pirates of the caribbean

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In anticipation of the opening later this month of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 17, my daughter Annie put together a “Pirate Paaaarrr-ty”. She invited a bunch of friends to watch a marathon – the first three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEANS, along with home baked pirate snacks and decorations. Even my Bob’s Big Boy got into the spirit.

The first installment was a hoot. Johnny Depp’s take on Captain Jack Sparrow was fun and unique – more of a “swishbuckler” than “swashbuckler”. Orlando Bloom was dashing, and it’s always entertaining to see Keira Knightley kidnapped. Sure, there’s a certain suspension of belief. I can’t believe Keira Knightley would be held captive by the pirates and not passed around like a joint. But that’s movie magic. I enjoyed the film in the theater and this weekend as well on DVD.

POTC 2 was an utter mess. Saw that in the theater and found it such a trainwreck I never bothered to see POTC 3. When 2 originally came out I reviewed it in my blog. Here’s the full review, but here’s just a sample:

But my big problem was this – what the fuck was going on?? There’s this ship of slime pirates, and then a map, and a bad guy from the last movie gets hired on the ship, and Keira Knightley is stowing away on another ship, and then some Voodoo lady who’s been eating licorice offers cryptic advice, and there’s a dice game that makes no sense, and Keira’s dress is floating in the water and that is supposed to mean something, and Orlando Bloom’s clothes never get dirty, and they capture a little monkey for some reason, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon visits Jack one night, and Jonathon Pryce complains about wearing a wig, and it’s real important Jack keeps a jar of dirt, and there’s a three-way sword fight between Jack, Orlando Bloom and the bad guy from the last movie where they’re all accusing each other of things more confusing than any BIG SLEEP plot point… etc.

So I skipped the screening of POTC 2. But came back for some of 3, just out of curiosity. I had no earthly idea what was going on. Neither did the others in the room and they all had SEEN this movie at least once before.

The pirates are in a dead world and there are three Jack Sparrows and they sink the ship and hang underwater for several hours until it’s dawn, which rights the ships somehow and they’re back in the real world. There’s a Pirate national convention for some reason and everyone follows these rules that they make up as they go along. Geoffrey Rush, who was killed in the first one, inexplicably comes back in this one. And all he does is eat green apples. Keira Knightley goes from damsel in distress to kick-ass action hero and finally, king of the pirates. That's pretty impressive for someone who weighs 80 pounds.  There are Asian pirates, African pirates, living corpse pirates, and I think I saw some of Captain Hook’s men, too. Licorice voodoo woman grows to 50 feet and then explodes into a thousand coconuts for no reason at all. Just an utter mess.

The next sequel is the prequel we’re told. This time with no Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, which tells me they’re the only two actors who asked to read a script first. But Keith Richards is back. He’s the only actor who can play a pirate without having to get into costume and make-up.

So I imagined a scene if I were asked to write PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4. This is me and the studio executive.

ME: After three movies and practically nine hours, what pirate genre moment hasn’t been done?

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: The franchise is already getting extremely repetitious.

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: And what was once fresh is now just a series of clich├ęs.
STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME:  But you'll get terrible reviews.

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn't matter.

ME: No one can follow the story.

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: If this next installment is the prequel, hasn’t the audience already been told everything that’s going to happen?

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: And won’t the fans of the series feel cheated without Keira and Orlando?

STUDO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: I see you have a new director, Rob Marshall. Isn’t he known for staging musicals and big dance numbers not action?

STUDIO EXEC: It doesn’t matter.

ME: Well then, hell. What does matter?

STUDIO EXEC: We make $500 million and keep the lines long at Disneyland.  Nothing you've brought up will have any effect on that. 

ME:  Well, I'm an artist.  I have integrity.  I can't do this.

STUDIO EXEC:  Here's what I'd pay you.


ME: I can have the screenplay for you in two weeks.

STUDIO EXEC:  There might be even more sequels involved.

ME:  It doesn't matter.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4 – Opens May 20th.  Great Paaaaar-ty, Annie. Jack Sparrow would send many lily-livered scum down to Davy Jones Locker just for a bite of your cupcakes.

the caribbean sea

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So, I admit it.  I've been a terrible blogger.   For this, I apologize and offer a pathetic heartfelt excuse.  The last couple of months, both in my personal life and at MIT/Sloan, have been amazingly busy!

