Friday, December 21, 2007

Striking Images

Came across these two pics in the latest Rolling Stone. One's an ad, the other's just funny.

(Click pic for story.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ephemera, 12-18-2007

In Minneapolis, the local college Muslims have claimed the "meditation room" as their personal Mosque and harass non-Muslim students who don't follow Muslim rules about segregation, shoe wear, etc.

Time to close down the freakin' meditation room if you ask me.

UPDATE: A reader informs me this is overblown, and the journalist's report is suspect. Go to the letters on the site.

I'm a big fan of the comedian Jim Breuer, and I've been hunting for one of his bits where he describes playing with his little daughter and ends up scaring the hell out of her (it's so dead-on true). So I cruise once in a while to see if anyone's posted it. So far no luck.

But I did hap across this discussion he had with Joe Rogan (of "Fear Factor" fame). Breuer explains about being faithful to his wife, which prompts Rogan to explain why he can't imagine ever getting married. This is one of those cases where someone else's perspective, in this case Rogan's, that completely astounds and confounds me. Imho, this is what happens when someone young and attractive takes Social Darwinism a bit too seriously and can't envision anything farther out than beyond the end of his dick.

Have recently seen:

Reign Over Me with Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler.
I continue to be impressed at Sandler's choices, and Don Cheadle is just one of those guys who's fun to watch in practically anything.

Sandler plays a guy who lost his wife and children in the 9/11 attacks, and then lost his mind.

I enjoyed it, but some of the implausibilities and sentiments will make cynical folks yack up into their popcorn. If you don't like your heart being touched without your permission (a great line said to me by one of my college roommates whilst we were watching a weepy), skip this one.

If you don't mind your comedy and drama on the same plate (and if you're secretly a Jerry Lewis fan*), check this one out.

*I contend that Sandler has claimed the same genre territory that only Jerry Lewis, Carol Burnett and Red Skelton were able to pull off with any success: pathos and laughs in just the right proportions. I also think that's why critics hate Sandler; they're allergic to this kind of entertainment (always have been) and just can't put their finger on why.

The Good Shepherd with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie
Even though M. Blowhard warned us away, there it was on the library shelf, and I snatched it in case I had some spare time. Found it and found out that M. Blowhard was right.

My only additional observation (beyond M. Blowhard's) is I spent most of the movie trying to figure out how to describe the one look Matt Damon wears on his face through the entire movie (which I'm sure he was directed to do - or he was so intimidated by being directed by Robert DeNiro that he couldn't get past it); and here it is:

It's the same look that (I imagine) most of us have on our face while urinating - vague concentration on the task at hand while our mind is off somewhere else, but not doing much there either.

Oh, and we see them using waterboarding, so apparently American has always used torture (not that I believed otherwise).

Skip it, I say.

In that same library trip, I picked up Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi.

Short version: Oswald did it; he did it a alone; his motive was he'd failed at everything, including marriage, and so decided to cash it all in.

No, I didn't read all 1,500+ pages, Dear Lord. But I did spot-read about 200. It's awfully repetitive and redundant and strident. You can use the old reading a newspaper article trick - start at the top and bail once you've read enough.

Here's my opinion based on this book, if the drawings of the photos of the autopsy are accurate, then the wounds all point to being caused by someone above and behind Kennedy's right side, just as Oswald was (and his being up there in the book repository is not disputed). And if that's the case, the infamous "back and to the side" head jerk that JFK does is really a common neuromuscular reaction to getting shot in the head, where all the muscles reflexively spasm, but the back muscles attached to the head are stronger than the corresponding chest and abdominal muscles; hence, the backwards jerk. It does look like only Oswald's bullets connected, even if there were other shooters.

However, it's odd that we don't have the actual photos of the autopsy. So they could all be BS.

So, I think we will probably never know all the details behind the assignation of JFK.

In hunting down the Zapruder film, I ran across this little bit of fun. Just like some have done with the Apollo missions' photos and footage, someone has gone through and PROVEN that the Zapruder film is all a fake. (Yeah, right.) Still, it's fun to see how far people will take it.

Surfing the MP3 store, I came across this lovely contribution to the pantheon of Christmas song collections. To paraphrase an old George Carlin bit (about the color of bandaids), they gave someone a desk, a pad of paper, and a pencil (and a recording studio) to accomplish this.

Note: I'm kinda crunched these days for time, so I've been letting more typos than usual get by. I will try and circle around and fix things when I get the chance.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today is all about the funny.

First, I must be slipping, because it almost didn't occur to me to blog this...

I was at a toy store with MPC1, who's 11, and I go over to the register that a teenage guy (probably about 16) just opened.

They have a winged pig on a string flying in circles over the area.

My daughter says, "Jeez, Dad, that pig has almost hit you in the face a few times!"

And I said, "Oh, I've taken pigs to the face before" (riffing on the famous line from Scary Movie 4 which you can see here if you missed it - it's near the end of the trailer).

The teenage clerk had about 5 distinct reactions. At first he just looked at me while his mind was trying to grasp the fact that I had actually said that. In front of my daughter, no less (and it sailed right over her head, as it should, and I knew it would).

So I said (thrilled), "I never thought I'd have an opportunity to use that line!"

So, he giggled in spite of himself. Then he blushed. Hard. Then he looked around guiltily at anyone else who might've heard it to see their reactions. Then he laughed again and just shook his head.

I'm sure I made his week.

Funny stuff from

<TB>  I was depressed last night so I called the Suicide Life Line.
<TB>  I reached a call center in Pakistan.
<TB>  I told them I was suicidal.
<TB>  They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck

<Cyan> Some dude tried to break in last night at like 2am, but I was on the comp and it's like right beside the window so I heard the faggot.
<Cyan> Anyways, I grabbed the folding chair and as soon as he was like halfway through I beat the fucking shit out of him.
<Cyan> So he's laying here unconscious and I call the cops. Once they get here, they search him and look at what he fucking had:
<Cyan> 8 track tape (unlabeled), Flashlight (no batteries), Half eaten box of Fig Newtons, Measuring tape, Instructions to "Monopoly."
<dan> Dude, you fucking killed McGuyver!

More funny stuff from

(+ware) I rear-ended a car this morning. So there we are alongside the road and
(+ware) slowly the driver gets out of the car . . . and you know how you just get sooo
(+ware) stressed and life seems to get funny?
(+ware) Well, I could NOT believe it . . he was a DWARF! He storms over to my car,
(+ware) looks up at me and says, "I AM NOT HAPPY!"
(+ware) So, I look down at him and say, "Well, which one are you then?"... and
(+ware) THAT'S when the fight started . .

JimBob2814: I actually tried Superman 64
JimBob2814: yes, it is.
Rawlsaur: Is it actually as bad as they say?
Rawlsaur: ...
JimBob2814: no, you're just predictable
Rawlsaur: Are you psychic or something?
Rawlsaur: ...
JimBob2814: NO I WON'T
Rawlsaur: ...
JimBob2814: haha
Comment: This actually happened.

<Beeth> Girls are like internet domain names, the ones I like are already taken.
<honx> well, you can stil get one from a strange country :-P

<SenioR> whahahah fravec! I fucked your mother!!
<@Fravec> Dad, buzz off, I'm talking to friends here...
Comment: never teach your dad how to use IRC

<Hiroe> he was dressed as a big fuckin devil
<Hiroe> like, HUGE costume
<Hiroe> 8-foot lizard wings, giant horns on the head
<Hiroe> at some anime con in california
<Hiroe> they were double booked with a southern Baptist group in the same hotel
<Hiroe> he's riding the elevator down to the con space
<Hiroe> doors open, little old baptist woman standing there
<Hiroe> he just says "Going Down" in his best evil voice

Finally, I liked this recent run in the great "Non Sequitur" by Wiley Miller:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Best of 2007

Here we are again, concocting complex justifications for abusing eggnog (wink), waiting for the fat scary guy to kick in the door and bring us our heart's material desires, and then face the one night a year where those with kids struggle to stay up to greet the new year.

