Monday, April 30, 2012

Delivery (and the things that go with it)

Delivery (and the things that go with it): No, we're not talking about when somebody brings food to your house.  This is the other kind of delivery.  Friday night, after all of our friends had come over to hang out, our second son decided to show up two days early.  So, I spent Friday night/Saturday morning at Kennestone Hospital.  The Pook showed that her previous performance as an Olympic Class baby birther was not a fluke and gave a repeat performance of equal (if not better) caliber.  Just like last time, I had ringside seats.  And having watched this twice, I can honestly say that I have no idea how we have survived as a race.  Pook wisely opted for the "Every drug you can give me" plan, so I can't really comment on observable pain levels.  But the pain she had before all of the pharmaceuticals kicked in leaves me with no doubt that there is only one word to describe the people who do it without drugs: "stupid".  I know, people say that they want to experience it the "natural way" or some such hogwash.  Well the next time you go in to the dentist to get a filling, why not get that done the "natural way" as well?*  Yeah, I thought not.  Plenty of people in the past have commented on the actual birth.  Words like watermelon and nostril usually get used.  So, I'll not go into that, other than to say, "Forget about it."  That some people do this multiple times means they are either mentally challenged or superhuman.**  Then there is the stuff that follows the baby.  Literally.  Ewww.  And to think, some people choose to deliver at home!  I don't think that they make Hefty bags for that, but good luck.

The Delivery Process: C-
The People Who Deliver: A+

* - Disclaimer, I stole this from the Pook.
** - My mom and sister both had four kids.  Woofah!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Birthdays: So today is my birthday.  Birthdays are odd for a number of reasons.  First of all it's basically a celebration of the fact that for yet another year you managed to not die.  Happy Birthday!  We're all stunned that you're still alive!  Secondly, shouldn't this really be a day to celebrate your mother?  I mean if we are celebrating an event, that event is your birth and if you get right down to it, that is something you didn't really have a whole lot to do with.  Trust me, ask you mom.  She'll tell you that all the work and effort that day was done by her.*  You mostly just sat there and made her force you out into the world.  (A process which then continued to a lesser extent for the next 18 years.)  Also birthdays are odd because people ask you retarded questions (especially when you were a kid) like, "So, how's it feel to be X years old."  Like somehow life is a video game and last night while you were sleeping there was a sudden "DING!" and you leveled up or something.  Last time I checked today feels pretty much like it did yesterday.  (Which could be good or bad depending on your situation.)  Also birthdays are odd because of the whole math/calendar/number problem.  What math/calendar/number problem, you say?  Well, how old are you?  Let's pretend you just answered that question with 25 years old.  So, you turn 25 and think, this year is going to be great.  My 25th year.  Only you're wrong.  It's really your 26th year. Your 25th year was last year.  I know, sounds nuts but think for a second.  You were born.  You were effectively zero years old.  That moment of birth began your 1st year on the planet.  Then after you were done with that year you turned 1.  So really your age represents all of the years that are past.  When you turn 1, you are working on your second year.  It's the same math/calendar/number problem that caused most of the planet to celebrate the new millennium on the wrong year. Anyway, I only started mulling on this (again) because I turned 42 today.  42!  An excellent number!**  A few days ago when I thought about turning 42 I said, 'this will be an excellent year because it will be my 42nd year!  But then I thought, no it won't.  Last year was my 42 year.  It was the excellent year.  Oh well.

Birthdays: A+***

* - If you were delivered C-Section then you can add the doctor into the list of hard workers.
** - If you don't know why 42 is an excellent number go read a book (or five).
*** - Despite all of the oddness of birthdays, they are still excellent.  You get presents and cake and every says Happy Birthday to you.  What more could you want?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grape Nuts Cereal

