Righteous Kill

There’s a point in Righteous Kill where Rooster (Al Pacino) is telling Turk (Robert De Niro) about how he lost his faith in the job when Turk had planted a weapon to get a conviction on a child killer.  He says that since he saw the best cop he knew (Speaking of Turk) plant a weapon, he lost his whole faith in everything.  Funny thing is, I want to tell DeNiro the same thing in regards to his acting.  I once loved DeNiro’s work.  In fact, he was my favorite actor for years.  But ever since I saw The Score, I’ve lost faith in his acting, and in Hollywood in general.  His work since then has repeatedly proven that sentiment correct.

Don’t get me wrong, both actors are decent in Righteous Kill.  The problem is that, for both, decent just doesn’t cut it.  Granted, they didn’t have a whole lot to work with this time around.  The script, by Russell Gewirtz (best known for penning the surprisingly good Inside Man), is mediocre at best, with some lines bordering on ridiculous.  One prime example that comes to mind is when a character exclaims something to the effect of “a cop serial killer!?  Who ever heard of that?”, as if Showtime’s Dexter hasn’t been running for three years at this point.  The quote is basically the premise of the film: someone’s killing bad guys, they think it’s a cop, and all eyes are pointed on Turk.

If the writing was mediocre, the direction was far below.  Jon Avnet (88 Minutes, Fried Green Tomatoes) has what I call Tarantino’s disease.  Symptoms of this ailment include: trying to make a film “cool” as opposed to “good”, using different editing techniques in an attempt to make it “inventive” (though it comes across as hackneyed), and a willingness to portray violence as a commendable character trait.  Many directors succumb to this disease, and, to be honest, Righteous Kill is better than many of the movies made by such directors.  It’s just not worthy of the talents involved.

If you want to see Pacino and DeNiro together, you’re better off sticking to Heat.  While, even when mediocre, their acting is fun to watch, and makes the movie better than it would’ve otherwise, it’s still not up to the level they should be at.  Let’s just hope that one day they find a director who can use their talents to a better end, as this would be a forgettable last hurrah to their screen legacies.

2 ½ / 5 stars

Read more: New Memes!

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Tech Support

How many times have you been tempted to trash your pager in any number of creative ways, never to be heard from again?

I Hate the Pager

Isn’t it sad to think of the number of hours of our lives we’ve wasted acting as servant to the ever-insistent, ever-annoying pager? My latest experience came this Sunday afternoon as the pager chirped minutes after I sat down at my computer to work on my online businesses.

Wasted Hours

I called the number on the pager and gathered from the business person on the other end of the phone that there was a problem with a transmission from another division of the company. This is a client that’s been around for several years and the people that wrote the system have long since come and gone. My heart sunk as I realized the complexity of the issue, the outlook for my weekend afternoon, and the hopelessness of my situation.

Tech Support

Who likes spending a whole Sunday digging through poorly documented scripts, config files, and code trying to figure out how a system works and why the foobar job won’t run? Everyone you call for help either doesn’t answer their phone or isn’t close to a computer so can’t help. Who blames them? I mean it’s Sunday, it’s supposed to be a day where you don’t have to worry about the corporate B.S. It’s supposed to be a day where you can live your life, free of the shackles of work.

Tell Someone Who Cares

Ever feel like telling someone that? They page you with this “urgent issue” in the middle of the night and you’re supposed to care about it? I have no problem staying up to 2–3 in the morning working on web projects. I do it all the time, for MY own businesses. I’ll work all hours to make money for myself since my income will be in proportion to the amount of hours I work. In a corporate job, we get paid the same whether we work 40 hours a week or 80 hours a week so what motivation do we have, other than keeping our job, when the pager goes off?

Working for Myself

I decided working insane hours just to keep my bad job isn’t worth it when I can make more money and be happier working for myself. Do you have to carry a pager? What are you doing to free yourself from its brutal grip on your life?

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Showing Your Appreciation

If you have been on the end of someone’s appreciation then you would know how good it feel when someone tells you that you have done a great job. You may have done just a little thing, but the gratitude that you’re giving out weighs any time or effort that you have put in.

Maybe you are the opposite of that, and are feeling under appreciated for all the hard work that you have been doing, feeling that everyone has taken you for granted.