The only decision I think I've ever made that's been better than coming to LGO happened on 8/20/11 when I married my wonderful wife.  We had a fantastic celebration with family & friends in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which is absolutely beautiful.  We set the date a long time before even knowing where we'd be living at this time of year, so it's amazing how the stars aligned with the wedding falling right into the break between summer and fall semesters!

An appropriate summary photograph

In what felt like little more than a hot minute after getting back from NY, Sloan Orientation started, and I got to meet my new Class of 2013 MBA classmates - all 400 of them!  Orientation week set up some great opportunities to get to know the new recruits, meet and greet with our new Ocean mates, and settle into our core teams.  All pretty awesome stuff.  Sloan divides the MBA class up into (I think) 7 "Oceans" with which students take all of the core classes.  Each Ocean is divided into "core teams," which are smaller groups within the Oceans directly analogous to our summer LGO teams (<3 Bearpack).  I happen to be a member of the Caribbean Sea Ocean Cranes, as a matter of fact.  My new teammates, though very different from the Bearpack, are awesomely diverse (aircraft carrier sailor, anesthesiologist, and Spanish consultant, to name a few) and are super excited to be studying at MIT.  

This is not an ocean, unless you're at Sloan.  Also, I still can't spell "Caribbean" 99% of the time.
In addition to rocking packed schedules of MBA core, business, and engineering courses this semester, the LGOs have definitely been making time for fun, though.  We embarked a few weeks ago on a pretty epic camping trip whose success faced some awfully long odds.  We left Cambridge en route to the White Mountains area of New Hampshire after Sloan Team Day on Friday afternoon.  If you've never indulged in Boston rush hour, it looks exactly like this:

Also, it was pouring rain.  And cold.  After 3 hours of driving (to go 45 miles), we finally arrived at the park (in the dark) and started to set up camp.  For a few minutes, it looked grim.  There was mud.  There was incessant rain.  There was adversity.  But LGOs persevere.  Within an hour, we had engineered ourselves an awesome shelter, got a roaring fire started, and were set to enjoy a fantastic weekend in the woods, weather be damned.

Working on our shelter.
Who wants cheese on their burger?

LGOs Persevere

Much better Saturday weather
Finally, we're also busy working on planning the 2011 LGO Ambassador Day & Information Evening.  This was the single best MBA/grad-school recruiting event I attended during my application process last year, so we're trying to put on a great event again for this prospectives.  If you're considering LGO, this is your best opportunity to see the program, meet faculty/staff/students/alumni, and explore the Boston/Cambridge area.  I highly, highly recommend it.  (More information can be found here.)  Hope to see you there!

That's about all for now, though I'll do my best to be back soon.

The Caribbean Islands Are A Must-Visit Destination

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Caribbean Islands 2011
When the phrase tropical paradise gets mentioned one automatically starts to think about lush beaches with crystal clear waters, huge palm trees dotting the shore, and an endless stretch of powdery white sand that is such a joy to behold. If you are thinking about having a vacation in a tropical paradise then you should consider booking a ticket to the Caribbean.

