"If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul."
Two DVDs I saw over the weekend: Alien Planet and Good Night and Good Luck.
Alien Planet I was unaware of, until I rented Walking with Monsters, which billed itself as part of the "Walking With Trilogy." Which was interesting, as the crappy Walking with Cavemen came before it. Apparently, that one's been as disavowed from canon as "The Star Wars Holiday Special." Alien Planet turned up in my Netflix recommendations, and, as it sounds, it's a version of the Walking With series, except set on a distant world, rather than Earth's distant past. I wondered if it would meet my personal gold standard for such, which was Wayne Barlowe's book Expedition (note: horribly ugly red-on-black website for a guy who's a professional artist). That had alien creatures that were both insanely wierd and totally believable, built around their own ecosysytem.
When I got the DVD, I checked it to make sure Netflix hadn't sent me a busted one and thought, that critter on the cover looks just like something from Expedition. When I popped it in the player, the premenu sequence flashed pictures of aliens that were from Expedition! Despite me finding it on the remaindered books table 15 years ago, they'd filmed it!
And...it was okay. Early on I realized that it was probably from the same people who'd made Dinosaur Planet, a Discovery special that was the one-copy-down ripoff of Walking With. Repeated CGI, filler, and worst of all, spoilers. Yep, they were terrified of you changing the channel, so the bumpers always gave away the next surprise. Yeah, why would anyone want to be surprised by something like the Emperor Sea Strider?
It was never boring, mind you, and it was great to see Barlowe's incredibly realistic/fantastic art come to life. It just wasn't what it could be. I'd recommend Walking With over this, but if you like that series, you'd at least like Alien Planet. Hell, I've toned our expectations for it down enough, yes?
Good Night and Good Luck was on every Top Ten movies list last year, and I believe number one on Ebert's. It's about the McCarthy era, something I've always been fascinated with, but especially more today. I wonder why something that happened 50 years ago, when anyone who disagreed with an imperious, alcoholic, incompetent dimwit was instantly branded a traitor, should seem to have relevance in modern times.
And...it was okay. Oddly, it assumed that you knew everything about the rise and fall of Joe McCarthy. It also assumed you knew exactly who Edward D. Murrow was. And while I knew that he had a part in McCarthy's downfall...well, it just didn't seem that big of part in the movie. No one seemed in danger of blacklisting. While every actor was credible in their part, you never got to know them well enough to get engaged. At one point someone dies, and I kinda shrugged. Who was that guy? I knew who he was, I just wasn't given a reason to care.
I'd forgotten something I'd learned years ago: When a movie portrays reporters in a good light, movie reviewers will overlove the movie. They're reporters, after all. I can imagine what my reaction to a well-done movie starring a roving samurai liquor store worker would be. (It could be called Lone Wolf and BUD! Sorry)
So, again: Not boring, not really engaging.
"I'd be surprised if in the next five years there isn't a major hurricane that makes landfall in Long Island or New England," he said.
Yeah no shit. I remember 20 years ago reporting to work in a mall 35 miles from my home. My supervisor was there, although he only lived a few miles away. And, excluding security, we were the only people to come to work that day. Fuck, there was a HURRICANE coming, but I drove there anyway. That should tell you something about the Kay Bee Toys gulag that I worked in.
The mall was closed, and I was allowed to go home (and earn my supervisor's undying faith in my work ethic). I left as the storm closed in, and by that I mean that I could see it closing in behind me in my rear view mirror, just like in some lame Hollywood movie.
It knocked out my power for a day. But the town I worked in didn't get power until 3 days later. The YMCA was the most popular place in town, as they had running water. Not a single gas pump worked (as I found out to my chagrin on my commute home--and by "35 mile commute," it was a 70 mile round trip. [In snow! Uphill both ways! Rabid badgers armed with burp guns!])
Not one home in town had power--except the mall! Wow, what are the odds. You'd almost think that it was planned that way! (And it was)
Fortunately, I now only have a 20-mile commute. And I can't be flooded, as I live at the top of a hill. On the third floor. So I'm perfectly safe from any
OH FUCK MOTHRA'S FLYING BY ARRRGGGHHH
In other news, leprechaun spotted in Alabama. Pretty scary! Except that no one seems to treat the threat as seriously as they should.
Secret to a long life--get even more often
Funny bit from the Daily Show, on Bush's latest "keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result" tour. Especially the last montage.
In today's mail I received a tiny box--hey, maybe it's that USB stick from Microsoft! No, it contained 8 tablets of a drug treating lactose-intolerance, something I don't suffer from. Holding-food-in-my-stomach-all-the-time-without-pukification intolerance, yes, but not that. I'm quite unclear on how I was chosen for this honor.
It's named "Ganeden," which sounds either like a minor Hindu deity or something that might fight Godzilla.
"Godzilla Vs the Milk Moustache Monster," hmm...I'd watch that.
Weirder still was that I was fine until I ate some food. And I mean "some," just 2 dinner rolls. (No, it's not celiac disease; I've checked that. And I had wheat toast today without a regurgarama) But enough about my gastric launchings. Before all that, I was fine and dandy as a Splut could be, and went to see a movie. For free!
I had a free admission ticket to Real Art Ways, and that's the only was I'll see a movie there. I'm not paying $9 for a movie that's sometimes out of focus, or not even entirely on the screen. Unfortunately, the online listing had the movie starting a half-hour earlier than it did. Better than a half-hour late, I guess. So I went through the gallery, then sat in my car reading Seed magazine. When the theater opened, no one was taking tickets, so I got in free even without using the pass.
The movie was C.S.A., about an alternate reality where the Confederacy wins the Civil War. It would play better on a TV than in a theater I think, as it was supposed to be a television show. A BBC documentary on the history of the South, where slavery is still practiced and women never got the right to vote. It was periodically interrupted by commercials for such fine CSA products as Black Sambo Engine Cleaner ("Gets the filthy black scum out of your engine!"), Coon Chicken Inn ("Real mammy-made food!") and TV's SSN (the Slave Shopping Network; one of the credit cards they took was "Massa Card"). The ads, like the movie, were funny and disturbing at the same time. The timeline was believable and imaginative, although it followed real US history a bit too much sometimes, as when (Republican) President Kennedy is assassinated. But there are also chilling moments such as the CSA allying itself with the Nazis. Hitler receives a state welcome to the country, and the Confederates become aghast about his plans for the Holocaust. Why waste "human livestock," when all the Jews can be made into slaves?
