Thursday, May 03, 2007

99 Things about Me

This was my very first blog written in January 2005. I never posted it on my blog. That was done on a blog of my good friend under the title “99 Things about my friend M.” It’s been almost two years since I’ve posted on my blog. I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. I’m sure lots has changed (I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.) We’ll know for sure in a little while because I’m working on a sequel “Ninety-nine More Things About Me” which will be posted soon. Who knows how that will work out. But in the meantime, let’s look at the original once again. . . .complete and unabridged.

Slowpoke and his state of mind in 2005.

1. I don’t know where to start.
2. I love hamburgers. How about that?
3. I love junk food. I can’t help it. The other day, a bunch of people from work went out for lunch, and when I found out they were going for salads, I ditched them to go to KFC by myself.
4. I don’t believe in astrology, but I can’t explain why I connect particularly well with Cancers.
5. My birthday is March 4.
6. People who know say I’m a typical Pisces.
7. My purple Volkswagen is the same colour as my favourite smartie.
8. My little cousin Jan lives in New York.
9. I wish she lived in Toronto.
10. I want to go to New York this summer.
11. I have two brothers who are both better athletes than I am.
12. My father is the strongest person I know.
13. I admire my friend S. for having the strength to raise an autistic child.
14. I’m transported when I listen to John Coltrane because he is the greatest saxophone player that ever lived.
15. I get depressed when I listen to John Coltrane because it is impossible for me to ever play as well as he did.
16. My brother thinks it’s wasteful that I have so many CD’s. I store some separately, so whenever he comes over he won’t see how many I really have.
17. He thought he was being helpful when he once suggested I can download music.
18. I will never download music.
19. I don’t surf the internet and I don’t own a computer.
20. My CD collection includes among other things, Frank Sinatra, Motorhead, Judy Garland, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Holly Cole, Black Sabbath, Dvorak, Mozart, Maria Callas, Meatloaf, Barbra Streisand, Oscar Peterson and Rush.
21. My favourite CD is Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, The Great Summit, from 1961.
22. “Over the Rainbow” is the first tune I learned to play on my saxophone.
23. On days I’m playing hockey particularly well, it’s likely I’m playing in my head the tunes “One”-U2 or “Whole of the Moon”-Waterboys
24. I will never win a lottery, not because I don’t buy tickets (I do), but because I never get around to checking my numbers.
25. If I do win a lottery, I will quit my job and go back to school to get a graduate degree in English Lit.
26. With the exception of the last two or three years, I’ve read “The Great Gatsby” every year of my life since grade 12.
27. I’ve started reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” again.
28. I started it for the first time when I was in my 20’s and searching for meaning. Never finished the book. Never quite figured out the point of life.
29. In 1993, I wrote a short novel (long short story?). Today I’m embarrassed about it.
30. I’ve only let three people read it, and I’ve asked them not to tell me what they think of it.
31. I don’t accept criticism very well.
32. F. who used to work here, (who used to report to my woman hockey playing friend, K.) quit being a lawyer to write her novel full time.
33. I think F. is incredibly brave and I hope she succeeds.
34. I’ve seen the movie Casablanca about twenty times.
35. Last year I went through a period where I couldn’t stop watching “Lost in Translation.” It’s terribly affecting. I think I saw it five times over a two week period.
36. I fall asleep everything I try to watch “The Sound of Music.”
37. I’ve never seen it in its entirety.
38. But I love “My Fair Lady”.
39. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not Buffy, the show.
40. I’m a slob.
41. My friend T makes me laugh. Whenever I change jobs I have to take him out to dinner to celebrate. Whenever he changes jobs I have to take him out to dinner to celebrate.
42. Once about five years ago, I reneged and he still holds it against me. I don’t think changing department counts.
43. I miss living in the city. I don’t like the suburbs.
44. I want a huge fat tree in front of my house.
45. When I lived in the city, I went out for a walk every night. I can’t do that anymore.
46. I don’t like shopping but I do go to malls. It’s the closest thing in the ‘burbs to strolling the Danforth.
47. I worry a lot about the future. Mostly I worry that my life won’t change.
48. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, but I hope there’s more. Maybe I need religion. That’s what an old friend of mine used to tell me.
49. I have no religion. I don’t believe in anything.
50. Both my manager and my financial advisor think I’m aimless.
51. I also worry about my parents’ health and happiness.
52. I hope I’m a good son, but I don’t really know what that means.
53. My co-worker and I are laughing because we’re imagining peoples’ reactions when we tell them we’re “Canada’s number one anthelmintic.” I think this will be my new pick-up line.
54. I love teaching. I think it may be my “calling”, if there is such a thing.
55. The first time I taught I was petrified because I had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t understand the material I was supposed to teach. I studied all week so I could get away with saying just a few things. I was afraid someone would discover I was a fraud.
56. My friend L. thinks I’m crazy spending so much time with my private tutoring. She thinks I should limit myself to tutoring only single women for FREE.
57. I understand her point, but I still think I should also be open to tutoring anyone who has $$.
58. Sometimes when I’m tutoring I get frustrated with how stupid some people are.
59. When I cool down, I feel terrible for thinking people are stupid.
60. I don’t have a favourite colour. Even if I did, I don’t think it would change anything.
61. The only sports I’m passionate about are Formula One and the Canadian Football League.
62. I’ve seen every Grey Cup game since 1979.
63. A couple of months ago when I was at Uof T in Mississauga, I saw Damon Allen, and when he noticed that I recognized him, he came over to talk to me.
64. I’ve been to every Toronto Argonaunts home game since.
65. I thought I was too old to be this type of fan. I was wrong.
66. When I start thinking I’m too old for “anything”, then I must be in big trouble.
67. I try to keep the friends I have. I’m not good at making new ones.
68. It amazes me that some of my friends like me so much.
69. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.
70. The high school I went to was Riverdale Collegiate. Many of my friends are upset that the school was rebuilt. They don’t recognize it anymore. Somehow the old memories have been invalidated.
71. I bought into that crap too when I was 17.
72. Today – my friends from high school are still my friends. The old days don’t matter. Hopefully high school are NOT the best years of my life.
73. I hate reality television.
74. I hate golf.
75. Cats not dogs. But I have neither.
76. I can’t stand people who speak incessantly about their pets. I don’t care if you give your cat Zantac, and yes ok, your dog eats better than I do.
77. I’ve been accused of being opinionated, direct, insensitive and that I sometimes hurt peoples’ feelings without knowing it.
78. This is supported by a series of personality tests/ profiles my employer did on me.
79. I hope it’s not true.

