful, beloved pet Noble Macaw, McGee, passed over into Bird Heaven on Sunday night, February 7th, 2010, at the age of roughly 20.  I found him dead, at around 10:30 p. m., on the bottom of his cage.  It was very much of a shock, which I still haven’t gotten over, but I hope it’ll wear off soon.  

So saying, I’ve decided to write a memoir of McGee.  Here goes:

I had been wanting a pet bird for quite a long time.  After doing some research and looking in various pet stores, we hit upon one in Boston’s Back Bay area called Back Bay Aquarium & Pet Shop, which is no longer in business.  After looking at some Noble Macaws, I decided I wanted a Noble Macaw as a pet.   After going on vacation for a couple of weeks, I picked out one of the young, green macaws, with a blonde beak, red under the wings, and olive yellow underneath closer to the body.   Accompanied by my parents, I picked out the bird,  selected a cage, reserved the bird and, then my parents and I went to lunch at Chang-Sho, a popular Chinese restaurant in Cambridge’s Porter Square.  All during lunch, we kept throwing out names for the bird, and my mother finally asked me  “What’s the name that Ian (my younger brother) constantly calls you out of affection?”  “McGee”, I replied.  So, the name stuck, and we all agreed that the name “McGee” was a good name for the bird.  

The next day, Sunday, was a rainy, cold day, and I picked up McGee from the Pet Shop.  The pet shop manager put McGee in a cardboard carrier, and I drove him home and put him in his cage, gave him food and water, and allowed him to become acclimated to me and his new surroundings.  McGee squawked happily, and enjoyed himself.  However, the euphoria was relatively short-lived, when a now ex- neighbor who worked nights and slept during the day, complained about the noise.  The guy who lived with her was more amiable, and said that he’d prefer not to be woken up before 7:30 a. m. by McGee’s noise, so I purchased a dark brown cover for the bird’s cage, and made a point of closing my Venetian blinds with the slats facing outward to keep the early-morning sun out of the apartment.  It worked, and that part of the problem was solved.  Since I  then had a fulltime job, I ended up confining McGee to my studio, which was an OK compromise.  At the manager’s suggestion, I took him up to my loft to meet McGee, who immediately won him over.  

Although the woman wasn’t  satisfied, and continued to give me a hard time, it had to do.  One day, as I was going out for a morning run, and the complaining woman had just finished her run, I decided to confront her, saying  “Hey!  If you’ve got any problems, it would be very much appreciated if you’d come and talk to me about it first.”  The woman quickly ran upstairs.  A little later, as I was finishing my morning run, I saw the woman going towards the MBTA station, in the opposite direction from where I was going.  When she saw me, she fled to the opposite side of the highway, stumbling and almost falling down as she ran across the road!  

Super-Random Thoughts–Since my mind’s been racing!

Hi, everybody!  

I’ve been very preoccupied lately;  my mind’s been absolutely racing this week, if one gets the drift.   Lots of stuff on my mind;   busy adjusting  scheduled appointments gone wrong, missing my normal life of silversmithing work, TKD,  bicycling, and whatever.  Oh well, at least I’ve had the use of my legs, so that I’ve been able to take long walks for exercise afew times a week.  

My Labor Day weekend was uneventful, except for going to see a screening of the mid=1970’s film, “Jaws”, which played to a packed house!   I kid you not….they sold out, so it’s a good thing that I’d purchased a ticket for  myself in advance of this movie screening.   I have to admit that this is another movie, which, while it certainly doesn’t hold the special place in my heart regarding movies as West Side Story, that it, too, is an enjoyable film, although the fakery in it (such as the mannequin’s leg when they found the young girl’s leg underwater later after she’d been avulsed by the Great White Shark, plus the construction of the shark itself for the movie) was quite obvious.  Richard Dreyfuss was quite good as the Marine Biologist, Roy Schneider was equally good as the Amity Chief of Police, and Robert Shaw was certainly cool as the rough, drunken seaman,  Quint, who volunteered to go out in his vessel and catch the Great White Shark  that had been terrorizing Amity’s beaches, attacking and killing people, to the tune of ten grand.  There was much clapping, laughter and (some ribald) comments and joking from the audience, but it was a fun evening.  