We look back fondly, sometimes jaundicedly (no, that's not a real word), of things we've done and seen.

Here's some of the stuff that I've enjoyed and a couple things I didn't.

- Anything by Laura Miller on
Ms. Miller is so erudite and insightful that I now read anything she pens (or pecks, as the case may be), even if I could care less about the topic itself. Usually, I do care about the topic, which is just frosting. The cherry on top is her writing is refreshingly clear. I wish I had a brain as exquisite as hers.

- Roger Ebert
Since he's recovered enough to begin working again, Ebert is a man renewed. You can just feel the energy and joie de vivre in everything he writes. His reviews have become a little too generous, with a lot of movies getting four stars, so scale them back about 1/2 a star, and they'll be more consistent with his earlier work. Also, they've put up an archive of all of his shows, so you can watch Siskel and Ebert (or "Replacement" and Ebert) to your heart's content.

- Rolling Stone Magazine
Even though I dissed on it recently, I've had a complete turnabout on Rolling Stone. I look forward to the next edition like I used to for Entertainment Weekly (which has edged further into People magazine land by devoting a page to Hollywood fashions, etc., it has the egregious "anything gay is cool" slant, the cover stories are blatant adverts for the latest trash, and I originally subscribed for the book reviews, which aren't that good, especially since there's Laura Miller around (see above)) and Playboy (which lost its editorial edge about the time Hef became single again, the nudes are absurd, and my eldest discovered where I hid them, so no more copies in the house!). I got the subscription primarily because my daughter was selling them for some fundraising thing, and it was the cheapest, and I knew I'd at least open it up on occasion. But then, I took this test that points you at the movie reviewers you are most in line with, and besides Roger Ebert, it gave me Peter Travers, and I'll be damned if it wasn't correct. Hell, I read Rolling Stone cover to cover anymore.

- "My Patch" by Jim Noir (from the CD Tower of Love)
If you've seen any Christmas ad for Target, you've heard this. It's the song that has the way-too-catchy "bonka bonka bonka bonka" descending guitar riff. My whole family walks around singing "bonka x 4" for hours after it plays. In a jolt of synchronicity, Stumbleupon brought up the MP3 search engine at the same moment I was researching what the song was. For the hell of it, I searched for it (most mp3 search thingys suck), and it pulled it right up. I use it all the time now. And I've ordered the album.

- "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie
This year's guilty favorite. I have no excuses.

- "Radio Nowhere" by Bruce Springsteen (from the CD Magic)
Bruce has ditched his Arlo Guthrie stuff and gotten back to power pop with "Radio Nowhere". The lyrics alone give away how fun the song is: "I just wanna hear some rhythm / I want a thousand guitars / I want pounding drums / I want a million different voices / Speaking in tongues". How cool is that?

- Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Foo Fighters
Arguably their second-best CD ever, after There Is Nothing Left to Lose. I may be wrong, but this one's about Kurt Cobain. Even the song order and the themes follow the career arc of Nirvana. The first song evokes "Stairway to Heaven," plus there's a finger-picking acoustic number, just like "The Battle Of Evermore" from Led Zeppelin IV, so it's also somewhat of a tribute to that famous rock warhorse.

- "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne
Ok, I have two guilty favorites this year. Feel the love.

- Alright, Still by Lily Allen
Neo-Reggae and a sexy potty mouth make a great album, I must say.

- 5th Gear by Brad Paisley
Awesome guitar chops blended with a keen sense of humor. I was bummed when I heard the prettiest actress in the whole world, Kimberly Williams, got hitched, but this guy's so cool, I've learned to be OK with it. "Ticks" is a highlight.

- Dwight Sings Buck by Dwight Yoakam
Well, Dwight has always sung buck, really, but that doesn't diminish this gem. I am continually blown away by Dwight's arrangement of a song. He's probably one of the best living examples of that rare skill. (This is the first album I bought entirely as an MP3 album, btw.)

- And the Eagles kicked out a new album, which is OK, but it's no Hotel California; in fact, it's really their worst album, sorry to say.

- As long as we're on the topic of music, I have to rave again about the Amazon MP3 store, with no DRM (copy protection) on the songs. I'm lovin' this instant gratification thing. Walmart has given the music giants the ultimatum that they must provide their MP3 with no DRM to Walmart as well, so the labels that are holding out will no doubt cave within the (next) year. What Walmart wants, Walmart gets.

The venerable Rolling Stone had an article called "Biz Bets on Subscriptions" in the 12/13/2007 Issue 1041, p17-18 (here's the only ref I could find on line), where Rick Rubin and some of the CEOs of the music giants think the next big thing is "Subscription Services" where for a monthly fee, you can listen to every single song the label owns. However, it's streamed to your computer. Sorry, boys, have you noticed those things everyone has their headphones attached to? Please catch the next clue train. It's the one with the big "Walmart" placard on the side.

- Movies have been kind of dismal this year. TV is the place to be. So rather than try to scrape together false enthusiasm for a couple titles, I'll just list the whole kit and caboodle, and go from there.

First, here's what I've seen thus far (and remember, I have a fambly "assisting" me in my choices):

Epic Movie
Music and Lyrics
Ghost Rider
Wild Hogs
I Think I Love My Wife
Blades of Glory
Meet the Robinsons
Grindhouse ("Plant Terror" and "Death Proof")
Spider-Man 3
Shrek the Third
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Knocked Up
Ocean's Thirteen
Surf's Up
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Evan Almighty
Live Free or Die Hard
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Cashback (original short)
The Simpsons Movie
Wild Hogs

Of those, only Live Free or Die Hard stands out as a movie I honestly enjoyed. The premise is preposterous: Hackers use govt. computer systems and networks to shut down, well, everything. I had to laugh out loud when it became clear this was the hook, because I work in government, and I can tell you there is no such interconnectedness in existence. Not even remotely. But, get past that, and you got yourself a fun popcorn movie with Bruce, the apple commercial guy, and a cameo by Kevin Smith.

These I have yet to see:

Shoot 'Em Up
Balls of Fury
The Nanny Diaries
The Bourne Ultimatum
Mr. Brooks
The Ex
Black Snake Moan
Across the Universe
Into the Wild
The Heartbreak Kid
Gone Baby Gone
Martian Child
No Country For Old Men
I Am Legend
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I expect to like the ones in bold. Stay tuned, as they say.

- The best (non-blog/printed media) reads were anything by David Foster Wallace. Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays was my fave for the year. And his intro to The Best American Essays 2007 was a joy as well. He just makes me giggle. Oh, and of the essays, the highlights are "A Carnivore's Credo", "Dragon Slayers", "Loaded", "What the Dog Saw", and "Onward, Christian Liberals"

Oddly enough, I don't have any fiction that was released this year to rave about. Too bad.

