Kuhrt.net - Rants, Raves and Reviews - The Archive

This archive page is dedicated to spewing forth my opinions about whatever strikes my fancy, makes me twitchy, or causes me to reach for the Pepto. (hence the festive Pepto colored background). This is an archive of the stuff I wrote previously. The current stuff is right here.

Don't like what you read? Check out the disclaimer, below.

When spewed Ranting
Rating
Gurglings
27-DEC-2007 SCHEMING_CALVIN

Tis' the Season for politics from the Humor List.

A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer's field.

The old farmer, after seeing what had happened, went over to investigate.

He then proceeded to dig a hole to bury the politicians.

A few days later the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus, and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone.

The old farmer said he had buried them.

The sheriff asked the old farmer, "Were they all dead?"

The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren't, but I didn't believe them."

7-DEC-2007 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

The Greenest Hypocrites of 2007

I found this article interesting. Those who yell the loudest about global warming seem to be the biggest hypocrites.

5-DEC-2007 PLANE_ICON

Happy Plane(?)

I finally got my plane, N43434, back online at the club this morning (insert loud knocking on wood sound here). Considering my RRR entry from 26-SEP-2007, it seemed like it would be back in the club by mid-October. It wasn't and it has been an odd collection of delays, some expected, some not.

First, Firewall Forward, the engine supplier, swore they'd have a new engine to me by 1-OCT. It didn't get it there until two weeks later. They didn't tell me right away, of course. As a matter of fact I had a hard time tracking down anyone that would say anything more than, "It should be out of here soon".

I don't know about you, but if I buy something for $17,500, and it's going to be two weeks late, I'd like a courtesy call to let me know. I certainly don't want to be calling and leaving messages that don't get returned quickly and with little to no information when they are returned. Even if the delay is something stupid, I'd rather know about it than be left in the dark.

So the engine arrives at Oakland Aircraft Maintenance on 16-OCT and they think they can get it put on the plane in a couple of days. Oh, wait a minute, the cooling baffle is broken. Oh, wait another minute, the exhaust shroud has a hole in it. Um, guys, couldn't these have been fixed while we were waiting for the engine to show up? These were some of the only parts retained from the old engine.

First flight 27-OCT. Since you need to fly the engine to a specific break-in procedure to make sure the rings seat correctly, I decided I would do all the flying. Roughly twenty hours of flying later all the plugs came up dry, which means the rings are sealed.

First revenue flight 8-NOV.

Everything looked pretty good so far, until the cowling was left unlatched before take off and flew open on climb-out breaking the cowl on 20-NOV. Due to the holidays, the replacement part could not be installed until mid-day 23-NOV. One week later the landing light retainer ring breaks, on Saturday morning, which means it'll have to be ordered on Monday and installed on Tuesday, 4-DEC.

So the plane has been broken in for over twenty days, but only available for ten due to odd little bits that, due to timing, took forever to fix. Of the ten days available, most were not usable due to weather.

Ah, the benefits of aircraft ownership. Where is my Pepto?

28-NOV-2007 PENSIVE_PINKY

RETROPHRENOLOGY

The word of the day is retrophrenology.

The medical practice of hitting people on the head with a hammer to produce a set of bumps which will produce the desired personality trait.

There are a fair number of people who would benefit from such a treatment.

20-NOV-2007 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas of immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907

Teddy Rooseveldt's Pix

"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all.

We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language here,and that is the English language.... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."


I'd say the same thing holds true today. It wasn't that long ago that America was called the "Melting Pot". Seemed that eveyone that came here tried to assimilate as best they could. They could keep their heritage, but they also understood the Lingua Franca (or the language of business) was American English. You were an American first, and foremost. Everyone seemed to agree on a common goal of understanding.

Now it doesn't seem like anyone is even trying. Go to the DMV (in California, at least) and you can take the test in about forty different languages. Go to court, choose from a plethora of interpreters. Oakland schools teach in English, Spanish, and Ebonic.

Where is the common goal, the common ground, the striving for the good of the community? Nowhere.

 

14-NOV-2007 CAT_ACK

Puns! from the Humor List.

  • To err is human, to moo bovine.
  • If life gives you llamas, make llamanade.
  • A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
  • A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.
  • My wife really likes to make pottery, but to me it's just kiln time.
  • Practice safe eating - always use condiments.
  • Did Noah keep his bees in archives?
  • I fired my masseuse today. She just rubbed me the wrong way.
  • A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.
  • Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
  • Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?
  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
  • A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.
  • She criticized my apartment, so I knocked her flat.
  • Without geometry, life is pointless.
  • When you dream in color, it's a pigment of your imagination.
  • Banning the bra was a big flop.
  • Sea captains don't like crew cuts.
  • Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
    •  

13-NOV-2007 POWDERED_TOAST

A Great Writer Will Make You Emotional

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed a desire to become a great writer. When asked to define "great" he said:

"I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, wail, howl in pain, desperation, and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.

12-OCT-2007 HAPPY_DOT

Hawai'i 2007

A blowhard by a blowhole

We spent from 1-OCT to 10-OCT in Hawai'i. The island of Kaua'i to be more exact. Waipouli, to be even more exact.

Here we see a blowhard near "Spouting Horn" a blowhole.

There are a number of tourist style photos to document this trip online at KodakGallery.

We snorkled, kayaked, ate at a different restuarant just about every night, and generally had a good time. There are roughly forty-five miles of paved road on the island, and we covered them all, racking up around four hundred miles on the car.


There were a few things to rant about, but I'm going to leave this segment of the rrr update positive. More of the downfalls of Kauai'i and the trip when I get coherent handle on it.

26-SEP-2007 PLANE_ICON

Sad Plane

Seems the TBO (time between overhauls) for my airplane engine was a hard number and not a suggestion. At 2010 hours the engine didn't make compressions any longer, so I couldn't put it back into the club for public consumption.

Sad N43434 without engine


So I'm getting a "new to me" engine from Firewall Forward along with a prop overhaul and some other new fiddly-bits. I should have the engine early next week, and have it back together a week or so after that. Some break in time and I'll have brand new engine, probably good for another couple of years.

18-SEP-2007 OAK_LOGO

Season's Over

Something good from the 2007 A's season

OK, so the title is a little bit off.

If you look at the date on the left you'll notice that it is not 30-SEP-2007, the official end of the regular season. (And since the A's are no where near going to the playoffs like last year, we don't need to mention that some teams will play well beyond the 30th.)

It is also not the end of the season as declared by Billy Beane, the General Manager of the A's, which was 29-JUN-2007. That was the day where Milton Bradley was traded away and the start of a long line of trades of anyone on the payroll that was vaguely healthy and cost more than minimum wage.

Granted, sometimes trading high salary players are a good thing if the A's get something in return. This did not seem to be the case for this trade, or any of the trades that followed the Bradley trade.

Sometimes getting rid of high salary players make sense from a payroll perspective. With a "Small Market" team, you can't generate the payroll you can with, say, a market the size of San Francisco. Oh, wait, Oakland is in the San Francisco market.

Just before Bradley was traded for nothing, Melhuse was sent packing in return for nothing. Melhuse wasn't a big ticket player, but he was a great backup catcher and good for a clutch hit, even though he rarely got game time. Soon after Bradley, Kendall, the primary catcher, was traded for the Cub's backup catcher and a minor league pitcher.

Certainly would be good to have a catcher that knew the starting rotation with the lowest ERA in the majors right about now. Oops, he's gone. Wonder why the ERA went up after that?

But I could rant all day on how incompetent Billy Beane seems this season, starting with the ousting of Ken Macha, the manager that got them to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in ages. Or how, now, as a season ticket holder, I'm getting mail from the club asking me to lock in my 2007 prices for 2008 by buying tickets now.

How about selling them to me for half price, since Billy called the season before the All Star break?

No? OK, then forget it.


Two good things came out of this season. (pictured, above)

I got a neat Athletics sweatshirt from one of Diane's vendors, and my first foul ball!

Worth the cost of a season ticket? Hardly.

10-SEP-2007 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

Stop FAA Funding via User Fees

Support HR 2881

The airlines, who have done such a good job of balancing their own books over the last few years, want to change how the FAA is funded. They want to lower their taxes, get control of the system, and charge general aviation users the lions share of the cost.

I can't imagine how letting the airlines control the FAA would make anything better. They can't get planes out on time, slash customer service, raid and destroy pensions, and collect dubious fees charged directly to passengers. Hardly a model of safety and conscientious service that the FAA needs to provide.

Support HR 2881, click on the sticker, above, to see how.

6-SEP-2007 SCHEMING_CALVIN

Join the Commie Party!

Join the Commie Party!

Wonder if all they serve is vodka drinks?

4-SEP-2007 HOBBES

Quote of the day.

"Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter,
and those who matter, don't mind."

      —Dr. Seuss

12-AUG-2007 PLANE_ICON

Boonville Fly-In

Boonville Fly-In Pic

Diane, Tom and I flew N43434 up to Boonville to go to the Fly-In and hang out with Bob, Tom's brother.

When we got near the airport there were three planes on the runway taking off, and three planes in the pattern ready to land. I flew over the airport about 1000 feet above the pattern and announced our intentions, and eventually fell into the pattern tailing a couple of other planes. Put it down with one bounce and immediately taxied to the far end of the runway to get out of the way of other planes. Since there isn't an adjacent taxiway at the airport you just have to get as far away on each end as possible to make room for other planes.


We eventually parked and walked up to the ensuing party near mid-field and had a great time sampling wines and local beers and meeting other people who had flown in.

The few pictures that I did take at the Fly-In, along with a few I took at Bob's winery, Claudia Springs, are online at KodakGallery.

Before we left I took Bob on a flight over the Anderson Valley so he could see the winery from above. If he was paniced by being in a plane with a low time pilot he was nice enough not to show it.

The flight back was uneventful, which is a good thing. This was my first flight with multiple passengers where we actually went somewhere. The most I'd done up to now was to do a Bay Tour with one passenger, or a flight to Half Moon Bay with Diane.

28-JUL-2007 HAPPY_DOT

That's racist, uh, countyist, uh, humor?

"In what aisle could I find the Polish sausage?"

The clerk looks at him and says, "Are you Polish?"

The guy (clearly offended) says, "Well, yes I am. But let me ask you something. If I had asked for Italian sausage would you ask me if I was Italian? Or if I had asked for German bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German? Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish? Or if I had asked for a Taco would you ask if I was Mexican? Would you? Would you?"

The clerk says, "Well, no!"

"If I asked for some Irish whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?"

"Well, I probably wouldn't!"

With deep self-righteous indignation, the guy says, "Well then, why did you ask me if I'm Polish because I asked for Polish sausage?"

The clerk replies, "Because you're at Home Depot."

16-JUL-2007 CRITIC_RASBERRY

Tour de Farce, um, France

I've been watching the Tour the last few days but I'm having a hard time getting enthused. I'm certain as soon as someone from Discovery starts doing well, the frog slander machine will start spewing. Since there doesn't seem to be any repercussions for inaccurate and libelous reporting, the petulant rantings of the pre-school educated French press will continue to regurgitate their hate filled garbage.

Ivan Basso bowed out before the race, even though he was cleared of any allegations in the Ullrich doping scandal. The annoyance factor is so high that he won't even participate. Imagine if all the top riders decided to boycott the race until the slander machine was dismantled.

Hell of a way to run a race.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, F the French, I believe Floyd. I also believe their witchhunts will kill any American interest in the sport.

20-JUN-2007 POWDERED_TOAST

Can I get my groceries crushed over the internet as well?

Remember when WebVan was going to change how groceries were bought and delivered? Order online, get it delivered right to your home. Interesting idea, but badly executed.

Now Amazon is getting into the grocery biz. Does this mean I can get my vegatables pre-smashed, without the bothersome grumpy bagboy?
Probably not.

Wonder how long this will last? What's the expiration date on internet groceries?

10-JUN-2007 POWDERED_TOAST

Fore!

No, wait, three!

Eagle!


The "M" row, above, is my score line from playing golf at Franklin Canyon today. Never mind the triple-bogey, bogey, double, double, double, double, par (OK, that's nice), or the final bogey. I got an eagle! on the last hole!

First eagle ever!

And I've only been playing for thirty-five years. Ha!

5-JUN-2007 PLANE_ICON

Long Distance Cross Country

I flew our plane, N43434, from OAK to Los Angeles and back over the last few days. This is the first time since getting my license that I have flown more than around the Bay.

The flight down was pretty uneventful, to the point of being boring in parts. I flew from Oakland to Tracy and followed the 5 Freeway down to the pass at Gorman. Sure, I had the GPS drawing the purple follow-this line, but I also kept the freeway in site, just in case.

Initially, I had planned to fly to Zampreni Field in Torrance. The weather in Oakland delayed the departure from Saturday to Sunday because of low clouds and fog. Torrance was also fogged in on Sunday, but the weather briefers said it should burn off before I got there. Seemed reasonable at the time, since that is the normal pattern. Fog in the AM, burned off by 13:00 or 14:00, and back in late in the evening.

About every forty-five minutes I'd give Hawthorne Flight Service Station a call on the radio to check on the weather. They'd say it was still fogged in, but it should clear before I got there. Finally, I was pretty much there, so I had to plan a quick diversion to Van Nuys. The controllers were all very helpful and I got down in Van Nuys without too much problem.

The flight back was a work out from start to finish.

Never having flown anywhere than from the Oakland Airport, I was not familar with Clearance Delivery. From what I've been told, after the fact, any IFR operations, and most Class C airports have a frequency where you get an OK before you taxi and takeoff. Oakland's ground controllers handle that, so here I just talk to ground and they get all the info and dispense with the squawk codes and restrictions.

Eventually I get it cleared up, get clearance, and get off the ground.

There was a front moving across the Central Valley. Not too much convection, but enough to make it interesting. Plus, no matter which altitude I chose, 4500, 6500, 8500, there was a stiff headwind. Add to that the up and down drafts associated with clouds in a fast moving front and I was spending all my time working the yolk and rudders.

Paul K, my initial instructor, and self-pronounced "Rudder Nazi", would have been proud.

At one point the Garmin calculated the wind speed at over 90 knots, which means my speed across the ground was slower that the traffic on the I-5.

I get back to Oakland about an hour and fifteen minutes later than I expected due to headwinds. The wind at the airport was varying between 250 and 270 degrees, 25 knots, gusting to 32. Piece of cake landing, NOT!

I did manage to stick the landing and the tower controller said, "WOW, nice landing!".

It's times like that I wish I'd had my towel with me. See below. I was drenched.

25-MAY-2007 CRITIC_GOOD

Happy Towel Day!

Sadly, the guy that ran towelday.kojv.net is gone, so, too is the nifty graphic. There is another site, here to honor Towel Day.

5-MAY-2007 FARSIDE_DUCK

An Inconvenient Truth

Look over the descriptions of the following two houses and see if you can tell which belongs to an environmentalist.

HOUSE # 1: A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guesthouse all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for heating and cooling runs over $2,400.00 per month in natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.

HOUSE # 2: Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on an arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) Heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and current filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "The Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

20-APR-2007 SKUNK

Imus isn't the real bad guy

Here is an interesting take on the Imus debacle.

17-APR-2007 CAT_ACK

Political Correctness Simplified

Seems Scott Adams has summed it up nicely...

Scott Adam's Dilbert Cartoon

9-APR-2007 OAK_LOGO

Opening Day!

Opening Day Tix

Well, the official baseball season has begun, at least at home. Problem is with time of year is that my emotions about the team run hot and cold at a frantic pace, just like batting averages.

Let me explain...

When the sample size is small, it's hard to get an accurate read on the long range outcome. If a player gets ten at bats and hits six times he could be batting six hundred! Same player whiffs on the next ten at bats and now he is batting three hundred. Ten more whiffabats and he is six for thirty, or hitting the Mendoza Line (200).

For batting averages, I can usually think it out and not panic until a month or two into the season. For fielding or running, I have less luck staying rational. Some basic base running errors, a couple of error plagued easy outs missied, and I'm disconsolate.

So the fact that the A's lost 4-1 to the White Sox did not make this a stellar opening day. Base running errors, GIDP, RISP, LOB, all horrible. Better than last year, but that isn't saying much.

25-MAR-2007 POWDERED_TOAST

The disease that is MS

From: Humor List
Subject: MS ing

From the UK edition of 'PC Week' 31 march, 1998:

The residents of Silicon Valley are more confused than usual after a billboard campaign by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of America.

One of the ads uses the slogan "MS: It's not a software company" exploiting the fame of a certain company to draw attention to an altogether worthier cause. Requests to comment on the campaign have been met by a surly silence by Microsoft which doesn't relish the association of ideas, but is painfully aware that it can't afford to appear insensitive over such an issue.

Seasoned IT professionals will have no trouble telling the two MS's apart. One is a debilitating and surprisingly widespread affliction that renders the sufferer barely able to perform the simplest task.

The other is a disease.

20-MAR-2007 OAK_LOGO

Spring Training 2007!

Spent last Saturday and Sunday at the A's Spring Training Games in Phoenix. Saturday was completely sold out and a zoo because it was St. Patty's Day. A huge drunk crowd in 95 degree heat to see the A's get creamed by the Brewers (Brewers on St. Patty's? Cooincidence?).

Sunday we went and saw the A's squeak out a win agaist the hated Angels of Azuza. Bottom of the ninth rally to win! Slightly cooler at a brisk 93. Here's a pic of Diane and I in our seats right behind the Angels dugout.

Spring Training 2007

14-MAR-2007 GLARING_BRAIN

Fraud as a Business Plan

For years I've taken every opportunity available to me to lambast Micro$oft for the destruction they've wrought on the computer market with their illegal business tactics. Here's an interest article that spells this out in well-worded detail how they use "Fraud as a Business Plan".

28-FEB-2007 HAPPY_CALVIN

F the French, indeed!

So I made it to the last day of the Tour of California. I was wearing the "I Believe Floyd" shirt, and ran into Mr. Landis, himself. I asked if he would sign my shirt, and when he read it he broke out in a big grin and said, "Sure!".

Here is a small scan of said shirt...

Floyd signed shirt


 

20-FEB-2007 HAPPY_CALVIN

Tour of California

Tour of CA Logo

The Tour of California is in full swing!

It is much cooler than that French one, because...

  1. it is not in France
  2. it only goes for a week, and not three
 Mostly number one, though.

The one drawback is that the winner of the not-so-cool Tour, Floyd Landis, is not participating. Basically, my take on that situation can be summed up with this t-shirt...

I believe Floyd, F the French!


Hopefully, I'll be in Long Beach for Sunday's stage, so you might see it there as well.

14-FEB-2007 GLARING_BRAIN

From: The Humor List
Subject: Puns To The Rescue

Did you hear about the pet store whose canaries were constantly flying and never landed? They gave them away for free. After all, we're all familiar with "no perches necessary".

When the clock factory caught fire, second hand smoke was everywhere.

It wasn't school that John disliked, it was just the principal of the thing.

To some, marriage is a word ... to others, a sentence.

It was an emotional wedding; even the cake was in tiers.

Is a cannibal's favorite game "Swallow the Leader?"

When they finish a new hive, do bees have a house swarming party?

 

2-FEB-2007 PLANE_ICON

Passed!

I took the oral exam on Thursday and the flying exam today, and I passed them both!

I'm officially a private pilot now!

A big thanks to my main CFIs Paul Kvedalen and Fiona McChesney! Another thanks to Jeff Heitzeberg, the DPE, who saw my abilities and looked past the small errors brought on by exam jitters.

23-JAN-2007 PLANE_ICON

No Checkride for You!

So for the last month I've been preparing for my FAA Checkride. This is the half-day long examination done by a Designated Flight Examiner. If I pass this test then I get my Private Pilot Aircraft Single Engine Land certificate, which means I can fly anywhere legal and take passengers.

