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Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Top 100 Movie List

I have attempted to make a list of my favorite movies. By favorite I mean movies that I want to see again. There are lots of great movies that I like but I never care to see again. Citizen Kane comes quickly to mind as an example. A casual glance at my list shows that I heavily favor crime and gangster themes and that I prefer newer films.

1)      The Godfather (1972)
2)      The Godfather II (1974)
3)      Amadeus (1984)
4)      Goodfellas (1990)
5)      The Pianist (2002)
6)      Groundhog Day (1993)
7)      A Prophet (2009)
8)      Master and Commander (2003)
9)      The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
10)   Michael Clayton (2007)
11)   Tempest (1982)
12)   Tapas (2005)
13)   Un Franco, 14 Pesetas (2006)
14)   Cousin, Cousine (1975)
15)   The Boxer (1997)
16)   Au Revoir les Enfants (1987)
17)   Rushmore (1998)
18)   Moneyball (2011)
19)   Limitless(2011)
20)   The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
21)   Jean de Florette
22)   Manon des Sources
23)   Fever Pitch (UK)
24)   The Big Lebowski
25)   High Fidelity
26)   Gladiator
27)   True Grit (1969)
28)   True Grit (2011)
29)   Alien
30)   The Bounty (1984)
31)   The Road Warrior (1981)
32)   The Wizard of Oz (1939)
33)   Apocalypse Now
34)   Hannah and Her Sisters
35)   West Side Story (1961)
36)   Say Anything (1989)
37)   Munich (2005)
38)   Training Day (2001)
39)   Super Troopers (2001)
40)   The Lives of Others (2006)
41)   Street Kings (2008)
42)   Duck Soup (1933)
43)   Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
44)   Snatch (2000)
45)   RocknRolla (2008)
46)   Pulp Fiction (1994)
47)   Reservoir Dogs (1992)
48)   Layer Cake (2004)
49)   Das Boot (1981)
50)   Life of Brian (1979)
51)   The Princess Bride (1987)
52)   Barry Lyndon (1975)

…to be continued

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Being So Smart Doctors Say Some Stupid Stuff

After a lot of very contradictory information from the medical community on what we should and shouldn’t eat, what will and won’t give us a heart attack or cancer or gout or whatever, I feel vindicated in my lifestyle which has basically been eating whatever the hell I want while being on a first-name basis with the dudes at the local bike shop. 

My Mediterranean Diet is the oldest fad in recorded human history. I am fond of saying that if you start every recipe with "2 Hour Bike Ride" then your body can probably do just fine with whatever else you throw in. 

So high cholesterol equals a heart attack and low cholesterol makes you retarded. Got it.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Free at Last: One Man's Quest for a Laurel Tree

Laurus nobilis

I have finally pulled myself out from under the crushing tyranny of the bay leaf industrial complex by finding my own tree. Well, it’s not my tree but I can reach it from the bike trail south of town. No longer will I have to pay out as much as 40 cents for a slim bag with enough leaves for a few months’ work in the kitchen. I owe it all to a cycling friend who pointed out a laurel tree to me on one of our outings. I have ridden by this spot a million times, just past the railroad bridge on the way to Pinedo.

Bay leaf is a strange herb because I really can’t define the taste but I sure can tell when you leave it out of a dish. “Taste two plain tomato sauces side by side, one of them cooked with a bay leaf or two,” says Laurie Harrsen, McCormick’s director of consumer communications. “The difference it makes is amazing. It’s a ‘foundational’ flavor, a workhorse — not the star.” I would never think of making a tomato sauce or any type of stew without two or three laurel leaves. Just remember to discard the leaves after cooking. If you eat them you will die...or something. I've never been stupid enough to ingest them as common sense would tell you that a leaf that doesn't break down after 40 minutes in a pressure cooker isn't about to dissolve in your intestines.

The laurel is native to the Mediterranean, or was brought here from the east but you don’t seem to find it just anywhere. It always seems to have been planted for the purpose of harvesting. In one spot where I've discovered a laurel tree there is a ruined farmhouse near it. The laurel tree is an evergreen and the leaves can be harvested at any time.