01 December 2006

Oh Fudge!

The fine folks at Steak and Shake on Bell Road have summed up my existence in one fail swoop.

16 November 2006

Review: Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain

After watching Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain tonight, I had to remind myself that the whole is a sum of its parts. Remind yourself of that simple fact if you choose to see this film. Take in the elements of cinematography, story line, and music selection on whole. In this way, The Fountain turns into an event on film, instead of a movie.

The mundane reason I throw this disclaimer in is that The Fountain weaves three different story lines into its broadcloth storyline. Extending over 1000 years, these three tales tell the story of what lengths a man will go to save the life of the woman he loves. The characters and current of this theme runs through: a conquistador looking for the fountain of youth, a present day doctor searching for a cure for cancer, and a bald bubble boy traveling in space with a tree. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz play the two pure strand lovers caught up in their own tragic circumstances.

(Spolier: Those of you that thought that The Notebook was the greatest romance since Gone With the Wind: Don’t leave the house because you thought The Fountain was going to be another Kate and Leopold. You will want to smash something in a million pieces if you last to the end of the movie.)

That’s what the surface story of the Fountain brings to the screen. What lies under the overlapping, time jumping tales is the visual symbolism and external references that Aronofsky brings to the screen. I admit it; I’m a sucker for looking for the clues to a film’s deeper meaning by this means. That’s why I’m drawn to Aronofsky’s films. PI is a primary example of what a film for an analytical mind can be. The Fountain runs a close second.

So be prepared to use some grey matter while viewing. (I’m also assuming that this is why The Fountain was booed at Venice Film Festival this year. Gray matter takes a hike in Italy at times, or so I hear) Things like a hospital room number 620 will then take some meaning. What could one extract from this? It could be a reference to Genesis 6:20 that reads “Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.” This fits with the goals Jackman’s present day character. Or it could be numerological in reference? Six divided by two is three. Three has mystical import to many religions. Or it could be that the set designer’s birthday was on June 20th. But that’s the fun of a movie like this.

The viewer actively becomes part of the film’s goals and solutions. Aronofsky does not cut any slack to the viewers in this regard. There are no long pauses and close ups on images that should have meaning. You get the rare chance to make of this film what you will, in any fashion you like. I truly hope this was Aronofsky’s goal.

Unfortunately, this is why it is likely to flop at the box office. The majority of people that see The Fountain will hate it. That’s a true shame. I say cast your vote for a film that reinforces to Hollywood that Americans are capable of independent thought. Maybe the big wigs will green light more films of this nature then. This is really funny coming from the guy that gave a thumbs up review on the Tenacious D movie.


Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Blogs of Men? Google Knows

I understand that I write a modest blog that fosters around 130 unique visitors a month. Ok, so I’m not setting any internet records with Random Stuff, but I enjoy writing it. Some of you actually dig reading the mishmash of reviews and life tales I present. So it goes.

This past weekend I was amazed at the number of hits I was getting on my review of Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. The number of hits I got on this article was 5 to 6 times the normal rate in which my blog is visited. Great, this means that I can infect a larger group of people with my peculiar quirks and ramblings. Wondering why this was such an anomalie, I turned to Blog Patrol.

For those of you who haven’t noticed, Blog Patrol supports the counter I use on this blog and on my other blog Grail Seekers. It is a free service that not only tracks unique users that visit your blog, but other interesting Orwellian internet info. The service tracks: IP address of visitors, screen resolutions, operating systems, refers, times of the day your blog is visited, and key words used to find your blog in cyberland. It’s scary when you think of the information that is available from a free site. Think about what the folks that pay for your information can find out.

I could quickly see that the reason I was getting hits on my review. All of the refers were from Google searches. Doing a quick search on “Pick of Destiny Review”, I found that I was the second site listed for this phrase. Wow. My review was second only to the Rolling Stone’s review in Google land. Above IMDB, Movie Fone, Rotten Tomatoes, and Variety, sat Random Stuff. Someone on the information superhighway must like my work.

The hits kept rolling in until Monday, when they magically stopped. Thinking I had dropped down on the second page, I ran my search again. The drop in my key word stock was so great that it would have made Black Thursday look like a bump in the road. I grew weary of clicking on “next” after filtering through the first 25 pages without a mention of Random Stuff.

What gives? Did I hack someone off at Google over the weekend and they axed my listing? Was some long lost girlfriend working for Google and this was her last bit of revenge? I did some research into how Google ranks its searches. Turning to the masters themselves, the Google Geeks claim it’s a pigeon pecking system that picks its key word relevance ranking.

