Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 

For The Guy Who Has Read Everything



Here's an item you don't see on the average bookshelf:
A heavyweight study of the future of soft cheese won Britain's annual competition to find the year's oddest book title on Friday.

The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, by Philip M. Parker won the Diagram Prize, awarded by trade magazine The Bookseller...

Fromage frais — literally "fresh cheese" — is a dairy product that originated in France and has a similar consistency to sour cream.

Sounds like a fascinating read. But the $795.00 I'd have to shell out for a new copy at Amazon is a bit daunting.

I think I'll wait for the movie.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

 

Bow To Leper Messiah



Holy crap, man. Not that I'm defending Rick Wagoner, but should ANY politician have this kind of power over the private sector?
-- General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner was forced out after President Barack Obama’s task force decided he was unable to craft a plan to save the automaker he ran for more than eight years.

Wagoner, 56, said he agreed to an administration request to leave. Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson will become CEO and director Kent Kresa will succeed Wagoner as chairman. GM had been seeking as much as $16.6 billion in new U.S. loans after an initial installment of $13.4 billion.

Pay attention, fellow free marketers. Just because we're paranoid, that doesn't mean that they ain't really out to get us.

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Things I Learn The Hard Way, 3



If you're 40 years old and you can no longer use the phrase "my ex-wife" because it's not specific enough, you're probably doing something wrong.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

 

Camera Man, You Gettin' This?



The ShamWow guy was arrested after a fight with a hooker.


Details at the Smoking Gun.

Now that he's not spending "twenty bucks a month on paper towels" I suppose he has more money for ... uh, entertainment expenses.

Not to be nasty, but I'd think that a guy who'd been going through twenty bucks worth of paper towels each month was dealing with his sexual frustration independently.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

 

Stealing From A Thief



You know all that neato, gnarly stuff they tell you about physical exercise? How it is good for you completely, mind body and soul? How you're always glad you did it, even if you went into it dreading it? How it gets easier all the time ... how it just becomes more and more fun and more rewarding over time?

All that stuff is true.

Why do I always forget that? I go long periods without exercise and I get fat ... and then I get disgusted and realize I have to change, and I start exercising again and I find myself thinking "Why did I ever quit doing this?"

It's been rainy and crappy here lately, so I've been riding my exercise bike instead of walking outside. And, man, I'm really enjoying it. I look forward to the weather changing so I can get outside and do stuff, too. I put together a new playlist of heavy, positive, catchy metal songs for my MP3 player, and that makes it all even more fun. And I've come to realize that one of my favorite of those songs, Stealing From A Thief by the legendary NY thrasher's Anthrax, has an awesome message:

So I hereby adopt Stealing From A Thief as my new personal theme song.

That's right, it's my personal theme song. Cheesy, yeah ... but I firmly believe that everyone needs their own personal theme song. If you don't have a personal theme song, then I feel sorry for you.

Check out the awesome, positive lyrics to my personal theme song:

Stealing From A Thief ... by Anthrax

Don't want a life like my parents had.
Don't want a life like my rich friends have.
Don't want to live by association.
Don't want to live the great maybe.

I want a life not a name online,
I want to live in real time.
I want a life just so I can be.
I'll never ask what was in it for me.

Stealing from a thief,
My humanity.
I know my name, I know my pain,
I know my frequency.

As a kid I played "make believe."
As a man I played "Make. Believe."
As a kid I'd do anything.
As a man I've done everything.

I live my life centered and humane.
I live my life like a man insane.
I live my life just so I can be.
I'll never ask what was in it for me.

Stealing from a thief,
My humanity.
I know my name, I know my pain,
I know my frequency.

I get up, I get up, I get up and go!
I grab a hold and reach way down
To find something that I really believe.
I don't need to console myself.
If I don't like what I see, f--- it.

I'll never ask what was in it for me.



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Now, THIS Is Odd...



The headmaster at a private school in Boston is denying that the school is teeming with vampires:
There are no vampires at Boston Latin School, says headmaster Lynne Moone Teta...

"I seek your cooperation in redirecting your energy toward the learning objectives of the day. Please do not sensationalize or discuss these rumors," Teta wrote in a notice obtained by the Boston Globe and sent to faculty, students and parents.

Teta said she was concerned that some students' safety might be jeopardized because of the rumors...

HT: Moe Lane.

You know, there are things that a person might seem to confirm by denying them.

It's weird that this headmaster is basically saying "Nothing to see here! Get back to your studies!" Almost sounds like a cover-up. Not that I believe in vampires. (Or, "Vampyres" if you're one of those gay-ass goth kids.)

Zombies, now ... that's another story. If a headmaster of a school ever issues a statement denying a zombie problem ... well, I'll take it as an absolute certainty that the school has been overrun by the walking undead. I mean, some things are just obvious lies, ya know?

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The Shovel List: Addendum 5



I have no idea how to respond to this. Other than with a shovel.

The list of people that I'd like to
hit in the face with a shovel* includes:


Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards is the President of Planned Parenthood. One of her closest back-pocket politicians is The Great Satan, Hillary Clinton.

The current Secretary of State has championed abortion on demand for years. Cecile Richards is about to show her appreciation to Hillary by presenting her with the Margaret Sanger award.

You read that right. It's an award named for Margaret Sanger.

What, would it have been a bit too obvious to present Hillary with an award named for Pol Pot or Hitler?

On the off chance that you don't know, Margaret Sanger championed abortion in the name of "eugenics," her word for ethnic cleansing. Sanger wanted to wipe out what she thought of as the lesser races with the hopes of creating a pure, white master race.

This is the most outrageous thing I've ever heard of. So here's Dan, taking one to the face, as he usually does, for Cecile Richards:



*Disclaimer: The usual disclaimer doesn't apply here. I'm just too disgusted.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

 

South Park And Bailouts



If South Park isn't the smartest and funniest thing on TV right now, I'd like to know what is.

Breitbart offers analysis:



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Thursday, March 26, 2009

 

It Just Drips Quality



I'm not reviewing this movie. I haven't seen the movie; I haven't even seen the trailer. What I'm doing here is reviewing this movie's poster ... and from what I can tell just from the poster, this is probably the greatest movie ever made.

For starters, you've got Steve Guttenberg as the star. And if anyone can carry an intense action/thriller, it's Steve Guttenberg. I can't even imagine some of my favorite intense action/thrillers, like 3 Men And A Baby and PS, Your Cat Is Dead, without Guttenberg's intense, action-packed, thrilling presence.

Then there's the name of the movie itself: Fatal Rescue. Movie studios have a sacred bond with audiences when it comes to the word fatal. Simply put, the studios only put the word fatal in a movie's title if the movie is an artistic triumph. Consider watershed efforts such as Fatal Error, Fatal Justice, Fatal Memories (With the great Shelley Long), Fatal Judgement, and Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle.

It's the same thing with the word Deadly. The studios have agreed, by the way, that they're reserving the title Deadly Fatality for the final and best movie ever to be made. (Vin Diesel is in talks to star.)

But back to the film at hand. Of course, I'm extremely intrigued by the concept of a rescue that is fatal. I can't imagine how you can both kill and rescue anyone. This movie probably involves an ingenuous plot twist. Maybe Guttenberg is rescuing someone from being alive?

The poster's final selling point is the intense focus on the faces of all the actors pictured. It isn't clear what they're looking at, but whatever it is has them gravely concerned. Just look at the way Guttenberg is channeling all of his intensity with his eyebrows and his slightly open mouth (great actors can do that). His face clearly says "I'm gravely concerned." Aren't you just dying to know what he sees?