- The best TV shows are "Chuck" and "Pushing Daisies".
-- "Chuck" is essentially The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes meets Spy Kids, with a liberal dash of teenage horndog. Entertaining as hell, and has some great little moments like when the female agent assigned to protect Chuck, played by total hottie Yvonne Strahovski, goes into swat-fu mode on some bad guys at her cover job at the local Wienerschnitzel, shown here:

While she's in this pose, about 20 teenage boys run in and snap shots of her on their cells. Total fanboy moment. And to prove they know their audience, the creators even have her in the Princess Lea slave bikini for the Halloween episode. For more of Ms. Strahovski, check out the fan site here.

Via a modern trend I approve of, you can watch whole episodes of "Chuck" here.

-- "Pushing Daisies" is one of the more unique things to ever hit the tube. "The Piemaker" (we are never told his name correction: I think it's Ned) has the ability to revive dead things with a touch, but he must touch them again within a minute, or something nearby then drops dead. He teams up with a local private eye to solve crimes. That description doesn't even begin to do the show justice, though, so go watch an episode or two.

One of my old faves, "Desperate Housewives" jumped the shark when they gave one of the main characters cancer. This is a soap about fucking around and gossip, playing the chemo card is just wrong.

- The Best Quote of the year belongs to that Democrat-hater Ted Nugent. I grudgingly admire the Nuge.

A French journalist asked, "What do you think the last thought is in the head of a deer before you shoot it? Is it, "Are you my friend?" or maybe "Are you the one who killed my brother?"

Nugent replied, "They aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, 'What am I going to eat next? Who am I going to screw next? and, Can I run fast enough to get away?' They are very much like the French in that."


And this one's been around for a while probably, but I'd not seen it until someone put it up on our humor BB at work:

Failure is not an option ... it comes bundled with the software.

Finally, here's the best cartoon of the year, especially for cube dwellers like myself:

(Click for larger version.)

If you need to keep going, here are Stephen King's best of movies (sort of) and tunes. M. Blowhard also has something for you.
There Goes My Hero

A guy just hitches up the beer trailer and drives away. He ought to be easy to catch, since he'll be wasted from now until his liver fails.

Steve Almond has a nice sketch of Kurt Vonnegut in his book of essays (or blogs - what really is the difference?) in (Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions.

The rest of the book is mildly entertaining, highlights being his first experience with fake boobs and his discovery of masturbation. But, to be honest, you can usually find better stuff at The 2Blowhards and other personal blogs.

I recommend checking it out from the library for the Vonnegut piece, though.

That's something I've noticed quite a bit lately that printed memoirs and collections of essays aren't all that much superior, if at all, to many blogs I read regularly.
I Want Your Stuff

Were I insanely wealthy, after I'd given gobs to groups and charities I believe in, started paying for my blog's hosting so I could offer MP3 snippets and stuff and so on, I'd have this famous old poster redone to say "I Want Your Stuff, Just Because I Can" or something to that effect and paste it up nationwide.

The US Govt. is trying to expand civil asset forfeiture (yet again) to your home computer if some company thinks you have illegal downloads.

The mind boggles. This would give corporations virtually unlimited power to harass and suppress citizens. I hope this shite does not pass.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dead White Guys

This quote is from an article "Starting Out in the Evening" by Stephanie Zacharek

For years now, white male writers [snip] have been out of fashion. These are the kinds of guys we're never supposed to identify with, as punishment for the fact that their view of the world was once treated as supreme. "Starting Out in the Evening" suggests, among other things, that once these writers have disappeared, we'll have lost more than we know. Someday their books will be in style again. Until then, there's no law against feeling something for them. Understanding the human heart is an equal-opportunity affair, and old -- or even dead -- white guys have often done it as well as anybody else.

Apparently not everyone has gotten the memo that Identity Politics, and its implicit racism and sexism, is considered an intellectual ghetto.
Girl with a Big Gun

After several false starts, I've decided not to analyze very deeply why this vid tickles me.

Girl With A Real Big Gun

It's been said out loud.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Radio Sweetheart

When I was growing up, my little town in the center of South Dakota was a radio wasteland. We had two AM stations, one played songs that were so old that you could hear the wear on the vinyl, the other was mostly local commercials and pork belly futures.

But at night when the AM stations could amp up and throw their glorious waves out across the plains of the Midwest, KOMA from Oklahoma came in clear as a bell, and they played all the good stuff.

One of my buddies was given his dad's cassette tape recorder (one of those old mono warhorses used for dictation where getting the voice and not fidelity was the main goal), and he would sit up at night pressing "record" when they'd start a song, stopping it when it was done, tediously collecting songs. Even worse, he was a purist, so if the DJ talked over the beginning or end of a song, he would stop recording, back the tape up, and record over it. I think he filled a shoebox with those tapes.

This is how far some of us will go for sweet music in our lives.

Well, recently a dude at work turned me on to the fact that someone had made a ripper (recorder/copier) for internet radio streams that play in the Windows' best MP3 player, Winamp. You basically open it up, tune in, start the ripper, and it fills your hard drive with songs as long as you let it run. It detects the beginning and ends of songs, and if the song information is provided in the stream, it names them!

I have finally finally finally found a source for new songs by new artists since American radio turned to shite in the consolidation wars. Huzzah!

(Apologies to Mac users, I didn't research if either of these are available for your platform.)
Theses Boots are Made for Rockin'

Happed upon a great site that has some pretty fantastic bootlegs.

My view of bootlegs is they only help the artist. Some artists, like Bob Dylan, have figured out what a boon this is to music lovers and have released official versions of well-known bootlegs.

Until everyone else figures that out, enjoy the boots on that site.
Oh. Ha ha.

Until you look at the URL, this sure appears legit. I wonder how many gullable guys print this out and take it home to the lovely wife and say, SEE! YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH SCIENCE!

(I found this via StumbleUpon, and after reading it was like "no way" - then saw the url.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Grand Unification Theory?

Some physicists think so.

A. Garrett Lisi, aka "Surfer Dude", has cobbled together a theory that may be the much sought after Grand Unification Theory. Some physicists are wetting themselves in glee that this might finally be it, and of course others are saying snarky stuff "seems like a long shot" (who then turn away and bite a knuckle as their eyes well up).

Here's an article about it. Here's a link to the abstract; Here's the paper itself called (I love it): An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything (when saving this, you have to plug in the ".pdf" on the file name, btw).

I've looked it over, but this is so far out of my realm that basically I'm the 567th monkey on typewriter no. 352 out of the thousand of us trying to peck out Macbeth.

It's awfully pretty, though.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


And now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another gratuitious vid posting

Someone used that Roller Coaster Tycoon game to construct a rather elaborate human bowling league.

How to Completely Muff It Up

(This is a post about Star Trek, so those who could give a flip should surf on and save valuable blog reading time for better stuff. It would be interesting for someone to amass all the text on the web devoted to Star Trek and see what the word count is. If aliens (presuming they exist) ever found earth, and we were gone, and they had to surmise what we were like by our archives, they'd think that Star Trek was probably one of the most important things on the planet. Galaxy Quest would then be a documentary.)

I read somewhere that all of Star Trek: Enterprise was now available on DVD. I started watching the series when it first premiered, and after I regained consciousness after the odious theme song (listen to a sample here, or for the more masochistic download it here), I was disenchanted with what I saw, so bailed a few episodes in. Rick Berman and Brannon Braga had struck again, boldly going where no one is likely to go, into a politically correct future where feelings come before photon torpedoes.

Most fans feel those two - Berman/Braga - were the most responsible for driving the various series into the ground, or more precisely into a planet, with their boring attempts to tell "human" stories in the midst of all the interstellar grandeur. They also have the stench of an alternate future where Identity Politics had not been dismissed as utter bullshit before the year 2000 by everyone save those who make salaries off of it in the university system.