80. When I was growing up, I was an “angry young man.” My cousin J. used to be afraid of me.
81. I identified with Charlie Brown.
82. Peanuts is still my favourite comic strip and when I go to Chapters/ Indigo I always spare time to read a few strips.
83. This is how I’m different from my brothers who are both gentle souls.
84. I used to be very competitive. My high school friend who was the fifth ranked chess player in Canada humiliated me everyday. Cope or quit. Today, I’m not competitive at all.
85. I have this uncanny ability for remembering numbers. It’s a great asset for this job I don’t like.
86. I never forget phone numbers. But sometimes I get mixed up about which numbers in my head belong to who.
87. Nature is fair however. I can’t remember yesterday.
88. I’m still sore from playing ball hockey.
89. I didn’t used to like kids. Didn’t dislike them – merely thought of them as “little things that are just there”. But I like them more and more, as more of my friends have them.
90. Starbucks? Second Cup? Tim Hortons? Timothy’s? None of the above. McDonald’s Café Roast. The way I feel about Big Macs has nothing to do with this.
91. I’m excellent at dodging phone calls. And it’s more than just forgetting to turn on my cell phone.
92. I drink too much Coke, not as much as some, but still too much.
93. The socks I’m wearing right now have holes in them.
94. This week I’m planning to wash my hockey equipment.
95. I don’t always follow through with what I say.
96. I don’t see that as failure or character flaw or anything like that. If it’s not right, quit and move on. Don’t waste your time.
97. I wish life were slower. Maybe I’m just too busy.
98. I love my rocking chair.
99. I hope I live a long life. I wouldn’t mind dying in that chair.
100. I hope there are others beside mine.
101. because numbers 1 and 101 don’t count.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Alouettes 33 Argos 17

Today's better. . .

Wasn't too hard getting out of bed . . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ben Kerr for Mayor

Ben Kerr has died.

I hated Elvis until I heard Ben Kerr sing Elvis. Actually, I still don’t like Elvis. I just like Ben Kerr.

I hated country music until I heard Ben Kerr sing country music. I still hate country music. I just like Ben Kerr.

Many years ago when I was living in the city and working downtown at St George and Bloor, it was quite normal for me to take an extra long walk to get on the subway at the Yonge station instead. Ben Kerr was always there. At that hectic time and corner where people are always rushing and walking quickly, he was one of the few who were still, unbusy and uncomplicated.