Of course this tongue and cheek gag is covering up the super secret algorithm that has made Google the number one search engine in the universe. Blah, they guard the secrets with their lives… Blah, blah, the Google compound is the coolest place in the world to work and is guarded by a sphinx resurrected from DNA found in Tut’s tomb. Blah bligity blah, they use blind-mute coders that work on independent strands to the code to insure it never gets out. Whatever urban legend you’ve heard, it’s probably not far from the truth. My original thesis of this article was that big web business didn’t like me one upping them on the search engine and made a call to Google to set things straight. Let me stress this was my thesis.

Now here’s the part that makes me want to pony up to Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory and hug a teddy bear holding a 9mm close when I sleep. I started writing this blog on Tuesday. Everything up to today, Thursday, was accurate. Today when I did a Google search on “Pick of Destiny Review” my listing is number 5 on the first page. What the frack is going on?

Now I’m beginning to think that Google has been employed by the CIA – Klingon alliance to screw with my head. Did Google know I was writing this article and was afraid I would discredit them? Or is this just some cyber fluke? I’m calling Art Bell tonight to find out.

12 November 2006

Iron Man, Iron Man; Wherefore Art Thou Iron Man?

I called my astrologer/fish monger yesterday to check out how the stars were aligning for me in the next few weeks. He told me that since Uranus was in the 4th house of Gamma Epsilon Three, it was an advantageous time for me to do the following: Stock up on Gefilte Fish, visit IHOP late at night, and blog on comic related movies. I am a slave to the stars.

For those of you not in the know, Jon Favreau (Who was so money in Swingers) has gotten the go ahead to direct an Iron Man movie. The scuttlebutt is that Robert Downy Jr. will play Tony Stark. Ironic choice, since Tony Stark also had a substance abuse problem. Hopefully, Downy can stay out of jail long enough to start filming.

On Favreau’s My Space blog the following was posted:

“Iron Man will indeed be my next movie. Marvel is distributing it through Paramount which, for those of you playing at home, is also the studio that is developing John Carter of Mars. That project is still a huge priority for me and I am still very much attached to it both as a director and producer.

Iron Man is the first Marvel production under its new distribution arrangement. My hope is that this will be reflected in the quality of the movie. Their films are self-financed and, as a result, don't have to run the typical creative gauntlet of studio development. What Marvel says, goes.

As far as specifics, it will be set in the present and, as you would probably expect, includes a version of the origin story.

I have set up a MySpace discussion group. I will post new info there as things come together. The internet is full of faulty info. I wanted to have at least one place where the facts would be correct.”

Exciting times for those that live in our parent’s basement. I’m also intrigued by the John Carter of Mars reference. This Edgar Rice Burroughs character has had a few brushes with being brought to the big screen in recent years. Hopefully more to come…


10 November 2006

Watchmen Movie is a Go??

Being a self proclaimed geek, I would be remiss if I did not blog about something comic book related. I realize this is a shocker to most of you, however it must be done. One of my favorite pieces of comic fiction is the Watchmen series.

For those of you not as familiar with the geek universe, Alan Moore’s Watchmen is set an alternate 1985 universe. In this world: Richard Nixon is still president, the world is on the brink of nuclear war, and costume heroes have been outlawed. We’re not talking all powerful superheroes, the costume heroes in this universe were ordinary folks who took up their mantel to stave off common evils. Now, someone is killing them off.

The strength of the story lies in that the heroes are as ordinary as you or I. (The notable exception being Dr. Manhattan) The glory days of being a hero have been taken away from them by politicians. Wasting away in the day to day lives that we all lead, these once proud defenders of humanity are mechanics and housewives. When called upon to solve the murders of their compatriots, the costume heroes not only have the chance to save the world but to reclaim their former status. The most powerful sentiment in the tale is an age old quandary, what price is too much to pay for saving humanity from itself?

Sound familiar? Watchmen is arguably one of the most influential works in comic history. One has to go no further than The Incredibles to see the homages plastered all over the story line. And you though when you took your kids to the Incredibles, it was a fun original work…

Now after years of internet rumors, it looks like Watchmen will finally get a movie adaptation. Sci Fi channel’s web site has reported that Zach Snyder will direct the film. Snyder has currently directed the adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 about the Battle of Thermopylae. (Check out the trailer on the 300’s web site) Other rumors swirling around about the Watchmen’s cast include: John Cusack as Night Owl, Sigourney Weaver as the Silk Spectre, and Daniel Craig as Rorschach. The rumor I’m waiting for is Dennis Farina as the Comedian.

At this point, I’m still not holding my breath. Those who have been waiting for a Watchmen movie have had to endure years of cruel rumors. Some of those include Darren Aronofsky directing the project, Watchmen being turned into a Cop Rock like musical, and the licensing being so jacked up a Watchmen movie would never see the light of day. (For a full list of ancient rumors check out this Wiki article.)