Another common gripe is the freakin' holodeck episodes, which were a phenomenal cheat and a way to see most of the characters in silly hats.

Even with all of this baggage, though, I wanted to see how they would end Star Trek: Enterprise, because I have a thing for series' endings when they actually have the forewarning to be able to make one.

So I spooled up the final episode and it ... it's even hard to type this ... it was a freakin' HOLODECK EPISODE! <Channeling Sam Kinison>Ohhhhh! OOOOHHHH! OOOoooh!</Channeling Sam Kinison>.

The central story is Riker from TNG using the events of the first Enterprise's mission ending to help him decide if he should tell Picard he'd worked on an illegal project to invent a cloaking device. Riker mostly plays the ship's cook because everyone talked to the cook, so that's where you learned all the secrets of the ship. So, what should have been a glorious flameout of an episode is spent in the galley with Riker cutting carrots.

The mind boggles. You'd have to be trying to make that many bad choices. Did these guys have absolutely NO connection with the fan base? Were they being perverse and punishing their audience for not watching their dreck?

I see I'm not the only one who felt this way. In that article, Berman/Braga supposedly said that this episode was a "Valentine" to the fans. Do you suppose these guys' wives (presuming, of course) would point out to them that flipping someone the bird is NOT a valentine? Or that a valentine can lead to a good fucking, but hopefully not a fucking over? (Apologies for the bad puns, but Judas on a Vespa anyway.)

Tangentally, the episode brought up something I'd noticed about the Berman/Braga era. They often had characters talk about how heroic someone was - like Capt. Picard or Capt. Jonathan Archer from "Enterprise" - but personally I never felt these guys actually did anything that seemed or felt all that heroic. Kirk did a few things that seemed particularly heroic, so I know it's possible to convey that quality. I just don't think any of the latter-day Treks accomplished it. Thus having characters gas on about how heroic they were was eye-rollingly embarrassing.

As far as I can discern, the people who own the rights to the series haven't let the reverse Midas touch of Berman/Braga sully the new movie. From what I've read, Berman helped get the idea off the ground, but has not been part of the new effort. Let's hopes so. (Though Whisky and I predict an utter bomb, regardless. Oh, it'll make money, but it will suck.)

Btw, here are pics of Spock in the upcoming film which started principal photography Nov. 7th.

Be sure to check out Whisky's post about this.
The Bridge

The Bridge is a documentary (sorta) about people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

The director filmed people jumping off the bridge to their deaths, then interviewed the families of the dead without their knowing that he had footage of them killing themselves. Thus the film has been rightly criticized as being exploitive.

But how is it as a film?


It's slow with a lot of gratuitous filler. If you cut together all the footage of slow pans across the water and the bay and, it'd probably comprise 1/2 an hour. If you cut to the chase, as it were, you'd get a decent 1/2 hour film.

Other than the one guy who survived the fall, most of the recollections of the friends and relatives of the dead are not that revealing. Most either talk of how messed up the person was (insanity, drugs, etc.) or how often they talked about killing themselves before they really did it. The one guy who lived is sorta gripping, because - well, he tried and failed to kill himself, and is somewhat redeemed by the event. The one other observation of note was one of the last things said in the film where a guy relates how much the suicide of his friend hurt him, and the promise that if they ever met again (in the afterlife), he'd give him hell about the pain it caused him.

The jumps themselves are riveting. You want to leap through the screen and catch them. Something inside knows the finality and reality of what's on the screen.

Overall, not worth your time. If you want to experience a couple of the jumps, watch the start of the movie until it happens the first time, then watch the last chapter for the most dramatic one. But, be warned, it's not gonna make you feel anything other than loss and sadness.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's fun to scare your kids

Girl Scare Prank
Dogs and Cats Living Together

One of my favorite commenters on 2Blowhards is Shouting Thomas. Our political views (his and mine) have this weird synergy - because they match up a lot, but he's a professed conservative and I'm a professed liberal.

While I really dislike some of the baggage that comes with being on the liberal side - such as the "Identity Politics" loonies, or anyone who doesn't realize Marx was full of shite right up to the tippy-top of his addled noggin, and (let's just say it) Hillary Clinton is no Bill Clinton - I have bigger problems with the wingnuts on the right.

To be blunt, I think the Republicans have put America at grave risk by allowing the Current Occupant to form an imperial presidency and change the laws so that citizens can be suppressed and imprisoned for no reason, and even have their belongings taken, other than someone in power says to. (If you don't believe the extent to which this has occurred, read Bill of Wrongs by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose.) I really do feel our freedoms are in peril.

Also, I just don't understand what wingnuts have against public education and libraries. I DO understand their beef with the NEA, because I share it, but that just means we should fix or nuke the NEA. Don't deny kids a free education just because some Fed agency is overrun by nuts.

Those gripes aside, Shouting Thomas said something recently about living in a very liberal community and how it grates on him (or something to that effect). That really resonated with me, because I realized I feel the same way.

Right now, most of my close friends and neighbors are predominantly Republican. I've lived in very liberal communities - such as downtown Minneapolis and Boulder, Colorado - and didn't like it as much. A certain portion of the liberal community has a sense of entitlement that just annoys the hell out of me. It's as if we are here for the indulgence of their pleasure, and if you do something counter to that, they get mean. Their interpretation of "the pursuit of happiness" doesn't extend to thinking of others' happiness at the same time as pursuing their own. Some conservatives I know have a built-in courtesy to live and let live as long as no one's being a jerk. Some liberals act as though no one else exists, or worse, like spoiled brats when someone harshes their mellow.

This is ironic because liberals support social programs that provide a social safety net and free public education and so on - very admirable values. Seems the impulses they have for society at large don't match their daily behaviors with the people they actually come in contact with. Conservatives are the other way around; they don't like giving up tax money that isn't going to come back directly to them in some form or another - in effect, screw those who can't afford a private school or medical care. Yet, in person, most conservatives are very nice people.

I like living in communities where there's balance of political views - those are the best of all. But if I have to live in one that's skewed to one side - I like living with Republicans. Heh.

Some folks who read this will probably say, "Yahmdallah, why can't you connect the dots? If you like living in places where Republicans are the majority, don't you realize that you probably ARE one?" Donald of the 2Blowhards actually offers this as a possible reality.

Well, for the reasons stated here, I just can't get on the side of a group who - in my opinion - can't seem to figure out that if we don't educate people, and at least ensure a minimum of health care, this will result in a diminished quality of life.

Consider Mexico and our current immigration crisis. We are feeling the pangs of absorbing a people who have grown up in a conservative mecca - i.e. "fuck those who don't have a pot to piss in" - and come here because some of our Democratic presidents and their administrations have been successful in providing some basics for the necessity of having a decent quality if life.

Do we really want to be Mexico? No. I don't think we want to be Sweden, either, but can't we find a sweet spot in the middle?

But I digress.

I've always found this little bit of wisdom as true as it is funny:
Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs are French, the mechanics are German, the lovers Italian, and it's all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the police are German, and it's all organized by the Italians.

Wouldn't it be nice if Republicans (though not the wingnuts, they're irredeemable) could make their political instincts match their personal polite behavior, and Democrats (though not the loonies, they're irredeemable, too) could be as generous in person as they are in politics?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Lint Licker

I'm putting this up here more for my own use, because I've found the blog search works pretty well. Therefore, when I wanna show someone this, I'll know right where it's at.