I had the test scheduled for today, but I wound up getting a head cold over the weekend. No flight for me. Not that a slight head cold would keep someone from flying, but this wasn't a slight cold, and this certainly wasn't an ordinary flight.

What a let down. I'm healthy 360 days a year. What a time to get sick.

The other bummer is that the examiner I scheduled with is going on vacation for three weeks starting tomorrow. Now I have to find another examiner and study up on his/her testing quirks.

Urf! Ugh!

10-JAN-2007 CAT_ACK

Heed your Mother's warning...

Remember when you were a kid and your mom said "Don't take candy from strangers"?

No Candy, please

This is one time where YOU SHOULD PROBABLY LISTEN!

p.s. I always wondered what Howard Stern looked like off the air.

1-JAN-2007 HAPPY_DOT

Happy New Year!

7-DEC-2006 HAPPY_CALVIN

Well, if you put it that way...

Subject: Christmas is weird! from the Humor List

What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

6-DEC-2006 SIMPLE_PLANE

Prerequisites done!

I finally finished my night cross country and all my hood work tonight! Now all I have to do is prep for the FAA checkride and I should be a real pilot soon!

p.s. "hood work" is where I wear a hood or goggles so that all I can see is the instruments. The CFI watches for traffic and gives the instructions one would receive from an air traffic controller if you were really flying in instrument flight conditions.

19-NOV-2006 CAT_ACK

New housemate!

Say hello to Cole, our new housemate! He is an all black domestic short hair we picked up from the Feral Cat Foundation.

Cat King Cole

His original name was Hanover, the street where they found him in Oakland. That name just doesn't trip off the tongue, so we toyed with a few names before settling on Cole. This way he can be Cat King Cole, or Cole Porter, or if he is being lazy, Lump of Cole.

14-NOV-2006 FARSIDE_COW

OK, so it's geek humor... But it's my kind of geek humor from xkcd.com.

17-OCT-2006 SKUNK

Guess Who!?!?

Given the statistics below, which organization do you think this is, the NBA or the NFL?

  • 36 have been accused of spousal abuse
  • 7 have been arrested for fraud
  • 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
  • 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
  • 3 have done time for assault
  • 71, repeat, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
  • 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
  • 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
  • 21 currently are defendants in lawsuits
  • 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is?

Neither, it's the 535 members of the United States Congress.

16-OCT-2006 CAT_ACK

Sea Shore Suspicions
from the Humor List by Clynch Varnadore

A couple lived near the ocean and used to walk the beach a lot.

One summer they noticed a girl who was at the beach pretty much every day. She wasn't unusual, nor was the travel bag she carried, except for one thing; she would approach people who were sitting on the beach, glance around furtively, then speak to them.

Generally the people would respond negatively and she would wander off, but occasionally someone would nod and there would be a quick exchange of money and something she carried in her bag.

The couple assumed she was selling drugs, and debated calling the cops, but since they didn't know for sure they just continued to watch her.

After a couple of weeks the wife said, "Honey, have you ever noticed that she only goes up to people with boom boxes and other electronic devices?"

He hadn't and said so.

Then she said, "Tomorrow I want you to get a towel and our big radio and go lie out on the beach. Then we can find out what she's really doing."

Well, the plan went off without a hitch and the wife was almost hopping up and down with anticipation when she saw the girl talk to her husband and then leave.

The man walked up the beach and met his wife at the road.

"Well? Is she selling drugs?" she asked excitedly.

"No, she's not," he said, enjoying this probably more than he should have.

"Well? What is it, then? What does she do?" his wife fairly shrieked.

The man grinned and said, "She's a battery salesperson."

"Batteries?" cried the wife.

"Yes," he replied.

"She sells C cells by the sea shore."

13-SEP-2006 SIMPLE_PLANE

Airline Humor

At a time when increasingly stringent "security measures" are being implemented, it is sometimes nice to reflect back on a time when there were humorous things about air travel.

What I don't quite understand is that if we are not allowed to bring toiletries onto an aircraft won't that make us less secure? If the personal hygiene of everyone on the plane is bad, how will we smell out the stinking terrorists?

This was sent to me by my buddy Dingo...

  1. On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"
  2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."
  3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."
  4. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"
  5. "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."
  6. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"
  7. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."
  8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."
  9. "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."
  10. Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."
  11. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."
  12. "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."
  13. And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"
  14. Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."
  15. Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"
  16. Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."
  17. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"
  18. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."
  19. Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."
  20. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."
  21. A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax...OH, MY GOD!" -----Silence -----followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!"
    A passenger in Coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!"

29-AUG-2006 SCHEMING_CALVIN

Always one to tread lightly

I decided to let my thoughts be known about the Floyd Landis debacle in my usual subtle way. See this page for some fine dust rags, and such, that voice my opinion.

17-AUG-2006 HAPPY_DOT

Dog Food Diet Danger (R rated)

From: (The Humor List)
Subject: Purina Diet

I have a Golden retriever, and I was buying a large bag of Purina at Wal-Mart and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry and that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again. I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a guy who was behind her. Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in the hospital in that condition because I had been poisoned.

I told her no; it was because I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me. I thought one guy was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard as he staggered out the door.

2-AUG-2006 FARSIDE_DUCK

Where do I get my sign?

Here is an interesting list of some of the top seven idiots of 2005 my friend Lee sent to me recently...

Number One Idiot of 2005

I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in oxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman called in very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter into the hospital.

She calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter into the emergency room right away.

Here's your sign, lady. Wear it with pride.

Number Two Idiot of 2005

Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated.

They are no longer employed at Boeing.

Here's your sign, guys. Don't get it wet; the paint might run.

Number Three Idiot of 2005

A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the Branch and wrote "this iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo Bank.

After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, "OK" and left.

He was arrested a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.

Don't bother with this guy's sign. He probably couldn't read it anyway.

Number Four Idiot of 2005

A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this time of handcuffs.

He immediately mailed in his $40.

Smartass... but you still get a sign.

Number Five Idiot of 2005

A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all of the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, "Because I don't believe you are over 21."

The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn't believe him. At this point, the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bag.

The robber then ran from the store with his loot. The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that he got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later.

This guy definitely needs a sign.

Idiot Number Six of 2005

A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.

This guy doesn't even deserve a sign

Idiot Number Seven of 2005

Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back knocking him unconscious. It seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

Yep, Here's your sign

28-JUL-2006 GLARING_BRAIN

F the French

F the French In typical "Tried And Convicted In The Media Before The Facts Are In" fashion, the French governing body for the Tour decided to release the news that one of Floyd Landis' tests came back with too much testosterone. This was after the stage where he regained the time lost in the previous climb by going out pretty much on his own and blowing apart the field.

They didn't wait until the backup specimen had been checked. No, they'd rather slander "The American" and taint his name because they can't believe another American won.

The French really are poor losers, aren't they? You'd think they'd be better at it, since they have so much experience in it. You only have to look at Zidane's performace in the Cup to get a feel for their type of sportsmanship.

As one doctor I saw on the news last night stated, "This accusation doesn't make any sense, since there would be no performance gain from testosterone in this short of time. Besides, elevated levels of testosterone can occur naturally". This from a guy who was running the Olympic drug testing programs for years, so if he thinks the test results are bogus, you can bet they are.

Regardless of the "reported" outcome, I still think Floyd rocks! Floyd Rocks! F the French!

21-JUL-2006 FARSIDE_DUCK

Quote of the Day

"Grove giveth and Gates taketh away."

Bob Metcalfe (inventor of Ethernet) on the trend of hardware speedups not being able to keep up with software demands.

18-JUL-2006 HAPPY_DOT

And this is the Welcoming Committee!

virgins

Wonder what the other 70-plus have in store?

Thanks to Bernie for sending me this

10-JUL-2006 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

FIFA World Cup VS. Tour De France

fifa fafa foofoo boring Thank goodness the World Cup is done. What a bunch of hype for a sport that makes Cricket look exciting. I suppose if I'd played soccer (or football as the rest of the world calls it) in my youth, there may be something to be said for it, but then again I doubt it.

How can you call a bunch of guys jogging around for ninty minutes exciting? There doesn't seem to be any organized plays, or direction that can be attributed to the chaos. A player, when making some vague effort to elude an opponent will run at about a three-quarter sprint for thirty seconds, ineffectually pass it away, and then go back to jogging, walking, and strolling about the park.

"Yeah, but they are running for ninty minutes, that takes incredible effort!", mentioned an English friend of mine, "what other sport has that?". OK, they are standing around on the pitch for that time, but you'd be hard pressed to say they are actually running for that amount of time.

Marathon runners run at a much faster pace for over two hours. Triathletes do a marathon and then swin and bike for more. Tour de France riders are in the saddle four to five hours a day for three weeks.

I almost forgot about the five minutes of bad acting per match in football. If someone brushes up against you, you have to throw yourself to the ground and act like you've had an amputation without anesthetics. Once the ref has acknowledged your tantrum, and the trainer has come out to kiss away the boo-boo, you then pop back up and resume strolling about the park.

Hardly a manly persuit. Maybe they should wear frilly dresses instead of the silky shorts.

Another minus against the World Cup is how detrimental one bad referee call can be. Ninty minutes of jogging and bad acting ruined by a ref who decided that his third mistress didn't treat him right last night and some relative of hers came from one of the countries he is officiating.

Tweep!, red card because I wanna, and that's the game. Also, the anti-American bais of the refs was a bit obvious. If FIFA wanted to make sure one of the most lucrative advertizing markets in the World would continue its indifference, this was the perfect way.

I'll take the Tour any day. Real men, real strategy, real effort. Don't get me started about the anti-American bias in the Tour.

Thank goodness the World Cup only happens once every four years.

5-JUL-2006 Plane Icon

Proud owner of N43434

N43434 picture

I finally bought the plane I've been looking at for the last month and a half. N43434, is a 1974 Piper Warrior, or PA28-151. It has recent paint and interior and a full Garmin IFR capable avionics stack.

Of course, it's still in the shop, getting some of the FAA fiddly-bits done, but I hope to have it flying this week.

There are more pictures of the plane in the KodakGallery  shared album.

4-JUL-2006 HAPPY_DOT

Sailing on the 4th of July

Sailing on the 4th Jeff and Katie, my next door neighbors, invited Diane and I on a sailing trip into San Francisco Bay to see the fireworks up close.

What a great time! Don't let Diane's expression let you think otherwise.

That's Diane on the left in red and Jeff on the right in dark blue.


You can see more pictures on KodakGallery.

 

10-JUN-2006 SAD_STIMPY

Bye-Bye Boo

Co-pilot Boo

My constant companion, and sometime co-pilot when flight planning, succumbed to kidney failure today.

Licorice-Sable-Louisa-Boo-Boo Kitty, or Boo for short, had one of the longest names I've ever known for a cat.

There is a story behind the name...

When we were taking the broker's tour of the house in which we currently live, this little black cat was lounging in the garden. She looked like a black cat buddy of mine I had in Los Angeles called Louis, but she was a girl, so I called her Louisa. She didn't mind if I petted her and she was generally friendly and outgoing.

As we completed the tour of the house the broker asked if there were any items necessary to seal the deal. I jokingly stated that if we didn't get the cat, we didn't want the house.

Come to find out the cat did come with the house. She had been abandon by a previous owner and had been hanging around the neighborhood ever since.

One of my neighbors said her name was Sable. So Sable-Louisa is was.

Another neighbor said that the original name was Licorice, which got changed to Sable when she started hanging around neighbor one. OK, so Licorice-Sable-Louisa it was.

Somehow a Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast episode got worked in there where his cat was called Boo-Boo-Kitty. That just added to the mix, so now it was Licorice-Sable-Louisa-Boo-Boo-Kitty.

That is hard to say in one breath, so it got shortened to LSLBBK or just Boo. If we were being more formal it might be "Miss Boo". I'm not sure what name she liked to be called best, but if I asked who the pretty kitty was, she would trill "Booooo?".

Whatever her name, I'm sure going to miss her.

31-MAY-2006 OAK_LOGO

Bond's 714th tix


On May 20th I went to the game at the Coliseum where Barry Big-Head Bonds hit his 714th home run, tying Babe Ruth's record. As I stood and watched the ball clear the rail and land in the right field bleachers, I thought, "Gee, that sucks", with the same level low level of angst as I have for a typical hometeam strike out.

With a sell-out crowd, and 1000 SRO seats, this is a one in a 37,500 kind of ticket. Maybe worth $0.05 on EBay. To a Huston Street fan (the guitar player on the ticket).

Well, I thought, at least I have seen a small piece of history. I think it's the sports equivalent of seeing the last Milli Vanilli concert. History, I suppose, but not something real, or something to get worked up about.

Kendall's 1st tix


This, on the other hand is something to get worked up about. The ticket to the game where Jason Kendall got his first home run as an A! He had gone 950+ at bats and a season and a half with the A's without one.

With roughly 23,000 at the stadium, this is a much more valuable ticket.

But I'm not selling.

23-APR-2006 OAK_LOGO

An overcast day with a temp in the low sixties added to the gloom that was a 4-3 loss to the Azuza Angels of Pacoima. The home plate umpire was spectacularly bad, and put a depressing exclamation point on the end of the game when he called out Payton looking at a fastball at the eyes.

Ugh.

16-APR-2006 OAK_LOGO

Ed and I @ A's game Ed, Diane and I went to the A's game on Sunday against the Rangers. Dan Haren pitched eight shutdown innings with the only run he gave up a deep fly to right that Milton bobbled over the fence that was scored a home run. That tied the game at one, but Chavez put us back up three to one in the bottom of the eigth inning on a two-run double.


Next up, Huston Street to close the game. Game over automatic. Right?

Not today.

Huston got blowed up. Blowed up real good! Texas scored four runs in the top of the ninth, which became the winning runs in a heartbreaking 5-3 loss.

It was cool to hang out with my Brother from Iowa, though, win or lose. Besides, he is a Cubs fan, mostly, so he is familiar with " Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory!

10-APR-2006 Angry Guy

MR. PRESIDENT, I'M HEADED TO MEXICO

David M. Bresnahan
April 1, 2006
NewsWithViews.com

Dear President Bush:

I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this.

I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

  1. Free medical care for my entire family.
  2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
  3. All government forms need to be printed in English.
  4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.
  5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.
  6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.
  7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
  8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.
  9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.
  10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.
  11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
  12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and don't enforce any labor laws or tax laws.
  13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P.

Thank you so much for your kind help.

Sincerely,
David M. Bresnahan

David M. Bresnahan has over 30 years of experience as an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, radio station owner, talk show host, and business owner. David has been a prominent writer for many Internet newspapers.

 

01-APR-2006 GLARING_BRAIN

Got this from Dingo. As he said, it explains a lot...

Easy Way to Fitness

23-MAR-2006 PLANE_ICON

FAA written exam, PASSED!

HAPPY_CALVIN

On Thursday, March 23rd, I finally sat down and took the FAA written exam for private pilot. A passing grade is anything better than 70% and I got 93%!

A few more cross country flights, an oral exam, and a check ride with an FAA examiner and I will become an official Private Pilot!
(assuming I pass, of course)

You can't say you haven't been warned.

21-MAR-2006 CRITIC_GOOD

Finding Forrester

The graphic to the left is a bit more enthusiastic about this movie than I was, but I still thought the movie deserved a positive review. I don't have a graphic (yet) for good, but not excellent. I'd say it ranked about three and a half stars out fo five, so I'll add the four star (rounded up) graphic, here, four stars.

Anyway, let's get the the why of the rating.

The basic premise is that a gifted writer who is a high school student is mentored by the reclusive Pulitzer Prize winning author. They both learn valuable lessons, etc, etc, etc, while becoming friends.

I really liked the first two-thirds of this movie. Both of the main characters were either suffering from their success, or hiding their talents because of how they wanted to control how they fit into the social world. How they helped each other and learned to better express themselves and come out of their shells was very well crafted and believable.

After the two-thirds mark it sort of went off the rails into the standard formula of "Let's add a conflict for quick resolution". The change in mood and tone in the movie was glaring enough that I thought the DVD media might have had a flaw in it and it skipped into some variant of Ferris Bueller's Day Off or The Breakfast Club. There were also a large number of loose ends in this movie that should have never been started, left out altogether, or closed up somehow.

All in all, an enjoyable hour and forty minutes. The total run time was two hours and sixteen minutes, but the first hour and forty were good. The score was very good, and the end title medly of "Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World" was so well done that it made me stop the credits and write down the artist.

Nothing Earth shattering here, or unique, but it was an enjoyable way spend an hour or two.

cover Get Netflix!
Amazon logo Buy it from Amazon.
IMDb logo Get more info from IMDb.
7-MAR-2006 HAPPY_CALVIN

A different spin on recent news

From: (The Humor List)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A white house source stated that Congress is considering awarding Vice-President Dick Cheney the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian commendation, for his singular act of bravery in shooting an attorney.

The source was reported to say, "All Americans have wanted to shoot a lawyer at one time or another, and Cheney actually had the cojones to do it."

In a related story, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which issues hunting licenses, said that it will start requiring hunters, wishing to bag a lawyer, to have the new "lawyer's stamp" on their hunting license. Currently Texas hunters are required to carry stamps for hunting birds, deer, and bear, at a cost of $7 annually. The new "lawyers stamp" will cost $100, but open season will be all year long.

The department further stated that although the "lawyers stamp" comes at hefty price, sales have been brisk and it is believed it will generate annual revenues in excess of $3 billion dollars the first year. Other states are considering similar hunting license stamps.

23-FEB-2006 GLARING_BRAIN

Useful advice regarding credit fraud

I pass along a bunch of jokes on the Internet and sometimes other things. I just received this info from a friend and I thought I'd put it on the RRR page, instead of sending it out via mass email, as it is very useful.

His original message follows...


A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

  1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED."
  3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
  4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.(DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

  1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
  3. This is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
    Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend (someone turned it in).

It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:

  1. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  2. Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  3. Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
  4. Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

13-FEB-2006 3_OF_5_STARS

Sideways

So after much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to rent this movie. I'm usually very wary of movies that get as much critical acclaim and hype as this one did, because, like Adaptation for instance, my experience is usually not as exceptional. This ultra-hyped movie is not the exception to that rule.

This is a good, or even very good, movie about some late thirties people coming to grips with the decisions they've made in their lives. It centers on a last-bash-before-a-wedding road trip by two guys to the wine country around Santa Barbara. While it was a well put together movie, I didn't see it through the same rose colored goggles the paid reviewers did.

There are some positive things I can say about this movie, though...

The characters are more real than the average movie. By real, I mean they all have flaws, and know it. This isn't a Ward and June Cleaver type of existence, but more of a "warts and all" one. Miles is a manic-depressive drunk, and Jack is a fading TV star with the morals of a raccoon in heat.

The wine snobbery seemed to be spot on, in my experience. I'm not a wine expert, but I've been around a few, and the endless flowery prose around the wines read true.

I give it three of five stars. It's worth watching, but I wouldn't go very far out of my way to do so.

cover Get Netflix!
Amazon logo Buy it from Amazon.
IMDb logo Get more info from IMDb.
30-JAN-2006 FARSIDE_COW

I don't know who attacked me officer, he was wearing a mask!

Raccoon and Dog Show

18-NOV-2005 PLANE_ICON

So whattaya know, about 12:20PM PST, 18-NOV-2005, I finally got to fly solo!

I've been taking flying lessons for most of this summer from Oakland Flyers. This flying club is located at the Oakland Airport, right across the street from the Western Aerospace Museum. All flights originate from the North field, which you might have seen on the right as you drive into the main air terminals or if you golf at the Metropolitan Golf Course.

After logging many, many, many, hours of dual instruction with my main CFI (certified flight instructor), Paul Kvedalen, and some hours with Fiona McChesney when he was in Norway, I finally got to fly on my own. All went well for the designated three touch and gos in the pattern for runway 27L. When I landed the Oakland North Tower controller said, "four-five-bravo (the plane designation), excellent landing, congratulations on your first solo flight"!