I remember once for whatever reason a couple of police officers came over to harass Ben Kerr while he was making music, playing his guitar and croaking into his microphone. Maybe he didn’t have a permit or licence to be a street musician – I don’t know. Everyone on the street hissed and hollered until the police gave up and let him play.

You don’t need a permit to make music. You need a soul.

Ben Kerr was neither a talented singer or guitar player. Yet everyone on the street who saw him would stop for a few seconds or minutes, to watch, to listen, or to see. Everyone allows Ben Kerr to interrupt their day. Everyone has time for Ben Kerr.

My favourite Saturday afternoon, repeated over and over again since I was thirteen or fourteen years old, is going downtown to see a movie at the Uptown Theatre at Yonge and Bloor, buying a sausage from a street vendor, sitting on the steps beside the Bay and listening to Ben Kerr play in the summer sunshine for tips.

The Uptown Theatre has been torn down. And Ben Kerr has died.

Monday, May 09, 2005


My little cousin J is working in Texas. This is a recent change and this is her first job. I’m happy because she is doing something that is good for her. I’m also sad because she has moved even further away.

The number one best reason for having a cousin is because both of you has someone to talk to about your parents. The last time I saw her, just over a year ago, I told her about when her dad first came to Canada. I was in grade one or two, and his job was to walk me to school and to pick me up afterwards. I remember one time at the end of the day, I came out of school looking for him and . . . he wasn’t around. I remember not knowing what to do, so I started walking home by myself. I didn’t live far away, only a few blocks, but when you’re that young and that short, a few blocks can feel like a very long distance. About halfway home my uncle came running up from behind me completely out of breath. Good thing for him. My mom would’ve killed him.

J. laughed out loud. Yes, that sounds exactly like my dad, she said.

This happened many years ago in the late ‘80’s when J was about 10 or 11 years old. I may have some of it wrong, but this is what’s in my memory. My uncle’s Toronto business had recently failed and he was trying to start up something new in New York. It would be a couple of years yet before they moved permanently, but there was period when both my uncle and aunt were traveling a lot back and forth from here to there. One day they were both away and her brother was somewhere else too (I can’t remember where) so somehow J got left behind. She phoned my mom because she was at home by herself, was hungry and had no food.

Of course my mom completely flipped out and even to this day, my dad holds this against my uncle. I went to go get her and when I drove up, J. was already waiting for me, standing behind the front screen door watching out through the window.

This is my favourite memory of J.

I adore my little cousin.

Monday, May 02, 2005


A few weeks ago I was very annoyed with CC who I know from my workplace. I’ve been unable to tell you about it until now because I’ve been very busy. Forgive me. In fact, with the calming effect brought on by the passage of time, it’s lucky this entry is being completed at all. The feelings of several weeks ago don’t seem very important today.

My saxophone is a professional model, a tenor Selmer Paris Super Action 80 Serie II made in France in 1993. It is not the current model – that would be the Serie III, but it is a Selmer professional, and as such, it is one of the finest saxophones ever made. The two saxophone makers of stature in the world are; Selmer, preferred by jazz musicians and Yamaha, preferred by classical musicians. Both make excellent instruments, but Selmer enjoys the finer, more exclusive reputation among most sax aficionados. There are elements to a Selmer that still manually assembled, that receive individual attention from a master craftsman. Thus, no two completed instruments are exactly the same; each is slightly unique, a character of its own; unlike the homogeneity you will find with something that is entirely mass or assembly lined produced.

In the sixty years from inception to the earlier 1990’s, Selmer has manufactured only 490,000 tenor saxophones. That’s all. That works out to an average of 8,000 per year for the entire world market. Just to give you some context, one million new cars are sold each year in Canada alone. It’s likely Selmer has produced in slightly greater numbers in the last decade, but at the moment I can’t support that assertion with real data. In Toronto, I believe there are only three authorized Selmer dealers, and they have maybe two each in stock – so not too many of them around. As you can probably guess, a Selmer horn is very expensive. All saxophones are expensive, but these more so than any other. But, are they really so fine? Are they really the best? Likely, but perhaps not. Selmers are desirable for as much for their heritage and tradition as their quality.

