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NFL Picks, Week 16
Published on December 19, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 16 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Judith Hill, in Concert
Published on December 17, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about Judith Hill's concert in Hudson last weekend.

Click here to read it.


Eating Frog
Published on December 16, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about eating frog for the first time.

Here's an excerpt:

"A friend of mine has taken to shopping at an Asian market in Albany, where he finds good deals on seafood, vegetables and other staples and delicacies. Some of the food is unusual, which has led to a certain amount of experimentation, and when my friend discovered that the Asian market sells frog, he decided he had to try it.

'Do you want to come over for frog this weekend?' he asked.

How could I say no to an offer like that?

Of course, I gave little thought to my commitment, and what it might mean to eat frog, until I saw the frogs themselves. Having spent my life rejoicing at the sight of a live lobster being tossed into a pot of boiling water, I don’t know why I was so shocked at the sight of large bullfrogs, recently skinned and gutted, being tossed into a skillet.

'Wow,' I said, trying not to look or sound too horrified.

Click here to read the whole thing.


NFL Picks, Week 15
Published on December 12, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 15 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Watching "Dallas Buyers Club"
Published on December 10, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new film "Dallas Buyers Club."

Here's an excerpt:

"The new film 'Dallas Buyers Club' isn’t the best film of the year, and I doubt most critics would give rank it among their favorite films of the year. And when I walked out of the theater, I would have been inclined to agree with them. 'Well, that was pretty good,' I said, damning it with faint praise. But a day later, I’m still thinking about the 'Dallas Buyers Club.' I still feel attached to its characters. If DBC isn’t one of the best films of the year, well, it’s certainly one of the most affecting.

'Dallas Buyers Club' is anchored by two amazing performances. Matthew McConaughey is Ron Woodruff, a hard-partying electrician/rodeo rider diagnosed with AIDS and told he has just 30 days to live. Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman who becomes his unlikely business partner.

After a middling career filled with unforgettable parts, McConaughey is in the midst of a career renaissance, and Ron Woodruff is one of his most memorable roles. Jared Leto has always been a good actor (I loved him in 2000’s 'Requiem for a Dream'), but he hasn’t always had a chance to prove it. I’m hoping he wins an Oscar for his work as Rayon, and is rewarded with a McConaughey-like career resurgence. I’m not just praising Leto for making a risky career choice. His Rayon is full-fledged individual, sweet, funny, sad and tough. Together, he and McConaughey make for one of the more compelling cinematic odd couples of 2013.

Based on a true story, 'Dallas Buyers Club' is set in the early days of the AIDS crisis, when the disease was mainly restricted to gay men and intravenous drug users. Woodruff is a homophobe and a bigot; when he’s first diagnosed with AIDS, his reaction is one of disbelief and denial. But he doesn’t want to die, and begins researching the disease and treatment options, which are minimal; AZT, which he’s told is the most promising drug, is only available to patients enrolled in a trial. Woodruff seeks help from a doctor in Mexico, where he learns of other, promising drugs that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It isn’t long before he’s importing these drugs back over the border and providing them to AIDS patients, making an enemy of the FDA and the medical establishment.

Click here to read the whole thing.


Running a 5K
Published on December 9, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about running my first 5K.

Here's an excerpt:

"Over Thanksgiving weekend, I ran my first 5K, a turkey trot in York, Maine.

Running a turkey trot isn’t something I’ve ever really wanted to do. But when my sister Lesley invited me to join her on the run in York, I said, 'Sure, why not?' I figured it would be a good warm-up for the 5K I’m doing next week, the Last Run in Albany.

Lesley is an experienced runner who ran cross-country in high school and college. But I am not an experienced runner, which might explain why my sister Rebecca tried to convince me to dress up for the run.

'You have to wear a turkey costume,' she said.

'That’s not true,' I said.

The York turkey trot is a small, laid-back event. I don’t know how many runners the typical turkey trot attracts, but I estimated that there were maybe 200 runners at this one. After checking in, my sister and I headed toward the rear of the throng and waited for the race to start. I realized, as I stood there, that I had two fears: Hurting myself and being unable to complete the race, and finishing dead last.

'What happens if you come in last?' I asked.

'Nothing,' Lesley said."

Click here to read the whole thing.


NFL Picks, Week 14
Published on December 5, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 14 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Watching "All is Lost"
Published on December 4, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new Robert Redford vehicle/survival tale "All is Lost."

Here's an excerpt:

"2013 has been a big year for experiential cinema. 'Gravity' gives viewers the experience of being lost in space. 'Captain Phillips' allows them to see, hear and feel what it’s like to be taken hostage by Somali pirates. '12 Years a Slave' immerses them in the life of a slave. This week I saw 'All is Lost,' a tense and visceral depiction of survival at sea. We learn little about this man — not even his name. (In the credits, he’s listed as Our Man.) But we understand what he’s feeling, hearing and seeing at any given moment.

