Friday, March 26, 2010


Read Howie Mandel's bio this week. Great fun. Great read.

Wouldn't want to know the guy in person though - his pranks are waaaaaay too extreme.

This part about Richard Pryor and a bit he did is pretty cool, wanted to share it with ya:

- From Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me ~ Howie Mandel and Josh Young, pp. 87-88

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Dude in the Sky jokes

I got one of those chain emails with a bunch of jokes in them (though mercifully lacking those Godd... those accursed cutesy wiggling GIFs), and I thought they were funny enough to post. Yeah, some bloggers have strict rules about what they'll post, and would consider this a lazy post. Well, screw'em. My only quasi-rules are I will not delete posts unless I deem it so egregious (meaning I was so wrong that it's offensive) that it just doesn't represent what I meant to say, and I will nuke any and all spam in the comments. I also deleted a post that said "that's it, I quit" because I changed my mind the next day. I was wondering if it was worth going on, thinking maybe it's just egotistical to keep posting stuff if you have no idea that anyone's reading it. But then realized that blogging really is for yourself anyway. I use it to keep my writing skills honed as well. So, even if I have 5 readers, I value you all, and thanks for coming.

This first joke wasn't in the email, but I included it. The lead-in is true:
One of my life-long buddies' dad is a Pastor. I told my buddy the joke you're about to read. He insisted I tell his dad. Directly after a service. While most of the rest of the congregation was still standing around. I'll never forget the look he gave me.

An airline pilot goes in for his annual checkup. Most everything is fine, but the doctor says to the pilot, "Sir, you're nearly blind. I can't pass you on that account."
The pilot says, "But I've only got one more year to go until I retire! Can't you just let me go this one last year?"
The doctor asks, "How in the world do you land the plane?"
The pilot says, "It's simple. I use the Jesus Christ method."
"What's that?" asks the doctor.
"Well, when it comes time to land, I just point the nose of the aircraft down until the co-pilot screams 'Jesus Christ!' and then I drop the wheels and level off."

These, too, made me larf:


A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, "I know what the Bible means!"
His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?
The son replied, "I do know!"
"Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?"
"That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly," It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.'


There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
"Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk.
"Only the Ten Commandments." answered the lady.


"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning."


A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.
Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses."
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."


There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."


While driving in Pennsylvania, a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign... "Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust."


A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, "Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"
A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.
"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.
"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "


A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."
The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."


Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about.
The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt."
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about.
He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."


The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!


Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, "Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!"
Miraculously, a parking place appeared.
Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."


An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut . The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.
He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"
"Just water," says the priest.
The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"
The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"
The Opposite of Complaining

Constant readers might recall how I wailed and gnashed my teeth during the Bush II monarchy. Or maybe they don't; they were the most skippable posts. I am not an articulate political commentator.

Recusal out of the way, I gotta say these two things:

I am thrilled the Health Care Bill passed. I was one who hoped for a public option, but I hold out hope that it will be added in the future.

Watched the NBC news that night with Brian Williams, who has proven beyond a doubt he should really be working for Fox. The whole report was about those who opposed the bill, with the largest segment devoted to some ftard "small business owner" whose reaction can be summed up as: "I don't know what's in the bill, but I don't like it." Pretty much every survey taken that has asked the question "do you like the bill" but then asks "do you like the ______ option" (where they explain how the actual option works), the vast majority said, "Oh, I do like that!"

I thought "it's about time" when it was reported that various wingnuts that the Repubs have wound up so tight they cracked and phoned in death threats and destroyed property and the CONSEQUENCES were FBI involvement and apologies from the Repubs who in essence caused these problems with their horseshit.

Finally, initially I was kinda bugged about the tea bagger party that has sprung up, but upon further consideration am pleased with the development, because it'll just dilute the Republican party more - and I think they're in trouble anyway. Granted, they'll still mostly vote Republican, which is why the 'Pubs condone the whole thing, but at least they're acknowledged by everyone as a nutty fringe group, so the more moderate 'Pubs can actually attempt to help govern - rather than their current "if I'm not making the rules, I'm taking my ball and going home" stance.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just Wondering

Do atheists get annoyed when their lovers scream, "Oh God!"?