Was he tipped off when my instructor dove out of the plane screaming, "You're on you own now!"? Or was it when the instructor was running for cover with his hands wrapped around his head? Was it the sudden deployment of emergency equipment that gave it away?

Nah.

Paul probably called the tower guy. But it was neat to get comment from the tower, nonetheless.

Here is the serious solo picture Paul took right after the flight.
Serious Solo Pic He was quite adamant about the pose and that I should be holding my headsets to look "More Professional".
Of course most professional pilot types wear Vans shoes, Royal Robbins shorts and a tradeshow gimme polo shirt.

Here is my not so serious solo picture, indicating that I'm seeing double.
Not Serious Solo Pic If the finger gesture doesn't mean I'm seeing double, then maybe it means that I'm a "Pilot" now, in air-quotes.

Here is the obligatory shot with the tail number of the plane in the background.
Obligatory Nview Solo Pic It's a tradition, or so I've been told, to have a picture with the tail number for such events as these. I also heard that it's a tradition to have your shirt tail cut off and hung up, which my instructor is working on. He has the shirt, it just needs the markup.
My instructor and the club owner also said it was tradition to take everyone out for drinks on my tab. While I did that, I'm going to have to research the validity of that one.

17-NOV-2005 HAPPY_CALVIN

From: (The Humor List)
Subject: New Rules

  1. Stop giving me that pop-up ad for Classmates.com! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.
  2. Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout? Luckily, it was only a finger! If it was a whole hand, Congress would have voted to keep it alive.
  3. Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.
  4. There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.
  5. Stop f***ing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.
  6. The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the a**hole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half- soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge a**hole.
  7. I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy. Paper, plastic? I don't have time for that. I've just been called to do a cleanup on Aisle Nine!
  8. Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.
  9. Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."
  10. I don't need a bigger mega M&M. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.
  11. No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking up the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.
  12. New Rule, and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.
  13. When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't care in the first place.
  14. If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

18-DEC-2004 HAPPY_CALVIN

Gift Wrap

From the HUMOR list.

From:    Les Pourciau
Subject: Giftwrapping tips for men

Giftwrapping Tips for Men

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men; Gaspar, Balthazar and Herb, went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, "presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: There is no mention of wrapping paper.

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: "And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, she saideth, 'Holdeth it! That is nice paper! Saveth it for next year!' And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense."

Bu t these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics: 1. They were wise. 2. They were men.

Men are not big gift wrappers. Men do not understand the point of putting paper on a gift just so somebody else can tear it off. This is not just my opinion: This is a scientific fact based on a statistical survey of two guys I know.

One is Rob, who said the only time he ever wraps a gift is "if it's such a poor gift that I don't want to be there when the person opens it."

The other is Gene, who told me he does wrap gifts, but as a matter of principle never takes more than 15 seconds per gift. "No one ever had to wonder which presents daddy wrapped at Christmas," Gene said. "They were the ones that looked like enormous spitballs."

I also wrap gifts, but because of some defect in my motor skills, I can never completely wrap them. I ca n take a gift the size of a deck of cards and put it the exact center of a piece of wrapping paper the size of a regulation volleyball court, but when I am done folding and taping, you can still see a sector of the gift peeking out. (Sometimes I camouflage this sector with a marking pen.)

If I had been an ancient Egyptian in the field of mummies, the lower half of the Pharaoh's body would be covered only by Scotch tape.

On the other hand, if you give my wife a 12-inch square of wrapping paper, she can wrap a C-130 cargo plane. My wife, like many women, actually likes wrapping things. If she gives you a gift that requires batteries, she wraps the batteries separately, which to me is very close to being a symptom of mental illness. If it were possible, my wife would wrap each individual volt.

My point is that gift-wrapping is one of those skills like having babies that come more naturally to women than to men. That is why today I am presenting:

GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN:

  • Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.
  • The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack.
  • If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning:

YOUR WIFE: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?

YOU: It's a gift! See? It has a bow!

YOUR WIFE (peering into the trash bag): It's a leaf blower.

YOU: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!

YOUR WIFE: I want a divorce.

YOU: I also got you some myrrh.

In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.

--Male Author Unknown

 

15-DEC-2004 HOBBES

Outakes from Wrath of Khan

Who knew that there was a "Captain Kirk eating a small kitten in rage" scene deleted from that movie?

Not I.

Well, now you know, and can see and enjoy a still from that outake.

Kahn! This kitten is delish!

Kaaaaaaahn! This kitten is delish!

 

13-OCT-2004 GLARING_BRAIN

Happy Indig People Day, uh, Columbus Day, uh, wait...

In 1990, the Berkeley City Council passed a law changing the name of Columbus Day to Native American Day because Columbus wasn't nice to the Indians. Of course, no Indians were asked if they wanted the holiday's name changed or if they wanted to be called Native Americans.

In 1991, the Berkeley City Council changed the name again, to Indigenous People Day. A group of P.C.ers argued that Indians are not native to America but to Asia, so calling them Native Americans might be insulting to Asians. Of course, neither the Indian or Asian communities were consulted about this.

In 1992, the Italian American Anti-Defamation League gave the City of Berkeley their Insensitivity Award. The Italian-American group said that they agreed that Indians haven't been treated well, but that the Italians weren't the ones who did it, so why take away their holiday? Nobody asked Italian-American how they felt about renaming Columbus day.

In 1994, the Berkeley City Council changed the holiday back to Columbus Day.

In 1995, representatives of the Winnamucca Indians protested City Council meetings. They argued that Indians had never asked that Columbus day be renamed to honor Indians, since it had, the City Council couldn't take it back, less they become "indigenous peoples givers."

In 1996, the City Council changed the name, this time to Indigenous Peoples - Columbus Day.

Currently there are people lobbying to rename the holiday Animal Rights Day.

If I didn't live here, I wouldn't believe it.

 

7-OCT-2004 FARSIDE_DUCK

Astronomical Calculations

Careful observation has shown that the Moon is moving away at a tiny, although measurable, distance from the Earth each year.

It stands to reason that, in the past, the Moon was much closer to the Earth than it is now.

If one does the math calculations show that approximately 85 million years ago the Moon was orbiting the Earth at a distance of approximately 35 feet.

This would explain the demise of the dinosaurs...

The tallest ones, anyway ...

 

4-OCT-2004 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

The Two Who Would Be President

As outdoorsmen...

As sportsmen...

Their better halves...

Show such affection...

 

24-SEP-2004 POWDERED_TOAST

From the Humor List:

From: Fred Strathmann
Subject: Winking

A man with a winking problem is applying for a position as a sales representative for a large firm. The interviewer looks over his papers and says, "This is phenomenal. You've graduated from the best schools; your recommendations are wonderful, and your experience is unparalleled. Normally, we'd hire you without a second thought. However, a sales representative has a highly visible position, and we're afraid that your constant winking will scare off potential customers. I'm sorry....we can't hire you."

"But wait," he said. "If I take two aspirin, I'll stop winking!"

"Really? Great! Show me!"

So the applicant reaches into his jacket pocket and begins pulling out all sorts of condoms: red condoms, blue condoms, ribbed condoms, flavored condoms; finally, at the bottom, he finds a packet of aspirin. He breaks it open, swallows the pills, and stops winking in a few moments.

"Well," said the interviewer, "that's all well and good, but this is a respectable company, and we will not have our employees womanizing all over the country!"

"Womanizing? What do you mean? I'm a happily married man!"

"Well then, how do you explain all these condoms?"

"Oh, that," he sighed. "Have you ever walked into a pharmacy, winking, and asked for aspirin?

 

21-AUG-2004 HAPPY_DOT

From the Humor List:

The NEW Univ of California at San Francisco Math Placement Test

  1. Zelda and Jane were given a Rottweiler at their commitment ceremony. If their dog needs to be walked two miles a day and they walk at a rate of one mile per hour, how much time will they spend discussing their relationship in public?
  2. Michael has two abusive stepfathers and an alcoholic mother. If his self-esteem is reduced by 20% per dysfunctional parent, but Michael feels 3% better for every person he denigrates, how long will it take before he's ready to go home if 1 person walks by the cafe every 2 minutes?
  3. Sanjeev has 7 piercings. If the likelihood of getting cellulitis on a given day is 10% per piercing, what is the likelihood Sanjeev will need to renew his erythromycin prescription during the next week?
  4. Chad wants to take half a pound of heroin to Orinda and sell it at a 20% profit. If it originally cost him $1,500 in food stamps, how much should Nicole write the check for?
  5. The City and County of San Francisco decide to destroy 50 rats infesting downtown. If 9,800 animal rights activists hold a candlelight vigil, how many people did each dead rat empower?
  6. A red sock, a yellow sock, a blue sock, and a white sock are tossed randomly in a drawer. What is the likelihood that the first two socks drawn will be socks of color?
  7. George weighs 245 pounds and drinks two triple lattes every morning. If each shot of espresso contains 490mg of caffeine, what is George's average caffeine density in mg/pound?
  8. There are 4500 homes in Mill Valley and all of them recycle plastic. If each household recycles 10 soda bottles a day and buys one polar fleece pullover per month, does Mill Valley have a monthly plastic surplus or deficit?
    Bonus question: Assuming all the plastic bottles are 1 liter size, how much Evian are they drinking?
  9. If the average person can eat one pork pot sticker in 30 seconds, and the waitress brings a platter of 12 pot stickers, how long will it take five vegans to not eat them?
  10. Todd begins walking down Market Street with 12 $1 bills in his wallet. If he always gives panhandlers a single buck, how many legs did he have to step over if he has $3 left when he reaches the other end and met only one double-amputee?
  11. Advanced Placement Students Only:
  12. Katie, Trip, Ling, John-John and Effie share a three-bedroom apartment on Guerrero for $2400 a month. Effie and Trip can share one bedroom, but the other three need their own rooms with separate ISDN lines to run their web servers. None of them wants to use the futon in the living room as a bed, and they each want to save $650 in three months to attend Burning Man.
    What is their best option:
    1. All five roommates accept a $12/hour job-share as handgun monitors at Mission High.
    2. Ask Miles, the bisexual auto mechanic, to share Effie and Trip's bedroom for $500/month.
    3. Petition the Board of Supervisors to advance Ling her annual digital-artists-of-color stipend.
    4. Rent strike.

29-JUL-2004 CRITIC_GOOD

Scratch

If you've ever been a DJ, or wondered where scratching, hip-hop and other turntable tricks came from then Scratch is a very interesting movie. This documentary covers the NY scene from the early stages of scratching and DJing, to MCs, through hip-hop and then to the West Coast turntablist movement.

It isn't your average Ken Burns style documentary, but more of a linear flow of turntable tricks as told by the people that were famous for them. Mixmaster DST (think "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock), Cool Herc, Q-Bert and DJ Shadow, along with a large group of others, describe how they got into it and show off their skills.

If you're the target demo for this docu, then I highly recommend it. I was a club DJ and did mixes and scratching for a while, so I was fascinated. I blew the dust off my old mixtapes just to remind myself of how little talent I truly had.

I give this four of five stars for the fun of it.

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20-JUL-2004 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

STARTUP.COM

If you've ever been in a startup, successful or not, then this film will be nothing new. If you haven't and you're still interested in how a good idea can go bad, in a very expensive way, then this film might interest you. If you're a fan of Chris Hegedus documentaries, then watching this film might be OK. If you are none of the above, then don't bother. If you don't fit into the small subset of film watchers outlined above, then this will be a droning, boring, exercise in the cost of hubris.

I've been in startup style software companies, with the only difference being that they weren't leveraged to the hilt by venture capital. They still had the egos, the workaholic attitude and the tension that comes from that type of business, but they didn't build faster than the income would allow.

One of the things that this film didn't really cover is how exactly it went so bad. They alluded to "the board" giving Kaleil heat to change things, but what were those changes? They showed that Tom was being jackbooted out because it was thought that he wasn't a good enough technical leader. They didn't say what the technical problem was, or who was the driving factor on that front (but I'd bet it was some crony on the board trying to shift one of his buddies into a CIO/CTO position). They also didn't cover how getting VC money can totally pervert the process of creating good software and services.

Did this company collapse because the VC people gave them bad advice, placed clueless people in power positions, or demanded unrealistic product features? Did this company fail because Kaleil was a money-grubbing, self-serving, back-stabbing, jackass, egomanic? Was it some of both?

This film won't give you any info with regards to the above. I'll give this file two stars but only because there were some humorous bits (for me) when the founders were doing rah-rah speechs with the staff.

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12-JUL-2004 SCHEMING_CALVIN

Prius Aftermarket Add-on

I've upgraded my Prius with some aftermarket additions.

Check out the new targeting system!

 

6-JUL-2004 GLARING_BRAIN

Open Letter to Network Associates Coliseum

Bobblehead Debacle

I just like to send off a quick message to register my discontent with Network Associates Coliseum's new stealth no-reentry policy, and the horrible customer service I experienced during the A's Carnie Landsford Bobblehead Day on Sunday, June 13th, 2004. I would have written sooner, but I wanted to take some time to cool off and see if I was still annoyed by their actions. I did take the time, and I am still annoyed.

In the past when the A's had bulky giveaway days, such as bobbleheads, my friends and family and I would get the giveaway and return to our automobile to stow the item away. We would then tailgate until near gametime and enter the stadium. On other days we would just tailgate until near gametime and enter. Tailgating with friends and family and enjoying the parking lot baseball community atmosphere was one of the main draws that differentiated live baseball versus just watching the game on TV.

On this day it was decided that no one would be allowed to re-enter, after they left. Had this been announced by the ticket seller, I would have ignored the giveaway and just enjoyed tailgating. Had this new policy been announced by the security guard, I would not have entered. Had this been announced by the ticket taker, I would not have entered. Had this new policy been prominently posted in the sight lines of the average entering fan, I would not have entered. Had the person at the exit gate mentioned this, I might have stayed in the stadium.

None of these cautions, warnings, or choices were given. In fact the event person queried at the exit gate stated incorrectly that our ticket stubs _WOULD_ get us back in. When shown the no-reentry sign near the entry gate later by the ticket taking supervisor, it was clearly not in the sight line used by people entering in the bobblehead crowd that was snaked around the lot. It was also not marked in such a way as to indicate if this was a new policy for baseball, or just a sign that had been on the portable fence for a while.

Everyone queried about this policy, from the ticket taker, to the ticket taking supervisor, to the guest services personnel, to the guest services supervisor all had the same indifferent, if not antagonistic, attitude. "We changed the policy, buy another ticket if you want in, can't help you, tough luck". Hardly stellar customer service.

My wife filled out a complaint form and received a letter that pretty much had the same attitude. They did try and palm it off as a security measure, which doesn't make sense since you have to go through security both times anyway, new ticket or not. They also mentioned that they thought their new ticket handling scanners wouldn't be able to handle the load if there were multiple entries. Mutiple entries by buying multiple tickets are OK though? Beside, if they have installed a ticket system that can't handle less than fifty thousand transactions in an hour then they were sold a big lemon.

I seems that the best explanation I can think of for this action is to force people to buy multiple tickets to temporarily boost attendance numbers. The paid attendance for that game was announced at over thirty-two thousand. How many of those were actual people in seats, and how many were forced duplicates and bobblehead collectors (who were happy to buy $4 tickets in bulk and do the circle).

Since I am involved in two more group outings at the stadium that have already been paid for, I will be to the stadium two last times. The group events that I am involved with that have been approved, but not scheduled and paid for, will be redistributed to other events avoiding the coliseum altogether.

I will continue to support the A's baseball organization. I just won't be doing it in person at the coliseum.

29-JUN-2004 ITTYBITTYKITTY

Dog Found

OK, I know this is just wrong. It still made me laugh, though.

24-JUN-2004 CRITIC_GOOD

Triplettes of Belleville

This is probably the best animated feature I've seen in a very long time. It is done in French, not that it matters, since there isn't any dialog that is necessary to know. All of the story line is done, very capably, via the visual artistry and sound effects. This ranks right up there with Spirited Away with regards to overall scene detail and visual quality.

Unlike the bombastic quirks of anime, this story doles out its quirks in a style similar to Tex Avery (Droopy, Hollywood Wolf), Max Fleischer (Betty Boop and company), or, to a lesser extent, Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat, Cool World). Each of the characters, or character groups, has a visual style that is uniquely identifiable. Combine that with a soundtrack that has a retro-swing, 30's Dancehall feel, with a catchy series of hooks (a little too catchy, in the "Crap! It's a Small World is stuck in my head!" kind of way, sometimes), and you have a wholy enjoyable eighty-plus minutes of animated fun.

Heck, any film that has a French person tossing a grenade into a pond to collect frogs for dinner would have gotten a high vote right off the bat. I'll give this a four and a half, rounded to five for the graphic, in the animation category.

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24-JUN-2004 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Lost in Translation

The reason I have this movie marked with question marks is that it raised some questions. Most of the critics raved about this movie, and while I thought it was a nice piece about two people feeling confused, not only by Tokyo, but by how they got where they are now in life, I didn't think it was anything to crow about.

Perhaps this is one of those films where you need to go to an art snovelling course and have each scene disected, like I did with Citizen Kane to _really_ get it. Or perhaps you are supposed to be confused by this movie. It is called Lost in Translation, afterall, and not You'll Get This Immediately.

The movie had some nice parts by Bill Murray and a good sountrack with a tune by Air that caused me to pause the credits so I could track it down.

I'd recommend you watch it, anyway, so that you too can have an opinion about it, if someone were to ask. I'll rate this three of five stars .

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25-MAY-2004 CRITIC_GOOD

Dr. Strangelove

If you haven't seen this film, done by Stanley Kubrick, a darkly comedic sendup about the cold war, I highly recommend it. Peter Sellers plays three distinct roles, all done equally well. George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden and Slim Pickens also turn in memorable performances. And yes, that is James Earl Jones in his first movie role as a crewman on the main B52.

Essentially this movie tells the story of what would happen if a SAC General decided to launch a nuclear attack by himself. By executing the movie in a semi-serious manner it allows Kubrick to poke fun at MAD (mutually assured destruction), the Soviets, the US, the President, pompous Generals, and the military all in one fell swoop. It is humorous, yet chilling, and provacative, in that you could imagine that if something like this were to happen, the roles played on the screen might not really be that different than the ones done by the real players.

As a side note, I read that Kubrick had initially intended for this to be a very serious movie about the horrors of the cold war and unintentional nuclear war. At the same time, however, Fail Safe was in production with the same plot. As Kubrick did more work trying to come up with a serious message about this topic, he realized the absurdity of the situation and turned a complete 180. As it turned out, this made it a memorable movie.

Have you heard of, more or less seen, Fail Safe?

There are too many good moments in this movie to give a decent summary in a paragraph, so I'll just tell you that if you like skewed movies about those in power, this is a good one to see.

This is a classic dark humor movie that deserves a five star rating.

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25-MAY-2004 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Lost in LaMancha

After watching this I wondered how any movie ever makes it to the big screen. If you want to see how a movie can get derailed, this is your flick.

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25-MAY-2004 CAT_ACK

You Are Here *

I wish I wasn't there when this movie was playing. Film school drivel gone more navel gazing pretentious that ever before.

Since there is a star in the title, I don't think I'll waste one of mine. No stars! Ponder that, suckers!

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11-MAY-2004 HOBBES

Ever Wonder

What Moe Howard might have done if not for The Three Stooges?

He might have done Bond flicks instead.

Dr. Moe Movie Poster

Convinced me.

When I saw this image in a Photo Shop contest on Fark.com, I was convinced that Moe should have been the original Bond. He could dispatch the evil-doers with a mallet to the head, or a double finger eye gouge.

And how about Larry as M, and Curly as Q?