'All is Lost' is the second film from J.C. Chandor, who made his debut with 2011’s 'Margin Call,' a gripping look at the financial collapse. 'All is Lost' is also pretty gripping, but in a completely different way. 'Margin Call' was a talky movie that featured a dynamite ensemble cast, while 'All is Lost' is a nearly wordless showcase for a screen legend: the 77-year-old Robert Redford. No other actors appear in the film, and although we do see the occasional fish, this isn’t 'Life of Pi.' There are no imaginary tigers or fantastical islands to liven things up. What we get instead is nature, and the elements: the open water, a raging storm, the glare of the sun.

'All is Lost' opens with Redford writing a letter of apology, placing it in a bottle and dropping it into the sea. The film then jumps eight days back in time, to the moment when Redford’s yacht crashes into a shipping container, tearing a hole in the side. The rest of the movie is a meticulous and painstaking account of the steps Redford takes to survive. We see him studying a book on celestial navigation, making an attempt to patch his boat and learning to operate a sextant. But the setbacks are numerous. Eventually his yacht sinks, forcing him to relocate to an inflatable raft with a small supply of rations and equipment."

Click here to read the whole thing.


My Christmas List
Published on December 4, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my Christmas list - an annual ritual.

Click here to read it.


NFL Picks, Week 13
Published on November 27, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make me week 13 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


Ranking Hayao Miyazaki
Published on November 26, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I rank the films of Hayao Miyazaki.

Click here for more.


Watching "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Published on November 26, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new French film "Blue is the Warmest Color."

Here's an excerpt:

"Don’t be fooled by the nearly three-hour running time, the explicit sex scenes or the naturalistic, immersive filmmaking: 'Blue is the Warmest Color' is a coming-of-age story, about the joy and heartbreak of first love. This is a tale that’s been told many, many times, though seldom as emotionally or provocatively. Or as controversially.

'Blue is the Warmest Color' won the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, marking the first time the award was given to both a film’s director and leads. But this triumph was followed by discord. The stars of the film, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, accused director Abdellatif Kechiche of being abusive and said they would never work with him again; Kechiche responded by saying that the film 'shouldn’t be released, it has been soiled too much.' Of course, the film has been released, despite his protestations, and moviegoers are free to watch the film, see what the hype and fighting is all about and come to their own conclusions about the merits of Kechiche’s movie."

Click here to read the whole thing.


Watching "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Published on November 26, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new French film "Blue is the Warmest Color."

Here's an excerpt:

"Don’t be fooled by the nearly three-hour running time, the explicit sex scenes or the naturalistic, immersive filmmaking: 'Blue is the Warmest Color' is a coming-of-age story, about the joy and heartbreak of first love. This is a tale that’s been told many, many times, though seldom as emotionally or provocatively. Or as controversially.

'Blue is the Warmest Color' won the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, marking the first time the award was given to both a film’s director and leads. But this triumph was followed by discord. The stars of the film, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, accused director Abdellatif Kechiche of being abusive and said they would never work with him again; Kechiche responded by saying that the film 'shouldn’t be released, it has been soiled too much.' Of course, the film has been released, despite his protestations, and moviegoers are free to watch the film, see what the hype and fighting is all about and come to their own conclusions about the merits of Kechiche’s movie."

Click here to read the whole thing.


Otters! Otters! Otters!
Published on November 25, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about my trip to the Wild Center in the Adirondacks.

Here's an excerpt:

"Over the weekend I visited the Wild Center in Tupper Lake with some friends.

'What exactly is the Wild Center?' one of my friends inquired, shortly before the trip.

I was stumped. The question made me realize that I only knew one thing about the Wild Center: It has otters. And, really, what else do you need? Otters are fantastic little animals; if I could come back as an animal in my next life, I might choose to be an otter. They swim and play pretty much all the time, and are capable of building slides in the snow and mud. And they’re cute! Even so, sensible people might wonder: Are otters worth a three-hour drive?

Yes, I think so. Although I should probably mention that the Wild Center would be a pretty cool place if it didn’t have otters. A natural history museum that opened in 2006, the Wild Center features compelling and interactive exhibits, live animals and cool programs. Plus, it occupies a beautiful building that showcases its beautiful Adirondack setting. Upon arrival, my friends and I picked up the day’s schedule to find out when Otter Enrichment — which involves feeding or engaging the otters in a stimulating activity — would occur. We were sure this would be the highlight of our trip, and we did not want to miss it."

Click here to read the whole thing.


NFL Picks, Week 12
Published on November 21, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 12 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.


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