I’ve been on both sides, but I must say the amount of emotional energy that you put into feeling under appreciated is certainly not worth it. So I stopped worrying about expecting gratitude for anything that I do no matter how big it is, and concentrate on the great things that others do that make my life all the better.

How often have you been the one that shows your appreciation to someone? You might be the type of person that is always looking for a thank you, but how often do you initiate them yourself? Trust me it is always better to give then receive!

So I give you a task for today, in fact every single day, is to look for all the good things that others have done, and say simply Thank You!

You can say thank you in many ways, from saying the words “thank you I appreciate what you have done”, to giving them cards, or buying them a small token of your appreciation. Just a friendly smile sometimes is more then enough to make someone’s day that extra special.

You could go even further and donate your time to a great cause, like helping the homeless or an elderly retirement village, or a simple thing like listening to your children’s class read at school. It doesn’t have to be big, it’s just taking that extra little time out from your day to day activities and saying thank you.

If you don’t say thank you often to your wife/husband/partner or your children, then you should look for all the little things that they do to make you smile, and tell them. It will make you feel good, and most of all it will make them feel good about themselves.

Don’t expect people just to do things for you because it’s their job to do it. Make them feel as if you appreciate every thing they have done, from the person who packs your groceries, work colleagues, your children’s teachers, even your Mom and Dad. Nothing feels better then being appreciated for what you have done.

If you want to live a life full of Happiness, then you need to be thankful for being alive, and loving this world that is around you.

From little things big things will grow, and there’s nothing better then making a smile grow on someone’s face for showing your appreciation.

By the way, thank you so much for reading this post, it does mean so much to me that you are taking time out of your busy life to sit down and spend time reading what I have written just for you.

Read also:










12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter


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How to analyze novels

Learning how to analyse a novel can be a frustrating process. How do you start the book? How do you plan it? How do you finish it if you experience writer’s block? These questions and others have troubled many aspiring authors. Read tips on how to analyse novels.

Let me share these best and ways for learning how to write a novel. These strategies are the result of my having published a dozen books over the past several years. Perhaps they will benefit you, too.

Analyse novels similar to the one you want to write

Want to write mysteries? Take a published mystery and break it down into its fundamental components: plot, characters, and background. Examine what happens in each chapter and how it moves the story forward. Evaluate the role that each character plays in the plot, and how they interact with one another. Analyse how the setting impacts the story.

Setting up a Fast Draft

Five thousand words a day is a perfect composition rate. Some expert writer can finish it just inside two hours each night. You have to try to learn to work at a comparable pace. Writing at a good speed is an important skill which you should aim to achieve.

Breaking down a book in this way can be a time-intensive process, but it’s invaluable. You’ll discover how to build a novel from the ground up.

Start working, and work consistently

Even if you’ve followed my first tip, completing a project as long and complicated as a full-length book can seem like an impossible undertaking. It can be so intimidating that you delay getting started at all.

Don’t wait. Start today. Do just a little bit–maybe only a page. And tomorrow, do another page.

Writing every day helps your mind remain “in the book” so to speak. Plus, every day that you work, you get one step closer to finishing.

Finish it, no matter what.

At some point, while you’re working, you will be convinced that your story is dumb, boring, cliched, or whatever, and feel a strong urge to set it aside and start something new. You must resist this. It is nothing but ordinary self-doubt, and every author experiences it.

How to Know if Your Scene is Effective
An active scene will draw the reader in unconsciously. He won’t want to put the book down and stop reading. He simply needs to peruse until the last page. This ought to be the objective of each author.

The most efficient method to Analyse a Scene

It is perfect to begin a scene with something that catches the interest, intrigue, and centre of the per user. Besides building up the story plot, each scene ought to uncover more about the characters. An objective, a contention, and a predicament are all basic segments.

Every scene ought to be opened with a snare and finished with a difficulty that will draw the perusers into each page of your novel, needing to realise what will occur next. This is the thing that fruitful expert writers for contract do. This makes their experimental writing administration’s offer.

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3 Easy Tips to Ease Final Exam Stress Before It Starts

What a lot of students fail to realize is that studying for finals isn’t some unexpected event that pops up and ruins two weeks of your life. No one can admit to not knowing they were coming since it is in the first week of class when you are informed that a final exam will take place, and what its weight will be.  Decreasing the stress associated with the finals preparation process has to start early, and below you will find out exactly what you should be doing to make sure you study less and get the grades you want.