It gets darker and more caustic as it proceeds. And you could read it not as a possible history of America, but its possible future, if the right wing fundies get their way. It's not out on video yet, but you can add it to your Netflix queue now. It could be argued that someone else could've made a better version of the same idea--but they didn't. Worth a rental.
Today I brought the car in for a $35 tune-up, as it'd started shaking badly. This, in the eternal way of things, became brake pads and new tires and struts and $740. And I'm not done, as the coils in the back need replacing sometime between "2 weeks and 2 years," as the mechanic helpfully said. I'll get an estimate on that and then shop around before fixing them. I hope that this doesn't turn into my usual "flurry of unplanned large expenses all at once," as sometimes happens. And, as I usually say, it's not a question of not being able to afford it, it's a question of just not wanting to pay for it.
And that kinda dominated my day. I'd made an appointment for 1PM, but they didn't even look at it until 230, and finish it until 6.
While this crap was going on and on, me and Kevin went to Rein's Deli (where I had an omelette and wheat toast), then tried to find something to watch. I suggested a DVD that I'd lent him last summer, Dragon Lives Again. It starred Bruce Leong as Bruce Lee, who had died and gone to Purgatory. Most Brucesploitation movies of the 70s involved guys named Bruce Li Or Bruce Ly or Bruce Press-On Nails who looked a bit like Lee. Leong looks more like Bruce Lee than, say, I do, as I'm not Chinese. He looks considerably more like Bruce Lee than Pamela Anderson, Winston Churchill, or any species of anteater. It's explained that "When you die, you get a new face and body that looks nothing like your original!" Well...that's convenient. Especially as Bruce becomes the immediate enemy of other people who look very little like who they're supposed to be, in a mass orgy of copyright infringement. The bad guys are led by the Godfather and the Exorcist, and include Zaitochi the Blind Swordsman, James Bond, Emmanuelle, Dracula, and The Man With No Name. To add a further dimension of surreality, he's not called The Man With No Name, he's called "Clint Eastwood." Despite Bruce's near-godlike superiority over everyone else (he's even more powerful than Patrick Swayze in Road House), he's aided by Caine from TV's "Kung Fu" and...Popeye. YES, POPEYE. Fat Chinese Popeye, complete with pipe, toot toot!
Once again, we watch a really, really bad movie, and I liked it better than Kevin. The fact that it made negative sense was a plus to me. When all of the bad guys are defeated, some guy (who I'm sure was a recognizable ripoff of some popular Asian cine character) turns up out of nowhere to attack Bruce with his army of toilet-paper mummies. Best part: He commands them to use deadly fighting styles as "DEMON GO BERZERK!" or whatever, and the mummies do the Hokey Pokey, then they do Ring Around the Rosey, and then "DEMON TWO HAMMERS!" and they play pattycake. Mummy demon preschoolers, ATTACK! Wait, stop! Now it's nappy time.
And the music is bizarre. It's somebody's needledrop collection with a few minor additions, such as flat-out stealing the James Bond theme or the Godfather theme. Emanuelle says "Let's dance!" to Bruce, and instantly there's cheezy French squeezebox music--for about 30 seconds, then it just stops.
I could go on, but I won't. Here's a short review that hits the major points. Except for the ending. Having defeated all the level bosses, Bruce is granted his one wish: to go back to Earth! His ascension to the Upper World is accomplished by a Bruce dummy on a wire.
Then Scott arrived to be bewildered by the last 20 minutes of Dragon Lives, and I finally got to see The Call of Cthuhlu. I've mentioned (and linked to) it before, I'm sure. It's a faux silent movie based on the Lovecraft story. It was really well done, if you assume that you're watching an 80 year old silent, and not a modern movie. Of course, the story consists of a flashback to flashbacks that contain flashbacks that sort of begin and then end. I don't think that I'd pay to see it, but it was entertaining.
I had a lovely pre-birthday dinner with my mom and my sister Pat's family today. We were born 2 days (and 3 years) apart. My other 2 sisters were born in July, 5 days and 3 years apart. Odd, kinda. My librarian mother went to some librarian convention and got bags of librarian schwag; books and booklights and bookbags and something she passed on to me: A bobblehead of Chaucer. Odd, kinda. Where's my George Gordon, Lord Byron bobbler?
My main gift was mom's home cookin'. I don't need to buy any groceries besides cat food for at least a month. She also showed me this product from today's USA Weekend insert in the local paper:
Since I don't know Photoshop from Fotohut, I couldn't clarify the image using the "desquidification" filter or whatever. But I think that you can make out that both of these cats "Don't want to go on the cart!" The one in front is going to rip his way out, and probably take you with it. If I bought one, I think that the Humane Society would jail me. I hope.
Did you know that you can get the previous day's Zippy the Pinhead strip emailed to you? Here's the one for yesterday:
That's Connecticut's Gillette Castle, a place I plan on going to within the next coupla months.
4/3JOB CANDIDATES, DEADLY
Top 10 Greatest Impostors in History. Strangely excludes current people pretending to be president.
From yesterday's email, which I was too..."busy" (in the room of bath) to address:
I was actually going to do that, but then my love of insane martial arts movies led me to request one of the box art of "Catman in Lethal Track" (which you need to check out one of these days). The company behind all those cut-and-paste ninja movies, IFD, bought up the rights to some Thai action movie and inserted scenes of Caucasian actors in order to make it a superhero movie.
...although I have no idea what the caption would be. Okay, I just like that picture. It's like one of those corporate motivational posters. "DETERMINATION!"
I guess I could find something more to write about. But let's face it, that's something I don't do anymore. And it's been a long two days. G'night.
Well, I will add this:
I looked out of the window this morning, sans glasses, and thought, "Wow, look at the fog! It must be really warm!" Then I squinted, and no, it was really snowing. Something not predicted by any weatherman, and there was a good (ie, bad) 2 inches already on the ground, with no signs of stopping.
And it was still going when I left for work. But 20 miles later at work, it had already stopped and begun to completely melt. It then got breezy and cool. Then the sun came out, and it got warm. Then, as soon as it got dark, it was very cold, with a bitter wind. In 8 hours, we had all 4 seasons.