Larry as M: "Hey, Double-Oh-Moe, we got a case for you."

Double-Oh-Moe: "What is it knuckle-head, M?"

Larry as M: "We suspect Mrs. Higgenbottom is an enemy spy."

Double-Oh-Moe: "The high society dame, eh? Curly-Q, do you have any devices for this mission?"

Curly-Q: "Why, sointenly. Here is a ordinary looking fountain pen that shoots a big mallet out of it."

Double-Oh-Moe grabs the pen from Curly-Q.

Double-Oh-Moe: "How does it work?"

Curly-Q: "Like this!"

Curly-Q pushes the button on the pen that causes the mallet to pop out and clonk Double-Oh-Moe on the head, dazing him for a second.

Double-Oh-Moe: "Why you! I otta give you two the martini treatment!"

Larry as M and Curly Q (in unison): "Martini treatment, what's that?"

Double-Oh-Moe: "This! You'll be shaken, not stirred!"

Double-Oh-Moe grabs both their heads, clonks them together, and proceeds to violently shaken them back and forth.

Larry as M: "Yow!"

Curly-Q: "Woob, woob, woob, yeanh, yeanh, yeanh!"

It has Oscar written all over it!

 

18-APR-2004 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

The Italian Job

Looking for an action flick that delivers? Then this is the movie for you!

Looking for high speed Venice boat chases, or Mini Coopers racing through Los Angeles subways? Then this film is for you.

Looking for a mystery that twists and turns and leaves you guessing? Then this isn't the film for you (unless you've recently suffered a major head trauma, then my condolences).

I never had the chance to see the original version of this film done in 1969 with Michael Caine, so it wasn't that I knew the plot in advance. I did know the outcome of all the characters and the complete plot of the movie within ten minutes. If you had seen any of this type of genre in your life you probably will figure it out, too.

Does that means it is a waste of time?

Not really. Just don't expect to get much more of your brain involved that the bit that likes shiny objects, fast movement and loud explosions.

Seth Green had some very well done humorous bits. One where he is imitating Handsome Rob, and another where he insists that he created Napster, and that it was named that because his college roomate stole it from him while he was napping.

Overall I give it two and a half stars , rounded to three for the graphic. If you like mindless a-splode movies, then watch it. If you want to gorge on more that cinematic cotton candy, then avoid this one.

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18-APR-2004 GLARING_BRAIN

Road Signs I'd Like to See

This was sent to me by a good friend. I just had to share.

 

8-MAR-2004 POWDERED_TOAST

Sometimes I just have to pass along something that came to me via the HUMOR email list. I don't necessarily agree with all the points below, but I found them all somewhat indicative of some of the inherient hypocrasy involved in these types of discussions.

From: Les Pourciau
Subject: How to be a good Democrat

How to be a Good Democrat

  1. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.
  2. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th-graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.
  3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese & North Korean communists.
  4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.
  5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUVs.
  6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.
  7. You have to be against capital punishment but support abortion on demand.
  8. You have to believe that businesses create oppression, and governments create prosperity.
  9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.
  10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.
  11. You have to believe that the military, not corrupt politicians start wars.
  12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.
  13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
  14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Gen. Robert E. Lee, and Thomas Edison.
  15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.
  16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and really a very nice person.
  17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.
  18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and sex offender belonged in the White House.
  19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.
  20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese government is somehow in the best interest of the United States.
  21. You have to believe that this list is part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.

 

2-MAR-2004 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

May

I'm about six movies behind my Netflix rental queue, so I'm going to try and catch up a few tonight. I watched all three of these movie with the 2-MAR-2004 timestamp on the left on the same weekend, so I figured I review them all at once, too.

May is a modern day Frankenstein type of movie about a girl who is so painfully shy that she decides the only thing to do is to create her own friends. She starts by creating a doll she puts in a glass case, that then seems to talk to her and give her bad advice. Things just get odder from there.

She makes some inroads trying to make friends while working as a vets assistant. She meets a guy who "Likes Weird", so at first she thinks this is going to be her exit to the world of happy relationships. Unfortunately, he doesn't like that much weird, and starts to avoid her.

This just sends her further into the deep end and creates A Monster. It's up to you to watch it and get all the subtle, and not so subtle, references to Franenstein.

Since this movie didn't live up to the hype that I was given to get me to rent this, and since I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again on my own, I can only give it a two of five star rating . It wasn't horrible, it had some interesting acting parts, and some odd visual sequences, but overall it was just OK.

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2-MAR-2004 PENSIVE_PINKY

Bend It Like Beckham

This is a movie that Diane wanted to rent and watch. I had my reservations. It smacked of "Chick Flick".

It not only smacked of it, it soaked in it.

Sure, it had some great messages about empowerment, and getting over the cultural barriers to success that Indian Young Women face in modern day England, but it didn't really stretch beyond what you'd expect from a Lifetime movie of the week.

Think of it as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" done from an Indian in England perspective instead of a Greek Gal in America, and you'd be right on the mark. There were some interesting bits about faux lesbianism worries, but outside of that it was MBFGW redone in England with a different culture.

Good predictable coming of age, girl empowerment, movie.

Not quite my cup of tea.

Two and half stars out of five (rounded up to three for the graphic). There were some great songs on the soundtrack that make me want to check out the Indian Techo side of the music scene. Also, the English Indians had heavy English accents, which I found very interesting. Most of the people I know from India have very distinct Indian accents with some slight Americanisms, so that added an extra quirk.

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2-MAR-2004 CRITIC_RASBERRY

Phone Booth

First off, before I start bashing this movie, I'd just like to acknowledge how difficult it must have been for Colin Farrell to pull off the excellent job he did. The movie is essentially him in a phone booth for the whole thing. He did such a great job that I cared enough about his character, and this movie, to not destroy the DVD before returning it to Netflix.

Everybody else in this flick was either in a stupor, coma, or irrelevant. Joel Schumacher, the director, must have watched so much of the television series "24" that he not only ripped off the visual style wholesale, but got Kiefer Sutherland to do the ominous voice on the phone.

Had this movie not been chock full of A-list talent, it would never have been released on film. It probably shouldn't have been, anyway.

If the Colin Farrell character had been shot at the end, and the sniper not revealed, then it would have, at least, been worth the effort to see the surprize ending. But it didn't have that type of ending and if you missed the last seventy-five percent of the film, you wouldn't have missed a thing you wouldn't have already expected.

One of five stars is about all I can give it. I wouldn't watch it again, unless I was stuck on a five, or more, hour flight and got the headphones for free. Then I would refuse the headphones and create my own dialog and probably have twice the enjoyment.

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1-MAR-2004 HAPPY_DOT

Someone sent this to me with the subject of "Actual Similes and Metaphors Found in High School Essays". If the high school students I have to wade through every day to get lunch are any indication, then this set of quotes from essays are too literate.

They still make me chuckle, though.

  • Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
  • The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  • The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
  • McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p. m. instead of 7:30.
  • Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having Topeka at 4:19 p. m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  • They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
  • John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River
  • Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  • Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  • The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  • "Oh, Jason, take me!"; she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on land mine or something.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  • She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.
  • Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
  • She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
  • It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

 

11-FEB-2004 HAPPY_CALVIN

Survivor: Southern Style

From the "Made Up News Department", comes this release...

Due to the popularity of the Survivor shows, several southern TV stations are joining together and are planning to do their own, entitled "Survivor: Southern Style."

The contestants will start in Alabama, travel over to Georgia and on to South Carolina. From there they will head up to North Carolina and over to Tennessee. They will then proceed down to Mississippi and Louisiana. Finally ending up back over in Alabama.

Each will be driving a pink Volvo with New Jersey license plates and large bumper stickers that read: I'm Gay, I'm a Vegetarian, NASCAR Sucks, Go Yankees! Smoking is for Idiots, Hillary in 2004, Deer Hunting is Murder and I'm Here to Confiscate Your Guns!

The first one that makes it back to Montgomery alive, wins.

 

10-FEB-2004 CAT_ACK

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama

When I first typed the title of this movie, I typed Bowel instead of Bowl. Now that I reflect on that typo, I realize that it was a reasonably apt slip.

This B-minus grade horror flick has all the trappings of your standard 80's horror film; bad acting, sloppy special effects, plotless ramblings, characters without rhyme or reason, shower scenes and sorority initiation spankings. OK, maybe those last two aren't standard B grade horror items. The addition of those two items titilated the twelve-year-old in me, though.

The "plot", if you could categorize it as such, revolves around some girls that want to be in a sorority. Some geeky guys peep in on their initiation, get caught, and are are roped into helping the two initiates steal a bowling trophy. They drop the trophy and an Imp trapped in the trophy escapes. To show his gratitude, he grants them wishes. They must have all had death wishes, because that is what was granted; their gruesome deaths!

The problem with this movie is that it wasn't quite bad enought to be enjoyable as a bad sub-B flick. I rented it from Netflix, so I didn't feel too bad about the time or minimal money waste, but I can only give it a two of five rating 2 of 5 (and that is being generous because I met Linnea Quigley in a class I took). I might watch it again if it was with a bunch of drunk friends rating B horror films, but probably not.

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21-JAN-2004 HAPPY_DOT

Some Unique Measurement Units

Item to be measured Unit
Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter Eskimo Pi
2,000 pounds of Chinese soup Won ton
Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement 1 bananosecond
Weight an evangelist carries with God 1 billigram
Half of a large intestine 1 semicolon
1000 aches 1 kilohurtz
Basic unit of laryngitis 1 hoarsepower
1 million microphones 1 megaphone
2000 mockingbirds two kilomockingbirds
10 cards 1 decacards
3 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital IV league

20-JAN-2004 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

Quote of the Day

I ran across this quote today. I don't know who said it originally, but I like it none the less...

"I do not appologize for anything I've said which might have offended any idiot who misinterpreted some perfectly innocent statement I've made to be a slur of some kind directed towards whatever jackass group of people the bleeding-heart liberals have stuck up their butts this week."

30-DEC-2003 SCHEMING_CALVIN

From the "We Can Only Hope" department...

The IT industry is shifting away from Microsoft

There may be hope for the computing world, yet.

23-DEC-2003 HAPPY_CALVIN

Bad Santa

I finally went out and saw a movie at a theater. A co-worker wanted to waste some time after work before taking off for the holidays, and talked me into going. I was sort of interested in seeing this movie because I have such a foul holiday spirit anyway, I thought an anti-holiday movie would be just the thing. Outside of the sticker shock of $7.00 for a bargain matinee ($9.50 regular) at a cheap theater, I was not disappointed.

As an aside, I spend less than the price of two tickets per month for Netflix, and I can see five times the movies, and drink beer while I do it.

Billy Bob Thorton plays a hard drinking, cynical, bitter, surly, angry, foul-mouthed department store Santa. He insults all the children that come up on his lap, if he is not passed out behind the Santa rostrum, or kicking the stuffing out of a Christmas display. He has an elf sidekick, played by Tony Cox, who is a co-conspiritor in his true profession, that of a safe cracker.

They spend the month before Christmas putting up with the indignities heaped on the Mall Santa and Elf so that they can case the joint. Come Xmas Eve they clean out the joint and blow town.

High brow humor, this ain't. Plenty of raunchy language, sex and crotch punches for everyone that watches the likes of Cops, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, or, less so, America's Funniest Home Videos.

Puking, swearing, punching Santas make my laugh. So sue me.

If you like skewed humor, then this is the movie for you.

There are some cameo roles that are well done. John Ritter as the store manager, uncomfortable giving orders and being cowed by Billy Bob's Willie character is one good example. Bernie Mac as the security chief that tries to foil their plan and get half the take, is another. Lauren Graham, is, well, just too cute for words as the Jewish gal with the Santa fetish. Ajay Naidu, from Office Space fame, is great as the beligerant Hindustani homophobe that thinks Santa is coming on to him. Oh, and Brett Kelly, who plays the kid is good, too.

I'd be interested in seeing if the DVD release has some of the missing elements. The Bernie Mac and Ajay Naidu scenes were funny, but missed some of the set up to explain why they did what they did. It might be on the DVD. It might not. I'll be looking for it when it is released, though, and may even buy it to play every holiday.

I give it four and a half out of five stars (rounded to five for the graphic) for the laugh out loud time I had, even if I had to pay theater prices.

The anti-matter to this matter would be "It's a Wonderful Life". Watch them both and see if we can't annihilate the whole year-end holiday season!

Ho, Ho, BOOM!

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10-DEC-2003 GLARING_BRAIN

The Third Man

Who is Harry Lime?

That is the question that reigns during this film. Is he alive, is he dead, did he ever really exist (is the Joseph Cotton character making him up)?

Until this movie I didn't give much thought to harry limes unless I dropped a lime on the floor whilst making a gin and tonic. On a similar, and also unrelated to this movie review, note, one of my favorite pubs in Dublin, Ireland is the Harry Lemon.

Since Orson Wells is credited in this film you know he has got to show up someplace, and it is pretty certain he is going to be Harry Lime, but then again, you never really know until he does show up. When he does it is about two-thirds in, and in done with Orson stepping slightly out of a shadowy entryway. That style of reveal, done that late in the film, after all of the tension built with the conflicting reports of his death (or non-death), makes for a great cinema moment.

Some of the plot points are telegraphed. Put into the context of the time it was made, though, I don't think it would have been that predictable. Did I guess what was coming next because it has been done quite often since, or because the plot was that transparent? Did the recurring notion that the Holly Martins character wrote predictable pulp Westerns have anything to do with some of the predictable plot points in this movie?

It raises a lot of good questions which, for me, makes for an interesting movie. (And by good questions I don't mean the "where'd that character come from and why should I care", or "since when does Ceaser wear a wristwatch" type).

The Anton Karas zither score is interesting at first, but it does grate after a while. Like the "It's a Small World" theme will stick with you until you find something more obnoxious to replace it with.

For film noir I give it four of five stars . Overall, I give pretty much the same rating. The Glaring Brain graphic on the left is because the Brain character in Pinky and the Brain always reminded me of Orson Wells.

You might want to watch it as a double with Citizen Kane to get the full gamut of black and white, shadow and reflection, doorways and windows as framing schema, Orson Wells style cinema.

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3-DEC-2003 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Secretary

(from IMDb)
Plot Outline: A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

(from me)
Hmmm. James Spader plays a slightly odd, semi-perverse, character in this film. He does that well, as evidenced by his roles in the 1996 film Crash where he plays a man who gets off on car crashes, or in the 1989 film Sex, Lies, and Videotape, where he plays a guy who gets off on making videos of women being interviewed about their fantasies.

In this film he is a driven lawyer who delights in dominating women, in this case, though, his only outlet is his secretary. In most cases his secretaries just bail, thinking he is an incredible jerk. That is until he meets Lee Holloway, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

She has just left a mental institution where she was placed for repeatedly cutting herself with razors. She still would like to, but she is vainly fighting to stop her self-abusive behavior.

Eventually they figure out that they're the two odd pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of their life that do fit together well. It takes a while, but they do figure it out.

What I liked about this film is that it treated the subject in a respectful way. It showed both characters inner turmoil in coming to terms with their repressed sexual desires.

A sado/maso coming out of the closet film, if you will.

What I didn't like about the film is that it treated the underlying eroticism in a detached, sanitized, unerotic way. It was as if you were being read a really juicy letter from the S&M section of The Best Penthouse Forum by your third grade teacher.

All in all, I'd give it a three and a half out of five stars (rounded to four for the graphic). It was an interesting film, well acted and directed, but not as steamy as I would have wanted.

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12-NOV-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Far from Heaven

Taken at the surface, this movie starts out looking like an homage to the 50's, but we soon see that the facade is a thin veneer. As the movie progresses the cinematography transitions from bold, almost cartoon-like, colorings to different muted tones and shades of colors to highlight the characters changes.

All of the main characters go through changes in this film, and all are acted to varying degrees of satisfaction. The direction and acting, overall, are very good.

Frank Whitaker, the husband, played by Dennis Quaid, is coming out of the closet, at a time when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Cathy Whitaker, the housewife, played by Julianne Moore, tries to be supportive, and vainly continues to try and fufill the dutiful 50's wife position, but is confused and betrayed. Raymond Deagan, the gardener, played by Dennis Haysbert, finds friendship and perhaps more, with Cathy, but interracial couples will just not be tolerated by any part of the community.

Will Frank continue to supress his longings and desires to continue the happy family? Will Cathy leave Frank and begin a more intellectually satisfying relationship with Raymond, regardless of the socialital taboos?

You'll have to watch and find out. I did, and I'd watch it again. For that I give it four of five stars .

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8-NOV-2003 SAD_STIMPY

Old School

What a disappointing movie this turned out to be. The premise was promising, the comedic actors were in place, but it just didn't pan out.

The premise is that a bunch of early to mid-thirties friends decide that since one of them needs to get a new place to live, they'll rent a house and start a frat just off-campus. They'll cater to other guys like themselves, or those that couldn't get into regular frats, and relive the glory days of Partying Hard and Picking Up Chicks!

So with that premise in mind, I was thinking this might be a nice refresh of Animal House, or a combo of Animal House and PCU. Or Animal House, and PCU with a dash of Revenge of the Nerds.

Nope.
Not even close.
It was more like Van Wilder, with less humor (and if you'd read my Van Wilder review, you would think that was hard).

It was cluttered up with too many odd little story lines for each of the characters. None of the story lines paid off, some never went anywhere, some seemed to start and then sputter off, and, well, it was just a mess. I had to double check my DVD player to make sure it wasn't skipping scenes.
It wasn't.

It was an odd bit of casting to have Jermey Pivin as the uptight Dean, since he was the foil to the uptight Dean in PCU. Craig Kilborn as a raving asshole was spot on though. Will Farrel has a few funny moments, but his character is mis-aimed.

Andy Dick was in a scene where, as a gay guy with an Emo haircut, he is giving some women a course in how to do blowjobs using a carrot. Why was this in the movie? Did someone running the movie lose a bet with Andy Dick? It wasn't even close to being funny, and it didn't really have anything to do with the rest of the film. I thought I'd changed channels to an R-rated "Queer Eye".

I give it one out of five stars . I got a couple of yucks out of it, but I wouldn't recommend it, and probably wouldn't watch it again on a bet. (dependant on bet size)

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7-NOV-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

The Apartment

This 1960 film directed by Billy Wilder, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, is a slightly dated, but nice study about a "nice guy" trying to get to the top of a big corporation, and falling for the mistress of his boss. Back when sexism was king, and guys could be guys by pawing any available gal, this was an interesting tale of restraint and poignant longing by the character of Calvin Clifford 'C.C.' 'Bud' Baxter, played by Lemmon.

Billy Wilder, always able to bring the best out of his actors, put together a great film.

Jack Lemmon is the wannabe mench that is trying to be the ruthless ladder climber of the corporation. Fred MacMurray is the heartless boss working his way through the secretarial pool. Shirley MacLaine is one of the pieces of chum in the the said same pool. They all put forth great performances, in a situation where you can root for the good guy, hiss at the bad guy, and complain about "The Hussy".

As a tale about eventually choosing right over wrong regardless of the career limitations that it might involve, this is an excellent film. Hard choices are made, and the hero wins out in the end. Given that this was done in 1960, I didn't expect anything else, but I was still satisfied with the outcome.

In a late fifties, early sixties genre, I give this film an even four stars .

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30-OCT-2003 POWDERED_TOAST

A little bit of everything, a whole lot of nothing

It's been a while since I've done an update, so I'll just spew forth some of the tripe that I've come across in the last couple of weeks that tickled my funny bone.

In no particular order, here is the flotsam of fun for today...


The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn't believe his eyes. He took the book out of the cow's mouth, raised his eyes heaveward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!"

"Not really," said the cow. "Your name is written inside the cover."