Of course I'll be reviewing Fatal Rescue just as soon as I get a chance to go buy the deluxe, three-disc collector's edition DVD (I assume there is one). Boy, I just can't wait.

UPDATE: Scott at Good News Film Reviews looks at the trailer for Fatal Rescue.

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Random Poll



MCF's latest.

1) When you see Kurtwood Smith, do you think ”Red Forman” or ”Clarence Boddicker”?
I'd actually forgotten that Red Forman was even in Robocop. I only ever saw That 70's Show three or four times. It never really grabbed me.

2) Do our social roles during our school years lock us in to who we will be for the rest of our lives?
Gut reaction: We're not locked into anything. But most of us carry over a lot of crap from high school, most of it negative and/or useless. That iconic image from Pink Floyd The Wall really gets it right. School is a meatgrinder.

3) Do you typically come to a full stop at a Stop Sign?
I think I actually do. I got a ticket once for not doing so and I never forgot it.

4) Which is prettier: a sunrise or a sunset?
Sunset. No idea why I feel that way, but I feel strongly about it.

5) On a recent episode of Reaper, one of the characters uses Les Nessman as a fake name. On a recent 30 Rock, a character was referred to as a ”Radar O'Reilly”. I love such pop culture nods, but as I'm getting older, I wonder: does anyone under the age of 30 get these references?
WOT R U TALKINBOUT? TXT ME L8R.

6) Does your imagination ever cause you to wince?
All the time. Ever been cheated on? 'Nuff said.

7) Is there a place in science fiction for more fantastic elements such as intervention from a higher power, celestial beings, or shared visions?
Sure, I guess. Never thought about it. Why wouldn't there be?

8) Baked or original Doritos?
Original Nacho Cheese flavor. Mmmmm.

10) Does anyone still use rotary phones?
I'm sure that somewhere, somebody's grandma has a rotary phone AND a party line.

11) Should the Poll go up to 11?
We really gotta come up with a new Spinal Tap reference. How about "You can't really dust for vomit."


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Things Could Be Worse



I've been blogging about personal stuff lately, and it's theraputic to get that stuff out. It helps.

But I realize that things could be much worse for me. I could be as dillusional as Fred Durst:
The Limp Bizkit frontman, no doubt all too aware that his band's rap-rock sound is dead and gone, is once again propping himself up on the one thing he figures people will remember, his alleged fling/relationship/whatever with Britney Spears back in 2003...

"It just became a fiasco of madness," Durst, 38, tells MTV News about the alleged fling and subsequent story breakup. "(But) I always stay true to my heart and true to everything I did and my intentions, and I am in no way a liar..."

"I look back on it as very interesting (in terms of) how things have been sort of unraveling for her since," he says. "(But) it is what it is. I can sleep at night knowing I made decisions that I wanted to make. (Still) I'm a supporter. I was then, I guess I am now. ... "I just guess at the time it was taboo for a guy like me to be associated with a gal like her," he adds.

What a peckerhead.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

 

Fear Of Silence



I keep realizing little things; things that emphasize how much I came to depend on Wendy over the past eight years.

I don't know how to work our alarm clock. It's been on her side of the bed this whole time. She's the one who sets it, she's the one who turns it on and off. It's her who always pounded the snooze button. I don't think she's planning to take it with her when she leaves in two weeks ... but either way I'm going to either have to learn to work that alarm clock or I'm gonna have to get a new one and learn to work that one.

I may have never even touched our alarm clock, in fact.

I don't know much about how to work our TV remote, either. Wendy usually always picked what was on TV, and I rarely cared to watch anything other than the news. As far as controlling the DVR feature, setting it to record, etc, I'm gonna have to learn all of that.

And those are the little things. I don't even have the words to explain how it feels to realize that, soon, when I come home every day from work, she won't be here. She'll be gone, my step-kids will be gone. Gone. Except for the weekends and holidays and summer days when I have my son, this house is going to become a void. The silence will be suffocating.

It's been different during the times when I was at home by myself over the past eight years. Those times were infrequent and usually kinda brief. I enjoyed the silence in those instances. Sometimes, during the chaos of day to day life, I thirsted for silence. Soon I'll be drowning in it.

I can't sit in here and stare at the walls. I have to get out and do stuff. I have to visit extended family and see my friends more. If I sit here and listen to all this nothing I think I'll just become part of the nothing.

I start graveyard shift tonight. The kids are at school, Wendy is at work. She gave notice yesterday. I'd planned to get out today, but it's too rainy and cold out to go walk for exercise. Instead, I blew the dust off the recumbent exercise bike we bought years ago and used it for 40 or 45 minutes. It was tiring, but I'm glad I did it.

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Obama Truthers



I don't really buy any of this. I don't buy into conspiracy theories in general because I tend to believe that people are stupid ... people in large groups are EXTREMELY stupid ... and large groups of stupid people can't manage the kind of secrecy and organized deception that would be necessary to pull off a global conspiracy.

Conspiracy theories are goofy.

Having said that, I get a kick out of the fact that there are conspiracy theorists out there who're already targeting Obama:


HT: Pasadena Closet Conservative.

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Walking In Circles



I walked three miles today (Tuesday). OK, I actually walked 2.8 miles, not quite three. I know it was 2.8 because after I walked I got in my car and drove the same distance and measured it with the trip counter. 2.8 miles, pretty much exactly. Not too bad.

This is the beginning of me getting off my butt and getting some exercise and taking off some weight.

I've done this twice before. In the '90's I got fairly thin (as thin as I get) and somewhat presentable and I ended up in a serious relationship, which became a marriage/family, and then I got fat again. And then my wife left me. Not that the one necessarily caused the other, but it sure didn't help.

Then, in the year 2000, right after the end of that first marriage, I got fairly serious about my health, and I started exercising and lost the weight again. And then I started dating Wendy, and we got married and I got fat again. And now that relationship is ending.

So I'm exercising again.

Vicious cycle. I don't really know how to explain it. It certainly doesn't indicate anything good about my mental make-up. Apparently when I actually have a family to come home to I slowly become negligent about everything. The people I love, my own health, everything. And then once I end up single again I take off the weight pretty quickly, rush into a new relationship and begin the cycle again. That ain't good.

I don't really have a point to this post. Just more blogging for the sake of getting stuff off my chest. And I don't expect to solve anything by writing all this down. Just a personal assessment of some kind, maybe.

It's also kinda weird to throw this stuff out there on the net, I guess. But I suppose it's harmless. Basically, nobody is reading this crap. I heard once that more than two hundred million people keep a blog. The sheer number alone is almost an assurance of something even better than anonymity: indifference. Regardless, since this domain isn't a "family thing" anymore, I've been slowly removing all the traces of our full names.

Anyway, I think the thing to learn, here, is that I see a clear pattern in my mistakes ... and now I gotta figure out a better way to live.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

 

The Only Constant Is Change, Part 2



(This post is a follow-up to the post here.)

This is the point where the blog turns into a therapeutic (I hope) journal more than a political soapbox and joke forum. At least for a while. Nobody reads this blog but five or six real-life friends and family members and three or four "internet buddies." So it'll be alright.

So much to do, God, this is overwhelming.

So much is going to have to be packed. Joint checking account have to be closed, new ones have to be opened, vehicle ownership has to be transferred ... we even have to get the post office involved. Damn.

Wendy and I've spent the day preparing for her and the kids to move, going to banks, the DMV, etc, etc. Staying motivated is tough, considering that I'm helping to do all of this so that my best friend can move ten hours away. Over the past eight year's she was also my girlfriend and then wife, and that makes it all the tougher. Then throw the kids into the mix and, man. Man, oh man.