An interview with Scalzi that's pretty amusing, and downright funny by the time he gets to his series of children's books (second to last paragraph, if you're in a hurry).
An addendum to Atomic Mystery Monster's email:
Today Kevin had his new shiny object, The Proposition, a movie written by his favorite songwriter/performer, Nick Cave. It started out okay, then became. Slow. The story was really simplistic, although well-written. But dull. Punctuated by violence, and the most flies I've ever seen in any movie. They must've taken up half the budget. There was probably an end credit for "fly wrangler." (The hard part is making sure no flies get hurt in the making of the movie) And it has one of those "Well, why didn't you do THAT half an hour ago?!" endings. "Because we needed 30 more minutes of footage to make it a movie" is the answer.
Not having learned my lesson, when I got home I decided to clear up a space in my Netflix queue and watch...Fantasy...Dragon...PlanetWorld or something. It's in the Walking with Dinosaurs fake documentary vein, assuming that dragons really existed. And that scientists can A: deduce the entire evolutionary history of a entirely newly discovered species of animals in about 3 hours (umm, I stink at biology--exactly where would 6-limbed vertebrates fit in the animal kingdom? Probably far higher than "species"), and B: will treat the perfectly preserved remains of said heretofore undiscovered species with all the scientific discipline of a kid 'sperimentin' with frogs and firecrackers. It's the perfect movie to terrify any biologist, archaeologist or paleontologist on your Christmas list. Think of a CSI episode where they do their forensic work in the Wendy's parking lot where they found the victim, and their main tools are chainsaws.
So long as they kept to the "nature" footage of CGI dragons it was okay. But more than half starred this XXXXTREME REBEL SCIENTIST DUUUDE!!! who totally believed that dragons were real and they ate T. Rexes (no...I'm serious). When evidence of a mummified dragon is discovered, who do they send? Not Crazy Dragon Obessessed Dude, who's going to find evidence of dragons in his burnt toast? OF COURSE they do! And he's about 24 years old and a pickaxe wielding maniac at dig sites, so why send anyone else. It's only a totally unheard taxonomy! And so he rips it apart and gets all excited when he discovers that it has wings and 4 legs. You didn't notice the EXTRA LEGS, Darwin? WTF? And then he just magically divines everything about it. And he's an obnoxious asshole. Is that why he's the sole American in this? Except that he isn't, when he pronounces words like "formidable" or "crevasses," which he does in an English way. I was hoping they'd have him say "aluminum," but they don't.
I know that I'm not remembering even half the reasons these DVDs crankyficated me. But I'm glad about that.
The Proposition: The proposition itself. A family of violent wackjobs murders and rapes, but 2 of the brothers are caught. The sheriff lets one go, telling him that if he doesn't find his older brother and kill him, he'll kill his younger brother. Either way, he's out a brother, so why give him a free gun and horse and let him go?
Dragon Fantasy World Planet: Dragons can breathe fire because they produce methane and hydrogen in their digestive tracts. That's reasonable. How do they ignite the gases? They just fly up to a mountainside and eat some rock lying right on the surface. The rock is made from that commonplace household rock, platinum.
Star Trek: Dumbestness: Yeah, he's Picard's clone. Couldn't they find a guy who could act who looked like Patrick Stewart? (Answer: twice no, as he can't act, either) To explain why he no longer looks like Bruce Lee, it's because his nose and jaw were broken. So please explain his Angelina-Jolie-flattened-by-a-steamroller lips...
I went to the bathroom this morning, and Killsy jumped in the tub. That's where the water dish is kept (as they spent years drinking from the leaky tub faucet before it was fixed). The water level was low, so I turned the faucet. Arrrrnnnoooaann it went, and no water came out. I checked the sink, and got the same low, pained groan from the plumbing. Well, no point trying to flush--there's no water.
They're ripping my street up, Gourd knows why. Two weeks ago they tore 8 strips of asphalt off the road, and then just left them like that. Couldn't they just strip one, work on it until finished, then strip the next? Did they only have use of the road-stripping machine for one day? I guess they must've turned the water off.
Yes, not exactly news. I got up at the alarm, saw that there was still no water, and went back to bed for 20 minutes. Then I grabbed a bottle of Poland Spring from the fridge and used it to brush my teeth and fill the cats' water bowl. Killsy raced in thirsty, took one drink. and was clearly baffled by how cold the water was. She sat on the toilet and stared as I brushed my dirty hair. She seemed to know that I should be taking a shower, and she stayed there staring at me until I left. You know how cats are with routines. Put a grocery bag on the floor, and they're perplexed.
After a long and uncomfortable day at work--forget the routines of cats, try not showering for a day and see how you feel--I got home to loudly spurting and groaning faucets and running water. Both of them ran to the bathroom; Killsy, because of the sounds, Byron because of the horrible realization that the human is shaving and showering when it's dark outside!! (and I had to--what if the water's off tomorrow?) He just hovered around the bathtub, continually sticking his head in, risking that greatest of cat terrors, the possibility of getting wet. When I got out, he seemed relieved when I put on my slippers and not my sneakers, meaning that I wasn't going away for another 9 hours. But he hung around that damn tub, exploring it and trying to make sense of all this night-showering, for another half-hour.
Very little info here, but here's some good news!
Those cat pics posted yesterday got some approving comments, and more than anyone else's pets in that particular thread. Which means MY CATS WIN!!! Oddly, the comments came from people I've never heard of, from locations that I never see in my hit counter--and yet, they both spelled Byron's name correctly.
Okay...this has got to be a joke. Or, the person holding it is 44 inches tall. But anyway, JESUS H (for "Harvey") CHRIST, THAT'S A BIG BUNNY!! But c'mon, he's 17 pounds but has a head the same size as the guy holding him?
But it's something you can show your little nieces and nephews on Easter, claiming "THAT is what crept into your house last night." They'll be terrified of Easter baskets for the rest of their lives. It's scarier than Night of the Lepus! Well, pretty much anything's scarier than a movie about GIANT MUTANT RABBITS/confused bunnies RAMPAGING/wandering past dollhouses, and covered with THE BLOOD OF THEIR HUMAN VICTIMS/ketchup.