Stay tuned, cross your fingers, and buy a copy of Watchmen for your girlfriend in Canada.


08 November 2006

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

I have never made any qualms about being the world’s oldest 12 year-old. This is a role I have come to relish and the people in my life have come to expect of me. My mind is wired to play Xbox games on my days off, laugh at my own flatulence, and shirk responsibilities whenever possible. I have irrational fears of clowns, Burl Ives, and commitment. It’s who I am and it’s what I do best.

With this in mind, let me tell you the tale of the greatest movie of all time, Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny. Jack Black and Kyle Gass reprise their roles as the greatest rockers of all time. The plot is that of an ABC After School Special gone terribly wrong: boy leaves home, boy meets his rock master, boy and master form a band, the duo seeks out a guitar pick made from Satan’s tooth, and along the way they learn the lesson of true friendship.

If you’re familiar at all with any of Tenacious D’s music or skits, none of this movie will be a surprise to you. It almost serves as a framework drawing the colorful Tenacious D mythos together. The only thing that is missing for the true fan is a reprise of Wonderboy and Tribute. (However, one will have a much clearer understanding of Tribute by the end of the film) Making up for this slight oversight are performances from: Tim Robbins as a very creepy pick seeker, Meatloaf as Jack’s dad, Ronnie James Dio, and Ben Stiller playing the helpful guitar store employee.

For those of you, who are going to see this because your heart was warmed by Shallow Hal and Nacho Libre , stay at home. This film is course from minute one. Explicit profanity, drug references, and fart jokes will make the touchy-feely crowd leave in the first five minutes. Then again who needed them any way?

If you are of the mindset to find this type of over the top, potty humor knee slapping funny, pay full price. The Pick of Destiny is as guilty a pleasure as Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. You won’t want to admit to anyone at work you were anything other than appalled at the humor, but secretly you’ll wonder what the DVD extras will be.

Speaking of extras, check out the movie’s web site at the link above. There are tons of juvenile distractions to suck up your already crowed work day. Find out what messages are hidden with in the freckles on your bottom. Or pop in a tape on the Dark Lord’s VCR, which I’m sure is in Beta. Finally my favorite, overhaul a website in the Tenacious D way. I was amazed at how Random Stuff turned out.


06 November 2006

Don't Forget Toys for Tots

With the impending Holiday Season upon up, take some time to remember the Toys for Tots program. Budget yourself to buy an extra toy for some needy child. If after that your altruism runs over, remember to pick up an Xbox 360 for your favorite blogger...

05 November 2006

3AM and Cracklin' Rosie

Sometimes you get up at 3am and keep hearing Neil Diamond singing Cracklin' Rosie in your head... And no, I have not been drinking. I'm hoping the lyrics are enough of a train wreck that you will read them and have that "store bought woman" wafting on through your mind for the rest of the day...

Cracklin rosie, get on board
Were gonna ride till there aint no more to go
Taking it slow
Lord, dont you know
Have made me a time with a poor mans lady

Hitchin on a twilight train
Aint nothing here that I care to take along
Maybe a song
To sing when I want
Dont need to say please to no man for a happy tune

Oh, I love my rosie child
You got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin rose, youre a store bought woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin on

Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin rosie, make me a smile
Girl if it lasts for an hour, thats all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that dont ask no questions, yeah

Oh, I love my rosie child
You got the way to make me happy
You and me, we go in style
Cracklin rose, youre a store-bought woman
You make me sing like a guitar hummin
So hang on to me, girl
Our song keeps runnin on

Play it now
Play it now
Play it now, my baby

Cracklin rosie, make me a smile
Girl if it lasts for an hour, thats all right
We got all night
To set the world right
Find us a dream that dont ask no question, yeah

04 November 2006

The Holly Jolly Countdown Begins

On Thursday night, I caught a sneak preview of The Escape Clause, the latest Tim Allen Santa movie with my 5-year-old. (I would suggest heavy medication or a pint of rum before watching if you're thinking about taking your child. This might make the Toolman Taylor and Ed Grimley moderately funny) While sitting through this generation's It's a Wonderful Life, I realized I was in peril of hearing Holly Jolly Christmas for the first time this year. For all of you that aren't familiar with my aversion to this particular Christmas tune, I would suggest checking out the archive for last November blogs.

How long can I last this year? Well I've included this handy timer to help keep track of how much time I have to dodge Burl Ives.

31 October 2006

29 October 2006

Ross Tarot

BK gets his fortune told

Last night I went to this year’s obligatory Halloween party. It was held at the house of a gentleman that works with Laura. God love him for throwing a well decorated and ghoulishly catered event. The crappy thing was that I didn’t prepare the costume I would have liked to worn. Visions of the Fudgems danced through my head for this year’s costume. Unfortunately, my vision exceeded what I was willing to get off my duff and accomplish. Taking the easy way out, I donned my Detroit Tigers hat, my newly grown goatee, and a Hawaiian shirt and became Thomas Magnum incarnate.

