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.