"Attention! Attention! Ladies and gentlemen, attention! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help!" HAHAHA! And then the people all scamper like scared rabbi--er, hamsters.
Actually, that movie really sucked. Inept and stupid, but sooo boring. Skip it. Or leap or scatter or whatever giant, man-eating rabbits do.
Crap! It hasn't been 3 years since I was called up for jury duty, it's been 3 years since I got out of it. There's just no way that I'm going to not have to serve after escaping 5 times previously. I wonder if enthusiastically saying "I'm SO blogging this trial!" will work.
The family Easter gathering was last Sunday, so I went for a hike in the woods, then just chilled with the kids and watched DVDs. The best holidays for me are the ones spent alone.
I've always hated the idea of movies based on TV shows. Why do they make them? None of them have made all that much money; few have had sequels, and none have had a third film. And most of them have been horrid. There's an obvious exception to this rule (the even-numbered Star Treks), but there's only been one series that I really wanted someone to make a movie of. And it took me 8 years to see it.
The Avengers. I was psyched when I first heard that they were making it, until I read the first leaked part of the script: The Avengers were attacked by baddies dressed as giant teddy bears who were protecting a weather-control machine. Hell, I said, that's not an Avengers plot! That's not even a Get Smart plot! That's a Cool McCool cartoon! It sounded like they going to massacre it with a too-goofy over-the-top but below-the-barrel's-bottom "spoof." And when the movie came out, the reviews were merciless. I figured I'd see it someday, out of the purest masochism.
Well, I was wrong! It wasn't a ludicrous goof-fest at all! It really seemed to think that it was this exciting action picture. It wasn't. This was probably the only movie I've seen where I got restless during the opening credits. After 5 minutes, I really hoped that the arch, stilted, I'm-so-clever punny dialogue of the type that could never be spoken by an actual human being wasn't going to last all movie. Ah, yes, but it did. It seemed to written by someone so smart that they couldn't see how stupid they were.
I don't think that anyone could've pulled that dialogue off, but it would help if the stars had chemistry. Fiennes and Thurman had chemistry in the same way that oil and water do.
And it made nooo sense. Why does evil Sean Connery have this obsession with Mrs Peel, to the point where he has a clone of her? A clone that's her age, so obviously his obsession started at her birth. That's some fine obsessin'! Scenes just begin, then they end, and there's no transistion between one and another.
Oh, and if your first thought when you heard "weather machine" was "bad guy gets kilt in the end by a lightning bolt," as mine was, congratulations. Although I didn't predict it coming from the stratosphere and down a yard-wide tunnel to hit Connery a thousand feet underground, detonating him while leaving no splodey-Sean bits all over Fiennes, who was standing a whole 6 inches away from him. Apparently, lightning strikes the lowest point. Well, that explains why it struck this movie.
One thing that surprised me about this was how much it must've cost. Every shot is gourgeous, the sets are fantastic, the special effects great for 1998. There should be a DVD feature for movies like this: a counter that runs in the corner, displaying a running total on how much money they're blowing at every given time. Here come the CGI robot wasps, and it jumps $5M! The set with the hot air balloon crashing into Lord Nelson's statue (and it's the statue that gets knocked over--y'okay), there's $10M! It woud've been the only interesting part of the movie.
With that out of my system, I watched Grizzly Man, the Werner Herzog documentary about a guy who lives with grizzly bears in Alaska every summer. He does pretty good, until the 13th summer, when one of his beloved bear buddies fucking eats him and his girlfriend alive. I started off thinking "This guy is nuts! Those bears aren't domestic pets, and they have heads the size of his upper torso!" And in the end I thought, "That guy...really WAS nuts!"
He seriously believed that he had some sort of power, based on mutual respect, that would keep the bears from harming him. When one lunges at him, he stands his ground. And chides the massive carnivore as if it were a toy poodle that piddled the carpet: "DON'T you do that! Don't you do that! I love you! I love you!" He anthropomorphises these ungentle giants more than I do my cats. I know they're not "little people in fur coats." They're an animal that has been bred to interact with humans. That doesn't mean I'm going to go bring catnip to a pride of Serengeti lions.
He narrates his (usually) self-filmed wild footage like the host of a kiddie program. When we get actual proof of what bears do in the woods, he says "He pooped, he made number two." He rants that he's the only person protecting the bears, despite being on a government sanctuary. He grows increasingly paranoid--when some other humans visit the park (as is their right, and they do no harm to the bears) and leave a smiley face drawn on a log, he takes it as a death threat. And then his hungry buddy makes a Manwich out of him.
If I ever go to Alaska for the summer, I am going to do one thing he did: He befriended a litter of foxes to the point where they followed him like dogs and let him pet them. I'll be Fox Man! And run like a fox when a bear gets within a mile of me.
It's not really funny per se, but here's our scumbag-in-chief "singing" "Imagine." Maybe it's just that I learned years ago to hate the sound of his lying voice.
This is funny: Bush the Decider as a Beatles song.
And even funnier, The Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society.
Worthy of discussion, the top 50 movies adapted from books. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" doesn't make it, and while Kubrick turns up twice, it isn't for 2001. I would've given points for adaptations like those, movies that everyone thought couldn't be filmed. At least until somebody makes a film blockbuster of "Ulysses" or "Gravity's Rainbow." I hope that those are are tackled by the same production team that made The Avengers, or Porky's Revenge.
The Beep Symphony. I think Kirk should print copies of this out and leave them on random windshields, and see what happens next.
My toilet is bust! Oh, wait, no, they turned the damn water off again while they rip up my street. At least this time my condo association gave us warning. By posting a flyer on the dumpster. Not the mailboxes that I use 6 times a week, but the dumpster I use twice a month. Lucky I took the garbage out today; too bad that it was several hours after I needed water. I only had a few ounces of water left in the fridge to brush my teeth and wet my rat's nest hair down to a No-I'm-not-homeless look.
The next X-Men movie looks pretty awesome! Even if I had I had to download QuickTime AGAIN, and restart the computer twice to see the trailer.
I saw Master and Commander yesterday. It was okay, I guess. When it came out (3 years ago), I wondered exactly how much of an audience there'd be for a period piece about Napoleonic naval battles. Probably not enough to make back the $150 million it cost to make. Did they really expect that there'd be enough people entranced by Russel Crowe's weird eyebrow-wart to make a profit?