Post Grape-Nuts Cereal: I talked about loving cereal several posts ago, but I haven't actually graded any specific cereals.  So I thought I would do that and I will start with Grape Nuts*.  (In the interest of full disclosure and for reasons that will become evident momentarily (in the next sentence actually), this is another of those grades in which I haven't actually eaten the food in a long time.)  Grape Nuts are nasty.  In fact, Grape Nuts aren't even actually cereal.  Grape Nuts are rocks posing as cereal.  In my entire life, I have never actually met someone who honestly likes Grape Nuts.  Though I guess the fact that it is still for sale is a testament that somebody must be buying the stuff.  My theory is that because of its "rock like" consistency** it never actually goes bad.  So every year or so they take the old boxes that are starting to show wear and pour the cereal back into a fresh new box. Alternately, it could be that they are so cheap to produce*** that they can afford to get by only selling one box every other month or so.  I suspect these situations play out like this.  Some unsuspecting person looking for something new in the realm of cereal goodness spies the box of Grape Nuts sitting on the top shelf of the aisle along with other similar ultra-healthy, colon cleansing cereals and thinks, "That stuff's been around forever.  It must be pretty good!"  They buy a box of it.  Take it home and pour out a bowl.  Add milk.  Scoop up a spoonful and then proceed to send themselves straight to the emergency dentist by attempting to chew it.  I know you think I'm just using some hyperbole here, but this stuff is really just a box of rocks.  I have no idea why the word 'grape' appears in its title, because there isn't anything grape about the stuff.  And while there are supposedly nuts in it, if there actually are then it must be the shells of nuts and not the actual meat of the nut.  Now I know what some of you are saying.  Some of you are saying, but my cousin Fred loves the stuff!  Really?  Have you ever actually seen him eating it?  I thought not.  Others of you are saying, No, Mr. B.  What you need to do is pour milk on it and then heat it in the microwave.  Then it gets wonderful and warm and mushy like oatmeal.  Clearly, you missed the post about oatmeal.

Grape Nuts: F

* - Don't ask me why Grape Nuts got to go first.  Just what popped into my head.
** - Read this as: "Because they are rocks."
*** - Because really scooping some rocks out of a gravel pit can't be that expensive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Tomatoes and Some of Their Foods

Sweet Tomatoes: Ostensibly* Sweet Tomatoes is a healthier restaurant because they have a giant salad bar full of healthiness.  I don't know about you, but I don't eat there because it's healthy.  I eat there because I can make a tasty salad and then completely cover it in ranch dressing.  Next time you go** take a look around.  Most of the people there are not eating healthy.  They are eating a LOT.  Also, while the salad bar is their signature item, they more than make up for any good eating you do with the rest of the restaurant.  I'm sure they have some really healthy soups, but again I don't go there for healthy, I go there for Shrimp Bisque.  They also have muffins, bread, pasta, fruit, ice cream, etc, etc.  And it's even possible that you could find a nutritionist that would argue that all of these items are healthy.  But you'd be hard pressed to find one that says it's healthy to eat all of them at once in copious quantities.  I'm sure Ellie Krieger*** of the Food Network could go there and make you a completely healthy meal.  But it would be a plate with four lettuce leaves, two bits of broccoli and some carrot slivers that was set down near the bacon bits**** and didn't get anywhere near the salad dressing.  If she looked around and saw what most of the people in there were putting away, she'd faint on the spot.***** My only real complaint with Sweet Tomatoes would be that sometimes their offerings can be a little bland.  I mainly mean the things that they say are going to be spicy.  For instance they have a pasta that they serve from time to time that has the word arrabiata in the description.****** The little sign that tells you what it is, also explains that arrabiata is Italian for angry and it's called that because it's so spicy.  Before you get to excited, when they say spicy they mean that four out of five people from the geriatric set found it to be mildly not bland.  Their spicy chili is the same way.  For whatever reason you might go to Sweet Tomatoes, you can find plenty of yummy things to eat and again if you do put some things on your plate that are only sort of yummy or even really healthy for you, you can always slather them in dressing.  Again, I suggest ranch.

Sweet Tomatoes: A

As and added bonus, here are is a selection of bonus grades for some of the stuff you might find at Sweet Tomatoes.

Shrimp Bisque:  In Greek myths they always talk about the gods drinking ambrosia.  I'm sure at some point someone might have tried to sell you on the idea that this was some sort of fruit or honey beverage.  They were lying.  The gods were drinking Shrimp Bisque.  I have no actual proof of this, but take my word for it.

Raw Broccoli: What the Greek gods definitely weren't eating was raw broccoli.  In fact, why anyone would eat this stuff is beyond me.  It's not that it tastes bad.  It tastes like broccoli.  The problem is that the tops of it are just a bunch of tiny little green pebbles that will become a glob of wet tiny green gravel in your mouth.  Then you can spend the next five minutes trying to was it all away.  Meanwhile seven of the little things are now stuck between your teeth.

