Thursday, January 31, 2008
Junk Dump, Again
More junk I came across on the net.
The words "bagpipe" and "hero" should never be used in the same sentence. "Bagpipe Annoyance," maybe, but not "hero."
Finally, a diet cola that's just right for breakfast.
I'm convinced that one day the world will wake up and say "Ya know, the guy really is a terrible actor." And then you'll get what we have here.
Forget Mumia. Free Bill Stickers!
I'd love to be able to hide myself by stretching out on the couch. I wonder if they make a couch with a "fat redneck" pattern.
A hat is for wearing on your head. A hat is not a shoe, and it's not to be placed on your butt. Just FYI.
The '80's ROCKED. I mean they just REALLY, REALLY RAWKED.
I'm not even sure if that's a good price or not.
Three, maybe four people, will think this is as funny as I do. When I first came across this I laughed for something like twenty minutes.
I don't think this picture is intended to be funny, and to be honest, I can't remember where I saw it. Probably somebody's personal blog or MySpace page or whatever. All I know for sure is that this picture really cracks me up. And I'm not really sure why. It probably has something to do with me being an asshole.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Elder Statesman, My Ass
The media seems somehow surprised that Bill Clinton is "trading in the role of elder statesman" to become his wife's political attack dog. As in the following clip:
Who could be surprised by this? This is just classic Bill Clinton. He has always behaved this way. Just ask anyone who's had the temerity during an interview to disagree with him, question his motives or imply that his presidency was less than ideal.
I'm not talking here about the long list of Clinton's offenses as Commander in Chief. I've made that case before. I'm simply talking right now about the man's manner. His cockiness and his bullying. Anyone surprised by the naked hostility Bill Clinton has displayed while campaigning for his wife hasn't been paying attention:
Lest we forget, here's how he reacted when Chris Wallace asked how he'd address those of us who don't think he did enough to catch bin Laden:
November 2004, Clinton goes on the attack against Peter Jennings and historians who see him as a failed moral leader:
Here he is trying to scare a BBC reporter (and others) into submission:
Here's a clip going all the way back to '92. The Clinton vitriol was bubbling even then:
This is just who the guy is. Elder Statesman? Gimme a break. He is, if you'll excuse the expression, a a whiny little bitch. Sorry, that's just the only phrase I know that really captures Bill Clinton's character.
I don't agree with Barack Obama about much of anything ... but it looks like he's gonna be the guy who finally rids of of the Clintons. For that, I'll always be grateful to him.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
They'll Grab Ya
I never actually set out to find pictures of notable tattoos, but somehow I end up coming across pics like this on a regular basis.
Here's what happened tonight, if you're interested: I was looking up the latest info on Metallica's upcoming Rick-Rubin-produced album, and I ended up mentioning to Wendy how Metallica's logo has evolved over the years. That lead to a Google Image Search for the Metallica logo, which turned up a few images of Metallica inspired tattoos.
So, next thing ya know, I'm clicking through page after page of tattoo images at Google Image Search. Then I'm saving them to post them at the blog. You can click each image below to see the page where I found it.
I try to keep this blog fairly family friendly, so I won't be posting every tattoo image I saw, even if some of the potentially controversial ones made me laugh like crazy. And then there's Steve-O's tattoos, which are ... well, interesting to say the least.
Anyway, here are a few of the ones from tonight's web-surfing. I've placed an ugly tag on each of these images since people are going to continue hotlinking my pics and stealing my bandwidth, and I figure I oughta at least get some credit out of it.
I know a few bloggers who might like this one.
Oh, nice. A tattoo of the World Trade Center attack and a blissfully happy Muslim figure. That'll go a long way toward helping Westerners embrace Islam.
"Well, thank you for coming in today, but we do have a few other applicants to interview ... so, uh, don't call us, we'll be in touch if we think you're the man for the job..."
Then again, this guy is a public speaking teacher, so I don't suppose that all face-covering tattoos are necessarily a guarantee of unemployment.