I also rented Aeon Flux: The Complete Video Collection. You'd think that disc 1 would have the early Liquid TV ones, right? Ha! You don't think in the bizarre way that the show thought. Instead, it was the half-hour show. That's something that I'd completely obliterated from my memory, until the credits rolled. Oh yes, I said, this thing. When they're 5 minutes long, they can get away with style and no substance/logic. At 30 minutes...whatever. I watched 1 out of 5, then switched to SCTV. I don't know if I'll make it through the rest.
(shrugs) Well, that's all I've got.
I discovered last night that the half-hour Aeon Fluxes aren't so bad, if you tune your expectations down to "it won't make sense for more than 5 minutes." Which is how I'll try to look at the movie, when Netflix deems fit to send it.
Here's something about people lying about being late or something. Skip the article and there are a few amusing excuses at the end. (Me, I'm afraid to lie. I'm only late because I live 20 miles and 18 stoplights from work, and regularly get stuck either in midday traffic jams or caught behind a train crossing or a funeral procession. Or I left late from puking. And, sadly, those only sound like I made them up)
Easter Peeps were on sale. I don't really think that they taste all that great--once a year is fine--but I wanted to test if Byron would go insane over them like the last time I bought them. I threw him one, and he's been batting it about the house for the last hour, with a demonic gleam in his giant eyes. He attacks it, takes a nibble, throws it around. I assume that he's tasting the gelatin, an animal product, as cats can't taste sweets.
I did the "Summer Rerun" thing for a while, but I gave it up. It was just a reminder of how I have no creativity anymore. Well, you may somewhat remember this one, but you don't want to Google for it. So here's The Last Summer Rerun Ever.
"In their quest to create the super warrior of the future, some military researchers aren't focusing on organs like muscles or hearts. The 'Brain Port' allows divers to process information through their tongues." Now that can't taste good.
And this awful Aeon Flux movie--why was it so awful? While it's nothing I'd want to see again, it was quite entertaining. Yeah, you heard me, I liked it! Certainly no masterpiece, but it was a pleasant diversion that was much like the original cartoons. Sure, it could've been better, but you could also say that Star Wars would've been better if it ended with Carrie Fisher giving me a blowjob.
I was supposed to have a long weekend starting Saturday, to compensate me for working 6 days when a coworker went on vacation. Said coworker came back to work for a day and a half before going to a doctor. They scheduled her for surgery an hour later--her back pain was an appendix about to burst. When they slit her open, they found a tumor on her ovaries the size of a grapefruit. So she's out for a couple of weeks. How irresponsible! Couldn't she have scheduled her appendectomy for her vacation?
Amazingly, I still get 2 days off this week, making me wonder why I had to work 6 in a row and not get my comp day. But I'd rather lose a day off than an internal organ.
Colbert at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Expect him to die in a "car crash accident" any day.
Remember Monty Python's Instant Record Collection, the LP that had the extra grooves with hidden tracks? I had that for weeks before I discovered them! I kept laying the needle down in the wrong grooves. Via bOING bOING, here's a zip file from a 1978 MAD magazine flexi that did the same. There are 8 different endings, but the first 5, especially #2, are the funniest. WARNING: "The litle bird's singing on your window sill" may become an earworm.
Thank You Stephen Colbert, a site dedicated to his gutsy, stare-that-fucker-Bush-right-in-the-eyes full-bore assault I linked to yesterday. I put in a thanks, and it was buried in a 100 others in the minute that it took to post it. If you read the comments, you get the occasional Republitard who throws in a flame--like anyone, even Colbert, is going to read 15,000 (and counting) comments individually. Thank you, Republitards, for simply adding to the total of Thank Yous!
You can also watch Bush's hi-larious spot at the same dinner. If you can. It's really pretty painful. Don't tell me that any of his "self-deprecating humor" wasn't pre-approved word-for-word. And note how the sycophantic audience pretends to love it. But it's the Washington Press Corps, and they've been pretending that Bush is Great for 5 years. After a while, it must be hard to stop.
"Babies born in April, May or June had a 17% higher risk of suicide than those born in the autumn." I was born in April.
The worst 90s video game ads.
I was supposed to have today off (and have pizza and a movie with Kevin and Scott), but Saturday I was asked if I could work instead. "Sure," I said, as the coworker who puts in the most hours had that life-saving operation and won't be back to work until next week. But it turned that it wasn't because of my store. Our other store had someone taking today off, and so I got to work 4 hours on my day off because one of those spoiled babies didn't want to work two hours on a day they were working anyway.
Of course, these are the same overpaid and underworked people who violently argued against having to work two extra hours each a month, because the full-timer who closed every Saturday DIED. Oh, and the guy who does my job there gets paid twice as much for less work. I LUV OUR UDDER STORE.
Last night's movie was about as far from Donny Darko as one can get--Milo and Otis. Could someone make a "dog and cat get lost and find their way home" movie that isn't directed at very lil' kids? It was entertaining when the kitten and puppy (about 6 months old, or less) were being kittens and puppies and not "acting." But Dudley Moore's narration was cloying and anthropomorphic and, you know, he was Dudley Moore, who I really find acceptable only in the presence of Peter Cook.
The biggest problem for me was reading an online review that said, "I love this movie! Who cares if animals were hurt in it?" Umm...WELL YES THERE'S ME, I do fucking care! And it colored every scene once I knew that, especially when I noticed that the orange tabby playing Milo was at least 3 kittens. Different colored eyes and fur markings. Was this because it was easier to film with stunt doubles, or because they were getting killed? The narration may say "'WHEE! This is fun!' cried Milo," but Milo's facial expression reads "OMFG I'm doooomed!!" I've never seen so many cats end up in rivers, and most cats don't really care for that. There's a scene where Milo goes over a low but whitewater waterfall in a box, and it almost flips over with him under it, which would likely drown him. How many takes did that scene need? How many Milos did it need? At one point, after nearly being eaten by a bear, he's pecked by a mob of angry seagulls, then thrown off a cliif into the ocean. Cliff! Ocean! Thrown!!
Of course, nothing happens to the damned dog.
Tellingly, the movie doesn't have the disclaimer "No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture," it has a disclaimer about "reasonable precautions were taken against injury to animals" or some similar shit. Yeah, we threw him into the softest part of the ocean.