The party had the requisite shop talk, inebriated party hook up wishes, and admissions that would never be made under normal circumstances. The surprise of the evening was our friend Rose was reading Tarot cards for those that dared to look into their future. Generally, I don’t put much stock in such things. Being ranked as the 14th most dangerous man in the world, I pretty much like to think that I create my own fate.

I decided to keep an open mind while my reading was taking place, and apply the principle of the scientific method to the reading. Keep in mind that I or Laura hasn’t talked to Rose in a number of weeks and knew nothing of recent events at the Fort. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to post the basics of my reading and then see if some of the predictions come true in the coming weeks.

Reading basics:

I have gone through a period of worrying about matters at work. This cloud will lift and I will see two opportunities in my career in the very near future. (Odd note, I got a rather large promotion at work on Friday.) People will hit me up for money or court me for favors in the next 2-3 weeks, and someone will try to intimidate me. The intimidation will fall flat (Imagine someone trying to intimidate the 14th most dangerous man in the world, pishaw!) and I will turn it to my advantage. Romance will be in the air and ventures of the heart will go my way. (Once again, was there any doubt that that would come true…) There will be a large celebration in the next month or so. (Easy one with the holidays and my birthday coming up) There were many financial windfalls in the near future. I will see miscommunications in the next few weeks and I shouldn’t plan on setting long term plans into motion before 17 Nov. I will be beset by dung beetles and will bite at my flesh and give me a nasty infection. (Ok that was a very remote chance, but still within the realms of possibilities)

We’ll see in the next few weeks what comes to fruition and what doesn’t. Sounds like more or less smooth sailing through the holidays. I’ll periodically report on the progress of the card’s predictions.

28 October 2006

Aww... It's Just What We Call Pillow Talk Baby...

One of the great joys of being a couple is the conversations that happen just before you drift off to sleep. Some of the world’s greatest ideas and disastrous arguments have happened during pillow talk times. Legend has it that Louis Pasteur formed the theory of pasteurization while his mistress was asking Louis what color he was going to paint his ceiling. Anthony and Cleopatra traded pillowed verbal barbs over why she had never been introduced to Anthony’s parents. Examples of such quips and chats are equal only to the number of couples that have shared the same bed.

Had one been a fly on the wall one recent night at Fort Donelson, one such conversation could have been heard. The setting is 11-ish on a school night, good nights had been said, nests have been made, and the physical practicalities of sleep are setting in. The dialogue that evening is as follows:

L: Do you ever wonder how transvestites hide their candy?

B: How in the fudge did you know I wasn’t already asleep?

L: You weren’t breathing like you were asleep. I know your sleep breathing and that wasn’t close to you going to sleep.

B: And how exactly does “sleep breathing” sound like?

L: Not how you were just breathing.

B: Great, I’m not winning this one. They tuck and roll.

L: Tuck and roll where? Cause there is no where to stuff anything there.

B: Do you want me to draw you a picture? I am not getting up and demonstrating.

L: Wouldn’t that hurt? How does it stay up there?

B: Well I’ll have to consult my past life as a drag queen to answer that, get the Ouija Board out.

L: You know, you really should have seen the loaf I baked at work today. I nearly took a picture with my camera phone, but I knew it would make you yak on my new phone.

Very long pause

L: When do you need to go back to the optometrist again?

B: Honey I don’t know sometime before the end of the year.

L: Well you need new glasses. And what are you working Thursday?

B: I’m not, I’m off. What do you need me to do?

L: Oh nothing I just couldn’t remember.

B: In that case I’m going to sleep.

L: Now that you mention it, the dry cleaning should be done.

B: Yes Ms. Daisy, I’ll get right on that.

L: That’s not nice. Besides, I don’t think we share enough.

B: Did you drop a tab of acid before you came to bed? What’s with the chatty Cathy bit?

L: I have a curious mind; don’t you want to know what I’m thinking baby?

B: Not at the moment. Go to sleep and pray that bugs don’t start crawling over your arms in the middle of the night.

L: Great now I can’t go to sleep because it will feel like bugs will be crawling on me after you said that. Besides my feet are cold.

B: Alright… (B does something to placate L and hopes she will clam up long enough to let sleep creep in.)

Thus ends another pillow side chat at the Fort.

26 October 2006

Poll for Second Year Topics

Thanks to Uncle Bear for turning me on to this mini poll. So what topics would you like to see me take on in Random Stuff Year Two?

Happy Birthday to Random Stuff

Yes folks, yesterday marked the one year anniversery of my humble blog. To celebrate, a party was thrown at Flying Saucer last night with a surprising guest. Check out the pictures of a good beaver gone bad...