I was in a class the other day and one of the women there caught my attention for a reason I couldn't quite put my finger on for at least half the day. Then it dawned on me: she looked and sounded just like this girl who was a senior when the boys and I were sophomores. All of us had a grinding crush on her.

It didn't help that we were all cast in a play where she played a cat. Her costume was just a criminally tight leotard with tail, cat ears, painted whiskers, and long nails painted black. Oh, and she crawled around on all fours the whole time. I recall us all literally vibrating with erotic tension as we stood in glare of stage lights, trying to fight obvious boners as she slunk around our legs. Thank God this was the late 70s and tight, tiny briefs were the fashion of the day; they usually held the bad boy at bay wonderfully.
TLD:My clique did all the plays in high school. We thought it was too good to be true that we got to hang with the girls and even got to kiss some of them on stage - particularly the ones who'd never kiss us on purpose in real life. I tried to continue giving my spare time to the theatre in college, but I got really really tired of being one of the only two or three straight guys in a sea of gay guys. Besides, there were pseudo-intellectual discussions to be had in dark smoky bars, mostly about girls. I've always thought my dismay at the difference between high school productions and those thereafter must be something akin to high school wrestlers realizing the only path into adulthood with that activity will lead you to dramatically jumping off the turnbuckle and hitting follow steroid abusers with metal folding chairs.

When I put together that this woman in the class was the doppelganger for the primary object of our collective lust back in the day, I was slapped by cognitive dissonance of realizing I actually found her somewhat unattractive, and certainly someone I would never date were I single now.

It brought to mind a rolling conversation my wife and I have been having lately, about how beautiful young people are - even the ugly ones - and they just have no idea. This is not meant in the prurient sense, but in the sense of admiring true beauty. The glow that surrounds the kids from about 15 to 25 is perhaps something only people my age truly see, but it is amazing. The infamous and glorious article by Mary Schmich (attributed to Kurt Vonnegut on the web originally) "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" is largely about this phenomenon, particularly the line "Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth."

And, it probably had a lot to do with why we found that girl way back then so damn sexy.

And why I probably wouldn't now (regardless of what age she was when I encountered her).
Movies - Reviewed, Dissed, Petted and Called 'George'

The Invention of Lying

Saw this trifle of a movie. The premise is fun, and it starts off promisingly, but dammit it lapses into a riff on religion (and Judeo-Christian religion as usual) that's yer basic atheist 101 stuff. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you will dig this movie. If you don't, you may or may not dislike it.

I did get a chuckle or two out of the "ten commandments" scenes - the commandments themselves written on the tops of two pizza boxes - because the crowd starts asking questions about what exactly do some of the commandments mean - like is the thing about killing only about people, or does it include animals, too? That part alone is worth a watch, so when this is broadcast on TV, sit through at least that section.

Here are some of the commandments (borrowed from this site, which is a Mormon blog, btw, so if you want the fun of bullshit religion compared to horseshit religion, there's your page):

* Number 1: There is a man in the sky who controls everything
* Number 2: When you die, you don’t disappear into an eternity of nothingness. Instead, you go to a really great place.
* Number 3: In that place, everyone will get a mansion.
* Number 4: When you die, all the people you love will be there.
* Number 5: When you die, there will be free ice cream for everyone, all day and all night, whatever flavors you can think of.
* Number 6: If you do bad things, you won’t get to go to this great place when you die.
* Number 9: The man in the sky who controls everything decides if you go to the good place or the bad place. He also decides who lives and who dies.
* Number 10: Even if the man in the sky does bad things to you, he makes up for it was an eternity of good things after you die

So, if you are a person of faith and don't mind wading through a half hour or so of newbie atheism (and I say this because I think there are more sophisticated expressions of atheism than the mocking stance "you and your pretend god" assumed by many of the fresh converts), you might find this movie entertaining.