Also, Hood Mocha and Fudge Frozen Yogurt is the most disgusting ice cream flavor since Ben & Jerry's Gasoline, Sardines and Cream. Since when did "bitter" become a plus in a dessert treat?
A couple of random search hits:
how to billed a shower
Is Bo Derek an atheist
I'm embarassed that it took me a LONG time to figure out the "joke." But, c'mon--he's from the police force that doesn't have a radio in their cars? How do they find out about that APB, wave semaphore flags from their cars' roofs?
Our store has a new website! No, I ain't linking. I don't want them to know I have this page, as I write about them here (see above). And if they have a hit counter, 3 dozen hits in one day would be obvious. Our store's part of the site was written by Dave. It led off with "our manager, Bob, our wine manager, Dave, and Gina, one of our other managers." Wow! Not "Gina the floor manager," "Gina the beer manager," "Gina, the manager who works the most hours," just "one of our other managers."
And there is only one "other manager"--me. Yeah, no space to name the one other guy! Not that I'd want them to, anyway. Now I'm Mary Ann and the Professor on Gilligan's Island--"And the rest!"
Has anyone ever run a CafePress adjunct to their site? I'm still thinking about that (at least long enough to get myself some shirts), and I have a question or two to ask about it.
I've mentioned him many times before, but you people do have Izzle Pfaff! bookmarked, right? He's the best at the "here's my daily life, except freakin' hilarious" genre of blogging.
At work, I got a phone request for a delivery. If it's at least $50 and in town, we're fast, free and friendly! The deliveries are always to either of the two "life care retirement communities" in town. So the gent on the phone needed me to TALK LOUDLY and REPEAT MYSELF FREQUENTLY and repeat myself, frequently. I made sure to get his name and phone number and take the store cell phone with me when it took him and his wife together about three minutes to remember what their apartment number was.
And when I arrived there, it wasn't the number of their apartment, it was the number of the building they and about 30 other couples lived in. I picked up the in-house phone in the foyer outside the locked door to call them. I was expecting the person who picked up the phone to say "Hello?" but instead he immediately hit the buzzer that opens the door. Which plays over the phone, so I had to start yelling "I need your apartment number!" before he hung up.
"I need your apartment number!"
"WHAT?" (repeat twice)
"Oh...my apartment number. Wait a sec. (to wife) Delores, what's our apartment number?"
(Huh? How do you not know that?)
ME: "The door's shut, I need you to buzz me in again--" click. I called back, and his first words were, as before, not "Hello." It was
And after I explained--repeatedly, loudly--that he needed to buzz me in again, he said "I'll be right there!" Which was a relative concept of speed, what with him hobbling on a cane and being born in the 16th century.
But he was a nice old man and the whole thing was amusing and his parakeet gave me looks and he tipped me five bucks.
What is that from? I'll let you ponder for a bit.
Did you know that I'm Google's top hit for "why people think godzilla is stupid while they worship lord of the rings"? Because I am.
Speaking of the Lord of the Rings, I saw a movie that wanted to be it yesterday: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Malfunction. Here is my detailed review: It was good, I guess. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think it was so good that it deserved the gajillion dollars it made in the theaters. Having the entire plot revolve around the one kid repeatedly being an utter moron might not have been the best choice.
Did anyone else notice that, at the 1h 25m point, when the wolves are mocking Peter for being too much of a wimp to kill them, one wolf leaps forward with an angry growl that is really "whatawanker!"?
Holy Jesus in a Dead Asparagus!
In the "this could be interesting" department, someone emailed me asking if I'd restart the InExOb if it was based on reader submissions. And if not, could she start it up herself?
I told her that was a good idea, but why don't you not use my name and start your own site? I'd read that!
I'm interested to see what comes of this, if anything. I don't want to do a weekly site, or have one connected to my old brandname, but I'd like to read one that's in the spirit of the old InExOb.
...Which is a good enough segue to talk about the image at the top of the post. Where did you think it came from? Some feral anti-immigrant website, where they used the word "imitator" to not sound as racist as they are? No, it's off of a pizza coupon.
Maybe "People's Choice" pizza had a competitor open with a similar name, but what's this "steal from YOU! and OUR government" crap? Again, is this a code word for "immigrants"?
Hey, there's this thing that lets you see bits of Adult Swim! Dunno know how often it changes; today has a totally different lineup than Sunday when I came across it. I got my first taste of The Venture Brothers, which I really enjoyed (although the clip cut off a few minutes before the end). I suppose that it's old news to some people, and utterly pointless to those who, unlike me, still have cable.
In other old news, via Netflix I got a DVD of Robot Chicken. The first few were
funny amusing ("funny" is when I laugh, "amusing" is when I just smirk). After that, it was mean-spirited and juvenile fart-joke humor that I might've liked if I was 13, or a very drunken and particularly stupid frat boy.
Speaking of what might be old news, I know I meant to link to Stupid Comics, but I may have forgotten to. If you're into the Gonterman or the Super Green Beret, you'll enjoy it. In fact, there's a brief excerpt from Super Green Beret #2 that only hints at the insanity of that comic.
Yes, I have that comic. Yes, I should scan it. No, I'll probably never get around to it.
Also on the make-fun-of-stupid-comic-books front, Gone and Forgotten has updated for the first time since aught-4. And it's...amusing.
I still have a Hotmail account, largely used for the more spam-inducing online things I do, like signing those internet petitions that can occasionally have a beneficial, anti-Bushian effect. The ads there are always of hot women in bikinis Looking For Love Online, or cartoons about fungally-rotted toenails. When I see that first kind of ad, I always think "Any woman that hot who needs the net to find a date is either a serial killing cannibal, or very fungally-rotted."
100 Bad Internet Dates. I learned my lesson after 3 with the same person.
And I thought my condo was messy.
On a whim I Googled something and, while not exactly seasonally appropriate, here's Christmas on Acid.
I just watched Lollilove, a mockumentary always amusing and frequently funny. A pair of rich, smug, self-obsessed asswipes decide to help the homeless. By giving them money, or food, or jobs, or I dunno, a home? No, by giving them lollipops with "life-affirming" messages on the wrappers. (The funniest part of the movie is when we finally see the clueless messages) It's only just over an hour long, but that's the perfect length. Worth the Netflixing.