But it has to happen. For myriad reasons, none of which I intend to go into here, this really is for the best. This is really what makes sense and I try to focus on that.

Still sucks, though.

People are starting to put two and two together in some instances; really figuring out that this has been planned for some months. People say things like "So THIS is why you did (yadda yadda) in January instead of what I thought you'd do." Yep, that's it. Makes sense now, right?

Being single again will be weird. I haven't lived alone for ... something like fifteen years, I suppose. I tried marriage in my twenties and couldn't pull it off ... then I spent my thirties with Wendy and still couldn't make it work. And Wendy, man ... she's the one. Shes THE ONE. She was my best shot at really getting this right.

Maybe in my late 40's I'll try again. Maybe? For now, though, I really have to focus on turning myself into someone that I like to be around. I have got a lot of work to do. I've gotten so damn fat, man. Soooooo fat. I'm absolutely physically miserable. And that effects my emotions and my state of mind, and it has GOT to change. Period.

My son from my first marriage will be with me a lot this summer, and he's grown so much. He's as tall as I am now, and he's really quite the athlete. He knows I used to really enjoy tennis, he's seen video and pictures of a younger, healthy version of his father on a tennis court, and he's always asked me to teach him how to play. He and I will have a lot of time this summer just to hang out by ourselves, and I really look forward to getting on the tennis court with him, cancer permitting. The kid is inexhaustible; there's no way I can keep up with him. But I'll try.

Writing this made me feel better. And that kinda sucks, because you can expect me to do more of this kinda thing. Less laughter and ranting, more personal journal. Blah. I'm not as good at making my personal stories interesting and fun ... the kinda thing MCF does so well, for instance.

But thanks if you waded through this post. I really appreciate it.

Speaking of MCF, I think I'll sum up and finish this post with a video that he linked to yesterday. Hey, who ever had a better grasp on life than the Muppets?



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Monday, March 23, 2009

 

The Worst Thing About Disney Channel Tweener Sitcoms Is...



... all the canned laughter. These are the only shows left that still rely on canned laughter.


My step-daughter loves these shows. For the most part, the rest of us endure them. God knows I love my kids, man, but the one and only good thing about Wendy and the kids moving back to New York is that soon I'll only have to watch these shows during summer visitation.

Just out of curiosity, Liam and I took a count while Hannah Montana was on. There were 29 instances of canned laughter in the brief bit of show-prologue BEFORE the opening credits. By the first commercial break there had been 118 fake laughs. By closing credit we'd counted a grand total of 189 completely fake audience laughs and one totally fake "Awwwwww."

Since the average episode, not counting commercials, is 23 minutes ... that's like, what, one burst of totally fake, canned laughter every 7 seconds? Holy friggin' crap.

Man, these shows are so bad. The writing is the worst there is. The acting is even worse than that. And all of these shows feature original music that makes the songs from Scoobie Doo chase montages seem like the Beatles. Why does Disney insult kids' intelligence like this?

It's just evil, man.

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Scary Eye Larry



My step-dad is a good guy. He came into our lives a little later than usual, whatever "usual" is. He and my mom started dating shortly after he retired and shortly before my mom did the same. They've been married for four or five years, I guess.

The thing about my step-dad is that that he has terrible luck with his right eye. For some reason, every time he gets injured in any way, the worst part of the injury is going to happen to that same eye. A few years ago he was running a weed-eater and the weed-eater picked up a stick and flung it straight into his eye. He needed stitches and his eye was all bloody and bruised for a while.

A few years later a nasty case of food poisoning caused him to pass out, striking that same eye on the corner of his bedroom dresser.

If you shot Larry in the foot, the bullet would bounce off and hit him in the eye.

No matter what happens to Larry, the worst of it is going to find it's way to his eye. And he's really self-conscious about it. Whenever he's recovering from his most recent eye injury he always worries that the kids will panic if they see him. He has been known to lurk around the house with the lights off, hiding from visitors and warning them not to look at him. It's as though he thinks he's literally come down with the evil eye: "Don't look upon me! Your milk will curdle, your crops will burn and your women will miscarry! Cast your eyes away!"

So that's how he got the nickname Scary Eye Larry.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

 

The Only Constant Is Change



Just a bit of news for those of you who've read the blog long enough to kinda "know" me ... and for the handful of real-life friends who use this blog as a way to stay in touch:

I mentioned a year ago that Wendy and I were considering going our separate ways. In fact, I was convinced that it was going to happen. Instead, we took the last year to try to work through our problems and differences.

Long story short, we more or less finally have worked through our differences ... and realized that what we are, maybe what we've really always been, is just a couple of really good friends.

Getting to where we are now has been painful and difficult, but it's probably been inevitable. You guys have had to put up with me posting a bunch of sad song lyrics here over the past month or two just as my way of dealing with it. Sorry, that was lame. But it did help, and for the benefit of anyone who's curious, I'm doing pretty good now. We all are, believe it or not.

So here's what's up ... Wendy is moving back to New York and the kids are going with her. We'll do the summer visit thing and holiday visits, too. Hey, I've made it work for ten years or so with my oldest, and Wendy and I can make it work with my step-kids, too.

Last year when I wrote about these issues, I was fairly melodramatic. I think I said I was gonna stop blogging, take this blog down, etc. This year that's not the case. As weird as it might sound, this split is going to be good for the both of us. And we're going to make it work for the kids. You might see an occasional comment at this blog from Wendy, too, so don't be surprised about that ... I mean, honestly, regardless of everything else, she and I have managed to stay good friends. That's an end-of-a-relationship first for me, and I'm pretty damn proud of it.

And I'm also proud that Wendy and I were able to make our run last eight years, another personal best for me. I think that's amazing: Wendy put up with me for eight years. You gotta understand, dude, I really am the miserable, grouchy miscreant that I seem to be here at this blog. And she put up with me for eight friggin' years. How about a big hand for the lady, huh?

So, yeah, I might not blog as much for a while ... but it won't be because I've "given up blogging" and not because I'm depressed. I think I've come through the majority of the sadness. No, the reason blogging might be light is that it's getting warm here and I plan to spend more time outdoors, getting off my fat ass. Really enjoying my summer visitation with my son from my first marriage ... and the first of many summer visits with stepchildren.

So if you see something here at the blog that references these big changes, don't be surprised. Now you officially know what's going on.

And with that, we now return to the usual: reviewing movies, ranting about heavy metal bands, bashing liberals ... and writing horribly inappropriate and irresponsible things.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

 

Classic Kids In The Hall



Oh, I really think this sketch is funny. Sure it is, it's just soooo funny.



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Friday, March 20, 2009

 

Job For A Sponge



Job For A Cowboy is an extreme metal band.

Spongebob Squarepants is a yellow invertebrate.

Two great tastes that taste great together:



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Thursday, March 19, 2009

 

Tool + Rorschach = Awesomeness



I really was gonna try to stop writing Watchmen stuff for a while. and I really was gonna stop forcing rock song lyrics that I enjoy down everyone's throats...

but then it occured to me that the lyrics to one of my all time favorite hard rock songs damn near sums up Rorschach's world view ... and my own:

Ænema by Tool:


Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will.
I sure could use a vacation from this

Bullshit three ring circus sideshow of

Freaks here in this hopeless f---ing hole we call LA.
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any f---ing time. Any f---ing day.
Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car.

Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
Followed by millions of dumbfounded dipshits.