The saxophone is a relatively young instrument, created by Aldolf Sax in the 1840’s. Because it was born later then many of the good classical compositions, there is relatively little classical repertoire exclusively for saxophone. It is jazz music and the personalities of those musicians that popularized the saxophone. They all used Selmers. There is a famous story about Ben Webster who used to play the tenor Selmer Balanced Action (the professional model from 1936-1948) which he named Betsy. Remembered as a son of bitch in real life, another side of him was revealed in his music. He possessed a distinct, gentle timbre. His tone was very soft and had an air-y whispering quality, a stark contrast to some of the other greats like John Coltrane or Charlie Parker who both had a squeaky high pitched brassy sort of sound played with frenetic energy. Of all the great saxophone players, Ben Webster was the “gentlest soul”, which he ascribed to the love of his life, Betsy. In the 1950’s he performed in France and the Selmer Company gave him a brand new Mark VI for free. The Mark VI was a significant evolution over the Balanced Action and is today considered the best saxophone ever made. He tried it for a little while but didn’t like it, so he gave it to Dexter Gordon and went back to old Betsy.

Because they are exclusive and expensive, Selmer players are usually very good and very serious. One exception to this would be me. I do not play well, but I own a Selmer because I love jazz. There’s a mystic to them that’s deeply felt, that’s worth something to me. I understand that this is factored in the price, and that for instrument quality, a less expensive Yamaha is likely better value for money. I don’t care. It’s worth it to me. If you are a guitar player who wants a Fender (Telecaster?) because Jimi Hendrix played one, then you understand how I feel.

CC and I are not really friends, but he is relevant because a couple of years ago, I sold him my old saxophone, a student model Boosey and Hawkes 400 tenor. As far as student models go, my old BH 400 is quite nice. The sound is a little hollow in the regular and lower register because as a lower priced instrument, it’s constructed out of cheaper materials than a professional model. But the key settings are comfortable and easy; and it’s capable of a beautiful sound in the upper register, a very sweet, round gentle tone. Even with my Selmer, I can’t quite duplicate what I used to do. For this reason, I miss my old saxophone. Sometimes even now when I play my Selmer, I hear my old sax instead.

I have two friends named DK and BS, who both also play musical instruments. DK is quite a good guitar player. He used to play in a rock band and he owns six guitars including a Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster. BS plays guitar, bass and keyboards. They each told me that if I ever sold my old sax I would later regret it. They’re right. It was a mistake to sell my first saxophone.

CC has been taking saxophone lessons for a couple of years now. I’ve never heard him play but he’s very happy with his progress and because he played clarinet for seven years, he says his adaptation wasn’t particularly difficult. As a student, he has different objectives than I do. He is not serious about the study of music – he does not view this as a life long project – he does not view this as a vessel for introspection or inner development. By his own admission, he neither likes nor understands classical or jazz music. All he wants is to play bubble-gum pop tunes to an audience of his friends and neighbours.

Fine. Nothing wrong with that.

A couple of months ago, he came to me to talk about saxophones. His teacher was suggesting that he had outgrown the old BH 400 and that perhaps he should look at upgrading at some point soon. He wanted to ask me about a really good “brand name” that his teacher had mentioned, a “brand” that he’s never heard of, that he couldn’t quite remember, Somner or something? . . . . You mean Selmer? Yes, that’s it – Selmer. He’s “never heard of it”, yet this was not the first time he mispronounced it. I guess he had also forgotten that he has a Selmer mouthpiece. I know this because it was my spare that I sold to him. I don’t understand the relationship he has with his teacher, who is actually a trumpet player, not a sax player. I don’t understand how his teacher can tell him he’s ready to upgrade when in fact his range isn’t fully developed, when he can’t reach either the high notes on the upper register or the bottom notes of the lower register. I don’t understand how it’s possible for someone who has played an instrument for nine years to not know what chords are.

I associate with CC only because we work in the same company. Unfortunately, this means I see him everyday. We are not really friends because he is one of the cheapest people I’ve ever met. I find this unsavoury. He’s too cheap to buy his own reeds. I use high quality cane reeds that cost about $5 each, which is too much money for him (?!). I suggested another brand that cost about $2 each, but the caveat is that they come in boxes of 25. In the end, I helped him get started by giving him some of my old USED reeds (used reeds that I slobblered over!), that were virtually worn out. – That’s how cheap he is.

He also thinks he’s very clever. He has a music teacher, yet a few weeks ago it was me (?!) he wanted to advise him about Selmers; to advise him on how much they cost and where to get one. I don’t think he really believed or understood me when I told him how much they cost. After some thought he decided he would wait and find a way to acquire a used one. And he decided he would do it for less than half what I paid for mine. He thought this was possible because he thinks he is very clever; and more cunning than I am. He had to own the best, a Selmer and he wouldn’t consider anything else. Once he made this decision, he decided his BH 400 was a piece of junk and he voiced this in front of me.