21 October 2006

A Benefits Meeting to Remember

If find that the older I get, not only does the hair in my ears get longer, but I break with established habits. My link between deviant behavior and toe nail length today is to talk about an aspect of my job on this blog. For professional, legal, and moral reasons, I generally keep silent about this part of my life. However, this week I was forced to attend an annual benefits meeting. I decided that if the company was going to suck three hours of my life away, I would get a blog out of it.

The meeting had all the typical trappings. We were provided with nice healthy snacks, including Diet Coke with Splenda and honey and oat power bars. (Why anyone would feed a group of sedentary people anything with oatmeal in it boggles me.)The presentation itself had a visually stunning Power Point presentation and the maximum number of acronyms allowed by law. For example: “If you go with the PPO plan 1C over the HSA with the FSA sub-option you’ll be SOL to the tune of X dollars a year. So QED your ATM will show you that you are FUBARed each payroll cycle.”

The other unique aspect of a meeting that deals with health insurance and retirement plans are the questions from the peanut gallery. People will announce things in these meetings that they would never talk about around the water cooler. Evidently, there are some that think their specific problems should be answered in this type of forum. For example: “I am a Mormon that has three wives. I know it is illegal, but the company has let me have all my wives on my insurance. I tried to claim the surgery that wife number 2 had after getting kicked in the head by a mule on my HMO plan 14C last year, and it was denied. But here’s my real question. What is the deductible I’ll have to meet this year, if she gets kicked int he head again?”

Of course this starts the repackaging of questions for those that have had similar problems. Half an hour is wasted discussing children’s orthodontic dilemmas, husband’s erectile dysfunctions, and the horror story of one’s third cousin getting cysts removed from their inner thigh. Nice.

The best part of the show was the cat from the investment house that sat through all of the shenanigans just for his 15 minutes of meeting fame. The biggest change to our retirement plans this year was the addition of targeted mutual funds to our 401Ks and other plans to “take care” of retirement. At this, I was perplexed by the number and varieties of funds available to us. I shall end this blog with some of the options presented to me.
  • Health plan option: Drink yourself to 64. Touted as the plan for those who wish to take the Leaving Las Vegas route out of retirement.
  • Extending your work life plan: Why retire at all? There are a number of post-30 year with the company career options open to those too addled to tie their shoes. Those interested could be trained in the following areas: Quality assurance on the production line of pig ears for dog treats, peep show token taker, tour guide to the World’s Largest Ball of String, or one of a thousand other options.
  • Target Fund option: A wide spectrum of risk fund based on the openings of Broadway musicals. The fund holder can pick each quarter on the musicals they wish to back. The risk takers in the lot might look at the off Broadway option. One hot prospect this quarter is the Ordinary People musical planning on opening of Spring 2007.
  • Bond fund: Church building funds. This bond fund will finance church expansion projects. Success of the fund will depend on the quality and quantity of dinner on the grounds and social function related to the expansion. Investors may chose from any of 32 different faiths and 182 different denominations. At this time the church of Tony Alamo is not included in the fund.
  • Whole life retirement plan: Living in the 3rd World. If you’re short on retirement funds, why not go to where your dollar stretches farther? Exotic locations await you like: Chad, Thailand, and Honduras. Why not make your golden years an adventure?

12 October 2006

Why Facial Recognition Software Should be Outlawed

Now this really scares the crap out of me. If you can't figure out who these celebrities are, starting from the top left:
  1. Ante Gotovina
  2. Lawrence Lessig
  3. Robert Schumann
  4. David Beckham
  5. Douglas Adams
  6. Juan Carlos Ferrero
  7. Francios Mitterrand
  8. Fredrich Nietzsche

10 October 2006

Movie Review: The Prestige

I am not a man that desires to be envied. Yes, I do have an over inflated sense of ego and other blatant character flaws. I do hope you envy the fact that I’ve seen The Prestige (based on the 1996 novel by Christopher Priest) before you did. This is one of the few movies I’ve been waiting for this year. If you’ve seen the trailers and didn’t crap your pants at the possibilities of this movie, don’t waste your time reading on. And for those of you reading on, don't fret. There are no spoilers.

Michael Caine sets the audience up in the first scene with the statement, “Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called "The Pledge"; The magician shows you something ordinary, but of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn"; The magician makes his ordinary some thing do something extraordinary.” I spent the majority of the film looking for minutia. I sifted through the background of each scene trying to get one leg up on the plot. This is half the fun of the movie. The visuals and sets are almost crowed with seeming innocuous items that one strains to cull through. Director Chris Nolan seamlessly manages all these elements without overwhelming the audience.