“Wow,” said Jackie, after they left. “I’m going to plant some marijuana at home!” A line from a kids book about weed. And it's real!
Disgraceland, an abandoned Chinese theme park. Amusing, but long (like 114 pages!)
Amusing, but short: Top 10 In-Game Quotes. WANT SOME RYE?
If you were old enough--actually, young enough--to remember the early 70s, you'll get a kick out of these toy ads. Masterpiece was an awesome board game (I still have some of the art cards on my fridge). Water Wiggle was famous for going COMPLETELY BERSERK, smashing you in the face and making the little kids cry (and the bigger ones keep a safe distance). Slip 'n' Slide was great for ripping to shreds if there was a rock or a twig underneath, and sending you flying in unpredictable directions, like the side of the house. Ahh, the days before child safety laws!
My family also owned Jarts, the mini-javelin catch game. I'm surprised that we all lived to adulthood.
Unfunny article of the day: Top Ten Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State.
NO! The pleasure of fridge magnets has been Ruined by the EVIL of--FABIO!!
Umm, no I am NOT a comic book dork. Proof? I only scored 92% on this X-Men quiz. Dorks got 100!
An interesting article about human longevity that misses the most important questions: In an overpopulated world, do we need people who are functionally immortal? And aren't they certainly going to be the Gates and Bushes and Cheneys of the world, just getting unfathomably richer and more corrupt, sneering as the billions of the rest of us suffer and die?
It includes a super-stupidy and lame-o list of famous immortals, which I'll bet the author spent a whole 15 minutes of research Googling. My fave:
Strangest picture you'll see today, Japanese War Tubas. For scale, that's the Emperor on the right.
I'm now driving the first car I've ever owned with over 100,000 miles on it! (It was "pre-owned," so only 76,000 miles were put on by me) Sorry, but it really was kinda cool watching the odometer roll over to 99,999 and then 100,000.
And the car itself celebrated with a festive flashing of the Check Engine light! Huzzah! May it last another 50 miles before exploding!
Vanity license plate seen on the drive home tonight: 2WHITE. Strangely, it was not driven by David Duke, Pat Robertson, or Ted Nugent. Just a fat and old too-white guy.
I'm now officially on VACATION!!!!!
Confirming what most of us suspected about the Short Bus/h, This Handbasket Earth explains how he became Prezdent.
Short Bus/h, geddit? It's funny if you think about it! Isn't it?
Since I'm sure we're all tired of that Same Byron Picture, here's the rarely seen second one from that same photo shoot, Byron Triumphant:
Sadly, he grew out of that crazy black racing stripe by his eye a long time ago.
Before he was living here, he also had a white tip on his tail. And notice how much white is in his face! Today, he has a white "beard and moustache," and that's it.
Killsy, of course, has never changed color. Except for her eyes, which change almost every year.
They're green, last I checked.
For no real reason, I checked Wikipedia for the entry on cats. It had a list of historical cats that I found interesting. None of them were named Kill Kill or Byron, although I did discover something I didn't know: There was one named "Beppo, belonging to Lord Byron. One of five cats who traveled with him." That's COOL! Even if he gave his cat a monkey name.
Last night's movie was Duma. Roger Ebert loved this movie, although the distributor strangely made no attempt to push it (its widest release was when it was in an entire 42 theaters nationwide). Why? Dunno. It really is a good movie, and it stars that coolest of animals, the cheetah. But I guess that it was a family movie that wasn't made with $100 million in CGI effects, voiced by some Hollywood star making lame-ass pop culture refs that will be inscrutable to any kid in five years.
It was all real, outside of one cheap CGI scene (but you really wouldn't want actual tse tse flies swarming anybody). Nothing happened in it that couldn't happen in real life, although some of it was a tad unlikely (But a really "real" movie about a boy and his cheetah trying to cross the Kalahari desert alone would've ended on the third day, with them both dead from dehydration). There was only one "kid movie cute" moment, when our young hero Xan is bullied in the boy's bathroom on the first day of school--and guess what large carnivorous mammal of the family felidae is hiding in the stall! But even that's not as lame as it sounds, as it's already been established that Duma uses the toilet as his litter box.
I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that it has the ending that you expect it will. But it's exciting fun getting there. It's well worth the rent, especially if you like animal movies and cats, be they big or small. And I mean that in the sense of cats big or small, and movies big or small.
Very moving and SO-TRUE expose of Gourdless sciencenism: Scholastic Films Intelli-ghent Design.
After it ended, we went to a chainstraunt called Moe's. Fortunately, it was Mexican-themed, and not based on Homer's favorite dive. It was relatively cheap, and based on the model of the only other fast food chain worth eating at, Subway. They made your tacos fresh in front of you. And they serve beer! Nothin' like a frosty Negra Modelo to accent a taco and nachos with hot sauce. And I did my good deed for the day, returning a discarded Velcro-laced shoe to the mother of a toddler with one bare foot dangling in the breeze.
I suppose that it's just as well that it's going to rain tomorrow, as I'll be inside anyway, listening to a live Brian Eno concert on the BBC (Thursday, 6/1). Unless my math is really bad (and it frequently is), it's at 230PM EDT.
I'm sure that no one's interested, but I found a link to that Eno concert I missed yesterday. And I mean "find" in the same way that Indiana Jones found the Lost Ark sitting in the middle of his living room. I'm posting the link because it was such an incomprehensible rat maze of counterintuitive clicking on the site--
Johnny Carson audience: HOW COUNTERINTUITIVE WAS IT?!
--So counterintuitive that, after it crashed my browser (it's Real[ly bad]Audio), that it took me longer the second time to find it--despite this being 12 minutes after I first wandered through
Zork the BBC page. In fact, try and guess which of the two "Play Now" links make it work.
When I say "Eno concert," I should point out that it's him with a large choral group performing composers from Tallis to Arvo Part. It's not a rock concert, and it makes for 90 minutes of nice background music for surfing or working.
OH FUCK THE BBC! I just checked, and they changed the url AGAIN, and AGAIN it crashed my browser! I'm not going through the rat maze a third time to see where they've hidden the cheese now.