I laughed myself off the couch first time I saw this.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Firefox Tip - File saving/downloading taking forever fix

I use Firefox as my primary browser. Recently, as I've tried to save pictures, the save step took up to 30 seconds or something silly. I didn't remember this being the case at first, but as time has gone by, it's just gotten beyond reasonable.

I unloaded a download task bar extension, thinking its history was causing the issue. Didn't help.

So I tried to clear out the download history on the Firefox download managler. It wouldn't work.

So, I finally deleted the "downloads.rdf" file in the area used by Firefox as my personal settings. (Found on my Windows XP maching at: C:\Documents and Settings\[myusername]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[theonlyonethere].default).

That did the trick. So, if file saving is getting arduous in Firefox, try deleting your "downloads.rdf" file.
Not a Classic...

But still pretty funny. Quasi-NSFW - don't play it out loud.

"High as Fü¢ķ"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Holiday Season Catalogues

Pity the postal worker at this time of year as the holiday catalogues triple back strain and make mailboxes moan with their weight.

We also mourn the many trees that gave their spirits so that we can choose between 8 different nut and cheese logs (oh the Alanis Morissette irony of it all).

When we're past all that, though, we can enjoy some of the more perverse things offered for your consumption.

For instance, a pasta company makes noodles in a vast array of shapes to be used for fundraising. My wife pointed this one out to me:

She asked, "Haven't you always wanted to eat a cheerleader?" Though I can't imagine using that marketing angle around the office.

This one was accompanied by a vague whirring sound that seemed to emanate from the Northwest:

Kurt Cobain Action Figure

Now they need to make one of him spinning in his grave. You wonder who gave this company the rights to make something like this, too. I just may have to have one.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In the "It Can't Happen Here" files...

Clear Channel is refusing to play any of Bruce Springsteen's new songs, even though the album has gone #1 on the charts. Here's a blog with some good info about it, and here's an article on Faux News about it (down the page, after the Britney story).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Garrison Keillor has written another great essay about the quiet philosophers of the Great Plains and why they matter.
The Pipettes and Other Dubious Recommendations

My latest guilty favorite is "The Pipettes," three British cuties who recreate early 60s girl-group pop with modern wannabe bad-girl sass.

Now I have always enjoyed powerpop, sugary pop, and so on. If you are a person who's concerned about a band being "authentic" or "real," the Pipettes are not for you. They are a manufactured band, and the sound is purposely pseudo-retro. It's the kind of stuff that would end up in a David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino movie.

But, if that doesn't matter to you, and you like music with a bit of a sense of humor about itself, I think you might dig them. They are now available for download at Amazon's awesome MP3 store.

Rolling Stone even gave them a decent review, which spurred me to put up this post. Sometimes I'm sorta embarrassed about my wide and weird tastes in music - I like most everything except gangsta rap and opera. So I originally wasn't gonna put anything up here about them. But, heck, groups can live and die by word of mouth, so I decided to put my pride aside and say give'em a shot.

I bought the British release a while back which, according to the blurb about the album, has a different mix than this "American" version. From the samples, it does seem to have more electric guitar. But, the mix isn't so different that it changes the core sound of the songs.

If any of ya'll buy any of their songs, let me know what you think in the comments.

Other songs I've bought lately and have been enjoying immensely are:

"I Wanna Kiss You" by Paula Cole - A sweet, slinky, sexy song that culminates in the line "oh, won't you marry me?" Perfect for the bedroom mix tape, if you get my drift and I bet you do.

"Beautiful Wreck" by Shawn Mullins - "In the dark end of this bar, what a beautiful wreck you are" goes the lyric. Who hasn't witnessed that? Great tune and perfect evocation of an archetype.

"Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry (which just now I realized is a play on "Chuck Berry" ... sometimes I wonder about myself) - My my, what a dirty, dirty song. I laugh every time I hear it. No kiddies within earshot, plz.

"Hey Eugene" by Pink Martini - The rest of this salsa-esque album didn't do much for me, but this backhanded groove of a song about a new relationship makes me smile with lines like "I'm that chick you danced with two times through the Rufus album Friday night at that party." I'm always a sucker for a horn section, too.

The moldy oldie "Blow Away" by George Harrison - I was surfing through the top-selling MP3 singles and noticing the theme is hits that have not been anthologized appropriately (those you had to buy an album to get the one good song (if was still in print)) or it's the one song you'd want from that artist. "Blow Away" is one of those, as it has never been on any of his hits compilations. Heck, I'd even forgotten about the song till I heard it again on Amazon. It was one of those that played incessantly back in my high school cruising days, so I had to have it.

"Big Girls Don't Cry (Personal)" by Fergie - Since I listen to popular radio only about an hour a week anymore, and even then often by accident, it was a great feeling to hear a song that made me ears perk up. I personally think she sings the hell out of this song. Sadly, the rest of the album is rap and hip hop crap. THIS is why the ability to buy the one good single off an album ROCKS!

I've had these on CD for a while, but they're worth checking out.

"Hold On" by Ian Gomm - Kinda sums up 70s pop one-hit-wonders all in one song. Killer bass line, too. It's also notable in that it features the much maligned "Aural Exciter" prominently, which was overused in the 70s for a while. It makes the high-end all shimmery and adds some edge to the bass notes. The Eagles has a snippy little liner note on some of their albums that says they DIDN'T use it, which was kind of a lash out at the artists who had a credit in their liner notes announcing the whole album was processed that way. Ah, liner note memories.

"Lights Out" by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - How can you not dig thrash with a horn section? This little under-two-minute gem is from their introductory EP, and it's a hoot.

Finally, David Byrne, previously of the Talking Heads, covers Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." I'm still debating whether I want to own this one or not. It's enough of a lark that I'm sorely tempted, but I don't know if I'd ever really listen to it for enjoyment, or if I'd merely pull it out at a party or two to bore the crowd with "ain't this a hoot!" only to have them mumble a half-hearted assent before going back to their conversations. I mean, Whitney's version is almost a parody unto itself anyway, so the further irony of mr. stop making sense doing it isn't enough of a difference to really count, maybe.

(Remember, btw, that you can listen to a pretty decent sample of each of these before you purchase, so don't just take my word for it on any of these.)

Happy listening!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheney Falls Asleep in Meetings

Hell, he's safest this way. Why complain?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Doubt You've Heard

J.K. Rowling told an audience during a Q&A that Dumbledore is(was) gay.

For some reason, I was reminded of this old cartoon made from a Lenny Bruce bit:

Thank You Mask Man

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recent Movies, 10/23/2007

Knocked Up
I was expecting a lot from this movie since the reviews were mostly positive and it looked pleasantly subversive.

Was surprised me is how piggish the guys in this movie were, and that unsuspended my disbelief so drastically, I found the movie hard to finish. I've lived with "just the buds" a few times in my life, and yes, when a bunch of bachelors room together, things can get funky and fugly. But, even at our worst, no one I know was ever as clueless and loutish as these guys were.

And there is no way a woman would stay with a guy like that. Ever. My wife started counting "deal breakers" out loud after a while just to keep us entertained. ("Deal breakers" are things that will end a relationship on the spot.)

Most unforgivable of all: there was never a joke in this movie that made laugh out loud - not once.


Curious George
Curious George is only for very small children, say 5 and under. There is nothing in this movie for adults at all.

However, it kills in its demographic. My two-and-a-half-year-old was able to follow the plot, laughed a lot, and apparently identified with Curious George very much (as I'm sure is the intent). I was pleased by how well the filmmakers understood their tot audience and were able to keep it consistent for them at that level. That's a talent unto itself.