Grilled Cheese Focaccia:  Sweet Tomatoes has different types of Focaccia bread all of the time.  Usually I completely avoid them.  Not because they taste bad, but because they don't taste great.  They're just kind of average.  But twice a year or so they have Grilled Cheese Focaccia.  This stuff is amazing.  On those occasions, I literally could go there and eat just this.  I'm not really sure what's on the stuff.  For a guess I would say, two types of cheese, plus some kind of cheeze sauce*******, plus Ritz Cracker crumbles soaked in butter, plus deliciousness.

Shrimp Bisque: A+
Raw Broccoli: D-
Grilled Cheese Focaccia: A+

* - Look at me breaking out the big words from jump.
** - Assuming you do go.  If you don't it's a shame.
*** - She has that show on Food Network about eating healthy that you've never watched.  She makes sad plates of almost food and then smiles ruefully as she pretends to be happy about eating them.
**** - But not too near.
***** - Though a contributing factor would be she hasn't actually eaten anything since Easter.
****** - Clearly I've forgotten the actual title.
******* - That's not a typo, the 'z' is intentional because this stuff probably isn't actually cheese.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair (By C.S. Lewis) Because I didn't start this blog until after reaching the sixth book in the seven book Narnia saga, I have conveniently avoided the dispute over what order the books should be read in, since, both  sides of that argument agree that this book is the sixth.  On the whole I liked this one a lot.  It has Eustace, who was the cousin of the Pevensie's that goes along with Lucy and Edmond in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  So, you instantly have a character you know and care about.  He brings along a friend from his school and they are immediately sent on a quest by Aslan to find and rescue the son of the King (Prince Caspian*).  The story is basically a series of encounters and like most of the Narnia books suffers mostly from brevity, with Lewis introducing and resolving encounters almost before you even fully have a grasp on what's going on.  Of course the books were written for children, so that should probably be expected.  My other complaint about this and the other Narnia books in general would be that Lewis does such a good job of creating interesting characters, it's a shame that he doesn't have them show up in more books.  This one has a whole society of "Earthmen" living in underground kingdoms that you had never heard of in any of the other books and likely won't hear of in the last.  Nevertheless, these minor problems don't really hurt the book and I enjoyed reading it.

The Silver Chair: B+

* - Prince Caspian is now the king, not the son.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Chepe's: A pretty standard Mexican restaurant.  It's a chain so maybe you have another one by you, we have visited the one on Roswell road twice in the last couple of weeks.  The food is pretty average.  Not bad, but nothing to write home about.  The thing they do to try and set themselves apart from every other Mexican restaurant is that you get two different salsas with your chips.  The first is standard Mexican restaurant salsa.  However it is not spicy in the least.  In fact if you told me that it was 100% tomato puree, I wouldn't doubt it.  The second is a much darker salsa that is served warm.  This next sentence is ostensibly where I would tell you what that salsa tastes like, but it really doesn't take like anything.  You scoop some up with your chip and put it in your mouth.  It is definitely wet and it is warm, but that's about it.  Warm, wet, thick liquid.  Doesn't really sound very appetizing does it?  Well, it's not.  Both times our service was less than spectacular.  The first time the waitress was new, so it was forgivable that she was a little slow.  Also because it took more than 15 minutes to get our food, we got $5 off of our check.  So, that was nice.  This is evidently a preset deal with them, because the manager came by our table and said we were getting the $5 for 15 deal.  We didn't know what that meant until we got our check.  There listed on the check it said something along the lines of 5 for 15 with a subtraction of $5 next to it.  Which on the surface sounds like a pretty good policy, but when your computers are programmed to print that on the receipt, isn't that sort of like admitting you know your restaurant is going to fail on timeliness?  This time we did have a party of nine, which can be tough for a waitress.  The first half of the meal she was very attentive, but then about halfway through she seemed to just disappear.  At one point we managed to find her and asked for a box to take home food and it took about fifteen minutes to get it.  How hard is it to bring us a box?  In fact, she came back to the table after ten minutes or so to sort out some confusion on what drinks went on what check and then left again.  Seemed like a perfect time to give us the boxes, but alas no.  We finally got the boxes with the checks.  Despite her time consuming effort to get things right she still messed up all the drinks.  Now that I think about it, the other odd thing about the place (and this may really hit to the heart of the matter) is that I don't think I saw a single Hispanic person working in the place.  All of the wait staff looked like high school/college kids.  White high school/college kids.  Is it bad to expect Hispanic people working in a Mexican restaurant?  Anyway, it's doubtful we'll go there again.  There are plenty of other Mexican places between our house and there that are simply better.