Caribbean Islands 2011
What many tourists do not know is that the Caribbean Islands have a rich and colorful history. It was the great explorer Christopher Columbus who was said to discover the islands therefore it became the springboard for European invasion and domination of the Americas. The reason why the Caribbean has a very unique culture is because of the influences of the Spanish and Portuguese in the beginning and continued later by the arrival of the Europeans. Their arrival brought about what tourists see today as an eclectic mix of American and European influences on food, architecture, and way of life that is now considered as their own. During the sixteenth century the entire Caribbean region was dominated by the Spanish empire and during the seventeenth century the English, Dutch, and French also established colonies. It was in 1962 when the colonies became independent because of the rise of popular movements and labor organizations and the emergence of a generation of politicians who assumed leadership roles.
Caribbean Islands 2011
Today the Caribbean Islands boasts of a culture that is a melting pot of influences from the different colonies that settled in the beginning of their history. Tourists admire the laid back lifestyle of the people in these islands and they just enjoy hanging out with the locals sharing a few drinks with them and talking about their beautiful islands.
Caribbean Islands 2011
If you are unsure which island to visit first, consider Jamaica. It is the third largest island in the Caribbean and provides a home for about 2.6 million people; this beautiful island is where you will find the Blue Mountain Range. It is surrounded by a narrow coastal plain making it perfect for building beach resorts and hotels. Jamaica considers tourism as one of the biggest contributors to their economy. Because of its stunning white beaches, lush foliage, and warm, tropical weather all-year round, people from all over the world flock to Jamaica for several days or weeks of fun in the sun and total relaxation.
Caribbean Islands 2011
Regardless of which island you choose for your vacation, with the gorgeous beaches, comfortable and functional island resorts and hotels, and warm and welcoming people, the Caribbean is definitely one of those place you would not want to miss in your lifetime.

the caribbean islands

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the caribbeans map

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Top 10 Caribbean Islands for 2010 - Caribbean Cruises and Resorts

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A sister of the Leeward island chain, Anguilla is truly one of the most romantic places on earth. Tucked away in the middle of the tranquil Caribbean Sea, a magical island lives and breathes a dynamic culture amidst a Garden of Eden of white sandy beaches and scintillating azure waters. As one sways with the ebb and flow of the gentle currents, you become a witness to nature’s perfect functions when left untouched.
2. Antigua
Antigua means ancient or antique in Spanish, and it is the perfect name for that tropical and charming island in the Caribbean. Located in the West Indies, Antigua was colonized by the Spanish in the fifteenth century, and makes the absolute perfect destination of Caribbeans. Antigua is also famous as a best wedding destination in the world. Antigua is historic but not run down, and it has a special charm and beauty that makes it the most desired tourist destination in the Caribbean.
3. British Virgin Islands
The pristine BVI has long attracted yachties and royalty to its turquoise waters, thanks to posh resorts like Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, and Peter Island. The British Virgin Islands are part of the British Territories in the Caribbean. They are located northeast of the US Virgin Islands, on the northeast corner of the Caribbean Sea. Their exotic beaches are considered among the best Caribbean Beaches and the Islands are famous for Caribbean fishing, Sailing, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling.
4. Curacao
Curacao has historically trailed its sister Caribbean islands of Aruba and Bonaire when it comes to attracting vacationers, largely because oil refining and financial services, rather than tourism, dominate its prosperous economy. Sea Aquarium is a must for any one in Curacao for holiday. You can swim with the dolphins, kiss the sea lions (or get kissed by them actually) and see the beautiful flamingos.
5. Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic is an island with many features and incredible history. Dominican Republic main attractions gets the attention of many tourists with its great historical landmarks and nice people. The country has too many places to see and explore. One of the places located in the capital is the Cathedral of Santa Maria. The Aquarium with lots of beautiful marine life to see is another great attraction. The beaches are something you cannot forget. There is more than a 1000 miles of beaches all around. Punta Cana and Cabarete are worldwide known to have incredibly beautiful beaches. You can also go to a tour that will take you to Saona island and Catalina island for some of the best scuba diving you have ever seen.