A big source of frustration and anxiety for me and other students during my undergraduate years was large courses, with even larger curriculums that just seemed impossible to fully prepare for, no matter how much time or effort was put in. Well, after a year of university something became clear to me – although a massive amount of material was presented as study material, it was obvious not all of it could possibly fit onto the paper for a 2.5-3 hour exam.

There had to be a way to know what was the REAL meat-and-potatoes of the course, and what didn’t deserve my time. Nothing is more frustrating than spending an hour memorizing and fully understanding a concept, only to sit down for the exam, pick up your pencil, and realize that the professor opted to skip over that concept and give preference to something else. This brings me to an essential pre-game technique I use.

Record the final lecture prior to the exam

I have found that every final lecture before the exam is the prime time for professors to divulge their hints and preferences for what they will be choosing as major focuses. A lot of students skip this last class since they assume it will not contain any new content, and simply be a ‘review session’. This may be true, but if your undergraduate professors were anything like mine they want to reward the sparse crowds in the finals days of the semester by letting you in on real value – that is, them pretty much saying, ‘Study this!’. To make sure you don’t miss a single drop of value coming from these types of lectures, be sure to actually record it. I use my phone because it has enough capacity to last an hour or so, and it pretty much does the job like any other recorder would. Using the actual recording to tailor the length of your study sessions will make studying for finals a lot easier than those that are trying to make sense of frantic scribbles.

Actually, do the readings during the term

Your professors probably tell you this, and you probably ignore them. Or maybe you have good intentions at the beginning of the term but they waver as academic fatigue sets in. Either way, putting in 30-45 minutes to actively read relevant course material when your workload is low will pay off in the long run. Rushing through weeks of readings, even if done effectively will not be nearly effective – and as painless – as doing them earlier in the term.

On that note – try to actually do well on assignments prior to the final 

Again, it may seem like the conventional knowledge you’ve heard from your professors and TA’s, but that’s probably because it holds true. Setting yourself up for success requires putting in the effort on assignments that can be admittedly much easier to score higher on than a two or three-hour exam. You can always access the professor, or a TA for an assignment help to get hints and time, whereas you don’t have those luxuries in an exam setting. So definitely use that as fuel for getting awesome grades on assignments earlier in the term – think “if I can get an A on these two papers, it will make the midterm and final SO much less stressful”. This will help you decrease some of the stress, and helps avoid a do-or-die situation.

Part of overall success is based on creating conditions that are ripe for success and in the case of preparing for finals that mean knowing what to study, and decreasing the pressure to succeed (while still succeeding). Implement these ideas early and you should be able to set yourself up for a significantly easier finals season, and much better grades.

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Resources and Links
If you have comments or suggestions for this page, please contact the site administrator at
webmaster@alabamaenglish.org.News links are provided for informational purposes, do not imply endorsement by NCTE, ACTE, and were
live when this page was published.
  • Alabama State Department of Education
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
  • National Writing Project
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What We Do

Alabama Council of Teachers of English

What’s New

Welcome to our new online home!  We hope this site will make your ACTE membership privileges easy to
access and that you can take new ideas and tools into the classroom after your visit here.  If you have
comments or suggestions for this site, please contact the site administrator at webmaster@alabamaenglish.org.

What We Do

The purpose of this organization shall be to improve the quality of instruction in English language arts at all
educational levels in Alabama; to facilitate professional cooperation of members; to provide programs which
will be conducive to more effective instruction in English in the state; to encourage professional growth
through research and publication without regard to distinctions to race, creed, or national origin.

Fall Conference Is October 20, 2007

ACTE Fall Conference Brochure
Fall Conference Workshop Schedule
Driving Directions to Fall Conference (Hoover Freshman Center)
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The CouncilGram is the newsletter for ACTE members.  You’ll find insightful articles, news
of the activities of the ACTE, as well as NCTE.  The CouncilGram welcomes your

Submissions welcomed for:

  • Teaching tips (approximately 1000 words)
  • Professional concerns (approximately 250 words)
  • Reviews of literature recommended for classroom reading and discussion,
  • selections not typically taught in the English/Language Arts classroom:
  • contemporary authors, young adult authors, children’s authors, multicultural authors
    (500-700 words)
  • Announcements of interest to ACTE members.

All manuscripts should be typed and double spaced, and submitted in triplicate or the
document can be attached to an email to Karen Mardis at kmardis4869@charter.net.

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