Some say the end is near.
Some say we'll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will.
I sure could use a vacation from this

Silly shit, stupid shit...

One great big festering neon distraction,
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

Learn to swim.

Mom's gonna fix it all soon.
Mom's comin' round to put it back the way it ought to be.

Learn to swim.

F--- L Ron Hubbard and
F--- all his clones.
F--- all those gun-toting
Hip gangster wannabes.


Learn to swim.

F--- retro anything.
F--- your tattoos.
F--- all you junkies and
F--- your short memory.


Learn to swim.

F--- smiley glad-hands
With hidden agendas.
F--- these dysfunctional,
Insecure actresses.


Learn to swim.

I'm praying for rain.
I'm praying for tidal waves.

I wanna see it all come down.
Suck it down.
Flush it down.



Great track from a great metal album. (Yeah, I know that Tool and a number of their artsy fartsy fans argue that Tool isn't metal, man, so don't label 'em. Tool is metal. Shut up.)

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Junk Dump 15: The Junk Strikes Back



Epic, epic, epic fail.



Slipknot fans are soooo hard.



Keytar + pirate costume = So gay maybe it's not gay at all. Maybe this is bizarro gay.




This is so half-assed, it looks like it was thrown together with Windows Paint ... and it made me laugh right out loud. I wish I could take credit for it.



My favorite one is the woman who's gesturing dramatically at the sign. Because the sign just might not be prominent enough.





I can't really explain why this made me laugh. But it did. It made me laugh really hard and it still makes me laugh. I'm laughing right now.





This is a painting (a bad painting) of Bigfoot and a UFO on black freaking velvet. And it's in a huge, gold-colored, ostentatious frame. If I owned this thing I would take it with me ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE I EVER GO.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

 

Just And Observation...



...based on a very frustrating recent conversation. I'd link to it but there's no point. The owner of that blog stops by here from time to time. He can provide a link in the comments if he wants to.

Anyway ...

I don't believe that abortion on demand is legal in this country because the majority of Americans believe that it's morally acceptable. I believe that abortion on demand remains legal for an uglier reason. I have to hang at least some of the blame on those Americans who know that abortion on demand is a moral abomination ... but they continue to champion the availability of "choice" so they can avoid taking a stand.

There's nothing more disappointing than people who flat-out know better, but lack the courage of their convictions.

And I get SO. DAMN. TIRED. of that gutless little argument that "Abortion is wrong for me, but who am I to impose my morality on others?"

Is armed robbery wrong for you? Is kidnapping wrong for you? Is rape wrong for you? Is it OK for you to impose THAT morality on others?

If the "progressive" left suddenly came out in favor of armed robbery, would you support that with your vote as well?

All rhetorical, of course.

We'd be much closer to real freedom for ALL Americans if the slipperly ones among us would grow a pair, stop caring about the opinions of elitist liberals who don't respect them anyway, and actually stand up for something.

A quote often credited to Edmund Burke sums it up: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

 

Watchmen Post Script



I've geeked out on Watchmen for too long now and I'm sure my handful of readers are sick of indulging me. I'll try to make this the last post on the subject.

I got the book back out tonight and looked through it again. It's really even better than I remembered. Seeing those panels and reading those words again really brought back how much I enjoyed that book the first time I read it a few years ago.

With all this focus on Alan Moore, I hadn't thought about the art of Dave Gibbons and how important it is to the impact of the book. Flipping through the book tonight I was struck by so many things I'd forgotten, like all the symmetry in the panels of the issue that focuses on Rorschach's origins. And how good Tales of the Black Freighter is. And I'd forgotten that, in the comic, Ozymandias seems like an authority figure instead of a nerd. Matthew Goode was all wrong for the role. They may as well have cast Macaulay Culkin as to case Goode.

While watching the film I'd had this vague impression that Rorschach's origins had been toned down and cleaned up for mass consumption, but I couldn't really put my finger on what was missing. I found it tonight. It's this speech, Rorschach's summary of his world view:
"The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reasons later. Born from oblivion, bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. Existence is random. Has no pattern, save what we imagine after staring ait it for too long. No meaning, save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children, not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It's us. Only us."

Yeah, that Rorschach ... always clowning around. God (or whatever) bless him. As bleak as he was in the movie, the real thing is so much bleaker. Gotta love it. And I gotta give Alan Moore his propers, too. Maybe he is a putz who takes himself too seriously and rains on everyone's parade ... but Watchmen really is absorbing and intense.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

 

Movie Review: Watchmen





Synopsis

In an alternate reality, the America of 1985 is radically different from what we remember. Super-heroes are real, and they've been ostracized. Richard Nixon is still President. And the world stands on the brink of nuclear war unless the super-heroes it has rejected can (or will) save the day.

Pros:


Cons:


Generally:

3 on a scale of one to five. Neither terrible nor great.

Extended Review:

The massive hype surrounding the Watchmen movie has been, for many of us, the biggest thing since last year’s Presidential election. So many questions, considerations and fears. How faithful will Zack Snyder’s adaptation be? Is it even possible to make a movie of such a ponderous comic series? What about all the nudity and cursing? What about the SQUID? Oh, for the love of God, what about the SQUID!!

Alan Moore, writer and co-creator of the Watchmen comic book series, never misses a chance to take himself oh so seriously. Moore has disavowed the movie adaptation of Watchmen, and there’s certainly a contingent of Moore loyalists who’ll either skip the movie, or else they'll see it and trash it simply because of Moore’s strongly stated belief that the movie shouldn't exist. So sayeth Alan, so sayeth all of us... that will be a popular sentiment among many.

Not that I’m unsympathetic to the idea that Watchmen simply doesn’t make sense as a movie adaptation. I said I didn’t think it was a good idea back in October of '06. Part of what makes Watchmen special is that it’s a comic book about comic books and about comic book readers. Remove these characters and this story from it’s original medium and you lose a lot of the subtext.

Now that I’ve seen the film, I think I was pretty much correct. Watchmen the movie offers stunning visuals, one very good performance (more on that later) and a tight, complete story. It even has a better climax than the original story (sorry, squid-lovers). What it lacks is the sense of immersion and immediacy that made the book so special. The movie showed me a world with real-life super heroes. The book took me into that world. If Watchmen the book was quality escapism... the kind that really takes you somewhere ... then Watchmen the movie is just a postcard from Zack Snyder: "Having an AWESOME time! Wish you were here!"

And don’t get me wrong, I’m no Mooreophile. I've read and heard a lot of what Alan Moore has had to say and I think the guy is an asshole. And an overrated asshole at that. Watchmen is the only thing he’s turned out that I think is actually any good. Some people are still upset that League of Extrordinary Gentlemen, based on a Moore title, was a crap movie. Well, guess what? It was a crap comic, too. Garbage in, garbage out.

Zack Snyder’s movie is not crap. It isn’t a bad film. But there are issues. It isn't Snyder's fault that, at this point, it's nearly impossible for anyone to see the film without preconceived notions. And Snyder really has tried to turn out something worthwhile. But the fact remains that this story just doesn't work outside of it's original medium. It's not an action-filled story, but Snyder has really upped the action for the screen. Other bells and whistles (the CGI, the new and improved climax) are nice, but they don't make up for what the story loses in translation. I almost feel disqualified to review the film simply because I've read the book. And I'd also be inclined to disregard any review from a movie-goer who hadn't read the book. This is a real greased-pig of a film. It's hard to get hold of it.