Structurally, the film is set up in a series of flash back and forwards as the main characters read each other’s diaries. Stylistically, it reminds me of Dead Again. With I’m sure had something to do with Emma Thompson being the Executive Producer. Like all good magic shows, the harder you try to grasp the secret of a trick, the more astounding the trick is when it happens. The Prestige is a magic trick on film. Sit back and enjoy the show, but make sure you watch closely or you'll miss the trick entirely.

The “Pledge” centers around the rivalry of two magicians in late 1890’s London. Hugh Jackman (Rupert Angier) and Christian Bale (Alfred Borden) begin as fellow novice magicians whose relationship quickly sours. Over the course of the years the film spans, both men’s obsession with the other mutates in very different paths. Angier’s sole goal in life is to prefect a trick Borden has stunned London with. Borden’s rivalry with Angier leads him to blur the line between his magician persona and his off stage personality.

The plot sounds straight forward enough, doen't it? Add in the dynamics of the supporting cast to the plot and the “Turn” complecates matters. Michael Caine (Cutter) is the man behind the magic with a seemingly simple agenda. Scarlett Johansson (Olivia), is the Hottie McHot Hot assistant who loves too much. Then enter David Bowie as Nikola Tesla for the steam punk sci-fi twist. While the screen rivalry between Tesla and Thomas Edison mirrors that of Angier and Borden, it's not quite factual. Tesla and Edison's issue came up after the time of the film. Minor point.

Now for the “Prestige”. We’ll I’m not going to spoil anything for you. I haven’t kicked myself for not figuring out an ending this hard since the Sixth Sense. Go see it, and remember that Doug Henning is not the only one that can create a World of Illusion…

09 October 2006

Tales Never Told; Part 2

Note to self… Do not tell these stories to your son until he turns 18; or until the statue of limitations runs out.

  • For that.. you’re going to buy me a drink
  • Rules for lounging around on a Sunday morning
  • The car salesman always toots twice
  • Things lost and things found under a sink
  • You’re putting that into a plastic Easter Egg?
  • Whatever you do, don’t look behind the counter
  • My ass just made a sound that would have made Rush Limbaugh cry
  • Old Ladies in Knoxville should never go to Walgreen’s on a Sunday morning
  • East bound and pressed ham down
  • Hello, is anyone in there?
  • Now you’re from where in Mississippi?
  • Come on it’s just a little Haggis
  • What does Emmy Lou Harris eat on her tour bus?

06 October 2006

New Jack in the Box Menu Item?

Jack is a marketing genius.... But then again, he got some much needed help from King Bee Studios

04 October 2006

An Answer to John Steinberg

An article by John Steinberg is floating around on the net at the moment. I rarely use this blog as a platform for anything other than my own goofiness, but after reading his piece I felt I had to respond to it. Mr. Steinberg’s article was published on 27 Sept 06 on the IMC Israel website. You can read it by hitting the link HERE.

There are a number of glaring contradictions, leaps of logic, and bad arguments in Mr. Steinberg’s article. First of all is the misapplication of the Geneva Convention. The Convention’s goal was to produce rules of conduct for nations during times of armed conflict.

Article 4; section 2 of the convention states the following:

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfill the following conditions:
(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

Furthermore, Article 3; Section 1 state:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

In the conflict in Iraq, we have seen that the insurgent forces are in violation of the tenants in Article 4. They wear no uniforms, their suicide bombers do not carry open arms, and no one is clearly responsible for their actions in a chain of command. Given these simple facts, the Insurgent forces do not bind themselves to the convention. Therefore, they should not be given protection under its provisions.

As for violations of Article 3, insurgent forces have taken hostage members of the media, relief groups, and members of the US armed forces stationed there. The same forces have violated Subsection “D” by beheading these hostages without trial or judicial guarantees. Yet again we see that the Insurgency does not care for agreed upon rules of warfare. I fail to see how there can be an expectation of relief by Insurgency forces under the Convention.

In regards to the Bush Administration’s “Enabling Act”, as Mr. Steinberg calls it, pay particular attention to the use of the word “alien”. No one is suggesting that this power be used to detain or imprison American citizens. If it were, I would be the first to lead the charge against the Capitol Building. Mr. Steinberg’s logic here is that foreign nationals are afforded the rights and privileges of a United States citizen; namely our Constitutional right of due process. I once again fail to see how a foreign national that presents a clear and present danger to our national interest operating outside our borders can be mystically granted the privilege of our Constitutional protection. The extension of Mr. Steinberg’s argument is that all foreign nationals are protected under all of our laws, at any time and any place. I will leave you to ascertain the dynamics this implies.