Oh, and it wasn't that waaaay dumbed-down pabulum they spew on PBS shows for the very small ones. It assumes your child knows English and is of at least average intelligence.

If you have wee ones, and don't object to movies in general for that age, your kids will have a great time with this one.

Fast Food Nation
I'll see anything Richard Linklater makes. And neighbors had read the non-fiction book that was the source material and said it was great and that anyone who read it would never eat another hamburger again.

It's average as an entertainment, in my opinion. But if you approach it for what it is - the fictionalized portrayal of a non-fiction expose - it's kind of impressive. It holds your interest enough to get the facts to you.

Given our recent inundation with immigrants from Mexico, and the politicization of it, even a liberal like myself didn't really buy into the "lets feel sorry for the poor immigrants who can only find jobs at meat-packing plants" angle. And, coming from the Midwest and being surrounded by farms as I grew up, the slaughter of animals and the reality behind that are old news.

But I can see a city mouse being shocked by what it takes to turn a cow from a mooing animal with a pulse to steaks and leather. You see the whole process, including a live cow being shot in the brain.

I'd recommend it for the fans, the curious, and for folks who need one more reason to be vegan. For the average movie-goer, I'd say get Dazed and Confused instead.

(Did it change my mind on eating meat? Heck no. Make my steak medium.)

When the fanboys first started grunting and hooting over this flick, I just kinda chuckled and surfed on, because I was a young adult by the time this fad hit all the young dudes - one of the more infamous cases where the cartoons were created just to sell toys after Ronny Raygun "deregulated" things.

I could tell by the few cartoons and toys I did see that I would not have been able to get enough of them were I still a kid. As an adult, they seemed stupid. And I loathed the fact that the cartoons were just commercials in disguise, being an animation buff.

I had no intention of ever seeing it.

Then the movie got good reviews. By people who typically would've just been honest and said "for the fanboys only" if it were.

My daughter had a sleepover for her birthday, so we got it for that, and gathered in the TV room and cranked the surrounds to the max.

It was exactly what I expected: a plot so thin that if it were a female superhero's costume, the movie would have to be rated "R" for showing too many pink parts. Scene upon scene of giant robot swat-fu coupled with sound effects that sounded like the crew from "Stomp!" was gang-raping the Tin Woodsman in a sheet metal factory.

I was not impressed. I mean, a couple of the robot transformations were cool, but I need more than a nifty origami trick to get my sci-fi mojo goin'.

I'll say it then: for fanboys only.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Year in the Life...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, Star Trek version

Via Attuworld, where Attu sees all. Note that a good portion of Attu is so NSFW. Surf only at home and other safe places. Worth it though; Attu posts a lot of cool mashups.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Swim Hole

This is probably the funniest, whimsical photo I've ever seen. Click the pic for the source and the (slightly) NSFW original.

Of course, the theme song to this picture would be the Barenaked Ladies "If I had $1,000,000," with the lyric: "If I Had $1000000 , I'd buy you a monkey (haven't you always wanted a monkey?)"
How MP3s Work

Nifty article on how MP3s work.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Danny Bonaduce is My Anti-hero

Mr. Bonaduce, forever known as Danny Partridge from the TV show, has always had my grudging respect for pulling an entertainment career back from the void by sheer brute force. I wouldn't necessarily wanna be stuck on a road trip with the guy, but I find most of his exploits and shows pretty damned funny.

And then he does this, covers himself with glory, and I just gotta admire him.


For those of you who had better things to do, Jonny Fairplay was one of the most notorious contestants on "Survivor" ever. Right before one vote, especially one where he was probably going to get axed, he had a friend come on and announce that his grandmother had died. She hadn't (or had even been warned of the scam), and Fairplay did it just to get the sympathy so he wouldn't get voted off. When the host, Jeff Probst, found out, he was clearly pissed and impressed all at the same time. Well, when the secret got out it made Fairplay one of the most hated people in the media. As you can see in the vid here, he has a slimy, simpering personality anyway - and thinks he's way cuter than he is. So he was at a deficit, personality-wise, before the grandma scam.

Also from the link on about the aftermath of the above: "Fairplay was taken to the hospital, and then to the dentist, where he underwent 2 1/2 hours of surgery. According to Fairplay, the body slam knocked one tooth out and moved three others and he now has to undergo multiple root canals."

Karma, baby. Karma.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Art and Politics (unrelated topics mashed into one post)


Found (StumbledUpon) a couple wild art sites.

Brian Dettmer: Book Autopsies

I can't imagine the time it takes to dig through these books for pictures and then cut down to them this way. Were I wealthy, I'd hunt this guy down and procure a couple few of these. Also, kudos to him for channeling obsessive-compulsiveness into an art form.


What an eye this guy has. I've not happed upon an art blog (other than the 2Blowhards, natch), that is so diverse in its findings and offerings. What an eye. Some content NSFW.


As constant readers know, I suck out loud the most when I go political, so I'm not gonna do that.

But Bruce is! Check this out from a recent concert he did for the Today show:

Couldn't have said it better myself (and I almost never do).

A buddy sent me this Candidate Calculator. (One bit of coolness is every topic is linked out to a site that explains it.)

Glory be, the calculator and my choices match:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Da Bash

Latest from

<Anonymous> Last night, Helen and I were sitting in the living room, and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug." She got up, unplugged the TV, and threw out my beer.
<Anonymous> She's such a bitch.
[Personally, I think she's a hoot. Had my wife done that, I would've laughed the rest of the evening.]

<%makat> Marcel Marceau dead.
<%makat> After all those years miming it, he's now genuinely trapped in a small box.

<Kuiper> Well, it rained today, but as a whole it's been warmer than it was last week.
<kikuichimonji> Why does it seem like every time you join this channel, you end up talking about the weather?
<kikuichimonji> Is your life so unimaginably dull that you can't think of any events in your life to describe that might be more interesting than the weather?
<kikuichimonji> Let's think of something for you to talk about other than the weather.
<kikuichimonji> I mean, we barely even know anything about you, other than where you live.
<kikuichimonji> Let's start there. What do you do for a living?
<Kuiper> I'm a meteorologist.

<Quadlex> sparc: One of my mates works for a porn company and is keeping an ear open for vacancies
<moreon> Quadlex: I wouldn't hold my breath on that. I bet they plug every hole they find pretty quickly.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

The new Foo Fighters is fantastic.

Albums like this restore my faith in music. I've often warbled in woe here about getting old and that must be why music not reaching me like it once did. When it's been a while since something got those endorphins up, I think it's me, not the music that's available. But I sat there through the first listen enraptured, even doing a little head-banging (which slightly alarmed my two-year-old at first).

I feel this is their best good-all-the-way-through LP since There Is Nothing Left to Lose.

What kind of amazes me is that no one has mentioned in any review that it appears Dave Grohl has finally written his "Kurt Cobain" album. "Let It Die" is a screamfest about (no surprise), letting everything die. Nearly every song can be viewed in the context of Grohl's relationship with Cobain. "Statues" which contains the lyrics "time will turn us into statues, eventually" is the most blatant exploration of being in "Nirvana."

(But then, I had a theory about One by One being the Vampire Lestat album. Maybe I'm seeing things that arent' there.)

I urge everyone to check it out. Of course, fans have already been spinning it for a couple days.
A Big Day

Made a big technological leap yesterday: I purchased my first downloaded songs. Amazon has opened an MP3 store that kicks out high-fidelity MP3s (256 kbps, 44 kHz) with no DRM (for those of you in the cheap seats, DRM is Digital Rights Management which doesn't allow you to move or copy song files). Finally!