Vacation means that I read too much of the internets. In fact, I used up the internets today, and there was nothing left to look at. So, for the first since...I forget, I checked out Something Awful. And they had a thing that was kinda funny, Johnny Confidence. Okay, I only link to it because I couldn't remember where I'd heard that phrase before. You can figure it yourself, or just click here. fwiiish!
SPAM WINS PULITZER!
All over the net, Colbert gives a graduation address. Too bad there's no video.
Dime Store Art, from the packages of cheap toys. Where else will you see a skeleton sword-fight a robot? (Careful viewers will notice a pair of images featured on this page in previous years)
Ebert and Roeper reviewed Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" yesterday. As if to highlight the need for this movie, Rope-a-Dope insisted that there's "debate" over whether or not global warming is caused by humans. Yeah, there is debate--no, wait, there WAS, 15 years ago. The only "experts" insisting that there's doubt today are paid shills of the oil industry. You can still find "experts" that insist there's no connection between tobacco and lung cancer, and they all get paid by RJ Reynolds.
You don't have to lie to get people to believe you. You just have to repeat the lie enough times. Does Roeper believe that Saddam caused 9/11? That Intelligent Design proves that dinosaurs were on the Ark? Probably, if he's this gullible.
In related news (or comics), Xoverboard finds the one way Gore could convince the wrong wing that global warming's real.
Speaking of stupid religious people, what 666 really means. My favorite line: "An online gambling site has posted 10-1 odds that the world will end Tuesday." Why not make it a billion to one? A googleplex to one? If the world ends, who'll be there trying to collect their winnings?
The Do It Yourself Online Presidential Leadership Quiz.
I find this verrrry hard to believe, but this claims that someone put Brian Eno's 70 minute ambient masterpiece Thursday Afternoon into some NYC dive bar's jukebox.
Okay. Somebody did it.
And IT WAS ME.
Bwahh hah hah 'n' shit.
6/7I SHOULD HOPE SO!
Coolest thing you'll see today (if, like me, you're a clock fanatic), 10 strange clocks.
BIBLICAL ANALOGIES, PRETTY PORE
Bird brains? Think again. Crows show some of the same reasoning skills and toolmaking that humans do.
The Cat Reality TV Show. I'll watch it! (Wait, I haven't had cable for years, so I won't. Since they're really just ads, I'm sure they'll turn up online soon enough)
Speaking of reasons why I don't have cable anymore, I Netflixed a "movie" from Cartoon Network's version of DC Comic's Justice League (a "movie" exactly long enough to be precisely cut into 3 TV shows, with space for the ads). While I was a huge fan of the Batman series, and a minor fan of their Superman one, I never got into Justice League. Too Michael Bey-ey. You know, exciting, but constantly exciting, until "non-stop thrills!" became what happened every second. At that point, it just becomes "what happened last second will happen this second." Which becomes boring.
I rented it because I wanted something dumb, but not too dumb, and it fit the bill. Shit blowed up! Plot followed exactly like you knew it would! Is that why people go to Action Blockbusters, because they need constant, unthinking stimulation, but also don't want the slightest surprise in the plot?
But there was a surprise! In the end credits, the Communications Officer was voiced by Stan Ridgway!
You know, Wall of Voodoo!
*sigh* The song "Mexican Radio"? Well, I thought that it was cool.
No idea who Communications Officer was. And not going to watch the cartoon again to find out. They could've made it more obvious. Communications Officer could've taken a personality test, and stapled it to his lower lip.
From the comments page today:
hate yall 11:40 AM ET: YALL R SUCH NERDS THAT R DUMB
Since we've just used one word that was connected to this site back in the day, here's another: SHAWT. Didn't happen to me, or even at my work, but to a coworker at her second job.
A girl asked Yolanda to take several fifty dollar bills to our store to "exchange them." It was such an odd request that Yolanda became suspicious, and swiped the bills with a counterfeit pen. The swipes turned black. "I'm not taking these!" she said. "They're counterfeit!"
"Yeah, so? I've been to your store, and they never check the bills!" Which is true; we don't have the pens. Yolanda refused. So this person tried to buy something at her store from someone else, using the same $50 bills . Hey, guess what--the cashier swiped them with the same counterfeit pen.
Let's just run down some bullet points, and maybe you'll spot a few places where this criminal mastermind's cunning plan went awry:
What's the evolutionary basis for homosexuality? Pharyngula looks at it. (Me, I'm out of both of the hetero/homo loops)
When I heard about Zarqawi's death, my reaction was "Good Riddance, and Big Deal. It's a civil war, and one guy's death is meaningless."
Wolcott: "He Used to be a Big Shot"
They had roast turkey breast for their birthday dinner.
And I asked them what it meant (after we got our pizza--I'm not so stupid as to risk getting a free topping like saliva). There was consternation until they called over This One Guy. This One Guy explained that there was a pizza place in town that had photocopied their menu and placed its own logo over theirs. He couldn't say who! But Mystery Pizza had also hired a bunch of their workers away and was paying everyone under the table, so they reported them to the gummint. "I can't say who! But look at channel 3 news; they'll have a report on them soon!" So that explained the Strange Pizza Coupon Message.
I hope that wasn't too much excitement for you!
It was 93 degrees and humid out. In the pizza place, we only went in as far as the counter, and leaving felt like we were stepping into a refreshing spring breeze. It easily was 115 in there. Maybe extreme heat fosters paranoia.
Then we watched a movie I've always wanted to see, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Director: Russ "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" Meyers. Screenwriter: the 19 year old Roger Ebert. "This is my happening, baby, and it FREAKS ME OUT!" was an early line. I agree!
It was awful. Beautifully photographed with insane color and never boring, but it was awful. It was from that brief time after the totally unexpected success of Easy Rider, when Hollywood threw money at every insane hippie film that came along. Ebert wrote it, quite literally, as it was being filmed. There was no plot, just random incidents. And if the ending seems like it comes from nowhere--it did, they were making this shit up as they went along. But it's entertaining in its awfulness, especially the terribly overwritten dialogue and ridiculously melodramatic non-plot.
I'm going to watch it again before I send it back to Netflix, just to hear Ebert's commentary. I can't see him doing anything to defend this nonsense, besides saying "I was 19, for God's sake!" I think that this is where he may have learned 2 lessons that he frequently mentions in his reviews of other people's films: "The script needed another run through the typewriter," and, most importantly, "When anything can happen--who cares what happens?"