I wanted an aisle seat, but couldn’t get anything except on the left side of the theatre, in one of the front  rows, so I had to be content with what I could get, if I wanted an aisle seat.  I ended up sharing a row with three men from Boston’s Charlestown section,  who seemed okay, and I had a pleasant enough conversation with one of them.  So, I came to realize that maybe, just maybe,  there were plenty of C-Town’s oldtimers who were decent human beings and not all racist yahoos, bank robbers or other criminals.  We exchanged pleasantries prior to the movie, and, the guy I’d been conversing with asked me if I wanted anything before he went out to the concession stand.  I smiled, thanked him, and declined the offer, since I’d already eaten before the movie.  After the movie, another one of the guys said, pleasantly enough to me;  “have a good night”  Again, I smiled and said.  “Thanks.  You too.”.

That conversation re-enforced my opinions that the accents  in Ben Affleck’s movie  “The Town” sounded totally phony and forced, although I did not say so publicly.  

The movie “Jaws” that was shown was a beautifully cleaned up, re-printed and re-mastered copy of the film, which, ideally, is the way to really see a movie, and that’s one of the purposes of coming to a movie theatre like the Coolidge Corner Theatre.  Being a member definitely has its advaantages;  I can get in on a considerable discount, and they often have special screenings of certain movies that’re absolutely free to members.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind of membership at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in which I can get myself and a guest or two admitted on a discount, or for free during special screening events, first because most of the other types of memberships they have are too expensive, and secondly, my friends aren’t as much into going to the movies as I am.  

One movie that I do not particularly want to see, however, is the new film “2016”.  As everybody on here knows, I’m not a fan of Obama.  This film, however, sounds like a real piece of propaganda, which essentially refers to President Obama as a left-leaning Socialist, which, imho, he isn’t even the next fucking thing to!  Pardon my french, folks, but that’s how I see it.  Anybody who’d extend, expand and ante up G. W. Bush’s policies such as our stupid-assed, illegal and wrongheaded foreign wars, attacks on Civil Liberties,  start parroting AIPAC’s (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, i. e. the Israel Lobby) lines and caving into Benjamin Netanyahu the minute he takes office, and lacks the gumption to tell Israel to get the hell out of West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and allow the Palestinians their own independent, sovereign nation-state alongside Israel, and to pass an 20 y/o POS GOP-written healthcare “reform” bill into law and furthermore, allow abortion rights to be taken off the table to get it passed, is no goddamed Socialist.  I mean, seriously…who are the people (including some of my friends) who call Obama a Socialist kidding?  The fact that Obama took both Single Payer and Public Option off of the table for healthcare reform also disqualify him as a Socialist, among other stuff that would take too long to mention.  

1960’s-1970’s Rock-n-Roll; The 5th Dimension:

Every so often, I think about and listen to my favorite oldies (1960’s-early/mid-1970’s) rock-n-roll music, which tends to promote a nostalgia for the days when things were crazy, yes, but not as crazy as they are now, and the music (as well as a lot of the movies) back then reflected a certain exuberance that existed in that particular era, which didn’t constantly borderline frenzy, or cross over into frenzy, at least not to the extent that it all too often does during the course of these days.  

Of course, however,  as some people will put it, the good old days weren’t always good.  Along with the good back in the 1960’s and early to mid 1970’s, a lot of bad happened as well, which, unfortunately, contributed a great deal to the United States’ slide to the extreme Right, something that had been waiting in the wings all along.    A strong streak of anti-intellectualism has always permeated the Unites States society and culture, from Day One,  and it has manifested itself in many bizarre or nasty ways, especially starting in the early to mid 1950’s, with the McCarthy Era.  

There are a number of people who claim, both rightly and wrongly, that the United States is sliding into somewhat of a police state, an authoritarian state,  or an outright Fascist state.  Sadly, if one really looks at the history of the United States, the trappings for such a state as what’s mentioned above, have been there since day one, from the old, old Salem Witchhunts to the McCarthy period, and even beyond that, where demonstrators, even peaceful ones (which most of them were), have all too often been roughed  up in the streets by the police, arrested, and even jailed for no good reasons.  It happened during the Civil Rights Movement, our Viet Nam War, the time of our 2nd Iraq war, and it’s happening even now, under this present Administration in Washington.  