This is it

I'm sorry, but the pedophile I don't really miss looked like a tired 50-something-year-old trying to do the things a young man could do. The only rocker I know who can pull that off thus far is Mick Jagger.

Yes, like everyone else, I played the hell out of Off the Wall and Thriller. And just like Gary Glitter's pedophilism stained the one hit wonder "Rock 'n Roll Part 2" for me (and Arthur C. Clarke's writing - he moved to a country that allows the diddling of young girls so he could continue without getting arrested), I will never hear "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" without thinking of the spotted one rubbing one off with a minor next to him in bed. Sorry if that was vivid, but as a parent, it really cramps my nougat.

The guitarist, Orianthi, is hot, tho; both babewise and axewise. We got the CD from the library and all the ladies of the house deemed it silly on the basis there's this screaming articulate guitar matched with pedestrian female vocals and less than mediocre songs. I concur, but I think she has promise; she just needs the right producer.


This chestnut of a movie kept popping up on lists, so I finally had the library yank it from the ether for me. It's the movie William Friedkin made after getting directorial clout in the wake of The Exorcist, so he hired Roy Scheider from his The French Connection days to remake the French flick about a bunch of guys who were hiding out from the law hired to drive old dynamite that had degraded into very unstable nitroglycerin over the mountains in very old trucks.

Yes, things go boom, but when they go boom is the fun.

Today's movies have reset my patience for exposition, because the whole first hour of the film is seeing where all the guys started out - all pretty high - and how far they fall to end up in the situation they're in. I could barely keep my finger off of fast forward, but was afraid I'd miss something important. I didn't. You could skip to the part where the oil well fire starts and not really see a different film.

I had fun watching it, though, so if you're looking for one more thing to put on your Netflix queue, it's worth the 2 hours. (Or 1, if you skip.)

The Amateurs aka The Moguls

Wherein Jeff Bridges as a Ralph Cramden kind of guy, who always has a scheme for getting-rich-quick, comes up with the idea of making a porno. He recruits folks of his tiny hometown (where not only does everyone know everyone else, but they know their family history back a few generations) to aid in the effort - even the "having sex while others film it" part - and hilarity ensues.

Apparently Kevin Smith (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and Michael Traeger (writer/director) were dipping into the same synchronicity story well - which I believe exists, more on that at the bottom of this post - though Traeger beat Smith by 3 years.

Had you asked me how plausible a plot like this was when I was a younger, much more naive man, I would've said it's preposterous that people who know each other that well and know they will have to continue knowing them for the rest of their lives would make a fuck film together. However, experience has taught me that you never really know the depths of the freak next door - until you know. And, my wife once befriended a young woman at work whose peer group/circle of friends screwed around with anyone and each other as casually the rest of us would purchase a drink from a coke machine. Since those folks exist, this movie is plausible. (Think about it, though; would YOU do a porno? Assume someone you know would see it at some point.)

I still think that the emotional fallout would eventually make some people move out of town, if it were a small town like I grew up in.

Law Abiding Citizen

This movie was the water-cooler buzz movie around work last week, to my amazement. It wasn't on my radar at all until one of the guys brought it up in a meeting at the thing to see. Serendipity place it on the new releases shelf of my library that very day, so there I was, watching one of the unplausable flicks I've seen in a while.

I have a gift for suspension of disbelief that could raise the Titanic. My wife is the one who mere seconds after something unrealistic happens in a movie (that's trying to be 'realistic') mutters "oh come on" (or, if no progeny is around, "bullshit"). But unless you really float a plot hole so large a star could waft through it and not melt the celluloid, I tend to not notice until the movie's over, when my mental review starts. A few times during Law Abiding Citizen I rolled my eyes. How can they spend so much money and not have any left for a decent wordsmith to go: hey, there's no way someone could build a prairie dog village under a prison.

Up in the Air

Maybe it's only me, but I keep wondering what it is about George Clooney movies. They often have a great premise, great production value, and seem to always be going somewhere interesting, but when the credits roll, I've not yet been overwhelmed by "wow, what a flick."