"California election officials warned Tuesday there won't be enough space on the primary ballot in March for ten candidates for President and one hundred thirty-five candidates for Governor. Many of them fit the medical definition of delusional, which in California is anyone who puts out a dictionary at a garage sale."
     -Argus Hamilton


Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
     -Fred Hoyle


Signs Your Cat is Overweight

  • Cat door retro-fitted with garage door opener.
  • Confused guests constantly mistaking her for beanbag chair.
  • Always lands on her spleen.
  • Fewer calls to the fire department, but a sudden upsurge in broken branches.
  • Fifteen month gestation period, and still no kittens.
  • No longer cleans itself unless coated in Cheese Whiz.
  • Cat food dish replaced with Rush Limbaugh trough.
  • Luxurious, shiny black fur replaced with mint green polyester pants suit.
  • It's no longer safe to lift him without a spotter.
  • "Steals breath" from all five quintuplets, simultaneously.
  • Waits for the third bowl of food to get finicky.
  • He only catches mice that get trapped in his gravitational pull.
  • Enormous gut keeps your hardwood floors freshly buffed.
  • Has more chins than lives.


Speaking of cats, since we're pretty near Holloween, check out Mouse Cat.

 

6-OCT-2003 CAT_ACK

More California Recall Phun

While I call this my Rant, Rave and Review page, my ranting can't hold a candle to that of Dennis Miller. The link in the last sentence addresses those too stupid to vote. Of course, this article will be lost on the target of his ridicule, since they probably can't figure out the web.

Here are some other quotables:

Memo to Cruz Bustamante: Alfred Hitchcock called. He wants his silhouette back.
   -- Mel Golob, winner of Los Angeles Times recall-joke contest.

The mudslinging has begun. Today, Cruz Bustamante admitted that, as lieutenant governor, he once brought a little dope into his office: Gray Davis.
   -- Steve Voldseth, Times runner-up.

Angelyne drives around in a pink Cadillac, Arianna drives around in a hybrid. Hybrid car, hybrid politics, ex-hubbie with hybrid sexuality: Everything about Arianna Huffington defies what she would call the old "paradigm."
   -- Columnist Mark Steyn.

In order to comply with this equal-time rule, TV stations in California cannot run any of Arnold's movies between now and the election because it would be like giving him free publicity. And because it would be free publicity for Gray Davis, they cannot show the movie "Dead Man Walking."
   -- Jay Leno.

Gray Davis said there was going to be a deficit and there was, though larger than he expected. Bush said there was going to be a surplus and there's a $400 billion deficit. And he's the hero. I guess Davis missed the part where you invade Oregon.
   -- Comedian Will Durst.

I have no idea what that was about, unless it was a genetic experiment to breed a bullet-proof Kennedy.
   -- Durst, on Schwarzenegger's marriage to Maria Shriver.

Gov. Gray Davis and former President Bill Clinton made a joint appearance at an elementary school here in Los Angeles. Actually, it was kind of embarrassing
   -- Davis lost all of the kids' lunch money and Clinton had sex with their teacher.
   -- Jay Leno.

Gov. Gray Davis said Friday the California budget crisis isn't nearly as severe as Republicans say. School districts are in a panic. If emergency funding isn't found soon, Beverly Hills may be forced to eliminate the school brunch program.
   -- Comedian Argus Hamilton.

People are starting to forget about Florida, and all the hard work we Floridians did to become the top national laughingstock. Well, I have a message for you Californians: We're not going to take this lying down. You're in the limelight now, but there's another presidential election coming, and we're going to be ready. We're bringing back the chads.
   -- Dave Barry, Miami Herald.

Al Gore is coming into town to campaign with Gray Davis. That's not an announcement
   -- it's a warning! Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while watching the two of them together. It could be fatal. It's kind of like Yanni going on tour with John Tesh.
   -- Jay Leno.

It is puzzling why anyone would want to assume control of this fiasco. It's like vying to become Roseanne Barr's next husband. Sure, you'd get your name in the paper, but look at the mess you'd be getting yourself into.
   -- Ann Coulter.

 

23-SEP-2003 SCHEMING_CALVIN

Quotes that should come with rimshots.

When you have to learn something in a hurry, it's best to jump in with both feet. Unless it's a wood chipper.
  --Jeff Martin

To make people wonder at a Halloween masquerade party, I'd go as Casper the Friendly Ghost before he died.
  --Randall T. Moore

Today at the dentist's, I heard a tremendous high-pitched whine and thought he'd hauled out the drill from hell, but it was just Celine Dion on the radio.
  --Christopher Arko

I prefer to describe my profession as that of a "Contemporary Anthropological Interactive Observer" because it has just the right amount of flair. Besides, "stalker" is such an ugly word.
  --Charles Gulledge

Where there's smoke there's fire, but where there's a vague fishy odor, it could be any number of things.
  --JP Styskal

If I plagiarize, it's only because I like someone else's idea better than mine and I want credit for it.
  --Anna Chin-Williams

If I plagiarize, it's only because I like someone else's idea better than mine and I want credit for it.
  --Richard W. Lipp

Fighting with lightsabers seems to be such a dangerous sport. I would think that there would be fewer Jedi Knights named "Obi- wan" and more named "Lefty."
  --Chris Akre

Nothing says "This is serious" like a corpse on the floor.
  --Michelle Wincek

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach hundreds of men to steal fish and give you a percentage... WHOA! You could pretty much retire!
  --Claire Voltaire

 

9-SEP-2003 PENSIVE_PINKY

VMS Logos

I was asked by someone to come up with a VMS, or OpenVMS if you prefer the uncool way of saying it, banner. Years ago I made one for the main page of this website, like so...
OpenVMS Alpha Powered

The person that wanted to use it, though, wanted something 200x30, not 260x60.

Using the old shark logo from the VMS Freeware CD as a starting point...
Freeware Shark Logo

I came up with these two. They're 200x42, so I hope the extra 12 pixels won't cause too much of a problem. One has a transparent background and one has a white background.

VMS Shark (transparent)

VMS Shark (white)

Feel free to use them, if you'd like.

 

5-SEP-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

The Stange Love of Martha Ivers

If you like film noir, and twisted plots, then this is the film for you. It has all the classic componets of greed, jealosy, revenge, death, and redemption!

Van Heflin plays a guy who, decades ago as a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, was chums with the characters played by Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas. (Kirk in his first role and most certainly not a tough guy). He wanders into town on a road trip, his car breaks down, and the action begins.

[Insert first part of the film here]

Is he blackmailing the current boss, plant owner, chief employer, and major player of town, Stanwyck? Is he making a play for her since her husband is a wimpy guy? (same said wimpy guy who is now the chief prosecutor in town) Is he, a known gambler, just trying to grift them for a big payout?

What is it that they are trying to hide?

Those questions and more will be answered in time in this movie.

How about Lizbeth Scott? I've always had a weak spot in my heart for her as far as noir actresses go. Is she really trying to better herself from the shackles of her parole and being brought up on the wrong side of the tracks? Or, is she really an accomplice in the shafting of Sam Masterson (Van Heflin)?

Like Double Indemnity, this film covers some of the shadier sides of life and how simple decisions to cross the line between right and wrong can have disastrous results.

Film noir done right! Five of five stars in the genre!

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4-SEP-2003 Frickin, Moo!

More stupid pun-liners

  • Two peanuts walk into a bar in a tough neighborhood. One was asalted.
  • A jumper cable walks into a bar.
    The barman says "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."
  • A sandwich walks into a bar.
    The barman says, "Sorry we don't serve food in here."
  • A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
  • A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."
  • Two aerials meet on a roof, fall in love get married.
    The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was brilliant.
  • Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"
  • Patient: "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'"
    Doc: "That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome."
    P: "Is it common?"
    D: "It's not unusual."
  • Two cows standing next to each other in a field.
    Cow One says, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."
    Cow Two says, "I don't believe you!"
    Cow One: "It's true, no bull!"
  • Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
    One says, "I've lost my electron."
    The other says, "Are you sure?"
    The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive..."
  • I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.
  • I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him $50.00 that he couldn't reach the meat on the top shelf.
    "No! The steaks are too high.", he replies.
  • A man came around in hospital after a serious accident.
    He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!"
    The doctor replied, "That's not surprizing, I've cut off your arms."

Similar, but from a different source...

  • I went to a seafood disco rave last week and pulled a mussel.
  • Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly; but when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
  • What do you call a fish with no eyes?
    A fsh
  • The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
  • Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
  • There are two kinds of pedestrians -- the quick and the dead.
  • Life is sexually transmitted.
  • If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead"?
  • Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
  • The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
  • Get the last word in: Apologize.
  • Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
  • In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
  • Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
  • There are 10 kinds of people in this world.
    Those who get binary, and those who don't.

 

3-SEP-2003 HAPPY_CALVIN

30 (horrible) pun-liners for today.

  1. A bicycle can't stand alone because it is two-tired.
  2. What's the definition of a will? It's a dead giveaway.
  3. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  4. A backward poet writes inverse.
  5. In democracy it's your vote that counts; In feudalism it's your count that votes.
  6. She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off.
  7. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
  8. If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.
  9. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
  10. Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I'll show you A-flat minor.
  11. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
  12. The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
  13. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
  14. You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
  15. Local Area Network in Australia: the LAN down under.
  16. He often broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
  17. Every calendar's days are numbered.
  18. A lot of money is tainted. 'Taint yours and 'taint mine.
  19. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
  20. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
  21. A plateau is a high form of flattery.
  22. The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
  23. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
  24. When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
  25. Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
  26. When an actress saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
  27. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
  28. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
  29. Acupuncture is a jab well done.
  30. Marathon runners with bad footwear suffer the agony of defeat.

 

28-AUG-2003 HAPPY_DOT

A couple of thoughts about Micro$oft©

If we keep up at this rate, soon, 100% of the internet bandwidth will either be created by Windows© virii, or people downloading patches to try and fix them.

Using Micro$oft© products is like drinking Tequila.
Sooner or later you're going to eat the worm and it'll make you sick.

Robert X. Cringley has a nice take on Micro$oft©, and why the alternatives aren't taking hold.

He also mentions some rather large lawsuits against the Redmond Retards. It may not cause them too much financial difficulty, but it makes me smile none-the-less.

But, really, what is so bad about Micro$soft©?

 

26-AUG-2003 HOBBES

Just a few interesting articles I ran across, today...

Micro$oft uses Linux to protect their computers. Whazza matter Billy, can't trust your own software?

Not that I'm particularly religious, or radically right, but I found this article about "Twenty-two reasons why liberal leftists are annoyed by the Bible" interesting.

 

18-AUG-2003 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

Billy Connolly's "14 things I hate about everybody"
censored with an asterisk, because I f*cking care

  1. People who point at their wrist while asking for the time. I know where my watch is pal, where the f*ck is yours? Do I point at my crotch when I ask where the toilet is?
  2. People who are willing to get off their arse to search the entire room for the TV remote because they refuse to walk to the TV and change the channel manually.
  3. When people say "Oh you just want to have your cake and eat it too". F*cking right! What good is a cake if you can't eat it?
  4. When people say "it's always the last place you look". Of course it is.Why the f*ck would you keep looking after you've found it? Do people do this? Who and where are they?
  5. When people say while watching a film "did you see that?". No tosser, I paid 5 quid to come to the cinema and stare at the f*cking floor.
  6. People who ask "Can I ask you a question?". Didn't really give me a choice there, did you sunshine?
  7. When something is 'new and improved!'. Which is it? If it's new,then there has never been anything before it. If it's an improvement,then there must have been something before it.
  8. When people say "life is short". What the f*ck?? Life is the longest damn thing anyone ever f*cking does!! What can you do that's longer?
  9. When you are waiting for the bus and someone asks, "Has the bus come yet?". If the bus came would I be standing here, Kn*bhead?
  10. People who say things like 'My eyes aren't what they used to be'. So what did they used to be? ears, Wellington boots?
  11. When you're eating something and someone asks 'Is that nice?' No it's really revolting - I always eat stuff I hate.
  12. People who announce they are going to the toilet. Thanks that's an image I really didn't need.
  13. McDonalds staff who pretend they don't understand you unless you insert the 'Mc' before the item you are ordering.....It's has to be a McChicken Burger, just a Chicken Burger get blank looks. Well I'll have a McStraw and jam it in your McEyes you f*cking McTosser.
  14. When you involved in a accident and someone asks 'are you alright?' Yes fine thanks, I'll just pick up my limbs and be off.

 

3-AUG-2003 POWDERED_TOAST

Breakfast of Champions

This odd 1999 movie with stars the likes of Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney, Buck Henry, Barbara Hershey and Omar Epps, tries to be true to the original book by the same name done by Kurt Vonnegut, but it doesn't quite live up to my expectations. I wasn't surprized, though, because putting a Vonnegut novel onto the screen has got to be almost impossible.

Part of the problem, for me anyway, is that Breakfast of Champions was the first "adult" book I read back when I was around twelve. Like most of Vonnegut's novels, I mentally created the locations, what the characters looked and sounded like, and the rest in my head. I'd already seen this movie, long before it was put on the screen. It was the first time a novel had that type of effect on me, and thus set the bar so high, due to nostalgia factor alone, that I doubt anyone could have done a version that I would find acceptable.

Another problem is time. When I read the book it took me a week or so (I wasn't a fast reader in those days). The movie tried to compress that week into a little less than two hours. It didn't work there either.

Was the movie true to the original novel? As close as it could in the time alloted.

Would I recommend it to someone who didn't know Vonnegut? No, probably not, because if you hadn't read the original, you probably wouldn't know what the hell was going on.

Would I recommend it to someone who did know Vonnegut? Maybe, but only with a cautionary, "This may not work for you, but try it anyway", note. I'll give it two and a half stars out of five for the effort (rounded to three).

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29-JUL-2003 Something smells

Memories without memories!!!

Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.

His wife Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That's $20 million for memories from two people who for eight years repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything.

 

28-JUL-2003 GLARING_BRAIN

Here's an interesting suggestion put forth by Robin Williams...

I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a viable plan for peace. So, here's my plan:

  1. The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.
  2. We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. Instead, we will station these troops at all of OUR borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence to get in.
  3. All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are.France would welcome them.
  4. All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 day visits unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it where you live, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not EVER be available to ANYONE. We don't need any more cab drivers.
  5. No international "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers.If our international students don't attend classes, they get an "F" and it's back home, baby. End of discussion.
  6. The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non-polluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.
  7. Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else.
  8. If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere". They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.
  9. Ship the UN Headquarters to an island some place. We don't need spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.
  10. Use the UN's buildings as replacement for the twin towers.
  11. All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.

Now, ain't that a winner of a plan.

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying, 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?'"

 

22-JUL-2003 HAPPY_CALVIN

So far I haven't really succumbed to the siren song of the First Network for Men, or The New TNN, or Spike TV, or whatever it is supposed to be called. It might be that I'm past the drooling, slobbering, imbalanced by testosterone stage, demographic that this channel is shooting for, or it might be because my IQ is not in the single digits.

The one exception is Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.

This is a reworking of a Japanese show, similar to how Iron Chef is redone but with a twist. The show is a competition like Iron Chef, but instead of cooking the contestants are doing odd physical challenges like crossing a rope bridge holding a bronze volleyball while having large rubber balls shot at them.

The twist is that instead of doing a literal translation of what was said on the original show, they have completely rewritten it. The show "hosts" are Vic Romano, Kenny Blankenship, Captian Tenneal, and Guy LaDouche. They lip sync new dialog into the original similar to how Kung Pow inserted new dialog into an old Kung Fu movie, and the results are, on occasion, hilarious.

It's on at odd times, but TiVo takes care of that for me. When I do watch it I usually have at least one or two laughing fits per show. If you like watching people take face plants while doing stupid stunts and hearing off color commentary about it, this is your show!

 

15-JUL-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Marty

You'd think a movie that had my name would be something I would have already seen, but in this case I didn't really get an opportunity to do so until I found it on Netflix.

Marty is the 1954 movie starring Ernest Borgnine in the title role, a lonely butcher approaching middle age, and not yet married. This is a sin in his Italian-American neighborhood. His mother hounds him to go out and "meet a nice girl", and his women shop patrons say he should be ashamed that he isn't married, yet.

Was I named after this movie?

I doubt it.

A long time ago my Grandmother said that my parents wanted to name me Johnny, but she raised such a fit that they decided on Marty. Plus, would parents name their kid after a insecure, bull-dogged faced, bachelor from a six-year-old movie?

Maybe.

In this movie, Marty is an embarrasingly old bachelor at 34. I didn't get married until I was 38. So maybe there are some similarities, but I was never a butcher (Wait, I was a butcher's apprentice, once). Yeah, but I was better looking at 34 than Ernest Borgnine's character... (well, then again)

That aside aside, the movie did cover, albeit in a slightly dated fashion, the diffculty in finding someone to date. The scenes of indecision amoungst friends as to where to go and what to do on a weekend evening rung all too true. Also the scenes depicting the painful shyness and insecurity associated with being a wallflower at a dance club were spot on. And the "just because I'm a nice guy doesn't mean it doesn't hurt when I get rejected" speech was fantastic, too.

Hardly a slam-bang adventure piece, this evenly paced movie did touch on some moments of true angst and longing that made it quite powerful. If you were ever filled with self-loathing because you couldn't find someone you could connect with, then this would be good movie for you. For that reason I give it an even four of five stars.

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15-JUL-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Adaptation

When I finished this movie, I turned to Diane and said, "Well, at least we can now say we saw it". That, in and of itself, is not a very glowing review.

If you've read my previous reviews, you know that I don't particuarly like movies that are critically acclaimed for "The ART of FILM" reasons.

Like the film Being John Malkovich, also done by the writer Charlie Kaufman, this movie is sort of diffcult to categorize. This has some of the similar traits with its predecessor in that internal dialogs become external ones, that are woven in the context of the movie.

Self referential to the n-th degree, this film talks about the rules of filmmaking and script writing and then breaks them all. (and, as an added bonus, has a scene where the writer of the film in the film argues this with a writing instructor about this very point)

It's an adapation about doing an adaptation within an adaptation.

Get it?

Get it?

Get it? If not, then see my review of Adaptation, above.

Not a complete waste of time. Nicolas Cage does a great job as twin brothers, and Chris Cooper does a great job as the gap-toothed flower hunter. It's not worth all the hype that I heard about it, though.

I wonder if this movie got such good reviews because it jumped through a lot of hoops that only film reviewers, or art snovellers, would enjoy? Similar to how the PBS show about Neilsen families got the highest ratings for a TV show EVER. (It was interesting to note that the skewed ratings for that PBS show almost brought down the Neilsen system, but that is another story)

I'm plopping this one right in the center of the scale at two and one-half stars (rounded to three for the graphic).

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30-JUN-2003 PENSIVE_PINKY

Pleasantville

Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon are teen siblings transported back in time by Don Knotts to Pleasantville, a 50's style famliy sitcom like Leave it to Beaver. The Toby character yearns for a time like this, while his sister begins a path of destruction that starts to put color into the hum drum existance of all who inhabit this mysterious black and white 'burbia.

Like fish out of water, or Aliens on a stange planet (like Third Rock), there are some interesting scenes created by the head on crash of nostalgia meets the modern world. The cinematography is interesting in that the black and white scenes sometimes interact with the color characters, and yet the black and white scenes don't look like they were shot in color and then had the color removed, or that the color characters were colorized.

William H. Macy has never done a bad acting job in any movie I've seen him in. As the confused 50s TV Dad coming to grips with the changes around him he puts in stellar performance. Joan Allen as the wife who awakens to the idea that is more to life also does a great job.

There are many allegories in this tale that can be drawn from Biblical references, or from people just waxing nostalgic about "the good old days". This film works on a couple of different levels, and succeeds on most of them.

All in all a good way to spend some time. If you just want some interesting time waste, it's good for that. If you want to delve deeper in into which is better safe repression, or free expression with consequences, you can do that, too. If you really want to get into the disection of the film for deeper meanings attached to certain events, and why things turn into color when they do, you can do that, too.