I think this is an excellent tattoo. To get on your back. And walk around a marine base. To help with their target practice.
HTML geeks (like me) will enjoy this one.
MC Escher, that's my favorite MC.
This tat isn't just awsome, it's also incredable.
Just to know your what?
I'm not sure if this is a pro-taco tattoo or an anti-taco one, but I do feel that I should be clear about where I stand on the issue.
Friday, January 25, 2008
A Taxing Rebate
So here I sit, scratching my head about this tax refund deal. Just a few elements of the Associated Press story that got me thinking …
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would act on the agreement — hammered out in a week of intense negotiations and uncustomary bipartisanship — "at the earliest date, so that those rebate checks can be in the mail."
Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats are in favor giving tax money back?? Already things don't sound right.
The rebates, which would go to about 116 million families, had appeal for both Democrats and Republicans. Pelosi's staff noted that they would include $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who wouldn't have been helped by Bush's original proposal.
Individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. Workers who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates.
Workers who don't pay taxes will be getting a rebate on the taxes that they didn't pay. Alright. Can someone explain to me how this isn't a handout? And can someone explain to me where the money will come from to cover this so-called rebate handout?
Bush wanted to give a bigger refund to those of us who've actually paid taxes, but Pelosi and the Dems want to earmark some of that refund money for people who don't have a dime in the system.
Ahhh…. OK. Now that is starting to sound more like Democrats as I know them. I wonder what they think they're buying for their money. Can't you just hear the campaign ads this November? "Attention poor people … remember those checks you got over the summer? Well, keep in mind which party came through with that summertime mad money for you…"
The principal players in pulling the deal together were Pelosi, House Republican leader John Boehner and Paulson. The package would allow businesses to immediately write off 50 percent of purchases of plants and other capital equipment and permit small businesses to write off additional purchases of equipment.
Democrats who want to help businesses? OK, I'm scratching my head again.
"I do not understand, and cannot accept, the resistance of President Bush and Republican leaders to including an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are without work through no fault of their own," Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., the Ways and Means Committee chairman, said in a statement.
Gosh, Senator Chuck, could it have something to do with the idea that unemployment benefits were never intended to be a long-term substitute for finding a damn job? I don't know, maybe that's just my take on it. And as someone who was laid off a number of times "through no fault of my own" during the lean Clinton years, I can tell you that it is possible to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps without ever collecting that first unemployment check. But, again, maybe that's just me.
Bush has supported larger rebates of $800-$1,600, but his plan would have left out 30 million working households who earn paychecks but don't make enough to pay income tax…
Ah. In other words, Bush gets it. One of the few times in the last few years when I've actually found reason to think that he does get it. But the congressional Dems want to make sure that I get back less of my rebate so that they can give a rebate to people who aren't paying taxes to begin with. But I'm beating a dead horse by now.
So if you're one of the lucky ones who will be enjoying a rebate this year on the taxes that you didn't pay, I'd just like to take this opportunity to say "you're welcome." Enjoy some of the money that the government collected from me over the past year. I would have just spent it on something stupid like a mortgage payment anyway.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
To Heck With Triple-A...
...because only scientologists can help you if you're in an accident. Right?
Here's what I'm getting at:
First, watch the creepy Tom Cruise Scientology video. Yes, all nine minutes:
Next, watch the video that has officially turned me into a Jerry O'Connell fan:
My buddy Otis has always insisted that Tom Cruise is a homosexual. I used to say that it wasn't possible because he was married to Nicole Kidman. (Tom, not Otis.) Now I say that it's impossible that Tom Cruise is a homosexual because homosexuals are human beings. From Earth.
Hat tip, by the way, to Lyndon for the videos. Even though I might need a few weeks to get that chilling laugh out of my ears.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Movie Review: Cloverfield
In a nutshell, this is The Blair Witch Godzilla: A giant monster attacks New York. The audience point-of-view is through the lense of a hand-held video camera as a group of survivors try to escape, all the while video-taping the events.
- Short, sweet, pure fun.