This act is designed to address how Americans are to treat situations that are not covered under the Geneva Convention. As we have seen the Insurgency does not fit into any category proscribed under the convention. I doubt that Insurgent forces in Iraq or Afghanistan are debating this finer point of morality. This in and of itself means nothing, other than someone in Washington is concerned with how we should conduct ourselves in this gray area. Whether you agree with the law’s application is for you to decide.

Finally, Mr. Steinberg uses a poor form of argument by bringing up the German Enabling Acts. The Enabling Act has nothing to do with the topic at hand and is called a non sequitur argument. If Mr. Steinberg wishes to present his views on a piece of legislation the Bush Administration is presenting, then stick to that. However attempting to bridge the gap between this piece of legislation and the Holocaust makes no logical sense. These statements are designed to pander to the reader’s emotions and not his reason. Statements like “there is no doubt what sentence Mr. Bush wants to write”, are another example of this type of argument.

I’ve done this as an exercise in critical reading. Yes, my political views are to the right. Yes, I think that we should be in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I grow weary of reading pieces like this that do not use basic reason. I do not ask you agree with my political views, but I do ask you to read critically. I fear that many of our citizens replace reason with emotion when analyzing these topics. Don’t take anything on faith folks, and use the ability to reason that the Great Architect gave you.

03 October 2006

Atlas Shrugged Movie Changes Studios

In a surprise move today, Henson studios will be picking up the Atlas Shrugged movie project. Studio executive James Waldorf beamed with excitment when ask about his studio's role in the film. "I think the readers of Ayn Randwill be happy with our adaptation of her most famous novel. This is an important tale that, we feel, can only be told with the flexibility of Muppets."

In an unrelated report, visitors to Rand's grave at Kensico Cemetery felt a small earthquake. One witness reported that, "It felt like something beneath the earth did a flippity floppity."

29 September 2006

And Justice For All.... or Where's Wapner When You Need Him?

I had cause this week to appear in General Sessions Court. No, the Thought Police have not caught up with me yet. I was appearing on behalf of my employer on a matter that will remain unnamed. If you’re really gung-ho about finding out why I was there, do a court search. The facts of the case will not give you any satisfaction, I can assure you. The only reason I have mentioned it, is to place why in time and space I found myself at the Birch Building.

In the course of my job, I have had to testify in a number of criminal proceedings. In the not so distant past, criminal hearings in Davidson County were held in the Ben West building. As quaint as the Ben West was, one could never escape thoughts of imminent peril. The age of the structure connoted lead paint, asbestos, falling plaster, and rooftop alters to Yog-Sothoth. This was the first time I had been in the new Birch Building. I applaud Metro for what they attempted to do with the structure. One gets the hint of a feeling of a scent of a vapor of the Los Angeles Water and Power buildings built during the WPA era. Too bad Metro didn’t have the cajones or budget to pull it off.

After some searching I found my courtroom with 10 minutes to spare. It’s been a while since I’ve had to testify. I was quickly reminded the Justice might be blind, but the old girl ain’t too swift. The scene is chaotic at best, and nothing is quick. District Attorneys and their flunkies are scrambling around talking to victims, petitioners of the court, and defense attorneys. No one, including the people that are paid to be there, seems to know what is going on. The DA’s are looking for witnesses like a 6th Grader searching for last night’s homework assignment. Defense attorneys are jocking like scrap dealers for a deal for their innocent clients. Babies are crying, dogs and cats are living together, and I’m glad I’m not hung over.

The judge finally hits the bench and tries to exert some order to the circus. The court officers are looking around nervously, as if Osama himself is going to make an attack on the court. The baby is still screaming. The judge begins to read the docket. To my amazement, 90% of the people that are supposed to be in court are not. A majority of cases are dismissed or awarded to the person that had the stomach to show up. As a tax payer it frosts my cookies. If you’re going to call the cops or get an order of protection, by all that is holy come to court finish what you started. There’s no telling how much money in administrative costs is wasted on the now shows.

Speaking of swift, there weren’t too many folks that showed up to court that fit that description. The majority of Order of Protection cases that were heard went something like this: Most of which stemmed from guy “A” and girl “B” getting in drunk and busting up Uncle Joe’s “Heroes of the Confederacy” Hummel collection. Girl “B” says something about how her baby daddy would never have done soemthing like that. Guy “A”, naturally, takes offence to this acieration. Guy “A” does or says something brash and the once happy couple is now calling Metro Police for couple’s counseling. So goes the days of our lives.

I sat through three and a half hours of this before the criminal cases are heard. Like I said before, the trick is just to show up. If you’ve had someone arrested and then don’t show up in court, the case is dismissed. So the defense attorney’s are looking for witnesses. If they see them, they try to cut a deal with the DA. There’s only one true DA in the court room. To her credit, she was a very cute, directed brunette with a pony tail. (If you’re reading this email me, I could use some legal advice.) The problem is that she’s the only one “for the people” that can make any decisions. Her assistants either lack the authority, brains, or stones to make a decision. Everything passes through her, and 3 hours in she has a look on her face that can be read, “I thought this was going to be like Law and Order when I took this job." My Magic 8 Ball sees a stiff drink in that young lady’s future.