If you do go see it, you'll probably leave the theater with mixed emotions. You’re certainly going to enjoy some really artful visuals. And you’ll enjoy a wonderful performance by Jackie Earle Haley as Rorchach, the most interesting character in the book and in the movie. Haley's performance is the one and only thing that I think completely brings an element of the book to the screen. He leaves the other actors in the dust with the work he does here. But, then again, he did get the plumb part.

What you won’t get if you go see this film is any sense of what makes the comic book series so special to fans.

So, should you go see it? Sure, I guess. It’s at least as good as 51 percent of the other stuff in the multiplexes right now. Just don’t go in expecting The Dark Knight, because this ain't that kind of comic book movie.

And don’t go in expecting to see the film and then understand why so many people love the book. If you want to get a sense of that, the only way to do it is to read Watchmen. The book itself is something I can recommend without any reservations at all. It really is very, very good.

Frank Zappa once said that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. He was right. You just can’t convey any sense of what music is in a conversation. With Watchmen, Zach Snyder is dancing about architecture. The final product is interesting, mostly enjoyable, odd, occasionally frustrating, sometimes nonsensical, too long and nowhere near long enough. It’s a mess, but to be fair, it’s an often glorious mess.



Trailer:



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Ooopsie



Ya know, you really gotta be careful about where you slap those price-tags.

fail owned pwned pictures

See more of this kind of thing at FailBlog.



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Sunday, March 15, 2009

 

THIS Is Why I Like Phish



This is a live show, you can stream samples of the songs with the widget just below. And if you like what you hear you can click the download this show link and get a high-quality copy of the whole show for ten bucks. Or, if you're a cheapskate like me, you can get a lesser-quality copy right here for free (and legally).

Phish played for the first time in years in Hampton last week. If you were quick on the mouse you could have downloaded high-quality copies of those shows for free. I got 'em, and they're good, but the show below is awesome.

Phish
10/7/00 Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA


Click below to preview tracks from this show

DOWNLOAD THIS SHOW



If you don't know Phish, I guess I'd describe them as a cross between The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa, but funky. But every Phish fan describes them differently. Just stream some of this music and see what you think...

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Times Of Trouble



More lyrics that I particularly enjoy:



Times Of Trouble by Temple Of The Dog

When the spoon is hot
And the needles sharp
And you drift away.
I can hear you say
That the world in black
Is upon your back.
And your body shakes,
So you ditch away
And you close the shades.

Don't try to do it.
Don't try to kill your time.
If you do it
Then you cant change your mind.
You've got to hold on to your time
Till your break through these times of trouble.

When you try to talk
And the words get hard
And they put you down,
Don't you stay.
Don't you ditch away.

I saw you swinging,
Swinging your mothers sword.
I know youre playing,
Sometimes the rules get hard.
But if somebody left you out on a ledge,
If somebody pushed you over the edge,
If somebody loved you and left you for dead,
You got to hold on to your time
Till you break through these times of trouble.



This is from one of the best rock albums of the past 25 years. Don't just by the track, buy the whole damn thing.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

 

Watchmen Gut Reaction



I saw Watchmen today. I think I had the worst possible reaction: I thought it was OK.

If I'd thought it was great I'd have had a good time writing the review. If I'd thought it was terrible I'd probably had even more fun writing the review. But it was neither great, nor terrible. It was only OK.

It's really hard to motivate myself to write a review for a movie that was just OK ... but I'll try to write something at some point this weekend.

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The Shovel List: Addendum 04



It's always sad when formerly brilliant people become bitter and hateful and petty in their old age.

(No, I'm not talking about myself, smartass. I've never been brilliant. I get by on my looks.)

The list of people that I'd like to
hit in the face with a shovel* includes:


David Letterman

Here's Letterman just trashing Rush Limbaugh in the ugliest, most unpleasant way:

Ya know, I don't enjoy Limbaugh because he's often hateful and sometimes seems incapable of empathy. It's a little ironic that Letterman has has become just as bad, maybe worse.

So today Dan takes one to the face for a a nasty old windbag who I used to enjoy a whole lot:



*Disclaimer: The author doesn't actually wish physical harm upon anyone on this list, and probably won't feel as pissed off at Letterman as I am right now in ten minutes or so. The author doesn't intend to encourage anyone to actually, physically hit anyone on this list with a shovel. In the event that someone does actually hit anyone on this list with a shovel, the author respectfully insists that the shovel-swinger must not pull some kind of John Hinckley/Jodie Foster deal and say that it was done to impress the author. The author reserves the right, though, to snicker quietly if someone actually does hit someone on this list in the face with a shovel.

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Steven Crowder: Funny Guy



This guy is funny. And smart. I might have to put him on my mental "check regularly" list at my YouTube page with Zo and Penn Jillette.

Now, don't worry about that video title. There is no torture or beheading in this clip. Just some observations and good humor.

Apparently Steven Crowder has been around for a while. I'm always the last guy to find out about the cool junk.

This clip is pretty good, too:

I like it when people make fun of PETA because PETA is all, like, retarded and stuff.

OK, so he's not as razor-sharp and he doesn't have the same POW!-factor as Zo ... and he's a little gimmicky for my taste ... but I've watched a few of his videos and enjoyed them more than not.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

 

Bill Clinton: Idiot



This is just amazing. How did this f---ing DOLT ever make it eight years in the White House?

Addressing the divisive topic of stem cell research, our beloved former President said:
"...we’re not taking embryos that can - that under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies..."

Of course, you know and I know that embryos are already fertilized. But, then again, you and I have at least half a brain between us, right?

We're not even talking about the issue of embryos already being baby humans. I don't think ANYONE argues that they haven't been fertilized.

But that's really what Clinton thinks. It wasn't an instance of misspeaking. Because he KEPT. HAMMERING. THE. POINT.
..."(Obama) he has apparently decided to leave to the relevant professional committees the definition of which frozen embryos are basically going to be discarded, because they’re not going to be fertilized..."

"...I believe the American people believe it’s a pro-life decision to use an embryo that’s frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research..."

"...any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use..."

"...these committees need to make it clear that they’re not going to fool with any embryos where there’s any possibility, even if it’s somewhat remote, that they could be fertilized and become human beings..."
We used to call this moron Slick??



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Terrified Of What?



fail owned pwned pictures

Lots of funny stuff (some NSFW) at FailBlog.

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Let It Fall



Still boosting good pop/rock/whatever lyrics. This song has pretty much become my favorite tune of late, mostly for the words:

Let It Fall by Sean Watkins and Glen Phillips


Hey look, I'm not weighed down.
As I walk through
The glowing wheat fields churning on the ground.
As all the ravens fly away
They leave nothing
But the sun and endless blue day.

I always knew I felt this way
But couldn't find the time to say
To myself that I've got to let it go.
Through all the joy and all the pain,
With the drought and the rain,
The honest truth is all I want to know.

Let it fall.
Let go.

My kingdom's walls have fallen down.
But I know that
I don't wear an undeserved crown.
And though it seemed to fit me well,
Underneath it
I did certainly fall down.

Last summer we left things unsaid
That should be now a long time dead.
Now it seems that time has put it well.
'Though words can chase away a friend
To a lie they'll bring an end
And throw it down the darkest, deepest well.

Let it fall.
Let go.

Go sample this song and spend a buck on it if you like what you hear. If you don't fall in love with this tune I'll personally refund your dollar.

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WHEEEEEEE!



FAITH NO MORE is REUNITED!