- The movie doesn't try to justify it's thrills with high-minded sermons or science lessons. This is a good old fashioned b-movie.
- Great special effects and a pay-off that pays off.
- A few images momentarily ruined my fun because they were so reminiscent of 9/11.
- This movie should have gotten an R-rating. Blood, intensity and swear-words abound.
3.5 on a five scale. Good fun for grown-up action/horror movie fans.
The first I heard about Cloverfield came in the form of an untitled, mysterious preview that played before last summer's Transformers. Frankly, I wasn't moved at all. It looked like one more big-budget action film, although one with the Blair Witch conceit of pseudo-documentary. That is to say, it proposed to be an artifact; a piece of video shot by the survivors of some sort of an attack on New York.
My immediate gut reaction was that the movie was probably in bad taste. Images of New York under attack seemed a little exploitive with 9/11 still a fairly fresh memory … and, besides, how many more big-budget end-of-the-world dog-and-pony-shows did Hollywood expect me to buy into?
Even the movie's eventual poster, featuring a beheaded Statute of Liberty, seemed just a little crass to me. It took Cube pointing out that the Statue of Liberty has provided an iconic centerpiece for years and years of science fiction for me to put it in the right context.
Finally, the movie's January release date came around and I was shocked to find out that most people seemed to agree that Cloverfield was actually pretty good. Both professional critcs and real people were generally happy with the film, so Wendy and I decided to give it a shot.
We saw it this evening, and I really wouldn't mind seeing it again. Cloverfield is a blessedly short, utterly light, totally enjoyable little action/horror movie. It's fun. Total fun. It has cringes, a few laughs, and some really good special effects. And it doesn't propose to be anything more than exactly what it is. This is a b-movie that knows it's limits and performs above expectations within them.
There are no proposed lessons here about science-gone-awry. There are no sermons about the environment or animal rights or nuclear testing. There is nothing here except a big city, a big monster, and a lot of running and yelling. While watching it, you might find yourself struggling to suppress the urge to yell "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
Even the movie's Blair Witch device … the hand-held perspective … didn't grow tiresome. Mostly because the cast was likable and the script was tight. Ever notice that the three actors in The Blair Witch Project never went on to do anything? That's because everybody (even those of us who liked the film) friggin' hated them by the time Blair Witch was over. That's not an issue here. The cast is full of young, pretty people who seem smart enough to realize that none of them is the real star here. No hamming it up, no scenery chewing … just a lot of running and screaming. "Wheeeeeee!!"
Now, I have to admit, a few early shots did remind me uncomfortably of 9/11 news coverage. Smoke and ash and free-floating sheets of paper on New York streets are a very "real" image to me after that awful day. Nonetheless, once the monster (this movie's real star) begins to reveal itself, Cloverfield turns into total escapism. A few glimpses of Godzilla circa 2008 and I was comfortably in Hollywood La-La Land.
I'm reluctant to tell you too much about the monster itself. It really is best to go into this movie cold. The less you know the more you'll be swept away. But if you're the kind of person who just has to peek, you can peek to three different varying degrees below:
- Click here to see my own "artistic interpretation" of what the Cloverfield Monster looks like.
- Click here to see a more legit, fairly accurate artistic rendering of the Cloverfield Monster.
- And click here to read about the literary archetype that the Monster represents … and if you're familiar with this particular thing, I'm sure you'll agree that it was about time someone tried to represent it on the silver screen.
My complaints with Cloverfield are few, but I do see this movie as yet another example of MPAA incompetence. Cloverfield is rated PG-13, but there is enough blood and gore, intensity and harsh language to easily justify an R rating. We take our kids to PG-13 rated movies fairly frequently. I'm glad we didn't take them to this one. This movie was a lot of fun, but in my opinion it's for adults only.
And the pay-off? Forget about it. Cloverfield features the best new vision of menace since Ridley Scott's original alien, combined with Godzilla's size, King Kong's power and Hillary's breath. This thing is hideous. I loved it.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Movie Review: Rob Zombie's Halloween
In Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic, serial killer Michael Myers escapes from confinement to bring murder and terror to his hometown.
