2007-12-30T04:45:49.721-08:00The Case For A National Primary Hey, did you know we're picking our President in about a week?Well, probably not you. You most likely don't have a say in the process. But a bunch of people in Iowa are picking the President for you. (Note: There are some people who would say that no actual citizen chooses the President. That He or She is selected by a Global Elite to better serve the interests of the Conglomeration of Doom. For the purposes of this post, we're gonna pretend Democracy exists.) But wait! You live in Florida, New York, California, Texas, or one of the other non-Iowa states. Your state has a lot more people in it than Iowa. Surely your state should have a say. Tough. On January 3rd, Iowa will hold their caucuses, and a winner will be announced in each party. It will then be nearly impossible for anyone else to overtake them. Why? Americans are a bunch of pack animals.Think back to 2004. Just before Iowa held their caucuses. Remember who was leading in most National polls for the Democratic nomination? Howard Dean. Know who was running in the back, pretty much given up for good? John Kerry. Know who was even farther back, practically ignored? John Edwards. But John Kerry and John Edwards cleaned up in Iowa. Dean was tossed down into third place. Richard Gephart was completely crushed. With his Iowa momentum in hand, Kerry went on to win big in New Hampshire and the race was over. John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for President. And we all know how that worked out for the Democrats. Thing is, going into Iowa, he wasn't really on the radar. So what happened? Easy. He won. The rest of the nation said something like, "Wow. Iowa picked Kerry. He spent a lot of time down there. They must know something we don't. I'm gonna vote for him, too." or perhaps, "Well, it's going to be Kerry, so I may as well vote for him and get this primary over with so we can start bashing Bush instead of other Democrats." So a bunch of Iowans got to choose the Democratic nominee, screw the rest of the country. This year will be no different. Right now, if you look at the national polls, the Democratic nominee ought to be Clinton, and the Republican nominee is a bit of a toss-up between Giuliani and Huckabee. Watch what happens after Iowa. On the Republican side, Giuliani isn't even expected to do well at all. Maybe not even third. See if he's anywhere near the lead on January 4th in the national polls. As for Clinton, well if Obama or even Edwards knocks her off (right now, the three of them all have a shot), then watch her lead shrink faster than Bill's libido under Her icy gaze. Just like that, the race will crystallize and we'll have our nominees. You think I'm wrong? No other state matters anymore. None. Giuliani made the mistake of thinking he could skip out of Iowa (and the next contest, New Hampshire) and still have a shot. He's an idiot. He's toast. Romney gets it, and has put all of his eggs in the Iowa basket. Until Huckabee's rise, it was a smart move on Romney's part. But now that Huckabee's gathered the Evangelical Vote around him, he's gonna beat Romney in Iowa, and that will permanently damage Romney's chances. Edwards also got it, and put all his eggs in this basket. If he pulls it out, he's got a chance. If not, he'll drop out in the blink of an eye and his supporters will gravitate to Obama. If Obama has won Iowa, then he'll pull off one of the biggest upsets in political history by knocking off Hillary Clinton. If Clinton pulls Iowa out of her hat, then the Democratic race is truly over. Is this a good thing? Years ago, perhaps it made some sense. Candidates couldn't get their message out to everyone at once, so they focuses on small places- Iowa, New Hampshire- to really talk to the voters and give them a chance to see the candidates for who they really are. Or at least, who they have really tried to be. But today, with the Internet and 24-hour cable news, everything a candidate says or does is transmitted across the country in a heartbeat. We know these people. We know who they are, what they want, what they s[...]