6. Grenada
Grenada is a spectacular beautiful island that has golden beaches; crystal water falls, flourishing green mountains and aromatic spice trees, which give this island its nickname as the Isle of Spice. There are 46 sun soaked beaches around the Spice Island of Grenada. One important reason to visit Grenada is its wild and lively carnival held every year in the third quarter. It seems that anyone who visits will not be lacking in things to do and sights to see because of the many beautiful spots and year-round festivities Grenada is known for.
7. Jamaica
Jamaica vacations don’t just mean luxurious resorts with all amenities at your fingertips. Besides its pristine beaches lapped by warm turquoise water, Jamaica boasts a host of natural scenic wonders which are well worth a visit. Well, the most exciting is Dunn’s River Falls, where visitors can climb up the falls as part of a human chain, and enjoy the soothing effect of the massage parlor’s rushing waters as they cascade to the ocean. There are also nature trails through the lush tropical foliage of bamboos, ferns, ginger lilies, orchids, crotons, palms and breadfruit trees. Shoppers will delight in the straw crafts, wood carvings, and other artworks available at the craft park and there is a cafeteria specializing in Jamaican delights such as jerked chicken and curried goat.
8. St. Lucia
St Lucia is one of the smaller more leisurely Islands in the Caribbean, boasting beautiful beaches with a welcoming light breeze, like the popular Anse de Sable beach. As most Caribbean Islands, it has the typical white sands where the calm ocean waves are ideal for water sports, like sailing and para-gliding. The island is a popular stop for both cruise visitors and vacationers coming for a long-term stay at nearly 100 hotels, resorts and inns.
9. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Before St. Vincent  served as the setting for “Pirates of the Caribbean”, this remote island and the whole Grenadine chain was primarily known only to sailors and seclusion-seeking rock stars. Indeed, Mick Jagger and David Bowie discreetly frequent the exclusive Grenadine isle of Mustique. These days, however, the even prettier, quiet island of Bequia is on the rise, thanks to buzz about newcomer Firefly Plantation Bequia and the halfway complete Bequia Beach Hotel. Canouan Island already boasts a sprawling, superluxe Raffles resort that evokes the South Pacific. And lush St. Vincent is touching up its popular sights like the panoramic Belmont Lookout and the canopied Vermont Nature Trail.
10. Vieques, Puerto Rico
Vieques, Puerto Rico is one of the most unspoiled islands of the Caribbean. It is an unforgettable and very affordable destination for any traveler. Since embracing tourism in 2003 after decades as a U.S. naval base, the tiny island of Vieques has been the most accessible “uncharted territory” in the Caribbean. With Vieques harboring more than 40 miles of unspoiled sand and the Caribbean’s largest wildlife refuge, its small hotels and casual restaurants have attracted easygoing, eco-minded tourists.

the caribbean beaches

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For some sick twisted individuals, the current weather condition is considered favorable: Sadomasochists, Social Deviates, Junkies, incestuous creatures with superfluous body parts, guys named Travis and Shane, Serial Killers and other psycho's who say out loud, 'I love the rain!' As I roll out of bed, I looked out the window and thought, 'Damn...Why did I think I could tolerate living with this weather?' Not even in the deep throws of winter and I curiously eyeball the serrated steak knife and my left wrist with a twisted smirk. Drizzly gloom and depressing darkness of winter is setting in! The temperatures are dropping into the 40's. What is there to look forward too? Going to work in this soggy shit and drivring home in the endless mire of coldness? No wonder the Northwest has the highest suicide rate in the nation. Not horrible in regard to temperature or snow, but just endless dreariness. Count Dracula should live on Pill Hill and fly down over the Zillion-dollar tram to nowhere!

Enough of that! Time to close your eyes..... and dream of locals you'd rather be. I like to shut my eyes and allow my brain to wander back to places I've traveled.......places I'd rather be.....

Back to California?

California Beaches? Hmmmm?

vs. NW beaches!! Yikes!

AWAY! AWAY! AWAY from...
Local Weather!

Bicycles that are supposed to share the road but the local Government gives them more rights! These are like giant Bulls eye targets to me! Bowling anymore? Round em up and I'll knock em down!

....Useless Hipsters

...Kitschy Decor left over from generations gone by and that should have been bulldozed decades ago...

....Local White Trash... Never thought I would find White people that could be that stupid.....

NO NO NO!! Away! Far Far Far away!


Clear Blue Waters of the Caribbean!

Quaint old Cities like Salzberg!

Rainbow Bridge!

Lake Tahoe in the summer!

Visiting the beauty of an old Subway station in New York?


Visiting the Oracle of Homers Odyssey in Delphi Greece.


Lost on a Caribbean island

Capri Italy

Th Parthenon in Athens Greece...
yes it's on top of the Acropolis.... one that doesn't feature cheap steaks and scruffy naked women....
oh.oh oh... the pain....

Marienplatz in Old Munich

Pyramids of Giza at Dusk

Florida Keys

View from a hotel room at Las Brisas in Ixtapa Mexico

Paris at Night