What an a--hole.

I offered to buy it back from him once he upgraded.

A couple of days later he offered a trade; his clarinet, the BH 400 and a little bit of cash for my Selmer Serie II. What an idiot. He just didn’t get it. If he understood why I wanted the BH 400 back, he would’ve known I could never sell my Selmer. If he ever gets one, he’ll never understand what he has.

His offer amounted to slightly less than half of what my Selmer is worth. What an a--hole. He knows how much a Selmer costs because he told him. What an a--hole.

Three weeks ago there was a company event we attended downtown. Afterwards we went to Steve’s Music on Queen Street. CC wanted to go because he wanted to buy some sheet music and maybe look for a sax. Being the cheapest of all people I’ve ever met, he had previously asked me if I had any pop music sheet I could give him. I could not because I have only standards and jazz. Steve’s Music is mostly a guitar shop, but upstairs behind the drums there is a small brass section and we went there to look at the saxophones. There were a couple of brand new Selmer tenors.

I told him how much they cost. But he needed to see it for himself. And he came completely unsettled.

He asked if they ever get any used ones in and the guy in the store indicated that yes in fact they were expecting a Super Action 80 in soon, one that was approximately 25 years old. Depending on the condition, they expected they would sell it at a price approximately the same as a new current Series III. This, CC could not understand - how a “used” saxophone that was so old should cost as much as a new one.

The Series II is previous to the current model. If you try, you can find a “used” one for a good price. But the Super Action 80 is two models previous to the current. That makes it a sought after “vintage”.

CC does not understand this concept of “vintage”. To him, it’s “used”.

He reacted a little badly – later while we were looking at books and sheet music, something else happened. This time his frustration boiled over and he threw a tantrum in the store. While it was kind of funny, I almost felt sorry for him too. First, I suggested to him that maybe he get something less expensive, especially since he wasn’t very serious about it; that for him, it was no more than just a casual hobby; and then here we were at Steve’s Music and a store clerk was telling him something that was “fundamentally dishonest.” His face said it all - we were “conspiring” against him; blocking him because “WE” didn’t want him to own a Selmer.

In a twisted sort of way, that almost does make sense. The real reason he wants a Selmer is because I have one.

That’s what DK and BS think.

It’s a sad and disappointing story in the end. It looks like I won’t be able to buy back my old sax from him.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Catching Up - slowly. . .

I’ve been delinquent. My blog’s been neglected. I couldn’t help it – it’s been a number of things – busy at my workplace, and busy with my classes and my tutoring. But also – guess I should be honest, because I just haven’t felt like it. The past few weeks have not been good – just haven’t been myself. Not terrible, but not happy, not enthusiastic nor too interested in the things I usually care about. Not sure why really, just one of those periods I guess.

This won’t get posted for many hours yet because here I am writing this at home on Sunday night, or Monday AM rather. Yes, I’m deviating from my usual practice of creating these at work. I brought my computer home because I wanted to leave work early on Friday, deciding to work a little from home this weekend instead to make up for it. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t turn on my computer until now just past midnight, and instead of working, I’m doing this instead. I’ll pay for this tomorrow. I never learn from experience. Next Friday, I think I’ll leave work early again.

So, what’s been going on? A few birthdays the past week and a half – both my brothers’ wives and oh yes my friend Princess Buttercup, all within six days. No comments for C. and O., because I saw and acknowledged them, and also because they don’t read this blog anyway. Good, that was easy.

If you know Princess Buttercup, you would see her the way I do. There is no other way – she is the most nakedly open and honest person I know. That is part of her special charm. It is impossible not to be engaged by her spirited generosity. Which begs the question why she’s friends with a dour person like myself. Anyway, in case I haven’t said so, Happy birthday, Princess. Sorry that I’m a week and a half late.

Speaking of pb, I wonder how her first class went yesterday. If I believe everything she tells me, then I’m guessing she left hockey early Friday night not to sleep but because the anxiety of speaking to a group kept her up all night studying and mentally preparing. This of course little more than foster even more anxiety, so I wonder if she even slept at all and if she puked outside the class before she started. Must make a point of asking. Or better yet, maybe she’ll volunteer without me asking. I hope she embellishes the story for the sake of my own entertainment.

I was wondering this as well on Saturday morning when I was driving out to my own class in Mississauga. You find yourself thinking many things in that long lonely drive. I think my lecture this weekend was perhaps the worst class I’ve ever done (honestly.) There is balance in the universe, so I’m sure pb must have done very well.