Chepe's: C

Thursday, April 12, 2012

John Stossel

John Stossel: For those of you who don't know who he is, John Stossel used to be one of the reporters on 20/20.  He evidently didn't get along so well with ABC.  Mainly it appears because he wanted to produce show that questioned things like the idea that the government knows what it's doing.  Despite his shows getting great ratings eventually it became clear ABC was going to fire him and so he quit and now works for FOX.  And while FOX doesn't necessarily agree with the things he says either, they don't mind the people who work for them having and expressing such things.*  He's a devoted Libertarian** and is outspoken on lots of topics.  And while I don't necessarily agree with all of his viewpoints and opinions, I do like his shows and interview style and truth be told, I do agree with quite a few of his viewpoints and opinions.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting him in person.  My main concern with this was the following.  You read books by people or you see them on TV or in movies and you start to feel like maybe you know them or at least you have a sense of who they are.  And then you meet those people and they turn out to be big jerks.  Suddenly all of the things by them or containing them that you had previously liked are suddenly tainted.  The goodness of the book/movie/show suddenly ruined by the jerkiness of the author/actor.***  It's for this reason alone that the Pook often will refuse to go to venues and meet such famous/semi-famous people.  Well, I'm glad to report this is not the case with Mr. Stossel.  He was every bit as nice as you would expect from his shows and interviews.  In addition to that, he generously gives away a lot of free material to teachers to use in their classrooms.  Which gives him bonus points in my book.

John Stossel: A

* - Especially when it makes them money.
** - People who want as little government as possible in all aspects of life.
*** - As an example of that, I once met the author Robert Jordan and he turned out to be a bit of a turd.  In his defense maybe he was having a bad day or something, but it definitely soured me on him.

Something Rotten

Something Rotten (Thursday Next Novels)By Jasper Fforde.  This is the fourth book in the Thursday Next series.*  The series has been described in the past as "Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll".  Which is an okay description but really makes it seem like the books are supposed to be a constant laugh riot or complete strangeness and in the end they aren't that. If you liked the Hitchhiker Series I would strongly recommend this series because it does have the incongruousness and oddness of that series and much like that series really anything can happen.   I suspect that the Lewis Carroll part of the description comes from two facts: first the Cheshire Cat is a recurring character and secondly that the entire series has a literature bent to it.  But really I think a better description would be "the illegitimate child of the Hitchhiker Series and a High School Lit class**.  Anyway, back on track.  This book is much like the others in the series and that is a good thing.  The main character (Thursday Next) lives in a world sort of like our own, but at the same time very different***.  Among the most important differences is that time travel is possible and that Thursday's husband has, in previous books, been eradicated from the timeline.  This installment is partly about her attempting to get him reactualized.  In addition to everything going on in this strange world, Thursday is also able to enter into the book world.  Meaning she can actually go into a book and it's world.  So, in short, she has to deal with strangeness from two realities.  If I have any criticism of the book it would be that a lot of the book felt like the author was trying to wrap up loose ends and bring the entire series to a close.  Which he very successfully does.  However, I also happen to know that there is a fifth book in the series.****  So, I'm not sure really what's going on with all that.  Perhaps he thought he was done with the series and then for whatever reason it turned out he wasn't. Anyway, in short the book stays delightfully true to form and I would recommend it (and the previous three) wholeheartedly.*****