Jim Martin didn't come back, but my hopes are still high. So far just talk of some concerts. Man, I really hope they record again. They turned out some of my favorite rock in the late 80's and early 90's and I'd like to hear what they'd do today.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

 

Odds N' Sods



I gotta make this one quick because I took my nighttime pill combo a little bit ago and it's gonna kick in soon, and soon I'll either stop typing or I'll be typing gibberish. I hate, hate, HATE waking up the next day, seeing something I've posted, thinking "WTF is WRONG with ME??" and frantically deleting and/or editing the post.

Anyway, just some recent stuff from the inbox and/or Google Reader...



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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

 

Rorschach As Objectivist



I'm really narrowing my scope with this. To give a crap about this item you'll have to be:



Yesterday I called Rorschach a hard right-winger. Today I found an article by Brian Doherty written for Reason Online that argues that Rorschach is really an objectivist.

Doherty sees Rorschach the same way I do, but argues that the character is more politically inclined to the Ayn Rand point of view:
Rorschach would deliver (justice) as a personal, individual judgment; breaking what bones needed to be broken with his own hands, not from a world away with indiscriminate techno-gimmicks and no sense of actual individual guilt. The opposition between Rorschach and the villain is easy to read as that of individual, true justice versus the state's collectivist version. In every single war ever waged, governments make the kind of moral judgment that Watchmen's villain does, and the movie and comic, with Rorschach's help, make us wonder whether those decisions that governments and superheroes often make really are tolerable. Rand would have been proud.

It's a good read. Go check it out.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

 

Reviewing Watchmen Before I See It



The more I anticipate an upcoming movie, the more likely it is that I'll be working the 3-11 shift when it comes out, making it basically impossible for me to see the movie in it's first week of release.

That's the case with Watchmen, a movie I've looked forward to for a long time and probably won't see before the end of the week or beginning of next week.

I've read some reviews, including a couple by favorite bloggers, and based on what I know about these guys I feel certain that I'll react to the movie in much the same way that they have.

My big concern ... the thing that will make or break the movie for me, is whether or not Zack Snyder's production get the characters right.

Since I'm gonna talk about my take on the characters, be advised that there may be spoilers below.

The movie's source material, of course, is a comic book. And like most or all comics, the story involves some broad charactures of classic personality types. But since Watchmen is a comic book for grownups, the archetypes aren't the usual kind. Watchmen is about the kinds of people that comic book readers grow up to be. Scott Nehring dismisses the source material as "another leftist whine fest about how sucky the world is," and I certainly see where he's coming from, but I don't quite agree. I don't think the story itself necessarily shares the perspective of it's characters. The story is colder than that, and told more clinically, and it keeps a certain distance from these characters. None of them are really portrayed in a particularly sympathetic light. I get the impression that Alan Moore wasn't really trying to advance any given political agenda so much as simply comment on those of us who are motivated to action (or inaction) by our own world views.

Of course, everyone has a different take on the story, and your perspective is as valid as mine.


My take, based on my own perspective and my own attitudes, is that Ozymandias is the villain of the story, and one of the worst villains in all of comics, given his typically liberal world view. Ozymandias sees humanity only as a whole. Individuals and the rights of the individual never enter the picture. Consequentially, Ozymandias is willing to sacrifice human life on a large scale in order to move the world toward what he sees as a higher plain of existence. He simply sees himself as someone who knows what's best for the world. Individual people, superheroic or otherwise, are nothing more than pawns he can enlist, manipulate and/or kill in order to advance his own cause. Ozymandias sees people as a hive and himself as the beekeeper. It's a perspective he shares with people like Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Rorschack, a characture of the extreme-right-wing point of view. Rorschack believes in one thing and one thing only: his code. In many ways he's very much like Ozymandias. Both of them deem themselves fit to determine who should live and who should die. Both of them look down on the huddled masses around them. The difference (and it's a huge one) between Rorschack and Ozymandias is that Rorschack is focused exclusively on the individual and not at all concerned about what's best for the whole. Rorschack hunts down the bad guys one at a time and kills them, dishing out his own brand of justice as it fits his code. His absolute refusal to compromise is both his Achilles heel and the source of his strength.

What makes Rorschach more sympathetic than Ozymandias is that Watchmen gives us a great deal more of Rorschach's back story. His cynicism and inability to relate to people were formed in a terrible childhood full of abuse and neglect. Whereas Ozymandias sees himself as moving toward perfection (and nearly there), Rorschach lacks even the simplest ability to assess himself and his behavior. Rorschach is who he is because he never had a choice.

The dynamic between these two characters is the heart of the story, especially with regard to Rorschach, the only character who's given any emotional resonance. If Zack Snyder screwed up that element, all the CGI and slo-mo action sequences in the world won't save the movie. And if he got it right, the movie might just be something special.

Standing above and beyond these two extremes is Dr. Manhattan, the movie's God figure. Having become omnipotent because of a science experiment gone awry (this is a comic book, after all, and comic book conceits are part of the story), Dr. Manhattan feels removed and separate from humanity. This God of the world of Watchmen possesses all knowledge; he knows when the world will end and how, and the weight of that has driven him into an almost catatonic apathy. If Watchmen is making a statement about God, it is not that God has stopped caring about humanity because of our sinfulness and selfishness. Rather, the theology of Watchmen might simply be that God doesn't care because it isn't in God's nature to care. Genuine concern about the people around us is a product of hope, and hope comes from uncertainty. Therefore, real certainty destroys hope and makes altruism utterly meaningless. Watchmen seems to be a story in praise of doubt, the great motivator.

The other characters in Watchmen are more disposable, in my view. Night Owl II and Silk Spectre II both inherited their status as superheroes and neither of them are particularly happy about their lives. Neither of them are particularly sympathetic, either. If there are two characters in the novel who really qualify as liberals who whine about how much the world sucks, it's these two. Especially the second Silk Spectre, the most poorly realized character in the story. She's a simple parody of every self-obsessed Jerry Springer guest who spends every hour obsessing over parent issues and excusing herself from honoring her commitments. Silk Spectre II isn't the villain of the piece, but she is far and away the hardest to give a damn about.

And then there's The Comedian, the anarchist of the group. The Comedian is sometimes interpreted as the right-wing opposite of Ozymandias, but in my view that's incorrect. The Comedian isn't a right winger, he's simply an opportunist and a nihilist. Whereas Rorschach and Ozymandias both adhere to specific belief systems, the Comedian adheres to nothing. The book gives him one and only one moment of genuine humanity; when confronted by Silk Spectre II about his attempted rape of the original Silk Spectre, The Comedian expresses genuine regret. It's a brief but important moment in the character's development, and it's the only thing that keeps him from becoming a totally stereotypical comic book villain. Still, even with that single moment of clarity, the Comedian never becomes a compelling character and really represents little more than a destructive force of nature that the other characters must respond to.

If the movie gets these character complexities right, it ought to be enjoyable. I'm not sure, though, that it will find the kind of audience that movies like Iron Man and The Dark Knight enjoy. Most comic books are about larger-than-life heroes and tales of daring-do. Watchmen offers comic readers something different. If you've read so many comics that you're a bit tired of heroes who are always heroic and villains who actually see themselves as evil, Watchmen is a breath of fresh air.

My hope is that the movie will provide that same paradigm shift for fans of comic book based films.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

 

See Obama In Yourself Others



Previously I mentioned this extremely creepy web campaign wherein people are encouraged to "see Obama in yourself" by merging a picture of the President with your own image.

I can't see much of Obama in me ... but other comparisons come pretty easily:


I hate to beat a joke to death, and I think my connections are pretty obvious ... but just in case anyone ain't pickin' up what I'm puttin' down, here's an explanation for each merger above:




Saturday, March 07, 2009

 

Brother (Or Whatever)



I guess this song is written about a brother. It's called "Brother," after all. But I've found that the lyrics apply just as well to step-sons.