Monday, April 04, 2005


I saw my brother the other night and he showed me a bunch of new DVD’s he just bought. Similar to what everyone is talking about many Friday nights in the dressing room as we’re getting ready for hockey, these were the - I don’t know how to describe them exactly, “non-authorized” North American releases – i.e. imported from Asia and sold by discreet independent Chinese retailers buried away in the back of ethnic suburban malls. He has many movies that are still completing their first theatrical run in North America, “Million Dollar Baby”, “Sideways” and “The Aviator.” Everyone I know is getting in on this and it now has me wondering if maybe it’s me who’s got it all wrong. Three DVD’s for $20.

A few weeks ago for my birthday I treated myself to three DVD’s for $170. You see what I mean? But the more ponderous issue is why I PREFERRED to spend what in relative terms, is an exorbitant amount of money. Are movies just movies – another form of disposable entertainment? Or are they much more – artistic achievements worthy of commemoration, items to be kept - permanent pieces of a prized collection? Am I being a petty materialist that I have the need to own such things? And for three movies I had already seen no less.

Ultimately though, perhaps it is better not to be concerned with how much is spent, but rather with what is it I get for what I spent. Quite a bit for only three movies, but a pittance compared to the ninety-six dollars I paid for a copy of “Mickey One” (1965) directed by Arthur Penn, starring Warren Beatty.

I bought three movies from the Criterion Collection:

La Strada (1954 – Italian) directed by Frederico Fellini
M (1931 – German) directed by Fritz Lang
Kagemusha (1980 – Japanese) directed by Akira Kurosawa

Three of the finest movies ever made. Money well spent. Perhaps on future blogs I will do movie reviews.

In no particular order, here’s a list of my top 25 favourite/ best movies of all time. As a top 25 list, it includes 26 titles. (of course). This was not prepared randomly without thought. It’s a list I’ve been maintaining and updating for over two decades, since my early years of high school. It started as a top “10” list but now stands as a top “25” because there are just so many movies I cannot bear to remove. I’ve added and removed dozens over the years. A few days ago, I was looking at this again and I realized this list reveals more about myself than I would have ever thought. I think I understand myself just a little more than I did just a few days ago.

Over the years I’ve tried many ways to, how should I be phrasing this, “seek direction”, or “find myself”. I’ve read books and there have been many people who’ve also tried to help me, casually or in a professional/ counseling relationship, offering advice on how to “solve” life be it in a career context or other. Universally, the advice is the same and not helpful because the onus always falls back on myself – think about what you like; think about the past achievements you’re most proud of, find ways to made your hobby your work etc etc etc. You know, useless rhetoric like this – stuff that people say and that everyone’s heard at some point or another. Top 25 Movies of All Time - Funny how an inspired moment of enlightenment can materialize from an activity I always thought of rather immature, a habit I just carried forward from the halcyon days of my youth.

It’s not just the individual movies themselves, though the content of each appeals in its own special way, but there’s a generalization in the grouping, the entire body of the list. Of this list of twenty-six movies, I would say 17 or 18 are character driven, and only 8 or 9 are plot driven. Only 6 or so can be said to be “intellectual” movies and the other 20 or so are “emotional”. So, does that sound like me?

A professional career coach once put me through a battery of tests that concluded something similar, but somehow when he gave it to me, it all sounded like crap. People who don’t know me very well think I’m very analytical. Then they decide I’m artsy-fartsy. Most of the movies on this list are mainstream (in spite of being old), so actually, I’m guess I’m neither. Maybe this is my problem – I listen to too many people who have an opinion of me, and in fact they’re all wrong.

Dr. Strangelove - 1964
Ikiru - 1952 (Japanese)
Solaris - 1972 (Russian)
Casablanca - 1942
On the Waterfront - 1954
A River Runs Through It - 1992
Almost Famous - 2000
The Accidental Tourist - 1988
Lost in Translation - 2003
The Godfather Part II - 1974
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape - 1993
Nashville - 1975
La Strada - 1954 (Italian)
Bugsy - 1991
Roman Holiday - 1953
Vertigo - 1958
Bonnie & Clyde - 1967
The Graduate - 1967
Midnight Cowboy - 1969
Taxi Driver - 1976
The Bicycle Thief - 1948 (Italian)
Forbidden Games - 1951 (French)
A Clockwork Orange - 1973
Lolita - 1962
Dances with Wolves - 1990
The 400 Blows - 1959 (French)