I'll say it again. Fuckin' finally!

This is so cool. As I sit here listening to my purchases, I feel like I did when I was old enough to walk down to the local Red Owl (our local grocery store / everything store) and buy 45s of songs I heard on the radio that day. It's literally thrilling.

I never hopped on the iTunes bandwagon because you had to sign up, and most of the time the tracks have DRM. And, like most other places that sold MP3s, you had to create an account just to look around. Just didn't interest me.

Amazon makes the purchases extremely straightforward. The average price of an entire album is $8.99!!!!! Singles are 89¢! The previews/samples work much better than they ever have before, too, so you can get a good listen before you click "buy."

The Foo Fighters album might just be the last CD I ever buy.

Here's another cool thing. I can recommend stuff, and you can procure it RIGHT NOW if you want.

For example, some great stuff:

- Elvis Costello's "Bedlam" from his Delivery Man CD. One of his best latter-day tunes. It sounds like a drunken stripper careening into poles and garbage cans. Only Elvis can spit a lyric like that.

- "Saint of Me" by the Rolling Stones. Like with Elvis above, this is one of their latter-day classics that got no airplay, but it's as good as "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and personally, I think it's a companion piece - a look at the other side, say - to "Sympathy for the Devil."

- "Blue Avenue" by Elton John. The only other good track on the LP, but it didn't get airplay here in the states. Beautiful song.

- Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," which everyone loves, but it's never been on one of his anthologies (that I know of).

- "Moon, June, Spoon" by Spot. I was amazed to find this available. A great rocker about trying to choose which girl to stay with, and about rhyming, another great theme. Of all the songs I'm recommending here, this is one I'd politely beg everyone to check out. It ends up on about every 5th CD I burn, and I never tire of it.

- A Magic World (really "From Which I Came / A Magic World") from the Eels. Get past the intro noodling, and a gorgeous song starts. I pulled my copy into Audacity and cut the intro off so it'd go right into the song.

- The live version of Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People" has about the best bass performance I've ever heard. The atmosphere of the live tune is amazing, too.

- Joe Cocker's phenomenal live version of "Unchain My Heart." Just listen to that groove they hit.

They even have wonderful obscurities, like A Lecture on Geek Mythology by wax.on that Whisky Prajer recommended a while ago (and I second that emotion).

They've got plenty of biggies like Stevie Wonder and John Lennon, and great guilty favorites like Steve Miller and Sweet (who I've always thought was who they were jabbing the most in This is Spinal Tap).

They have lots of goofs like A Gregorian Chant Tribute to Elton John! And k-tel albums!

A great way to find a single you might be look for, search for "20th century masters," which are a series of compilation albums for many artists. Do be careful about all the "sound alike" albums they have out there. For now, always always listen to the sample before you buy.

My right pointer finger actually hurts this morning after yesterday's surf-fest. I'm surprised my mouse didn't blow up. Let's be careful out there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Was on Vacation for a Week

Don't really have anything wild to report. 'Twas just a relaxing time spent on beaches watching the MPC's build sand castles during the day and laughing over dinner and beers with the adults at night.

Didn't read a lick. Saw no flicks. Didn't really surf the web. A media blackout, essentially.

And the only thing I appeared to have missed was Britney Spears' sleepwalking through a supposed "comeback" dance number, and folks said she looked fat. Well, I've seen the vids and photos since, and if that's fat, I don't understand what they could mean by thin. She looked just right to me, mother of two or not.

The other funny thing, found via, is a Swedish game show host blows her groceries on the air during a live broadcast. This version has subtitles which contain her explanation for the accidental personal protein spill. If what she says is true, then it's reason number 257 I'm glad I'm a guy. Having to hide boners behind science texts in high school is nothing compared to getting the Technicolor yawns when the little friend visits.

Not for the easily queasy:

Perhaps this is what she's really saying:


Oh, and I've finally happed upon the fabulous Shatner "have you ever kissed a girl?" SNL skit:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It occurred to me:

Perhaps Scientology exists so that Christians (and Jewish folks who believe in God) can better understand how atheists feel about us. Perspective is always good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm tellin' ya... is really funny!

Check these out:

- The 8 Most Common Sci-Fi Visions of the Future (And Why They'll Never Happen)

- The Top 10 Secret Celebrity Scientologists

- How to Resign in Public Like a Coward
It's Broken

"Just tell your readers that you have a source who knows a lot about the Republican party from long experience, that he knows all the key movers and shakers, and he has a bit of advice: People should not vote for any Republican, because they're dangerous, dishonest and self-serving. While I once believed that Governor George Wallace had it right, that there was not a dime's worth of difference in the parties; that is not longer true. I have come to realize the Democrats really do care about people who most need help from government; Republicans care most about those who will only get richer because of government help. The government is truly broken, particularly in dealing with national security, and another four years, and heaven forbid not eight years, under the Republicans, and our grandchildren will have to build a new government, because the one we have will be unrecognizable and unworkable."

"Broken Government"
By John W. Dean

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
by Gregory Maguire

Let me deliver the punchline so I can get to the outgassing: for the most part, I found this book a slog and wouldn't recommend it to anyone other than rabid fans of anything Oz, or someone who's interested in the genre of gay fiction.

The oddest thing about Wicked is that it's compelling yet boring. It's like listening to someone at a party who just slaughters jokes, but the jokes themselves are so good, you're willing to reconstruct them in your head so they're funny again. This novel is full of concepts that are intriguing, but the execution thereof ... well let's just say the "execution" hews closer to the "killing" definition rather than "realization".

The style defied judicious skimming, too. When I tried to skim, I often had to go back to dig out a detail in the middle of a tedious paragraph in order for things to make sense. I was impressed and infuriated at the same time.

The biggest flaw was that Maguire has no sense of magic. Every time magical events occurred, they were anticlimactic. Often they felt like afterthoughts, or grudging inclusions due to the fact they were in the original stories, or movie.

For example, a character other than the witch, Nor, discovers that the witch's broom actually flies. She goes for a quick, surprise ride, and when the witch sees her, she takes the broom back and goes for a ride herself. (The scene contains a cute dirty joke about how the broom at first tries to distract her by rubbing itself lustily against her crotch.) Now, she's been carrying the broom around for a while (which is never explained), but someone else figures out it's magic? Please.

Wicked (the novel) is really a sociopolitical fable about being gay. It ain't easy being green, especially when it's subtext for being gay. Also, there are animals and Animals, being those who don't talk and those who do. During the course of the novel, the Wizard has the Animals hunted down and put back out to pasture, taking them from their jobs and homes, etc. There are so many levels of gay subtext, it's like an Escher piece on gay subtext.

That is not a put-down, but more of a complaint about a limitation. You can only work that angle so many ways, and then it gets tedious. A story has to be about more than one thing to be whole. Let me give you another example, though it's beloved (even by me): the famous Catcher in the Rye. It's a one-trick pony, too. The style elevates it above its limitations, but really it’s a few hundred pages of "this one time, at band camp" as told by a teenager having a nervous breakdown. Great read because of the style, but the story is numbing.

Beyond that, the tone of Wicked is bitter. It reminded me of an author I loathe (though I don't loathe Maguire - I think he has a talent of a sort), Margaret Atwood, where everything in her fictional worlds is adulterated, ugly, dying, cancerous, and fetid. She has a "cookbook" (how to write), where she offers the concept that everything is about death. Gosh, ya just wanna have her along on a long road trip, doncha?