- Uh… let me think…
- …Ummm… there has to be something positive...
- This remake really makes you appreciate the original film. That's all I got.
- This movie isn't scary.
- Slow. Boring. Predictable. Completely goofy. An utter and complete waste of time. This movie is crap.
0 on a five scale. As lame and pointless a remake as I've ever seen.
If Rob Zombie is the master of modern horror, then horror is dead. I haven't seen Zombie's first movie, House Of A Thousand Cliches, but I thought his second film, The Devil's Rejects, was tedious, tiresome, and utterly uninspired. Now, with his remake of John Carpenter's classic Halloween, Zombie seems hell-bent on making it extremely hard for his fans to justify his career as a director. I've seen some bad remakes, and I've seen a great many stupid, insulting horror films … but it's rare that I see a bad remake that's this stupid and insulting. Rob Zombie's Halloween absolutely sucks.
There isn't much to say beyond that. I guess I could give some specifics; cite specific reasons that this film is so bad. How about some of the following:
- John Carpenter knew how to make his boogeyman scary. The Michael Myers of the original film was an enigma. We knew next to nothing about him, only that he was brutal and murderous and seemingly unstoppable. Zombie, however, apparently thought that the thing to do was give us a ton of Michael Myers back-story. It takes Zombie 45 minutes to establish the same back-story that Carpenter established in fewer than ten minutes. In the process, Zombie manages to make Michael Myers so mundane that he got on my nerves rather than scared me.
- In Rob Zombie's world, there is apparently a large butcher's knife within reach at least every ten feet. I've never seen this much cutlery on the Home Shopping Network.
- Everyone in the movie … everyone … uses the f-word. Kids. Parents. Old people. Doctors. Cops. I don't remember any nuns in the movie, but if there had been any, I'm sure Zombie would have had them interjecting the f-word into the prayers of the Rosary. I'm no linguistic prude, but come on! There are people who don't drop the f-bomb every seven words!
- As an apparent homage, Zombie retains in his film a number of elements of the original. The trademark Michael Myers mask, the theme music, a number of leitmotifs. These "homages" only served as constant reminders that the original film was much better.
- Zombie seems intent on casting his wife in every film he does, in a major role, no matter how inappropriate. In Halloween, Sheri Moon Zombie plays the killer's mother … and just to remind us how hot Zombie thinks his wife is, his version of the killer's mother is a stripper. And, yes, the movie includes the prerequisite workin'-the-pole dance scene. Nothing ruins a movie like these kinds of superfluous "Oh, come ON!" moments.
I watched Zombie's Halloween remake purely out of curiosity, even though most of the movie critics in the world tried to warn me that it was a waste of time. I swear, I will never waste another second of my life on another Rob Zombie project. This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The first Halloween was a genuinely scary thrillride. This one is a boring, childish, consistently bad pile of garbage. Zombie should be forced to watch this film over and over again until he says "Oh, I get it. This is really lame." And then promises to never make another movie again.
Don't make the mistake I made. Don't waste 109 minutes of of your life on Rob Zombie's Halloween.
Don't even waste time on the trailer:
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Cortez The Killer
Rock and roll just doesn't get better than this:
The Dave Matthews Band, featuring the great Warren Haynes, on Neil Young's classic Cortez The Killer.
Wow. Damn. Wow. I heard this recording some months ago and I'm glad to find that a YouTube video exists. Listen to Warren's soloing and you'll see why I call him my favorite rock guitarist. Listen especially to the solo that begins around the 6:10 mark. Warren wordlessly conveys more about pain, rage, regret and hope with that solo than all the poetry in the world.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Kids Say The Darndest Things
Just out of curiosity, I pulled up some famous faces from politics, government and history on the computer ... and asked the kids if they could identify them. They surprised me with the ones they could identify, the ones they couldn't, and some of what they had to say.