Overall, because it has a varying level of depth that can be adjusted to suit your need, I give it a solid four of five stars.

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23-JUN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Die Another Day

Speaking of Bond flicks...

Keeping the torch burning bright for the Bond tradition is Die Another Day.

Good things:

  • Impossible stunts
  • Cool detached hero
  • Gnashing psycho villain
  • Hot babe accomplices
  • Halle Barry
  • Neat toys, with a nice "old toy retrospective"
  • John Cleese as Q, with some Python references

Total Bond!

Bad things:

  • Madonna Song
  • Some of the quips were a bit overdone and cheesy
  • um...
  • um...

I really can't think of anything else that stood out as being annoyingly bad.

Overall I give it four of five for Bond films and three and a half out of five for films in general, which averages four of five for the graphic.

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

XXX

OK, I admit it, I was not really interested in seeing this movie. I Netflix'd it because Derek wanted to see it, and we try to rotate the movies we rent based on the "one for each" scheduling method. Our Netflix queue can hold three movies, so we try to have one selection of mine, one of Diane's and one of Derek's in the queue at all times.

I did watch it, though, and throughly enjoyed it!

This movie is a Gen X/Y, James Bond style, flick.

Think of your typical James Bond movie where the hero wins out over insurmountable odds, does unbelievable stunts, drives cool cars to the brink of destruction, gets to use nifty gadgets and gets the girl.

This movie is very much the same, but instead of an ultra-suave Brit as the hero put in a hard partying uber-American snowboarder punk.

If you like James Bond flicks, you'll really like this movie. Sure, some of the stunts are beyond belief (yeah, sure, you can outrun an avalanche with a snowboard), but sometimes that is half the fun of this genre. Vin Diesel (which sounds like some sort of bad Mel Brooks character) does a great job as the "hero".

I give this film four of five stars .

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

The Transporter

The quick and dirty explanation of this movie from IMDb is as follows...

This film is about a man (Statham) whose job is to deliver packages without asking any questions. Complications arise when he breaks those rules.

A bit terse, but concise.

This is a wham-bam, vrooom-vrooom, kick-boxing, bullet-dodging actioner with all the requisite plot holes. Statham (also seen in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) does a great job as the ex-military guy who does his jobs with a strict set of rules and exacting precision. One job goes bad when he breaks his own rules, and chaos ensues.

Even though the plot has holes, and the script is a mess, the action, cinematography and pacing bring it up to the level where I'd recommend it. It was put together so well that I spent as much time enjoying the film work as I did carping about plot gaffs (which in and of itself can be fun sometimes)

If you liked Lock, Stock, etc, or Ronin, or The Professional (Leon), then you'll probably like this one. Statham has same cool detachment that Reno had in The Professional and the same lapsed attention to detail that De Niro had in Ronin.

So all in all I'd give it three stars out of five .

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15-JUN-2003 SKUNK

Meet The Parents

You'd think one day I'd remember to stay away from movies with Ben Stiller in them, but today was not that day, and mores the pity. For one "Something About Mary" there seem to be a half dozen clunkers. Meet The Parents definitely falls into the clunker category.

I'm not quite sure why his movies don't work. More often than not the comedy premise is sound, and the writing is workable, but when it gets up on the screen I find it severely annoying. It might be because the jokes are telegraphed, or heavily pummeled into the ground.

You'd think with De Niro as the hard nosed disapproving Father giving Stiller, the Son-in-Law to be, a difficult time, there would be tons of opportunities for laughs. Not so. Well, actually, the opportunities _were_ there, it's just that this film didn't take advantage of them.

This is not a completely horrible comedy, that would be hard to do with the likes of "Dude, Where's My Car?" out there. I wouldn't recommend this film, unless you're a die hard Stiller fan, or really love spraying poop humor. I'll give this one and one quarter stars, rounded down to one for the graphic .

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15-JUN-2003 EYEORE

The Man Who Wasn't There

This is an interesting, yet sad, film done by the Coen Brothers, starring Billy Bob Thorton as a ciper of a man married to Francis McDormund. He decides to blackmail Francis' boss who is having an affair with her to get up the money to start a dry cleaning business and get out of being a barber working for his Brother-in-law.

This go awry and someone gets murdered. Initially the police think that Francis' character did it, and then the plot turns again. Tony Shalob is brought in as the attorney to end all attorneys to get her accquited, and does a great job as a stereotypical sleazeball attorney.

The movie is shot in a Film Noir black and white style and is paced such that plate tectonics are made to look like speed crazed rabbits. This might have been done on purpose to instill a sense of boredom and ennui that the main character, Billy Bob, was experiencing. Then again it might have just been the Coen Brothers being arty. Hard to say, exactly. I expect the Coen Brothers to do black comedies. This film was black and white, but in no way could it be considered a comedy.

Would I watch it again?

Maybe, if I was in a mood to have my spirits lifted by using Billy Bob's experience in this movie as a "At least my life isn't _that_ bad" example.

All in all I'd rate this movie two and one half stars, rounded up to three for the graphic . If you like Film Noir, or the Coen Brothers, or Francis McDormund, then it might be worth a look.

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Fast, Cheap and Out of Control

Errol Morris, the director of this film, is known for his documentaries. Each of his documentaries is a slice of an "Average" American's life. While Ken Burns does long, flowery, overly effusive, documentaries about big subjects, Errol Morris does short, well intercut, films about every day people. The subjects maybe a bit odd, or slightly backwards, but he doesn't pander to, or denegrate, those he covers.

This film is no different than the previous ones I've seen except that this one covers four people. These four people have career paths that border on the obsessive, and it makes for an interesting movie.

The four people he covered in this film are an MIT robotics specialist, a lion tamer, a naked mole rat specialist, and a topiary gardener. Each one tells an interesting story of how he got into the field he is in, and explains some of the intracacies that keeps him interested. That in and of itself makes for an interesting watch.

The stories overlap slightly visually, and narratively. Some times the narrating voice will be telling a tale about a specific bit of intrigue in their field over the top of a visual about a different persons field, yet, somehow, the two mesh perfectly.

There are also some poignant moments where you can see that the subject realizes that they may be a bit too obsessive about their chosen path. This is done in almost painfully wistful tones by the two subjects that are at retirement age, or beyond, as they may be confessing that their choices may have taken up too much of their lives, in retrospect.

If you like Errol Morris documentaries, or would just like to see a documentary that isn't the standard "History Channel", or "PBS" rah-rah fare, then this film is for you. I rate this film a solid four stars as a film overall, , and five stars as a documentary. The question mark man in the center column reflects the sentiment I had when I finished this film, "Do I obsess too much about some things?"

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15-JUN-2003 PENSIVE_PINKY

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

A charming film, not without it merits, but...

Oh, who am I trying to kid...

chick flick, Chick Flick, CHICK FLICK!

As chick flicks go, a good one, but still a chick flick. If you're a meat eating, ball scratching, beer belching kind of guy, steer clear. If you're looking for an innocuous date movie, this would be the number.

OK, the father that fixes everything with Windex is funny, but that is about it, and certainly not worth sitting through this whole thing on your own.

I'll plop this one right in the middle of the scale, two and one half out of five stars (rounded to three for the graphic).

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15-JUN-2003 FARSIDE_DUCK

One Hour Photo

This is a film about a lonely mega mart photo processing guy, played by Robin Williams, who lives his life vicariously through the photos he sees as he processes. He takes a little too much interest in one family, wishing desperately to be "Uncle Sy", so that he can be part of a big, happy, family.

When he finds out that the Father of his idyllic family is having an affair, he decides to take action. Or at least you think he does, or maybe not.

As Sy's schizophrenia reaches a fevered pitch, you can't quite tell which is his real reaction and which is dreamed. Once he is fired from his job, which was his only attachment to happiness in the "real" world, you're not sure if what he thinks he is doing is what he is really doing, or not.

The movie had the potential to be really creepy, like Norman Bates in Psycho, but it just missed. Some of the cinematic techniques used made for a great visual addition to the story line, but for some reason I wasn't put on edge, and didn't think that there was any real sense of danger. (then, again, with Psycho, you didn't really get creeped out until the end where you found out his Mother was him, but I digress, because Psycho had me on edge quite a while...)

It might be because I can't really get into the idea of Robin Williams as the villian. Sure, he does a great job in this film as the creepy guy, but I was always waiting for him to break down and go "But, really! Na, Noo, Naa, noo!... HA, HA, I mean, you know what I mean. Woahoooooo, neener, neener! .
Or something like that.

One oddity in the movie is that Sy's droning, by-the-book, annoying boss at Sav-Mart is Gary Cole. Gary Cole is the same droning, by-the-book, annoying boss in the movie Office Space. Odd bit of casting, there. I half expected him to ask Sy for a TPS report, or for Sy to have a office mate named Milton who wanted to know where the red stapler had gone (Office Space jokes).

This movie is close to a two star affair, so I'll give it that. If you must see everything that Robin Williams or Gary Cole, does, then rent this one. Otherwise, eh.

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15-JUN-2003 HAPPY_DOT

Spirited Away

I initially was worried about renting this movie.

Siskel and Roper were pummeling each other trying to out do each other on the effusive scale. I haven't seen that much gesturing, spitting and twiching since the finals of the "Overacting with Shater" clinic at the spastics nursing home. Anything that respected by critics makes me a little nervous. Usually when they go on and on in this style, it usually means that you have to have an advanced degree in film snovelling to "get it".

In this case I, too, go effusive! You'll have to insert your own mental picture of me going mental. This is the best hand drawn animation I've seen with regards to overall scene detail and visual quality I've ever seen. The story is interesting as well, but it the visuals alone are worth the price of admission.

If you like animation, anime, or are even on the border with regards to the genre, I'd highly recommend this one. Five of five !

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15-JUN-2003 POWDERED_TOAST

Star Trek: Nemesis

What can you say about Star Trek movies that hasn't been said before?

Less filling, tastes great? Dogs can't tell it's not bacon? Stopped that annoying burning itch on my anus?

Granted, those phases probably have not been uttered to describe a Star Trek movie before, but I can't be sure.

OK, how about this.

Ever wanted to see a Star Trek movie with an evil Picard clone and an idiot copy of Data? Then this is your flick!

Seriously, it's a standard issue Star Trek movie on the same par as most of the rest of the releases. Big explosions, neat CGI, scenery chewing, impossible lighting, etc. As I've heard that this is the last film to be done with the TNG (The Next Generation) crew, it does a very nice job of tying up all the loose ends. Four of five on the Star Trek scale , and two and half out of five as a movie in general (rounded to three) .

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15-JUN-2003 SAD_STIMPY

Little Shop of Horrors

Not much to say about this movie. It's a 1960's Roger Corman verison of the well known play, show, movie. It has Jack Nicholson as the manic dentist, but he sucks in this role.

If you really like high school plays where you only know one of the players, and that's because it's a friend of a friend's kid who is a talent and you happen to be color blind, then this is the movie you should be seeing. If you don't fit that limited criteria, and I can't think of many that do, then stay away.

I'll give it one star because it didn't cause my DVD player to spontaneously commit electronic suicide.

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15-JUN-2003 SKUNK

Drowning Mona

If by Drowning, they mean "floating", and by Mona they mean "a steaming pile of crap", then this movie is aptly named. If that is not the translation intended, then they were WAY off.

ZERO stars. Stay away! Stinky! North Vietnamese prison guards from the late Sixties would be not so cruel as to subject anyone to this.

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Best in Show

Mockumentaries seem to be Christopher Guests' forte. He's done Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman and recently, A Mighty Wind. This movie is no exception to the formula of documentary style film making.

Best in Show covers a number of participants in a large dog show. It covers the preparation they go through, the trials and tribulations of getting to "The Big Show", and some of the after show follow ups.

The problem is that the people that are protrayed in this movie don't seem to be too far from the people I would imagine actually doing these types of shows. This is where I had a problem with the movie.

I started to feel sorry for the people because of the narrow focus their lives had and the amount of time and energy they put into this lifestyle. Then I said to myself, "Hey, relax it's only a movie, you're supposed to be enjoying that these people are weird". Then I replied to myself, "Hey, there are people like this, how sad." Then my reply to my reply was something like, "Yeah, so your life is _so_ great, huh?" To which a completely different and third voice chimed in and said, "Shut your pie hole, freaks, I'm trying to watch a movie, here!"

And then the argument went down hill from there.

Enough of my movie induced schizophrenia.

Anyway, if you like mockumentaries and would like to poke fun at dog show folks, then this is the film for you. It wasn't a complete waste of time, but I wouldn't watch it again without a good reason. For that I give it two of five stars.

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15-JUN-2003 CAT_ACK

The Cat's Meow

A period piece about William Randolph Hearst done by Peter Bogdanovich, this film covers a fateful sea journey taken by Hearst, in which someone is murdered. Along on the cruise are his gal pal Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, Thomas Ince and Louella Parsons.

This was a well shot film and most of the actors did a good job. The costuming and sets were also great, but the pacing was glacial.

While this film does give a story about Hearst that has been forgotten or ignored through the years (and since he ran most of the media outlets, are you surprized?), don't expect the character assasination that he received in Citizen Kane. If you want to watch an interesting story about Hearst and have a little less than two hours to spare, then see this movie. If you don't particularly care about a juicy Hearst story, then don't bother. Two of five is about all I can rate it.

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

The Fisher King

This is a movie I've seen parts of a number of times, but I've never seen the whole thing start to finish. Once again, I saw parts of it on TV and decided I'd like see the whole thing all the way through. This is one of the nice things I like about Netflix, I can easily get one of those movies and watch it at my leisure.

As with most Terry Gilliam pictures, it is visually stunning, and thematically interesting. I've always been a fan of his movies, and after finally seeing this one start to finish, it is no exception.

The basic story is about four people in different stages of being broken and disconnected from the "real world" and the redemption they find. This is all wrapped in a somewhat mythical tale, replete with fire breathing Black Knights on horseback and a Grail-like quest against great odds.

Jeff Bridges does a great job as the Shock Jock that gets shocked into a stunned stupor when one of his fans goes on a killing spree based on his on-air "advice". Robin Williams also does a great job as the former professor turned into a street bum. Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer also turn in very good performances as the women involved with these two men.

If you like Terry Gillaim movies, this is a must see. It is another stunning reality through surreality movie that Gilliam does better than anyone I can think of. Four and a half out of five stars for movies in general and five of five for Terry Gilliam movies, which gives us an average close enough to five.

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15-JUN-2003 HAPPY_CALVIN

The Big Lebowski

This is the type of Coen Brother films I like to see, similar to Raising Arizona. Odd, interesting, chock full of interesting characters and quirky story twists, and funny!

Jeff Bridges is "Dude", a seventies throwback stoner slacker who is mistaken, by some very inept kidnappers, as a multi-millionaire whose wife was kidnapped. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi are his bowling team sidekicks, that "help" him resolve the problems he encounters as he tries to get his name cleared so that the kidnappers will quit bugging him.

Surrealistic, yet well grounded in characters that you could see in real life, as in a Barton Fink or Raising Arizona. Not overly thought provoking, and a nice bit of goofy fun entertainment. For those reasons, I'll give it three and a half out of five stars, rounded to four for the graphic.

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15-JUN-2003 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Signs

It's been too long since I watched this movie to give it an in depth review. I saw this around the start of April, and am just getting around to writing about it now.

Mel Gibson does a intriguing job as a preacher that loses his faith when he wife is killed in a car wreck. This movie is more about that event and how it effects his family than it is about little green men who make crop circles.

This was an enjoyable venture, well done by M. Night Shyamalan. It doesn't have the twist at the end that Unbreakable or Sixth Sense had, but it did have somewhat of a twist.

All in all I thought it was a nice way to pass the time. It wasn't a wow, you gotta watch this type of film, but it was OK, so I give it two and a half out of five stars.

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15-JUN-2003 PENSIVE_PINKY

It's been quite a while since I updated this page with movie reviews. I've watched a number of movies, but I just haven't got around to typing up what I thought about them.

Just for the sake of chronological aesthetics, I'll do my reviews from the oldest to the newest. Of course, by the time you read this you'll have read through the newest to the oldest, so ignore that last sentence.

Frailty

This movie was scary in that I have met religious fanatics and realized that they don't work with the same rule set as normal people. Bill Paxton is a Father that decides that God has sent him a message to kill the devils among us as "God's Hand". His sons, one of which Matthew McConaughey plays as an adult, are brought around to his way of thinking, but only after suffering many deprevations.

A taut suspense movie that has a bit of a twist at the end. Overall I give it three of five stars. Worth watching, but not a super spectacular. It was directed by Bill Paxton, and as his first effort, I give him a "well done!".

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7-APR-2003 GLARING_BRAIN

I ran across this nifty anti-protester link today. I don't necessarily agree with everything the author says, but it is pretty close to how I feel about the subject. I don't have a problem with people having a differing opinion, but there is a point where protesting becomes anarchy, and that point is where I draw the line. To those Bush=Hitler people, I offer this.

In a similar vein, few things cheese me off faster than yuppie kids whose heavily monied parents can afford to send them to an expensive school complaining about capitalism and the evils of the power system.

Um, retards. It's because of that system you can waste your days going to the expensive school and protesting the very thing that put you there. If your convictions are that strong why don't you, oh, I don't know, Pay Your Own Way?

Your convictions aren't that stong, hypocrite? Well do us all a favor and shut the fuck up!

2-APR-2003 PENSIVE_PINKY

Here's an interesting story I found on the Humor List today. I don't know if it's true, but it is funny.

From: Les Pourciau

When I got on my train, there were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, she politely declined.

The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, "Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?"

The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my first husband died in France during World War II so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth your country. And if you touch me again, I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it."

I'm glad to report that loud applause broke out among the onlookers and the young protester was at a total loss for words.

25-MAR-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Amelie

I'll admit, I had a hard time buying into the hype of this movie. I wanted to see it, but not enough to see it in a theater when it first came out. That is the beauty of Netflix, though.

Everyone was a-buzz with Amelie. A "Must See" movie. I worried that it was going to be one of those art-snovelling "French" films, that everyone praises highly, but only see and talk about because it shows how artsy you are to do so.

Well, it is artsy, and they do some things cinematically that you'd only see in a foreign film, but it wasn't annoying. It actually came together as a very well done film that turned the idea on that trite bumper sticker, "practice random acts of kindness", into a great character bit of celluoid. (Bits and bytes on a metal platter in this case, but that doesn't roll off the tongue as well, now, does it?)

The movie covers such ground as finding the lost innocence of youth, taking chances to find happiness, and, oddly enough, finding ways for others to save face, and it does in an amusing and entertaining way. Fast paced, visually interesting, and fun.

You'll have to watch it yourself to figure out what I mean. I give it a solid four out of five stars .

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25-MAR-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Insomnia

Hmm, another Al Pacino picture. Is this a pattern?

Perhaps, but not in so much a premeditated way but in an electronic nudge way. It's more a pattern born from selecting a movie from the "other films by X" choices on Netflix. Since I'd rented S1m0ne with Pacino a while back, this one was suggested. Since it was well received and also starred Robin Williams as a psycho, I thought it might be worth seeing.

The basic story premise is that Al Pacino goes to Alaska to track down a killer. This is during the Summer when the sun doesn't set for days. He gets insomnia and stays awake for a whole week. Combine this with some additional tension brought about by him being sought by internal affairs back home, and the story is chock full of tension and intrigue.

I won't get into the plot line too much, because it didn't really seem like the filmakers did either. You can pretty much figure out who did what and who is going to do what to whom early on. The way it is put together is well done, though, and worthy of checking out, if you like movies for more than just plots and pretty pictures.