Anyway, thought, back to the subject at hand:  I thought I’d write a little bit about a certain rock group that I liked a great deal…and still do;  The 5th Dimension.  I had the good fortune to see them several years ago, in concert, at the Charles River Esplanade here in Boston, as part of the now-defunct summer WODS (103.3 FM) radio (the oldies station), and they were quite good.  Unfortunately, for some strange reason, those concerts are not being done anymore, which is a shame, because they had some really great groups performing on the Esplanade for free, which attracted thousands of people.  I do  miss those days, but what can I do?  I have tons of CD’s of my favorite rock groups from those days, which I listen to a great deal.  I guess I’m somewhat old fashioned at heart, but that’s okay.  

The Town: A Stupid, Overrated, Crappy Movie:

Hey, folks, I’m in the mood to post this, so here I am.  I recognize the fact that most people really like Ben Affleck’s most recent movie,  The Town, and I would’ve wanted to like it, too, but imho, there’s too much wrong with The Town for me not to look at  this film with  much harsher judgement and a much more critical eye than many, if not most people.  

I admittedly liked Ben Affleck a lot in Good Will Hunting.  He and  Matt Damon also did a great job  working  together in this particular movie.    Good Will Hunting, imo, is a good film that really worked.  However, I think that Ben Affleck fell badly on The Town, and part if it is probably due to the fact that he took on two jobs;  directing and playing the lead character.

Imho, The Town is an overrated, cheesy piece of junk that’s more like a feature-length made-for TV soap opera than a regular movie, which never, ever should’ve made it into the cinemas at all, in the first place.  Yet, I realize that, in order to get the democratic society that we all long for, different viewpoints have to be aired, no matter how much at odds they may  be with each other.  .

The cast is mediocre at best, the plot and story are overused, the Boston accents, especially on the part of Ben Affleck, are forced and way overdone, and the chemistry between Doug and Claire is non-existent to paltry, at best. One of the most, if not the most bothersome aspects of The Town is the message that it clearly conveys; People don’t have to be accountable for their actions and behaviors;  that it’s okay to steal and rob innocent people of money that they don’t deserve to lose, to terrorize, permanently maim, put innocent bank employees and customers’ lives and safety at risk, to abet an armed felon and wanted fugitive (Doug MacRay, the ringleader)to escape the law by getting involved romantically with him, allow him to buy expensive Tiffany diamond necklaces for one, and make utter dupes of law enforcement people who’ve been assigned to bring guys like Doug MacRay to justice and end their robbery careers once and for all, by lying to the Feds, and tipping an armed felon and wanted fugitive (Doug MacRay) off to them and helping them escape, and that it’s okay to take the law into one’s own hands and to kill a couple of people just because they threatened to do Heaven-knows-what to a girlfriend, or whoever. I think it’s totally wrong.

Oh, and why is it okay for good-girl Claire to receive stolen goods and spend  that ill-gotten money on the renovation of a seedy hockey rink and dedicate it to her criminal boyfriend’s mother who she never knew, instead of arranging to turn it into the police anonymously?

Hey…come on!  Doug put the romance moves on Claire when he met her, in order to shut her up and warn her oh, so subtely not to talk to the Feds or else! One’s supposed to think that Doug really loves Claire and is attrracted to her by her winsome personality, but nothing could be further from the truth, imo. He found Claire attractive, in that she was clearly vulnerable after being traumatized by him and his guys after they held up her bank at gunpoint, and therefore quite gullible and open to exploitation. Almost as soon as Doug got what he wanted out of Claire (a promise not to go to the cops or the Feds), he left the money in her garden and skipped town for Florida, because he was on the lam from the law and couldn’t elope with Claire and exploit her as a bargaining chip, the way he’d wanted to do.   Yet, there’s another reason why Doug left Claire behind when he skipped town for Florida instead of taking her with him;  Doug’s days of hiding out down in Florida in a house overlooking a bayou were numbered,  that sooner or later he’d be hunted down and caught, perhaps violently, by the Feds, and at some level, both he and Claire  must’ve known that.  It was especially obvious when FBI Agt. Frawley said to Claire  “You know the FBI is a national organization”, and then requested that the descriptions and photos of Doug MacRay be circulated.  Isn’t it funny how the vast majority of people, either naively or in willful ignorance, miss all of the above!

It’s funny how most people don’t realize that Doug was a sociopath who totally exploited the women in his life; Krista for sex, and he left her with nothing, even though he knew she had a young child to take care of (who might or might not be Doug’s), and Claire, who he thought he could elope to Florida with, but could not, after having charmed her into trusting him and then worming his way into her heart so that she’d shut up and not talk to the Feds. One is supposed to sympathize with both Doug and Claire, but, in reality, neither of them deserved any sympathy.