Something Rotten: A

* - Having read all of the previous books and being unlikely to read them again (and thus grade them) any time soon, I'll say that if I did grade them they would get very similar grades to this book.
** - The books in the Lit Class not the students
*** - Sort of like how the alternate world in Fringe is Earth but also isn't.
**** - In a large part because I own a copy of it.
***** - This message was approved by the Toast Marketing Board.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny: Let's face it, the Easter Bunny is like a bad copy of Santa's from someplace far away where they talk and look strange.  It's been a few months since Christmas and we're feeling a little holiday deprived, so let's add something new.  Only it isn't new, it's the same but worse.  Santa has a whole back story rich in detail and supporting characters.  The Easter Bunny's story?  He's a giant man sized rabbit that comes to your house and gives you eggs and candy.  And as any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, it's amazing that the whole "holiday character mythos" doesn't come apart at the seams the first time he's mentioned.  Me: Hey son, tomorrows Easter and you now what that means right? Son (who's three): Um, people celebrate an important event of religious significance?  Me: No, the Easter Bunny's gonna come and bring you candy and eggs!  Son: What?  Why?  I thought we weren't supposed to take food from strangers.  Me: Um, but it's the Easter Bunny!  Son: Yeah, okay Dad.  MOM!!!  Dad's off his medication again!  I mean seriously.  Where does he supposedly go up when it's not Easter?  Some magic hole in the ground?  And he spends the whole year painting eggs?  Don't they go bad?  Who helps him?  His brood of magic chickens?  What's his motivation?  Sounds like some sort of anthropomorphic creeper to me.  Don't get me wrong, as a child I appreciated a basket full of candy as much as the next kid, but if this bunny is supposed to have mystic powers or something, how come I got jelly beans every year?  I don't like them.  Further, why did he always put black ones in there?  Nobody likes those?  It's like he's you cousin who's a little tetched in the head.  You don't really know why he does what he does, but your Aunt asked you to ignore it and just play along, so you do.

The Easter Bunny: C-

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cryptic Crossword Puzzle #1* - Here's my first attempt at a cryptic crossword for mass consumption.  Unlike professional puzzle makers I haven't actually had it tested, so it's possible there are errors.  Hopefully, you'll find it error free and enjoyable.  To the first person who successfully completes it, I'll give a shout out or something.**

* - Yes, I realize this is not actually me grading anything and thus goes against the general idea of this blog.
** - Assuming you want to be mentioned on this blog.

Cryptic Crosswords

Cryptic Crosswords: If you look in a British paper for the crossword puzzle you'll find they aren't like the puzzles in American papers.  The U.S. version of a crossword is a simple clue to a word.  The British version of a crossword (known in the states as Cryptic Crosswords) are quite different.  Each clue consists of two parts.  There is still the clue to the word, but there is also a word puzzle that allows you to figure out that word. Part of the puzzle then is figuring out which part of the clue is the word and which part is the word puzzle.  If all that sounds a bit too, well for lack of a better word, cryptic, some of the best cryptic crosswords are done by The Atlantic Magazine*.  They have both a database of old puzzles from previous magazines and a guide to help you understand how to solve them.  For a slightly easier cryptic crossword (but still by no means easy) Games Magazine usually has two or three in every issue.  If all of that hasn't clued you into how I feel about them, let me be more plain.

Cryptic Crosswords: A+

* - Harpers also often has great ones as well.

Swiffer Sweeper w/ Wet Mopping Cloths

Swiffer Sweeper 2 in 1 Mop and Broom Floor Cleaner Starter Kit:  One of the best parts about the book Brandwashed was a discussion of how the Swiffer came to be and how mopping in general is just a poorly executed chore.  The gist is that a mop is designed to grab and hold dirt.  Then once you've used it and are ready to rinse it out, you are asking the mop to do the opposite of that, i.e. - let go of the dirt.  Which it just isn't built to do.  Then you take that now dirty mop and continue to spread the dirty mop head over your floor in an attempt to "clean" it.  Thus, the Swiffer is superior in that you take the disposable cloth,  ask it to do what it was designed for (get and collect dirt), and then you throw it away.  I do most of the mopping/sweeping in our house*, so I figured I would give it a try.  Result?  The wet cloths come out of the package really really wet.  Thus the first six square feet or so that you clean end up really really wet (and clean).  The next six square feet or so end up fairly wet (and clean).  After that everything ends up streaked with wet (and not so clean).  However, if you supplement with a spray cleaner (I used Orange-Glo) it does a grand job.  Also not having to spend time futilely trying to clean a mop head means that whole thing took a lot less time.  All of this leads me to conclude two things.  First, the Swiffer people are right, regular mopping is counter-intuitive.  Second, I shouldn't have been so cheap and should have bought the Swiffer Wet Jet to begin with.

Swiffer Sweeper w/ Wet Mopping Cloths: B

* - This is mainly because the Pook is horrid at it, but don't tell her.