Just bear with me, I'm in a rock-lyrics period right now.

Why do I always have to look to the words of others to say the important stuff? One of my defects, I guess.


Brother by Toad The Wet Sprocket

I find my brother in there,
Deep in my heart.
I find my brother in there,
Hold in my arms,
I love you.

And if I seem too quiet now
It's that there are no words
To tell you how
I love you.

I often feel,
Like the prodigal son:
I take all I need
Giving back none.

All beauty shows,
But in such different ways.
You're like the light behind the fog
So bright you burn my eyes away.

So much has changed.
And so much has happened these years.
But still I find
You waiting here.
We have a bond
That nothing can change.
And still I find
A peace of mind
Whenever I hear your name.

But if I seem too quiet now,
It's that there are no words
To tell you how
I love you.



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The Creepiest Thing I've Ever Seen



I hadn't seen this before. Now that I have, I almost wish I hadn't. It's like having seen too much of a car accident and wishing you hadn't rubber-necked.

Tell us again, Obama supporters, how this isn't a cult.

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Haywire



I keep rediscovering this Dog's Eye View album and remembering how much I love these lyrics.

Haywire by Peter Stuart (Dog's Eye View)


"We used to live so bright,
We used to shine,"
she said.
"Now you just work all day,
And I just stay in bed.

Dreaming of singing another song,
Dreaming of flying,
Knowing that it can't and won't be long
Before I just walk away."


Well, I came from the cradle and I'm going to the grave,
And everybody else is.
I've made the same old sins and I've made the same mistakes
That everybody else has.
And I'm going haywire.

"Well, you can count me out of your prized posessions
And watch me smile.
You can cut me down with your best intentions
And listen to me laughing,"
she said.

Well, I came from the cradle and I'm going to the grave,
And everybody else is.
I've made the same old sins and I've made the same mistakes
That everybody else has.
And I'm going haywire.

What do I have to lose?
What do I have left to lose?

"Drop my clothes in the closest ocean,
Let me sail.
You don't have to tell me where I'm going,
Just please don't make me stay.

Well, you can try to stop me now
If you want it so bad.
And you can try to reach for me,
But I don't think you can.

Somehow I've found my feet and walked away from you."


And I'm going haywire.

I'm going haywire.



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Friday, March 06, 2009

 

What I Know Now



I love rediscovering an old favorite album.

One of my favorite things about Dog's Eye View's Happy Nowhere is that the lyrics "speak to me, dude." Some of the songs are sentimental, some of them are funny ... and at least one is amazingly bitter:

What I Know Now by Dog's Eye View

There are no angels.
Only patronizing saints
Who would gladly keep you out of trouble
But never let you forget that you came.

There are no devils.
There are no truly kind deeds
It's just pay now and pay more later
And hope you get what you need.

And when I find myself in times of trouble
I usually give up.
Nothing to win,
Nothing to lose,
I'll just wish you luck.

There are no rules here,
Just piles of mistakes
That we say we've learned from
Then we go ahead and make.

And faith is a lazy way of trying
To get what we want
Without ever doing anything at all
To help bring it along.

And when I find myself in times of trouble
I usually give up.
Nothing to win,
And nothing to lose,
I'll just wish you luck.

And did I want the freedom to be myself
Or the freedom to f--k around?
Did I just want the freedom to fail without bringing you down?

I thought I loved you,
But now I know I was just confused.
And going through the motions
Until we were both completely bruised.

I hope I'm happy,
Because we both know I'm not fine.
I just keep kicking up my heels
Without thinking of you standing behind me.

And when I find myself in times of trouble
I always just give up.

And I don't know what to tell you.
Well I know what I'd like to tell you...
I'd like to call you up and tell you
What I know now.



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At The Waterline



I don't write about the really important stuff at this blog. Not in my own words. I rely on rock and roll for the big stuff. I always have.



Waterline by Peter Stuart
of Dog's Eye View

I'm walking with my father's ghost,
And he's talking to me.
He says "I'm sorry."
But it's so hard to be free.

He says "I knew you when you were so young
Now you will never know me...
Except from pictures that you might find from
When you were three or four or five..."


Down at the waterline,
I'm at the waterline tonight.
I'm at the waterline,
At the waterline tonight.

Now I'm talking with my sister
Who says she knows you well.
She says she hears you in her hallway at night,
And sometimes she can smell you.

But not me.
I have to make it up
From the smallest clues I can find.
Me, I have to dig you up
From the corners of my mind.

We're at the waterline,
At the waterline tonight.
We're at the waterline.
We're at the waterline tonight.

Well, I built this boat with you, my friend,
And you're not here to get in.
I'm wondering, should I let it go?
Should I see if I can swim?

I'm standing in this boat I've built,
And the water is at my knees.
I thought that I might find you here,
But it looks like it's just me.

It's just me.

Here at the waterline,
At the waterline tonight.
At the waterline,
The waterline tonight.

I'm walking with my father's ghost.
He's talking to me,
He says "I'm sorry."



"If you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven." - Matt. 6:15

It's a great song. Buy it for a buck at this link.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

 

Playing Catch-Up



I finished 11 to 7 yesterday; man, I hate that shift. I live like a zombie when I work graveyard.

Now I'm playing catch-up and I have a ton of things to do today. But first, morning coffee, blogs, etc.

So what's on the pile for today?

Some of the internet junk from the past days/weeks that I've wanted to link to and/or comment on but just haven't bothered ...

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

 

Hot Naked Men



After four and a half years of blogging I'm approaching five hundred thousand hits. That's pretty cool. So thanks to those of you who visit this site, especially those of you who are kind enough to check my blog on a regular basis and leave comments.

I rarely think to check my StatCounter account; that's the free service I use to log information about my visitors and the myriad of paths they follow to get to this blog.

When I do think to check with that service I'm always particularly interested in the keywords that have led one search engine or another to point people in my direction.

Here are a few from the most recent entries in my StatCounter log:


Those are just a few of the search terms that really stuck out. I can't help but wonder what might be on the rest of the list; the older data that StatCounter doesn't provide.

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Movie Review: What Just Happened



Synopsis

Ben (Robert De Niro) is one of the thirty most powerful movie producers in Hollywood ... but he's rapidly falling off that list. His latest film infuriates test audiences and his next picture may be shut down if the star (Bruce Willis) refuses to shave his beard. Ben's personal life is in a shambles, too, as he struggles to reconcile with his ex-wife and relate to his teenage daughter.

Pros:


Cons:


Generally:

2 on a scale of one to five. Wasted potential.

Extended Review:

There's an air of pretension about movie makers who make movies about the process of making movies. The end result sometimes seems contrived and disingenuous. Especially when the movie aims to mock Hollywood for it's hypocrisy, it's phoniness, and it's laser-beam focus on the bottom line. It's as though the people involved in the movie are saying "We're part of this industry, but we're somehow above it."

I think it's the same elitist attitude that allows Hollywood liberals to mock their own country.

Still, a good satire is a good satire, and who knows the movie industry better than movie industry insiders? So we see these movies so we can feel like we're "in on the joke." Especially movie geeks like me, who spend an inordinate amount of our free time obsessing about movies anyway.

Barry Levinson's What Just Happened is one more case of a big-named director and some huge stars biting the hands that feed them, and I'd imagine that everyone involved thinks they've turned out something subtle, smart and funny. But they haven't. What Just Happened never seems insightful, in fact it never even seems to want to offer insight. Worse still, it's just not very funny. A satire that's neither funny nor penetrating isn't much of a satire at all.