The cinematography, set design, editing, scenery and pacing are worth giving this movie a look. There is a point in the movie where lack of sleep is making Pacino lethargic and the pace of the movie is (my guess anyway) purposefully slowed to a crawl.

The story itself didn't stick with me, so that is a drawback. For those reasons I give it a middle ground rating of three of five stars . Not bad, worth watching for some reasons, but not something you're going to be shouting about around the water cooler, either.

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17-MAR-2003 SAD_STIMPY

I found a couple new pictures on the web over the last couple of days that make fun of the anti-war protesters. Since I got a laugh out of them I thought I'd pass them along.

Here we see celebrities marching. The thing I like is someone did a Photoshop number on them and changed their slogans. I especially like the shirt on the "Babe, Pig in the City" guy.

"A.S.S., Artists Supporting Saddam"

I found a fairly comprehensive website that covers the stupidity of celebrities at Celebrity Shit List. Check it out.

About as good as the celebrity marching image is this picture that also has slogans changed.

Where do these protesting guys get their ideas? Probably from this tome. I like the caveat in the red circle:

"Warning: Protesting under an actual evil and/or repressive goverment may result in torture, disappearance, or death."

12-MAR-2003 FARSIDE_ANGRY_GUY

Don't want to fight a war for oil? Then don't buy Middle East Oil!

Your efforts might not completely reduce our dependancy on Middle East oil, but it is a step in the right direction. I know I'm going to be trotting down to my local Union 76 station to sign up for a credit card, so I can snub Chevron.

Don't get the reference? Then check out the link, above. There are some gas companies that don't get their oil from the Middle East.

10-MAR-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Simone or S1m0ne

Simone is a story about a director, Viktor Tarantzky, played by Al Pacino, whose picture has just been shutdown because the star had a tantrum and walked off the set. He doesn't know how is going to finish his almost completed film without his star and without help from the studio, but he is determined to do it.

In steps a terminally ill computer genius who has created a virtual actor, or vactor, to save the day.

Viktor completes the picture to overwhelming critical acclaim, and the only other person who knows that the actress that completed the picture is not real is the computer guy, now, conveniently dead. Everyone wants to meet this wonder actress, but Viktor says that she doesn't want publicity, only to honor her craft, etc.

Anyway, this type of coy avoidance goes on for a while, and then using remote interview technology, Simone (which is short for simulation one) interacts with TV interviews, etc. The more she eludes the media, the more the public and media want her. Putting up this type of charade is too much for Viktor because everyone loves Simone, but no one notices him (he is doing the acting for Simone).

He tries to make her a "bad girl" but everyone still loves her. He has her direct a horrible film, which everyone loves. Eventually, he decides she has to die.

I won't give away the ending, but it's a safe bet that Al Pacino is not going to put away for virtual murder.

The problem I had with this movie is that, while it was a scathing take on the vacuousness of fame and Hollywood types, it seemed to be too taken with the insider guffaws it could produce. It could have been a much stronger film had it really made some dents in the veneer that is pop culture.

It is a fairly good movie, and has some good points and some meek laughs, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. Pacino put in a great understated role as the director (as opposed to, say, Hoffman in Wag the Dog). It was an OK way to spend a hour or two, and for that I give it two and one half stars (rounded up to three for the graphic).

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4-MAR-2003 FARSIDE_DUCK


Just a quick Duckman quote to end this update for the day.
(Yes, I realize the duck to the left is not Duckman, but I couldn't find a decent icon sized gif. So sue me already.)

Duckman is institutionalized and lobotomized because he is driven crazy by daily life. After that he reacts to all of the annoyances of life with cheerful glee.

Cornfed decides "fix" him.

When he comes to this sequence takes place.


Cornfed: You see Duckman, I realized that it's the person that can cheerfully accept the madness of this world that is truly insane.

Duckman: You said a mouthful old swine of mine. That hospital may have been a stinking hell hole, but the so called normal world is really bad. So let's face it, the only answer, the only sane way to deal with any of this, is RUTHLESS, RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE! Making sure they're ALL WIPED OUT, innocent and guilty alike! In a hail of gunfire! Cleft in twain by my mighty sword! Trampled into the dust and squashed like the stupid, tiny, unsegmented insects they are!


I have days where I feel like that.

Catch Duckman reruns on Comedy Central on Sunday nights.

And don't worry, I don't take the daily annoyances with anything close to cheerful glee.

4-MAR-2003 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Brainstorm is the review in this installment.

This 1983 film entails a system whereby your experiences can be recorded and whoever plays them back can relive your experiences. Directed by Douglas Trumbull, famous for his special effects techniques, and starring Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood (her last role), Louis Fletcher and Cliff Robertson.

When I first saw this movie in 1983, I was mesmerized. Imagine being able to record experiences and letting other people in on what you are really experiencing. I was entranced by the idea for months.

Now the movie looks dated, and the idea is not as appealing. It is somewhat like seeing Tron originally, and then comparing it to the computer graphics done nowadays.

Another oddity. The timeline in the movie seems weirdly compressed. One day they have a barely working prototype. The next day it seems they can walk around with it and dial in to get the experience downloaded into a walkabout headset. The next day the evil goverment types are mass producing it to create super psycho warriors.

Why did Walken and Wood, as husband and wife, drift apart? Why did the headset reunite them?

When Louis Fletcher has a heart attack and records her last experiences, is that the equivalent of her life flashing before her eyes?

And so forth.

I'll give this two of five stars because it is always good to see Christopher Walken gnashing. But would I recommened it? I'm not so sure unless you want to watch it as an example of how a movie doesn't age well.

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4-MAR-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Anatomy of a Murder is this review.

This is a black and white 1959 movie starring Jimmy Stewart, directed by Otto Preminger. The basic plot premise is that in a murder trial, the defendant says that he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. The murderer is played by Ben Gazarra with Lee Remick as the wife.

It is a long movie that, at the time, probably shocked audiences with a promicious bar hound wife, and her panties as part of the evidence. The shock factor wouldn't work today, since the plot line is tamer than most of the crime scene investigator television shows on the air now.

It does hold up as a well told tale that doesn't go for the easy answers or the standard Hollywood ending. Well directed and well cast, with some good performances.

I'm only going to give it two-and-a-half stars out of five, (rounded to three for the graphic) though, because, while I didn't figure out the ending, I wasn't all that interested in how it came out. If you like Jimmy Stewart, Eve Arden or George C. Scott or are an Otto Preminger buff, then I'd recommend it.

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4-MAR-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

The Majestic

This movie stars Jim Carrey as a Hollywood writer in the McCarthy Era that, when traveling to get out of town, careens off the road and loses his memory. He winds up in a small town that is convinced that he is the long lost son of the former proprietor of a movie theater called The Majestic.

Since he has no clue as to who he is, and his "Father" wants so desperately for him to be his long lost son, he starts to be convinced that he is the long lost offspring. He has no recollection of his past, but that doesn't keep him from bringing the life back to the small town, and his Father, by helping to renovate the theater.

The town is transformed and his Father gets to do the things he always wished he would have done, and now can do, since he is given a second chance.

Strong stuff, emotionally. I was blubbering like manically depressed kleenex tester. Very strong performances by Carrey and Martin Landau as the Father.

I won't give away the ending, since until close to the very end it was plausable that he could have been the long lost son, or just an amnesiac in a cooincidental situation. I do recommend this movie, though, and give it four out of five stars with one being taken off for the McCarthy hearing annoyance.

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3-MAR-2003 GLARING_BRAIN

French Bashing, it's all the rage.

Not to be one to ignore the latest fads and crazes, I, too, will put forth my anti-French sentiment.

Gotta follow the French Bashing Guidelines, though.


Statement By Press Secretary Fleischer Introducing
Revised Federal France-Bashing Standards & Guidelines


For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary

MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. As you know, the French have always been a thorn in the side to everyone. Well, except Hitler. Recently, however, their pompous misapprehension that they actually matter has taken a decidedly annoying turn. Indeed, these Gallic (Chiraqi) cowards have gotten it into their goose-liver-stuffed heads that America can't do anything it goddamned well feels like! President Bush is dismayed by this, especially inasmuch as it negatively impacts his plans to carry out a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein.

That's why on White House orders America's right-wing commentators and talk-radio junkies have been busy attempting to come up with clever insults to ridicule that nation of fussy-yet-filthy pansies. Unfortunately, even their best taunts have thus far been embarrassingly banal and puerile. Even Ann Coulter, who can usually be relied upon for a whole playgrounds-worth of ad hominem heckling, has not proved up to the task. Perhaps, as our Homeland Security operatives have observed, this may be because her surname has a decidedly Frenchy ring to it. We are, of course, looking into that.

In any event, our showbiz contingent isn't cutting it - and since making sarcastic comments about those effete, cheese-eating surrender monkeys across the Atlantic is currently this nation's top foreign policy priority, the President has seen fit to call in the prestigious and expensive advertising agency of Saatchi & Saatchi to finish the job. This $175,000,000 contract will be financed by taxpayer funds earmarked from what used to be called the "Federal Budget," which was renamed pursuant to Executive Order No. 9,439 more simply as "Petty Cash."

As such, I'm pleased to be presenting the fruits of their corporate labors today, in the form of the officially revised Federal France-Bashing Standards & Guidelines. All Americans are urged to adhere to them carefully.

FEDERAL FRANCE-BASHING STANDARDS & GUIDELINES

  1. Effective immediately, Americans are directed to discontinue use of the word "French." For example, henceforth, that overly-sweet, bloody liquid slathered on yellowed iceberg lettuce at Shoney's shall be "Prancing Snail Swallower Dressing;" those greasy sticks of carbohydrates and sodium kept warm for hours under heat lamps at McDonald's shall be "Beret Wearing Pansy Fries" (and shall no longer be available in any size other than "embarrassingly small"); and restaurants throughout the land will begin serving "Unbathed Asshole Onion Soup."
  2. Americans shall promptly initiate a boycott of the "French Kiss" replacing it with PATRIOTIC expressions of affection such as the "Texas Uvula Wallop" and the "Dixieland Stinky Finger."
  3. Upon sipping from any glass or bottle of inferior French wine in a restaurant, all citizens are hereby directed to spit it onto the floor before braying that the imported beverage was either "too flinty" or "indistinguishable from a rancid slick of year-old poodle menses" before loudly ordering a refreshing 48 oz. Gallo Peach Liebfraumilch slushy as a replacement.
  4. All American colleges and universities must immediately dispense with the folly of teaching the pathetic "Soft Philosophies" of Voltaire, Sartre, and Descartes - and begin aggressively indoctrinating our starry-eyed youth to the profound, righteous, and less tediously cerebral works of Hannity, Rumsfeld, Noonan, and The Rock.
  5. Moving forward, U.S. journalists and historians alike are to incinerate any liberal textbooks which incorrectly assert that the French saved our ragtag, shoeless asses at Yorktown during America's noble fight for independence from those charmingly irascible and currently endearing limeys (a struggle now rendered ironically moot by Britain's decision to fork over what little sovereignty they didn't give to the European Socialist Union to our State Department).
  6. Should they find their personal space violated by an actual French person, whether in New York, Topeka or Paris, Americans should demonstrate their unswerving love of country by informing the Franko Sapiens in question about a recent innovation called "the shower" and then, before the rebuked Frog can make some sour, smelly retort in that bitchy French way of theirs, douse them with a mixture of J-Lo perfume and pepper spray, taking care not to get the lethal mixture on any of the fourteen colors you happen to be wearing. Then, as they're writing in agony - screaming that incomprehensible jibberish of theirs - tell them that their supposed military genius and 19th century Saddam Hussein progenitor Napoleon could only overcome his crippling impotence (the bane of ALL Frenchmen) by satiating a deviant sexual appetite for basting his prostitute wife Josephine in superior American coffee!
[ 2001-2003 - a chickenhead productions parody ]


Within those guidelines in mind, I present the following quotes...

"The last time France wanted more evidence, it rolled right through Paris with a German flag." -- David Letterman

"Going to War without the French is like going hunting without your accordion." -- on CNN, not attributed.

"Of the whole rabble of thieves, the fools are the worst; they rob you of both time and peace of mind." -- Goethe

Of course, no bash would be complete without some pictures to save me from typing one thousand words...

First, I'd have to say that the French are just being wimps as usual. I mean, with a fighting force like this who can blame them? Certainly not the Hollywood Dorks that try an influence foreign policy with their fame.

Tell you what, liberals, why don't you just get out of the way!

24-FEB-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Minority Report

Normally, I've been trying to stay away from Tom Cruise films, since I got so badly burned by Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, and to a lesser degree, Vanilla Sky. Since it was on Netflix, and available, I thought I'd check it out. It looks like the Cruise curse has been lifted, if only temporarily. This film had some good parts, and some gaffs in the logic, but over all, not bad.

The premise is that in the future law enforcement can stop a violent crime before it happens by the use of psis that can see this type of activity in the near future. The lawmen, in this case Cruise, have to figure out from the clues the psis record who is commiting the crime and where. For some reason the psis can see the actions and devine the exact time, but can't just hand you their phone number and address. (And I guess if they could it would be a pretty short movie)

It is supposed to be infallable. The psis don't make mistakes. Or do they? There are three psis involved and if one of them doesn't agree on what happens then their recording is tossed as the Minority Report, hence the title.

Much running, jumping, and gnashing of teeth occur when our hero is tapped as the next murderer. Sub plots burst onto the screen and the pace becomes hypersonic, as our hero tries to figure out how the system broke down to indict him. But wait, if he proves the system fallable, then he is out of a job!

More teeth gnashing and scenery chewing ensues. But with the spectacular computer graphics, what scenery it is.

Typical to Speilberg, it has a happy predictable ending. I find that annoying because, even though I didn't read the original story done by Phillip K Dick, I doubt he'd end it that way.

So all in all, it was watchable and it does spark some debate. I give it three-and-a-half of five stars rounded to four for the graphic.

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24-FEB-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

GO!

A movie review of the movie named Go, anyway.

This is one of those multiple story lines with intersecting character movies, ala Tarantino, but with mostly twenty-something casual drug using slackers as the main cast, instead of the hardened crooks that QT likes to parade up and down the screen. There are three story lines that start in pretty much the same place and end in the same place, and show how these people all interact, but not necessarily directly.

Unlike some movies of this genre, I couldn't care less about any of the characters involved for most of the film. It was a combination of the queasiness I felt in that I used to know these types of people, and that I was happy not to be in that type of situation any longer.

I guess it's good when a movie can make you feel something. I thought at the time that I could probably get the same effect of boredom and nausea by eating raw chicken just before going to a timeshare seminar.

At about the three-quarter point of the movie I was checking out the lint in the carpet to see if that held any more interest. I came pretty close to turning it off and chucking it back into the Netflix envelope, but decided that since there wasn't much left I might as well finish it.

I mean, if I can watch all of Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia, what were a few more minutes invested in this dreckfest?

Then the story came to the point where all the characters came back to the same point and the whole story coalesced into an ending that made the rest seem worthwhile. It wasn't necessarily a happy ending, but it was about as happy as these characters were going to get, so there was some relief.

I was pleasantly surprized, and as such I give it three-and-a-half stars rounded up to four for the graphic.

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24-FEB-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Blade II is this gurgle.

It was a while ago that I watched this. Other projects and general laziness have kept me from updating this review page as fast I watch movies.

Some times that is a good thing, since, if the movie is really good I will still remember what I liked about it. Other times, it is not so good because I don't remember all of the things I wanted to say about the movie at the time. Subtle parts or glaring annoyances will fade with time, and all I'll be left with is a general feeling of if I liked the movie or not.

This is the case with Blade II. It ranks right up there with the other Blade movie, and other Wesley Snipes action movies, but nothing stuck me as so outstanding as to be remembered for the two, or so, weeks it took me to write this down.

If you liked Blade, you'll like Blade II. Plenty of high speed action and pacing. With that I give it two-and-a-half out of five stars, rounded to three for the graphic.

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24-FEB-2003 CAT_ACK

Since I've had some luck, recently, with movies I thought would have no redeeming value, I decided to watch Dude, Where's My Car? I thought it might just be dumb enough that I'd find it funny.

I was wrong.

Seriously, wrong, dude.

I guess I forgot to use the DVD extra value pack pre-feature, Dude, You Need a Lobotomy!

Dumb is one thing. Dumb and Dumber, was, as you can guess from the title, Dumb. Kung Pow was dumb. But D&D and KP were funny dumb, not one-digit-IQ dumb.

I came away from this movie feeling like I'd been laughing at Short Bus kids at a spelling bee. The kind of laughter that makes you feel unclean afterwards.

"Out, damn chuckle!"

I rate it No Stars. It doesn't even rate a graphic, except the "Bill the Cat" ACK! in the middle column.

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9-FEB-2003 FARSIDE_DUCK

So it's been a long while since my last update, so I'm going to go through three of the seven movies I have backlogged at this sitting. I'll get to the rest later. The problem now is that I'm watching movies at a much faster clip than I'm writing about them.

Why, you ask? (Even if you didn't ask why I'm going to tell you)

It's TiVo I blame!

Now that I can watch shows that I would watch only if they happened to be on when I sitting on the couch, I do. TiVo takes care of recording the shows and all I have to do is plop down and hit play. Too easy!

Plus, with the added feature that I can skip through commercials, it turns into a black hole of time waste. The gravitational pull of a TV that I can watch at my leisure is too hard for me to pull away from.

I'm sure as my mass increases from become a super couch potato, it will just become harder.

9-FEB-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Windtalkers is the focus of this review.

Ever since I saw Valley Girls, I've been a fan of Nicolas Cage. Just about every movie I've seen him in, with the exception of Gone in Sixty Seconds, I've enjoyed at one level or another. I admit that I haven't seen everything he has done so there might be some clinkers out there that I'm not aware of, but those I have seen I've liked. This movie was not an exception, but it was close.

The story is about Navajo code talkers in WWII. Nicolas Cage is teamed up with a code talker to make sure he gets where he needs to be in one piece. The flip side of that duty is that if it looks like the code talker is going to be captured, he has to kill the code talker.

The problem I had with the movie is that it didn't delve far enough into the Navajo cuture, or the legacy of the code talkers themselves. What you're left with is another WWII actioner with the standard not-buddy, buddy, etc, format. I thought it could easily been more, so I was disappointed.

All in all, if you like standard fare WWII movies, I'd recommend this one. If you wanted to get more info about code talkers, this is not the movie for you. I'll give it two and a half out of five stars , rounded up to three for the graphic.

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9-FEB-2003 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

Van Wilder is the focus of this review.

I don't know if it's because the bar was set so high with Animal House, or if my taste in humor has changed, but National Lampoon movies just don't seem to have the same comic punch as they used to. Van Wilder, starring Ryan Reynolds, covers some of the same ground as Animal House, Back to School or PCU.

Smart aleck gets involved in crazed college antics, hilarity ensues.

Well, kind of.

There were a couple of good moments in this movie, but overall it fell flat. If you want to see a funny movie about college antics I'd say get Animal House for its classic humor, or PCU, for its searing take on college and political correctness.

Two and one half stars (rounded to three for the graphic) is about all I can give it.

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9-FEB-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Austin Powers: Goldmember is the focus of this review.

The third in the series of Austin Powers films rehashes some of the same themes brought forth in the first two movies. This latest installment does have enough new elements, though, so that I found the movie enjoyable.

Dr. and Scott Evil, Mini Me, Number Two and Frau Farbissina are back on the bad side along with two new members. Goldmember and Fred Savage as Number Three.

On the good side Austin, and Basil are joined by Foxxy Cleopatra, played by Beyonce Knowles and Austin's Dad, Nigel, played by Michael Caine.

Two outstanding side story sequences were included. One showed Austin, Dr. Evil and Nigel when they were in boarding school together. The other was a trailer with Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Steven Spielberg. I had to pause the movie after that sequence because I shot my cool refreshing beverage through my nose and had to wipe down the television.