Brandwashed: (by Martin Lindstrom)  This book is about advertising and branding of products and how the average person is manipulated into buying into and buying those products.  I either read an interview about it on or heard one on NPR and was interested enough to get and read it.  Sadly the book didn't live up to the hype.  I thought I was getting a book that talked about the tricks of advertising with amusing and enlightening anecdotes along the way.  The book had some anecdotes and did talk about some tricks, but mostly it just felt preachy.  A lot of the book's message seemed to be how products and advertising were manipulating you (his words) and thus are evil (my word).  Especially because they were (gasp!) making money off of you.  Personally I can't see how that's a problem.  Why should we punish businesses for success?  Capitalism = good.  Does it surprise me that business have figured out exactly where to place products to maximize sales?  No.  Does it surprise me that they have figured out exactly what music, phrases and actors will translate into the most money for them?  No.  Do I find that bad?  Again, no.  He spends a whole chapter ranting against membership cards and the like and how the store/website is tracking that data and using it to sell more stuff to you.  Oh Nos!  You mean that the ads that pop up on the websites I visit are more likely to be things I actually want?  The horror!  The last chapter is all about peer pressure and how easily a group of people in an "experiment" were manipulated to buy things.  It's fairly interesting, but any results are a bit spurious, since most people I hang out with stopped being so worried about name brands and using the "in" products back in high school.

Brandwashed: C+

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Hunger Games (Movie)

The Hunger Games: Despite the hype, I wasn't expecting too terribly much from this one. Say, somewhere in the neighborhood of Twilight in terms of production and a good version of what I hear is a good book.  There is also some minor controversy about it because it's a movie about young kids killing young kids.  But to that I say what I always say.   I say:  'It's a movie'.  How is a movie about young kids killing young kids any worse than a movie about adults killing adults?  They say (in that 'humoring the daft' tone of voice): Well Mr. B, it's because they're kids and killing is bad!  I say: Right, but first off, all killing is bad.  And second of all, it's make believe and the actors know that.  Even little kid actors.  In fact, while it may look to you like there are two kids all alone in the woods trying to kill each other, just off screen is an entire camera crew and probably about 20+ extra people as well.  Are you saying kids can't discern between reality and fantasy?  If so, we should take away every other movie and book too, except maybe the Scarlet Letter.*  And even if you could successfully do that, kids are going to play: cops & robbers, super-heroes & villains, cowboys & Indians, spacemen & aliens or some other variant anyway.  When I was young, in an effort to protect my youthful innocence, my mother wouldn't let my siblings and I have any toy guns.  She gave up on that plan when she found us running around the yard pretending to shoot each other with our fingers and sticks.  Anyway, seems like I've taken a detour in my grading here.  So back on track.  Good movie.  Enjoyed it thoroughly.  Made me want to read the books.

The Hunger Games: A-

* - Too boring for most mere mortals to get through.  The majority of readers get any desire to finish reading this one killed off in the morass that is essentially a mind-numbing description of the bits of glass in the side of a building, but then that's another review.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading: This is one of the many Coen Brother's Movies and I found it to be about the same as all of the others.  Before I go further let me just say that I have a feeling I will upset some people with this one, because people who like Coen Brother's Movies tend to be fanatical about it.  I know some guys who will just as soon stab you as hear you talk badly about The Big Lebowski.  But I continue nonetheless protected by my integrity, the first amendment and the fact that they don't know where I live.  I found the movie lacking*.  Just like I've found most of the Coen's comedic movies lacking**.  I don't really know why others like them so much, maybe it's me***.  They are ostensibly comedies, but I only find them slightly amusing.  They are more slightly ironic, mildly amusing anecdotes made into feature films.  During this particular one, I did honestly laugh once, though it was at the beginning and I don't remember what was happening at the time.  When the movie ended, I wasn't sad that I'd watched it, but I also didn't have that movie afterglow you get when you see something great or even better than average.  I felt kind of sad for a couple of the characters (really for most of them).  Beyond that I have to wonder what was the point?  What were the Coen's trying to accomplish?  Do they feel like they did it?  Could they let me know what it was so I could appreciate it?  Anyway, somehow or other I have ended up owning a copy of the movie and I can honestly say that the chances I watch it again are very small.  So, if anyone out there wants my copy they can have it.

Burn After Reading: C

p.s. - For the record, Miller's Crossing is one of the best movies ever**** and I haven't seen a good many of the Coen movies.  But if I were to rate The Big Lebowski it would probably get a worse grade and it's doubtful if Raising Arizona would pass*****.

* - Fanatical Coen Fans [FCF] across America now leaping into their cars.

** - The FCF's slam their foot down on the accelerator.

*** - The FCF's give pause waiting to see if perhaps I can be spared.

**** - The FCF's smile and begin to turn their cars around.

***** - The FCF's phone in to FCF central and order a nuclear strike.