What happened with my guy you might ask? Just what I’ve already observed. The perp cut a deal and I was out of the court room before the judge’s gavel hit. I feel used. I feel like I’ve wasted precious hours of my life. I feel a need to elect Judge Wapner to the Davidson County court system. Pondering if Wapner is dead or not, I make my way to my car and other adventures.

Post Script. Check this out. I ran Wapner’s name while writing this blog to make sure I had the spelling courrect. I found his bio and if you can believe this, he dated Lana Turner in High School. Life just is not fair sometimes.

22 September 2006

21 September 2006

Strange Things Are Afoot a Fort Donelson

I woke up this morning to find a levitating miniature rubber chicken floating in my shower and a large spider outside my kitchen window. That's enough to make any man freak out. I think someone is trying to throw some voodoo on my chunky white butt. See for yourself if you would have baked a loaf at these...
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This sucker's body is about the size of my thumb

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I think I need to send this one to Art Bell... I'm just waiting for Cyril to start talking to me next.

Halloween Costumes for BK

As hard as it is for you to believe, I have actually gotten invited to a Halloween party this year. I tried to reach back into yesteryear and capture the feel of what getting ready for Halloween was like. All I came up with was pleading with my parents for a costume I would never get, reminders that psychos put LSD and razor blades in candy, and never to go into someone’s house when trick or treating. Wow, Halloween as a kid must have sucked.

Being a full grown man of resources and maturity, I have the chance to right the wrongs of Halloweens past. I can be anything I want this year. I would prefer to be invited into some freaky person’s house while trick or treating. And LSD lased razor blades in a Snicker’s bar would only help me to improve my writing.

The only piece of this intricate puzzle is what will BK be for Halloween? I’ve got some ideas, but I’ll need your help to decide. All these options are so boss I can’t make up my mind…
  • Don Rickles as CPO Sharkey
  • Rerun
  • Stealing my father’s sleep apnea mask and being a Chinese Fighter Pilot

Weigh in folks… This means a lot to me…

17 September 2006

Movie Review: Flyboys

In 1916, 38 American civilians volunteered for aerial combat duty with the French Lafayette Escadrille squadron. At the time, the war was not going well for the Allied countries. Woodrow Wilson steadily refused to involve the US in a European war. The Germans were taking one trench after another and pushing further into France.

This is the backdrop of Hollywood’s first WW I movie in 40 years, Flyboys. The film follows members of the Escadrille from background story to missions over war torn France. The plot line follows the formula of just about every air combat film since The Bridges of Toko-Ri . The hotshot, stand off-ish old salt gives crap to the new pilots. Internal tension mounts between the new pilots due to personality differences. One of the new pilot excels far above the rest of the group and has the film’s only love interest. Moral issues and mental fatigue crop up during combat missions. A few feats of the unbelievable pop up to remind the audience this is fiction. And finally, one big bad ass enemy pilot that ties the package up into a pretty bow. Flyboys is no different in the plot department.

The plot issues, I can deal with. What has always killed me about period films is taking the history out of the film. Flyboys uses character amalgamations instead of using the stories of actual men that were part of the Escadrille. I’m not sure if there are legal reasons that screen writers take out real characters and situations, or if they think real life is too unbelievable. I can assure you that the real men and situations of the Escadrille were better than a Hollywood hack’s work. In my mind, this cheapens the memory of the brave men this film is about.

Aside from those gripes, what does distinguish Flyboys from the crowd are the aerial combat sequences. To put it in the common vernacular, it rocked. The scenes were breathtaking and, for the most part, accurate. There were several times when watching this footage, I felt a PF* of at least 2. The feel of being in a canvas and wood airplane with no parachute and bullets whizzing past your ears was visually conveyed to a tee. In that respect, I was amazed.

For the visuals alone, catch this one at a matinee to see it on the big screen.

*Pucker Factor Scale
Level 1 – Sunlight cannot shine trough
Fear Equivalency: Getting called into the boss’ office for that long overdue chat.

Level 2 – BB
Fear Equivalency: Finding out your favorite Chinese restaurant does not contribute to the ASCPA.

Level 3 – Chick Pea
Fear Equivalency: Driving on expired tags with a motorcycle cop three car lengths behind you.

Level 4 – Dime
Fear Equivalency: Smelling that dog poop scent on a bus and hoping its not coming from your shoe.

Level 5Normal
Fear Equivalency: Leaving for work forgetting your aluminum foil hat.