I should say that I think he's a great actor. I mean that: great. He does all the things a star should do: rivet your attention; when they're in a scene, they're the one you look at the most; and I never catch him acting. I believe he's who he's playing - which is not necessarily typical for a pretty boy.

The only flick of his that I walked away from without that feeling of having bought an entire CD at full price only to discover the one hit was good and the rest was filler was Three Kings.

Full disclosure, this movie has the kind of ending I don't typically like. So, most fellow movie aficionados might actually like it. (Keep in mind I was apparently the one person who liked Daredevil.)

Therefore, I leave it up to you to be the judge. I recuse myself.

Oh, I loved the trailer, btw. It's now officially my favorite thing about the movie.

The Fourth Kind

I didn't read one good review of this flick, but the trailers (hmmm, a theme here) were so wonderfully creepy, I hoped against hope.

Sorry to say this movie fits that sad category where it's so bad, it's just bad.

They use a device where Milla Jovovich tells you she's an actress playing a real person, and that we'll be seeing and hearing the "real" woman she's playing throughout. Well, it's obvious that the "real" parts are acted too (similar to the primary flaw of Will Smith's Ali), and the fake/real device careens from annoying to laughable and back again.

Oh, and all the scariest stuff in the trailer.

This is one of those where if you are home ill and it comes on the TV, and you'd have to get up to get the remote to change the channel, it's worth getting up. You can refresh your beverage while you're at it, if you need further reason to save yourself.

Where the Wild Things Are

I enjoyed this mildly while watching it; though my teenage daughter hated, hated, hated it. Never before as a movie was playing did she continually say, "I hate this movie," and "Are you as bored as I am?"

The five-year-old LOVED it. And I can see why. It's one of those films that just nails its storytelling for the intended audience. It tells the story on their level in a way I would've have believed had I not witnessed her watching it. Every single leap of logic and what follows next fits their little view of the world.

I was concerned that the monsters would creep her out, as they creeped me out just a bit. Having seen the whole thing, though, the movie walks the line perfectly between their being just menacing enough to be monsters, but muppet-like enough to keep it "safe." Even during a scene where Max hides from one of the monsters who's mad by being swallowed by another.

The reason my teenager didn't like it is valid: it's largely a sad tale about a lonely boy who is neglected by his mother and more or less ignored by his teenage sister.

However, the way he copes - imaging himself the owner of the world and the king of monsters - totally speaks to my youngest. She would leap and cheer in the right parts, rapt the whole time with a smile on her face.

So that's my recommendation. If you've got a four- to eight-year-old, give this a spin, and decide which parent (if you have that luxury) gets to ride shotgun. However, if you are above that age, you might wanna devote your time to something else.

Thus far Spike Jones has proven himself a pitch-perfect movie (and video) maker. I can't wait for what he does next.

TLD: The Synchronicity Story Well.

I came up with this concept as a kid, even before I knew what synchronicity was. Several times I'd had a great idea for a story, only to see it show up as a movie or comic book within a couple years. Throughout my life I've seen time and time again where either I, or someone I know who tries to concoct fiction, comes up with an idea, only to see it come to be somewhere in the fiction universe - and, again, usually close enough to the time I'd first heard or thought of it, that it seems too coincidental.

Now, you might be thinking that somehow myself or these other idea people somehow placed their story idea somewhere, or talked about it somewhere, where someone else got ahold of it and ran with it. I immediately discount anything that's "gotten out in the wild."

No, I specifically mean ideas I didn't tell anyone, or it only exists on my scratchy notepads hidden in a drawer of my house. Or ideas I heard in the privacy of someone's house or car, that I never uttered a word about again - hoping the person who told me would one day happily announce publication or a script sale.

I believe there's this "well" of story ideas out there that if you're listening for it, casting about for a story to bring to life, you will "hear" it and tap into it. But everyone else who's trying can hear it, too. The moral of the story is that the first one who gets it down in paper - or the one who first gets it sold - wins. So, if you've got that great American (or British, or Armenian, or Japanese) Novel rolling around inside of you, get it out!