Imho, when the Feds had Claire and Doug meet at her Charlestown condo in a last-ditch effort to nab Doug MacRay and send him off to a Federal penitentiary for his crimes, the Feds should’ve made Claire keep her big fat trap shut, not call Doug or answer any of his phone calls, and let them do their job of arresting Doug and bringing him to prison for his crimes.

Doug deserved to end up in a federal penitentiary for his crimes, and Claire deserved to be criminally prosecuted herself, or at least put on some sort of probation for abetting Doug and for receiving stolen goods (Doug’s illl-gotten heist money).

I’m sorry, folks, but I cannot bring myself to be sympathetic to either Doug or Claire, who, imho, turned out to be the most dislikable, and annoying characters in The Town.  I also think the fact that Claire quit her job as a bank manager after the robbery without telling anybody, including the Feds, is also rather suspicious.   What most people don’t realize is that Doug is an armed felon and wanted fugitive who’s on the lam from the law, so he’s not going to Florida on vacation. Happily, there’s no way that he and Claire will ever meet again, which is what the final “I’ll see you again, this side or the other” sentence in Doug’s “goodbye, I’ll always love you” letter to Claire before he skipped town for Florida means,  but the fact that Claire didn’t turn to Frawley for help after learning the truth about Doug and reallizing that she was in over her head, is beyond stupid, and wrong.  

The fact that Doug and Jem beat the crap out of two Dominicans from a housing project who’d supposedly thrown bottles at Claire when she’d been stupid enough to walk by herself through a housing project (no woman in her right mind would do that, at any time of night or day) and permanently cripple them, especially since they didn’t even tell the two Dominicans why they are beating him up,  shows that underneath that smooth, sweet-talking, gentle veneer of his,  Doug, as well as Jem, is a man of  unprovoked violence, and more like his incarcerated father (who, btw, is serving several life sentences in MCI-Cedar Junction for bank robbery and murder) than he would’ve liked to admit. My, my…Lady Claire must’ve felt flattered that two armed felons who were also wanted fugitives from the law came to her defense! Pretty sickening, this whole thing.

West Side Story; The Classic That Never Grows Old:

I started writing an essay with this title early this morning, only to have it just disappear on me when I was roughly halfway through it.  It’s a royal pain in the ass when that happens, but I decided to wait until later today to try it again, as I was too exasperated to try to do it over again right away.  

I’ll start out by saying that my initial introduction to West Side Story was through the music of the original Broadway stage production of this musical.   It came while I was attending day camp out west in the summer of 1962, prior to entering the sixth grade.  A girl in the group I was with, who’d just received an LP copy of the original Broadway soundtrack of WSS for her birthday, brought it to camp and played it for the rest of the group.  My love of West Side Story took off…instantly.  

West Side Story-mania was in the air that summer.  Kids roamed the hallways, sometimes in groups, snapping their fingers, and the various songs from WSS rang through the bus to and from camp every day of the week, as the kids sang all the songs.  It was cool.  

I missed seeing the film version of West Side Story during the heyday of its popularity, partly due to my relative isolation from most of the other kids, and partly because my parents refused to  take my sister and I to see it, at least in part because they didn’t think (and my mom still doesn’t think) that West Side Story was a kids’ movie.  Having seen this great, golden oldie but keeper of a Classic movie/musical more times than I’m able or willing to count at this point, the more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with my mom on this point.  

Since my parents also had an LP copy of the soundtrack of the original Broadway stage version of WSS, I played it on my parents’ Hi-Fi whenever I had the opportunity to do so, because I’d come to so love the music and the story of West Side Story itself.  I would not get to see the movie until seven years later, as my high school years were coming to a close, and WSS, although there was a big national re-release of it, had passed the heyday of its popularity, freshness and newness.

I finally did get to see it for the first time, at around Christmastime of 1968, as a high school Senior, at a now-defunct cinema that was roughly 45 minutes north of Boston, and fell in love with this film the minute I saw it.  Little did I, or my family know, that this was the start of my own love affair with the film West SIde Story that would last all the way up until the present, much to their amusement, chagrin and resigned acceptence of this particular idiosyncrasy of mine.  

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