If you like Austin Powers movies, you'll like this one. All in all I'd give it four of five stars.

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29-JAN-2003 Angry Guy

I was sent the following quiz the other day. I don't know who the original author was, but I liked it enough to post it here.


This is a test. Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following Multiple Choice test. The events are events from recent history. They actually happened! Do you remember?


  1. In September 1972 at the Munich Olympics, 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped, and 9 massacred by:
    1. Olga Korbut
    2. Roone Arledge, Jim McKay, and the staff of ABC's Wide World of Sports
    3. Arnold Schwarzenegger
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  2. In November 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over, and 66 Americans were held hostage by:
    1. A band of marauding Vikings
    2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
    3. Ali Babba and the Forty Thieves
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

  3. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon, and one (William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut) murdered by:
    1. Genghis Khan
    2. The King of Sweden
    3. The Boy Scouts
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  4. In 1983, the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up, and 63 people were killed by:
    1. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto
    2. The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
    3. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  5. In October 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up, and 242 Marines were killed by:
    1. A pizza delivery boy
    2. Pee Wee Herman
    3. Geraldo Rivera
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  6. In October 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old wheelchair-bound American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered and thrown overboard by:
    1. The Smurfs
    2. Davy Jones
    3. The Little Mermaid
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  7. In June 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver, Robert Dean Stethem (Stethem was a passenger on the flight who tried to rescue other passengers), was murdered by:
    1. Captain Kid
    2. Charles Lindbergh
    3. Mother Teresa
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  8. In December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, and 259 passengers killed by:
    1. Scooby Doo
    2. The Tooth Fairy
    3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  9. In February 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
    1. Richard Simmons
    2. Grandma Moses
    3. Michael Jordan
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  10. In November 1997, 58 tourists were killed and 26 wounded near Luxor in Egypt by machine guns wielded by:
    1. The Headless Horseman
    2. The Ghost of Christmas Past
    3. Dracula
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  11. In August 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, and 224 people were murdered by:
    1. Mr. Rogers
    2. Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s escapades
    3. The World Wrestling Federation
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  12. In October 2001, the USS Cole was bombed, killing 17 sailors and wounding 37 others, by:
    1. Roger Rabbit
    2. Mother Goose
    3. Darth Vader
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  13. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Center, one was crashed into the US Pentagon, and the other was diverted to a crash by the passengers. Over 3,000 innocent people were killed by:
    1. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
    2. The Supreme Court of Florida
    3. Mr. Bean
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  14. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
    1. Enron
    2. The Lutheran Church
    3. The NFL
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  15. In February 2002, kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered by:
    1. Bonny and Clyde
    2. Captain Kangaroo
    3. Billy Graham
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

  16. In October 2002, a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, frequented by western tourists, was bombed, and almost 200 killed, by:
    1. Bill Maher
    2. The Teletubbies
    3. Rocky and Bullwinkle
    4. Male Muslim extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, I really don't see a pattern here - certainly nothing to justify profiling foreign visitors, visa applicants, resident aliens, or medical students joking about blowing things up - do you?

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. Instead, they will conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, Secret Service agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85 year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning former Governors.

Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the vapor brained talking heads on TV, civil liberties challenged media prophets, and politically androgynous public officials who want to thwart common sense feel doubly ashamed of themselves.

24-JAN-2003 GLARING_BRAIN

I never considered myself a political activist, or a tree-hugging environmentalist, but I do think it's time to say a few things about the Iraq situation and SUVs in general.

First off, do you think anyone would care in the least if everyone in the Middle East wiped themselves out if they weren't sitting on the majority of the World's oil reserve. I think the resounding answer would be NO!

How many people were marching in the streets and chanting "Save the Hutus" or "Save the Tutsees" when the genocide in Africa was going on and millions were being murdered? Not any that I saw.

Now let's combine this with the fact that I work in Berkeley, home of the liberal facist.

So I'm confronted on a daily basis with "No War in Iraq" posters, banners and bumper stickers. O.K., fine, I don't mind someone expressing their opinion, but when I see that on an SUV I have to scream, "HYPOCRITE"!

So with that intro I present this set of links for your perusal...

The bigger the SUV the bigger the jerk.

SUV drivers are idiots, Hummer drivers even more so.

One article I found was proposing that we should start using more fuel efficient cars. I'm all for that since I drive a Prius, which is a hybrid that has an electric motor and a gasoline engine. I average 40+ miles per gallon, so I'm somewhat walking the walk. If you can put up with Arianna Huffington, this article outlines their ideas.

I need to make a bumper sticker like this for my Prius.

Invade Iraq and take their oil

23-JAN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

It's been a while since the last update, so let's get to it!

The first movie to review is Time Machine, the version done last year with Guy Pierce.

This is yet another remake of the H. G. Wells classic that deals in a little more detail about the causality loops in time. Essentially, it puts forth the idea that you can't go back in time and change the outcome of an event (in this case the hero's girlfriend getting tragically killed as he plans to propose).

I'd agree with that because my view is that the time line the current you lives in is a summation of all the decisions and events that came about to get you there. If you change something in the past, you'll either see a different outcome and run the risk of running into the yourself that is the sum of all the decisions that got that you there, or you'll wind up in the same place because you are the you that you are.

Or something like that, anyway.

It deals with jumping forward in time with a lot more non-chalance. I suppose it could be argued that his being there to change something in the future was they way it was supposed to be, but then again...

Connundrums aside, the set pieces and computer graphics are stunning. Future world sets and the graphics when he changes times are quite intriguing. The DVD extras that cover the art direction are a nice bonus.

I'd give this DVD a solid three of five stars. Worth getting if you like the premise. If you like most of the Star Trek stuff, you'll like this movie.

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23-JAN-2003 CRITIC_GOOD

Double Indemnity, the 1944 classic starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, is the subject of this review. Directed by Billy Wilder, this was the film that some sources credit with starting the whole film noir movement.

It is a highly potent mix of narration from the doomed murderer intercut with flashbacks of how the murder was done, who betrayed who, and where the mistakes were made.

By revealing who did it at the outset it gave me the opportunity to get more into the motivations of the characters. It then allowed me to feel more of emotion of the situation, wether it was understanding how Walter Neff (the MacMurray character) could get sucked in by Phyllis Dietrichson (the Stanwyck role), or how he thought he could outsmart his boss, the investigator.

It was an enjoyable movie start to finish, so I give it five stars out of five . If you even remotely like film noir this is a "must see" movie.

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27-DEC-2002 ITTYBITTYKITTY

Just some year end random garbage for this update.

Since the main stream media seems to be constantly beating the drum for liberal causes, I'd thought I'd dig up some stories to offer a counter opinion. As it says in the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, if you don't like what is on this page, then don't read it again. I won't spend any time arguing with you about the articles in these links.

If I had to declare an affiliation with a political party, it would probably be Libertarian. "Defend our shores, stay out of our lives" type of thing. I'm not a big Republican fan, but since it is a a two party only system, I'd rather vote to keep my hard earned cash.

The first one is a Yahoo! News! Story! written by Ann Coulter pointing out that Trent Lott wasn't always a Republican, among other things.

As with most year end summaries, a Top Twenty List is in order. It's not the fact that there are liberal lunatics in the World that irks me, it's that they get so much air time. I'd say most of these people are the political equivalents of WWF wrestlers, but I wouldn't want to insult the WWF.

Ben Stein wrote an interesting article in Forbes about How to Ruin American Enterprise. He could have probably left the Enterprise off of the article title and it still would have rung true.

To leave off on a light note. The arguing link, above, got me to thinking that I should get my cat in training . If there are Special Olympics, there must be Cat Olympics, yes?

20-DEC-2002 CRITIC_GOOD

Not the pinnacle of modern movie cinema verite, but I laughed just the same. This movie review is about Kung Pow: Enter the Fist!

I got this movie because I thought that it might be so bad as to be really good. In this case the bet paid off.

Steve Odenkerk took a Kung Fu movie from 1976 and injected himself into the lead role as The Chosen One via movie magic. He also redubbed the dialog with sometime hilarious results.

In some of the scenes where the "big showdowns" would happen, the evil opponent, who insisted on being called Betty, would kick ass with the help of a boombox carrying ninja flunky. Something about a kung fu fight re-correographed with M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This" made me breakup.

Other highlights included a shy Asian girl sidekick that would end most of her dialog with "Wee Ooo Wee Ooo, snort". Unfortunately, the written version of this action doesn't do justice to hearing it first hand.

A bit spotty at times, but when it hit, I had a hard time breathing. For the boughts of hypoxia brought on by laughter, I give it four of five stars.

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Get Netflix! cover IMDb logo Kung Pow: Enter the Fist!
17-DEC-2002 CRITIC_QUESTIONS

Art of War, starring Wesley Snipes is the focus of this review.

I watched this movie about a week ago, and due to laziness on my part I haven't gotten around to review it until now. As I usually do, I looked at other reviews of this movie after I watched the movie and, in this case, that is a good thing.

Seems most of the reviews I saw on the movie panned it savagely. Most of those reviews didn't match the movie that I saw, so I'm taking this time to give my take on it and let you decide on your own.

The main critique I saw on the other reviews was that the plot made no sense. This I disagree with. It was a convoluted plot, agreed, but it did make sense if you were looking for the clues as to who did it and why. By the time they revealed the true culprit(s) I had already made the conclusion about who had done it, but it wasn't too obvious. For an action whodunit thriller, I thought the timing of my revelation about the connections worked well.

That is not to say that this movie didn't have some problems. Because it did.

One problem I had was with the involuntary Asian girl sidekick. At times it seemed like she was a counter spy for the Chinese, and at other times it seemed like she was just some poor schlub that was caught in the cross-fire. If she was a counter-spy then he wooden acting might have been part of her cool-in-the-face-of-danger spy persona. If she wasn't then she should have been reacting in a more horrified manner to all the carnage going on around her. Unless the life of an interpretter for the UN is more frought with danger and explosions that I would have guessed, it seemed, well, wooden.

Another problem I had with the movie which did match some of the reviews was the heavy-handed "Government is evil" theme. That sort of comes with the territory with these films, though, so I can't say that I was too surprized. With Hollywood weenies like Altman, Streisand and Meathead, et. al., beating the drum hard for retarded liberal causes, I find that I hardly flinch at this type of cinematic garbage.

If you like action adventure films with Wesley Snipes, then I'd recommend "U.S. Marshals", "Blade" and then this movie, in that order. It was an OK way to pass some time.

I'd give it two-and-a-half stars out of five rounded up to three for the graphic.

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13-DEC-2002 CRITIC_GOOD

Bus Stop, the 1956 movie starring Marilyn Monroe is subject of this review.

This is a departure from the MM movies I'd seen in the past. In all the previous movies I'd seen her in she played a ditzy blonde. A very well played ditzy blonde, but roles without much depth. It is similar to all the Keanu Reeves, for instance, has played through out his career; the vacuous 'tard.

But where KR has played that way for all parts, regardless of what the role required, MM rose to the occasion on this role and turned in a stellar performance as the hillbilly girl with a checkered past getting lasso'd by a fresh off the farm cowboy. She kept her accent throughout the picture and had some scenes where you could see what might have been the agnst of the tribulations of her real life bleeding into the part. Very strong performance indeed.

You have to suffer through the grating personailty of the cowboy for most of the movie, but it does pay off in the end.

All in all I'd give this movie three and a half stars out of five (rounded up to four for the graphic).

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9-DEC-2002 CRITIC_EITHERWAY

It's been a while since my last update. In the interim I've watched three movies on DVD from Netflix.

The movies I watched were Orange County, Mystery Men and Men In Black II.

Had I spent full price to watch these at a theater, I would have lost money on the deal cause I don't think there were worth the price of admission. They weren't all bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch them again.

Of the three I liked Men in Black II the best. It had enough of the off kilter humor and special effects that made the first one worthwile, and overall it was OK. Since it was essentially a rehash to generate more revenue the old fashion way (sequel, baby, sequel) it did lack some of the amusing surprises that the first one had.

If you're looking for light entertainment that isn't going to cause your stiches to break, this one is it. Overall I'd give it three of five stars.

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Get Netflix! cover IMDb logo Men in Black II

Orange County didn't live up to the hype that the trailers would lead you to believe. When you see trailers chock full of Jack Black acting like a loon you expect a slapstick free for all comedy.

This was not the case.

This was one of those disaffected smart high school grad coming of age flicks. It would be if you took the disaffected geek from Ferris Buller and made a movie about him with a gob of high profile cameos and a dozen unbelievable stunts thrown in for the sake of eye candy.

At some point they should have decided to make the over the top stuff at little more over the top, or stuck with the message of the movie. Lily Tomlin as the scatter brain counsellor bent on revenge, or Harold Ramis as the accidentally drugged Dean of Admissions, or Garry Marshall as the potential benefactor, or Catherine O'Hara as the odd ball mom, or Chevy Chase as the... well, I think I've made my point. These intercuts were funny at times, but were jarring in the context of the story as a whole.

Overall I'd give it two of five stars.

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Get Netflix! cover IMDb logo Orange County

Mystery Men had a great premise, and some good scenes, but for some reason it did not come together as a whole. It was a story that might have been better done as a Tick episode (had that live action TV series been given a chance to be as good as the animated one).

William H. Macy, Janeen Garafalo, and Paul Rubens did well in their roles. Tom Waits had a great bit part and a movie where Greg Kinear gets his head melted can't be all bad, but there wasn't enough there for me to recommend it, even as bad camp.

If you have a choice between cleaning dentures at an old age home or watching this movie as part of doing some sort of Community Service penance, I'd recommend Mystery Men, but it's a close call.

Overall I'd give it one of five stars.

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30-NOV-2002 SCHEMING_CALVIN

If you like your gore with slapstick, then "Evil Dead II" is the movie for you.

I watched this movie on DVD last night and had a blast.

Ash, the idiot lunkhead from the original Evil Dead movie is played by Bruce Campbell. If you know his work from the Evil Dead series, or from Xena or the like, you know he can do very good Stooge style slapstick.

The DVD comes with the ability to have Bruce and Sam Raimi comment along with the movie. I recommend this for the second viewing, as you should watch it the first time and soak in the campy over-the-top style of horror movie it is.

Once you've watched it, check out the feature that shows some home movies done during production. It will show some of the glaring gaffs and goofs that made it into the final cut and it has some interesting background on how they did some of the special effects.

Once you've seen that watch the movie again with the commentary. You'll get Bruce and Sam commenting on the same gaffs (but now you know to look for them) and also how they spent a large amount of the production time tormenting each other.

I give it three and a half stars , rounded up to four to suit the graphic.

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25-NOV-2002 POWDERED_TOAST

A music review of something I was introduced to today.

Mark, a friend of mine from work, dropped a CD on my desk today.

"Kraftwerk", he said.

"Kraftwerk? The CD art looks like a Latin band.", I replied.

"It's Kraftwerk covers by Senor Coconut.", he smirked.

When Mark smirks like that I know that no good can come of it, but in a good way, if that makes any sense.

So I gave it a listen and I, too, couldn't stop smirking. But don't take my word for it, listen to a sample of Senor Coconut for yourself.

Infectious, fun and listenable. The best attributes for any cover band.

23-NOV-2002 CRITIC_GOOD

Now that I use Netflix to get DVDs, I watch some movies that I wouldn't otherwise think of viewing. Case in point are the two movies that I'm going to cover in this review.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Mr. Deeds (2002).

Both movies have the premise that a small town guy inherits a bunch of cash and has to go to the Big City to collect it.

The 1936 version stars Gary Cooper and has some Depression Era rantings about the distribution of wealth in the country. The 2002 version stars Adam Sandler and doesn't follow the same story arc (for instance, he doesn't have to stand trial to prove his sanity, because, who would believe Adam Sandler was sane?)

Both movies are enjoyable, but for different reasons.

The original version has Gary Cooper and is directed by Frank Capra, both at the top of their form. When it comes to classic movies it is hard to beat this combination.

The 2002 version with Adam Sandler covers some of the same ground but has more of the slapstick humor you would expect from him. John Turturro turns in a great role as the oddball butler that Deeds contends with in his swanky Big City digs.

I recommend both of these movies, but I would caution you to watch the original first to get a better feel for the story. I found that by watching the new one first I would be waiting for Cooper to do more slapstick stuff that never happened. The original also plumbed the depths of what constitutes good character and mores, while the new version uses it as a setup for a hockey fight style pummeling.

I give them both three and a half out of five stars (rounded to four for the graphic)

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18-NOV-2002 EYEORE

Monday Night Football is the rant for tonight.

After weeks and weeks of trying to give the new MNF lineup a chance I've decided that it just doesn't cut it. When ABC calls it a Dream Team I don't think that they were implying that this broadcast is suppose to put you to sleep, but it does for me.

Almost every game I wind up falling asleep. It doesn't have much to do with the teams that are playing. I put the lack of excitement squarly on the announcers, Al Michaels and John Madden.

Don't get me wrong. Both Michaels and Madden are yoman announcers, and very competent at what they do, which is mostly play-by-play announcing. What is missing is the entertainment factor.

When Dennis Miller was onboard there was always the possibility that something completely esoteric, but relevant to the situation, would happen. This would get me to keep watching games, especially if they were lopsided or boring, because you never knew what intersting bit of trivia would spew forth to give intrigue.

Combine that with Dan Fouts, who gave interesting commentary that was based on his years of playing football as a quarterback (instead of coaching) and it was a great counterbalace to Al Michael's succinct play-by-play.

Hell, even my wife, who is not the biggest football fan in the world would watch MNF with me in those days.

But no more.

Bring back Dennis and Dan!

13-NOV-2002 critic_questions

I soon plan on starting to review the movies I watch on DVD. I'm not a professional film critic, but I do sometimes watch ones on TV. I don't go out to the movies because I can't stand paying top dollar to put up with gibbering idiots while I watch movies.

If I'm going to deal with gibbering idiots I want to do it in the comfort of my own home.

I'm not sure, yet, if I'm going to use the star rating system for the movies I review (like so ) or use the character outlined in the next column to the left.

The point of this exercise is to give my opinion about what I've watched so that you can avoid it if it really sucks.

I do plan on putting links to IMDB, Amazon and Netflix for each review if I can find them. This way if you want to get more info, buy the DVD or rent it, you can easily.

I'm not doing that just because I'm altruistic.

Far from it.

I'm hoping you'll buy it from Amazon, or rent it by signing up for Netflix because they'll kick back a nickle or two. And since I've always wanted a couple of nickles to rub together, you assistance would be appreciated.

13-NOV-2002 farside_cow

More Berkeley stupidity.

As if trying to ban non-organic coffee wasn't bad enough, now they want to continue to hand out free crossing flags to the populace.

I'm all for supporting organic farming, and paying a fair wage. Don't get me wrong. They wanted to jail proprietors that sold non-organic coffee for six months. Facist Liberal Jerks! Thankfully that measure didn't pass.

According to this article 3,000 flags have been stolen but they've come up with a solution.

They're going to replace the orange flags with yellow ones.

That'll solve that problem!

7-NOV-2002 happy_calvin

Here is a test of the new input thingamabob, which allows me to spew faster. The html equivalent of taking syrup of ipcac before chugging a beer.

Cool huh?

5-NOV-2002 stinks

Get out and vote!

I realize due to the fact that we are saddled with a two party only system the choices we have for most of the major positions are severely limited. When given a choice between feces and excrement, it might be time to hold your nose and throw your vote away on a third party candidate just to send a message.

It beats not voting at all.

Not voting means you accept that what is being served is crap and you are willing to eat it.

To put it bluntly. Go vote or EAT SHIT!

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Wait a minute, this is the old crap.
Where is the current stuff?
It's right here.

Standard disclaimers apply. These items reflect how I felt at the time I wrote them and are not affiliated with anyone or anything else. If you don't like it, don't read it again.