Not that What Just Happened is a terrible film. It has it's charms. Robert De Niro has a real affinity for dry comedy (see Levinson's Wag The Dog) and it's nice to see him get to play something other than a cop, a grizzled cop, a psycho or a psycho cop. I'd like to see him get more roles like this. Most of what does work in this movie hinges on his sympathetic, relatable performance. Other talented character actors (Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Catherine Keener) have less to do with smaller parts and sometimes seem to be playing it a bit too low key. Comedy doesn't have to be broad or physical, but it should at least be apparent.

The highlight of the movie is Michael Wincott as a moody, drug-addled director; sort of a cross between Keith Richards and Jim Jarmusch. Wincott seems to be the only performer in the whole movie who's having any fun, and he really makes his character pop with a physical, high-tension performance. In fact, Wincott steals all of his scenes and ends up the film's MVP. This isn't the first time I've noticed that Wincott's work was the best in a film (The Crow, Dead Man, Before Night Falls), and it's a shame that he always ends up in second-tier roles. Michael Wincott is a talented actor with skills in comedy, drama, even action. It's long-past time somebody gave him a starring vehicle.

Other characters in the movie are broad parodies of real people. Bruce Willis plays himself via Christian Bale, trashing sets and threatening co-workers and pouting and preening. Sean Penn, as an artsy-fartsy Hollywood darling named Sean Penn, is just right for his role. But neither of them bring much more to the film than a certain brief novelty, and that novelty wears off long before the movie is over.

And the the best parts of the movie are the parts that seem incidental and unrelated to the plot. Satiric jabs at the trappings of modern life provide the movie's best moments. The Wincott character says about the mood stabilizers prescribed to him that they're so powerful you could "watch your own mother get gang raped in broad daylight and still appreciate the weather." De Niro and his ex-wife attend former couple's counseling with the absurd goal of becoming so happy with their divorce that they never want to get back together. After a one-night stand, a self-conscious De Niro uses Just For Men hair dye ... and he uses it everywhere.

Given the tremendous talent behind it, What Just Happened could have been a much better movie than it actually is. It's a shame that Levinson and company seem to have been more interested in turning out 104 minutes of precious navel-gazing and dialed the satire back to 0.5 instead of turning it up to eleven.


Trailer:



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Monday, March 02, 2009

 

Dreaming About The Dead



Lately I've been having a lot of dreams about the dead, and I have to wonder what that says about me, what it says about my state of mind, if indeed it says anything.

I've looked for answers with Google, because, of course, you can believe everything that you find on the internet.

I found a website that belches forth a message about Global Oneness in it's banner, and boasts that it is "co-creating a happy world." As you might imagine, I was damn near overcome with special feelings of warm fuzziness.

The merry band at Global Oneness offer quite a bit of information about dreams of the dead, including:
To dream of seeing the dead, living and happy, signifies you are letting wrong influences into your life, which will bring material loss if not corrected by the assumption of your own will force.

That caught my attention because the dreams I've been having are all just that; dreams of seeing dead friends and relatives alive again, happy and peaceful, not the least bit concerned about the fact that they were dead a while ago.

But I'm not at all sure how to achieve the assumption of my own will force. I can only assume that it involves a light saber. I don't have one. I do have a rake, but you seldom see brave Jedi warriors going forth into battle armed with gardening tools. So I'll have to leave the assumption of my will force for another time.

These dreams are mainly about four different people; my grandmother and grandfather, an uncle who was like a father to me, and a friend who died almost a year ago. In the dreams I'm typically amazed to see them alive and well again in familliar settings, and I usually have the sense that this is a temporary arrangement, but I can never find the words to express everything I want to say to them before they're once again lost to the warm indifference of the void. My dead loved ones are usually happy in the dreams, but I'm usually in a bit of a panic.

At a website called AnswerBag, someone asked the following question, and given that it was posted in all caps I'll assume that there was an urgency about it:
EXACTALLY WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN I DREAM OF DECEASED PEOPLE THAT I KNEW WHEN THEY WERE ALIVE BUT THEY DONT AKNOWLEDGE ME IN MY DREAMS? DOES THAT MEAN I'M GOING TO DIE?

A number of people have offered answers, including a few amateur theologists. This one is my favorite:
remember when you pass away, you are in doormat untill jesus returns to earth again.

Emphasis, I suppose, on the word amateur more than theologist.

You know, I just can't imagine my late grandmother waiting for her Savior's return while hanging out inside of a friggin' doormat. A pair of curtains, OK. A toilet-paper cozy? For sure. But not a doormat.

I continued clicking links and found something from a 2007 New York Times piece that caught my attention:
“Back to life” or “visitation” dreams, as they are known among dream specialists and psychologists ... are a particularly potent form of what Carl Jung called “big dreams...”

Later, the article mentioned the research of one Dr. Dierdre Barrett, assistant professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School:
The most common (of these kinds of dreams) was "back to life" dreams, which made up 39 percent of the dreams of the dead in Dr. Barrett’s sample. In such dreams, subjects were surprised or frightened by the appearance of a deceased loved one. Dr. Barrett theorized that these early dreams corresponded to the confusion and denial of early stages of grief.

That seemed somewhat authentic to me. Especially with regard to the death of my friend last year. His passing was sudden and shocking, and since he was a co-worker I have opportunities to think about him almost daily. Maybe I'm still trying to accept that he's gone. Maybe his death has stirred lingering grief for lost family.

I was comforted some by this quote from Roger Knudson, director of the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Miami University of Ohio:
"I don’t want to get over my father. That’s not to say that I want to suffer on a daily basis or that I don’t want to understand that he is dead. But I look forward to dreams in which my father will come again. What does it mean to ‘get over’ it? I think that is crazy."

Emphasis mine.

I like that. And I'm gonna leave it at that.

Hey, it beats a friggin' doormat.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

 

Spongebob In 2012



Given the shocking disaster that is the failed Obama administration, we might as well have elected Spongebob last November.

Sure, we wouldn't have been able to pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves on electing our nation's first black PotUS ... but we could have made a big to-do about having put our second yellow, invertebrate cartoon character in the Oval Office (Bill Clinton, of course, was the first).

Even the Washington Post is fretting over the...
...massive deficits and tax increases (that) President Obama unveiled last week in his first budget request, a 10-year spending plan thick with political friction points.

HT: Patterico.

Of course, President Dipshit continues to try to impress with grand distractions, saying:
"The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don't."

I wonder who he thinks he does work for. The Chinese? Consider the hole he's digging:
...his plan would produce annual deficits far larger in dollar terms than any recorded before the recession. As a percentage of the overall economy, the budget gap is projected to settle down to a more manageable 3 percent by the end of Obama's term. But Washington would continue to borrow heavily, and the national debt would double over the next five years...

"If you think with this kind of incredible growth in government that they're going to only tax wealthy people, then I have some old lottery tickets I want to sell you," said Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee.

I keep hearing about how, for the past eight years, Dubya did nothing but cut taxes for the rich. Well, I don't know about you, but over the past eight years my income and stability have only gotten better and better. Seems to me that cutting taxes on the rich must be a damn good idea.

Of course, I've actually worked for my money and tried not to make stupid decisions. I haven't bought a house I can't afford, I don't have any big-ticket luxury items, I avoid debt like the plague. But that's just me, I'm silly that way.

Obama says that his loony plans to tax and spend us into oblivion are part of...
"..the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November."

What scares me is that I'm sure he actually believes that.

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