Just so you'll know, Hailey is in 5th grade, Willow is in 4th, and Liam is in 3rd. Here are the pictures, along with their guesses. And if, by chance, you're unsure who someone is, you can click the pic and go to the respective Wikipedia entry.
Hailey: "Bill Clinton."
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Hailey: "A guy who's running for president."
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Hailey: "Barack Obama."
Willow: "Oprah's husband."
Liam: "The weatherman."
Hailey: "George W. Bush."
Willow: "George Clooney."
Liam: "George W. Bush."
Hailey: "Hillary Clinton."
Willow: "Someone from Dancing With The Stars."
Liam: "Kelly Clarkson."
(After we told Liam that this was actually Hillary Clinton, he said "Oh, yeah, I always get those two mixed up.")
Hailey: "The terrorist guy."
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Hailey: "John McCain."
Willow: "George Clinton."
Liam didn't know.
(Willow's answer is all the funnier if you actually know who George Clinton is.)
Hailey: "Rudy Giuliani."
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Hailey didn't know.
Willow: "George Washington."
Liam: "George Washington"
Hailey: "Abe Lincoln."
Willow: "Abe Lincoln."
Liam: "Abe Lincoln."
Hailey: "John F. Kennedy."
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Hailey didn't know.
Willow didn't know.
Liam didn't know.
Monday, January 14, 2008
For the three or four people who'll care ...
I've found myself writing again lately. Randomly jotting down movie reviews, political observations, general rants, etc. I'll probably be blogging again pretty soon, the urge seems to have returned.
And a brief word about the banner: MCF created a really awesome banner for me a while back, incorporating my blog name and the gun-toting monkey that I'd been using for a while. Well, I got an e-mail yesterday from the creator of the monkey graphic, asking me to stop using it as my blog header. Mea culpa. The monkey, sadly, is gone. I'll stick with a plain text banner for now.
Just a few notes about what's gone on since I've been away from the blogosphere:
- We bit the bullet and got an Xbox 360 for Christmas. The kids love it and so do I. B13 was right all along, the 360 is awesome.
- We also got the kids Guitar Hero III for Christmas. It's awesome. Oh, don't get me wrong, I can't play it worth a damn … but the boys are awesome at it. The game has inspired Hailey to consider learning to play the guitar for real and has also inspired Liam to (finally) take a personal interest in music. His favorite band seems to be Dragonforce (for some reason), but he also seems to really have taken a liking to Killswitch Engage. That's great, since Killswitch rules.
- Hailey has become a serious basketball star! I might post some stories and/or video from his games soon.
- Wendy has become hugely addicted to European prog metal. I am totally at a loss about this.
- I remain an insanely rabid fan of Gov't Mule. I've also been enjoying other "hippy" bands, such as Phish. What the hell is happening to me?
- No Country For Old Men was the best movie I saw in '07. It's a wonderful film. I'll post a review soon.
- Boy, the Fred Thompson campaign has turned out to be a huge disappointment, huh? The guy just doesn't seem to have what it takes to fight for a victory. He's a lame duck and he's not even been elected yet. So, despite my early support, I guess I'll pull the Thompson banner from my blog soon.
- I'm not sure who I'll support next. Maybe Romney. Maybe McCain. I could live with either of them as the GOP candidate. Rudy Giuliani is pro-abortion, so he's out. Ron Paul is a nut. Duncan Hunter panders to labor unions too much to suit me, and Huckabee would be too easy to defeat, campaigning as he is with the same-old, same-old evangelical "compassionate conservatism." So I guess it's Romney, and I hope he kicks it into high gear soon …he needs a real campaign to generate some serious interest.
- I continue to disagree with Barack Obama on just about every issue ... and I continue to like the guy more and more every time I hear him speak. He's certainly not my idea of a good Presidential candidate, but I bet he'd be a lot of fun to hang out with at a Bar-B-Que, maybe drink a beer or two, etc.
- Hillary is scrambling. HAAA! HA HA HAA HAAAA HAAA! (Whew.) I'm loving that.
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