My final complaint is that after a slog through hundreds of pages of Elphaba's backstory, the last part of the novel is almost completely detached from it, and Elphaba's sole motivation is getting her sister's freakin' shoes back! Well, you may say, that's that happened in the Wizard of Oz, too, Mr. High and Mighty. Fine! I'd shoot back, but many OTHER things were changed in this re-imagining of the story, so couldn't the finale been about a bit more than SHOE SHOPPING!

To me, the most intriguing thing about Wicked and the original Baum Oz novels is how they both spawned superior works. The original movie is much better than the novel(s) - sorry Oz fans, it just is - and the musical Wicked is head and shoulders above its source material, according to my wife (and from what I can tell of the plot summary of the play).

As most avid readers know, the phenom of the derivative being better is exceedingly rare. The only other one I can think of is Bladerunner, which is so much better than the source novel, I'm tempted to make the sick joke that Philip K. Dick's death might have been from embarrassment. (See? That's just wrong.)

Anyway, I wonder why lightening struck twice when it comes to The Wizard of Oz and Wicked, though?
Slave Lea, the curious scificon meme I'll never understand, but always enjoy

It Can't Happen Here, Part 87

Cheney has issued instructions for the media to sell a war with Iran to us. The mind sorta boggles. It would full-goose bozo boggle if these poltroons hadn't done this kind of crap before, but it's still outrageous.

In other news, the police in DC are being Gestapo-like, breaking up peaceful protests, and trumping up BS reasons like they're using unapproved tape when hanging signs. No kidding.

The 2blowhards have a nice guest posting on da war (as usual, make sure you check out the comments).

And, what the heck, let's top it off with a bullet list of the Shrub's accomplishments.
Media Consumption, 9/6/2007

I Think I Love My Wife

Chris Rock's I Think I Love My Wife was a fun little flick, even though it has some awkward moments, probably since this is Rock's first time (hopefully not his last) as writer, director, and star. I continue to be impressed at what a full threat/whole package artist Rock is.


Sandra Bullock (who I just love to watch, even if her films haven't been great in a while), like Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, comes unstuck in time the week her husband dies in a car accident. If I were to guess, though, I'd proffer that the screenwriter, Bill Kelly, has neither been married, nor has kids - the relationships feel false. If you look past that, though, it's an OK time at the movies. Buck rental, say, or loan from the library.

Pan's Labyrinth

Here I go, having to recuse myself again because I just can't cotton to a story in which a child is killed. Now before you think I've given something away, you learn this at the beginning of the movie. I had just hoped it would turn out differently.

The movie is visually brilliant, the creatures look real, and it's compelling, so it's a good movie.

But I just can't walk away from a movie where a child dies and say I liked it. Alas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Free song alert

The group "Cake" has samples from their new release on their site, and among them is the old Muppet classic "Mahna Mahna (Bop Bee Bahdeepee)." [Right-click, save as for Windows - Macs, you know what to do.]

Here's the original:

And for the heck of it, here's probably the funniest Muppet sketch ever (well, on Sesame Street anyway).


Here's an alternate take on "Mahna Mahna" - ROFLMAO:

godfather pop art

This is a thing of beauty. Can you imagine the time that went into it?

I wonder if the text is from the novel or the script.

Your Eyes Colorize

This is one of the better optical illusions I've come across. Note that the color holds until you move your eyes.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

All Things Simpson

Did I mention I saw The Simpson's Movie a while back? It was essentially a really good Simpson's episode, from back in the day when most of them were good. They turned a corner somewhere after season 8, and while there's still a good snort once in a while, it's not what is once was. Keep in mind, that's like saying Coca-cola isn't good anymore since they changed to high fructose corn syrup from sugar; it's still Coke with that great taste, but it was once better.

For instance, the send-ups of religion used to be essentially warm-hearted, and sometimes even subtle, but now it's typically shrill atheist rhetoric, kinda like the daily post about religion on Digg. It was nicer when it was, well, nicer.

Still, MPC1 and I laughed a lot. The gag where they show Bart's little Bart is especially clever. Marge has the best laugh-line. There's not enough Krusty the Clown, though. And, alas, no groundskeeper Willie (maybe one line).

It's a must for fans, a decent DVD rental for those who enjoy clever animated films.

The marketing was clever, too. They have a site up where you can find out how you look as a Simpsons character.

Here are the results for my family unit. We all agree that my lovely wife's is the closest. She's in a barrel because one of the clothes options was "birthday suit" and MPC1 wanted to see if they'd really show cartoon nudity, like in the movie.

Everything you see is fake

Fun vid on manipulated images.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recent Viewings, Aug. 22, 2007

Hot Fuzz

I LOVED this movie! I laughed out loud so much my wife kept asking what was so funny (I was watching it downstairs because it's too graphic for the kids to even hear some of it).

Essentially, Hot Fuzz is the This is Spinal Tap of cop films. It walks that molecular strip on the very tippy-top edge of the razor blade of being both a parody and a legit offering of the genre all at the same time.

The violence is shockingly over the top. I haven't been so gob smacked by ultra-violence since my first viewing of Robcop. I think I called for the Lord out loud when one guy is offed by a falling church stone.

This is the first movie I've considered having a copy of in a long time.

Make sure you catch this one.

Wild Hogs

Damn but I wish John Travolta wasn't a Scientologist. It's ruined it for me the same way the gerbil story about Richard Gere did. I think Travolta is just a great actor. Truly tops. But dammit, I just can't get past the Xenu thing when I see him in a flick. [Sigh.]

Anyway, Wild Hogs is a sitcom of a movie comedy with recycled jokes as obvious as a gigantic white-headed zit on the tip of your nose, but it entertains. Make it a cheap rental, free library checkout, or wait for it to hit TV, and then waste the hour and a half.

Travolta's still fun to watch. He always brings something, ya know?

And the actor who plays Dr. Cox on "Scrubs", John C. McGinley, plays a gay highway patrolman who mistakes the gang for fellow gay players; the results are a snort.

The Prestige

This is a well-done movie with a lot of fun bluster. Worth a view if you've got the time.

However, it takes about 40 minutes too long to get to an ending that's telegraphed about half way in. If you're not opposed to fast-forwarding through needless stuff, then you can start skipping at about the time Tesla reveals what's really happening with the hats.


Roger Ebert is reviewing again (huzzah!) and had a review of Cashback recently which peaked my interest. So I borrowed the collection that contained the original short version. (I'm into brevity with such things, if possible, these days. Kinda tired of movies that gratuitously pass the two-hour mark. I'm looking at you, The Prestige.)

Cashback commits to celluloid a fantasy every red-blooded guy I know has had: freezing time and going around pulling off the clothes of woman to see them nekkid, then re-dressing them and starting time again, with the victim unaware. Yes, men are pigs, doo dah doo dah. But, this is just one of those universal things, apparently.

The nudity is brazen and prurient, as it would need to be for the concept. Still, I haven't seen shots this explicit in a movie of this type before (read "non-porn").

And the movie achieves its point. If I actually had the gift to stop time and undress cuties (and let's face it, if I did it at all, I'd undress the plain and ugly ones too), I'd feel pretty creepy about it. I felt pretty creepy watching it occur in the movie, even if fictionally.

Of course I recommend the flick. (The short one anyway; I'll hazard a guess that the full-length version doesn't contain that much more nudity or story points, you just get to see the plot that's merely telegraphed in the short version played out in full; why not save the time ... (get it?)).