2007-12-05T12:48:30.128-08:00Why Did Disney Make A Princess Movie I Can't Take My Disney Princess-Obsessed 4-Year Old To?Like any parent of a 4-year old girl, I was very excited to learn about Disney's new movie, Enchanted. It was a Princess movie! A silly, spoofy, Princess movie! My 4-year old would eat this up with a healthy serving of bliss.We don't watch much TV, so we managed to avoid the commercials, but I don't think there's a bus stop within fifteen miles of our house without that witch and her apple staring at us. Naturally, Daughter noticed the posters, recognized the apple, and put two and two together even before I did."Daddy! It's the Evil Queen!""What? Where?""Right there! The Evil Queen from Snow White! Look, she has the apple!""Oh. Huh. You're right.""Does that say Disney?""What do mean... you can't read.""That says Disney! It says Disney!"She can't read, but she can recognize a corporate logo when she's seen it in front of Snow White and Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid often enough until it's been carved onto the underside of her skull. So thanks to the fact that we have to drive her to pre-school every day, she was now aware that something Snow White/Poisoned Apple/Disney-ish was afoot.I checked out what I could, which at the time wasn't much more than a teaser trailer online. It was a movie. A movie all about a Disney Princess.That's all Daughter needed to hear.Suddenly, she couldn't wait to see the new Disney Princess Movie. It was manna from Heaven, as far as she was concerned.Me? I was stoked, too. I love movies. Love, love, love them. And taking my kids to the movies, to movies they WANT to see, is one of the true joys in life to which I've been looking forward for years. Finally, the time had come. Daughter wanted to see Enchanted.Rock on.Then the reviews came out.Some loved it, some didn't. But all said that it was, well, more for adults than children. Perhaps the Tweens would like it, but the really little ones, who aren’t ready to see the Disney Princess Line openly mocked, should shy away.Shy away? How am I supposed to tell my 4-year old that she needs to shy away from a Disney Princess Movie? Has the world gone completely mental?She took the news fine, to be honest, and I quickly transitioned her into another viewing of Beauty and the Beast before she had time to think about it. But that doesn't mean I'm not miffed.Disney, you heartless schmucks, how could you? You sell your Disney Princess line to 3, 4, and 5-year olds (there are costumes specifically their size) with capitalistic glee. You know they're hooked, you know they're ready to feed from your trough. You grab the Thanksgiving weekend slot, shove a multi-zillion dollar ad campaign down everyone's throat, create a trailer that mentions all those lovable G-Rated Disney movies from days of yore, then release something rated PG that's not fit your audience?Were you feeling especially evil that day? I mean I'm well aware of the stench of cruelty that emanates from your offices in Burbank, but that's one meeting that must have curdled the blood of every Wicked Stepmother within the city limits."In 2008, we're going to release a new Disney Princess movie over Thanksgiving weekend.""Fantastic. Families will eat it up. The Disney tradition continues.""Yes. Except, no. It's a spoof of the Disney Princess movies.""Well, OK. Spoofs can be funny. Still cute, right? Still animated?""In New York.""An animated New York?""No. Real New York. And we'll throw in a scene between the Princess and a Hooker" (EDITOR'S NOTE: Such a scene was actually written in the script, but was not included in the final film.)"A Hooker?""Right. We'll advertise it with images of fairy tales that everyone knows. The goody-goody Disney Fairy Tales.""You're growing horns as you speak. Are you OK?""We'll get every pre-school girl in America begging to see this movie. And then it'll be rated PG.""Is your face actually bubbling puss right now?""Millions of girls will either explode from sheer misery at not being able to see the film, or will be driven[...]
2007-11-30T06:23:56.091-08:00My Kids' Pediatric Nurse Was Almost Sent to Iraq - After 6 Years of Inactive DutyAs father of two young children, one of my rituals is the seemingly monthly visits to the Pediatrician's office. If you don't have kids, then you can't possibly understand the bonds that are created between parents and the people who stick our kids with needles every visit, but they grow exponentially through familiarity and repetition.Yesterday we popped by so that 4-year old Daughter could get her flu shot. She knew what was coming, had told me that she was OK with getting the shot, was ready, willing, and able for the trauma.In fact, it was her lucky day, because she went in thinking she'd be getting two shots, but only got one. So, armed with this good news, she sat in my lap, sleeve rolled up, face towards me, eyes crammed shut in anticipation.The Pediatric Nurse, a friendly woman in her mid-30s, promised Daughter that the ordeal would over in the blink of an eye. She explained that, as Daughter knew, there would be a quick pinch of pain, but that she, the Nurse, had been doing this for so long that she was an expert and Daughter wouldn't notice a thing and oh, by the way, we're done.And Daughter gasped and looked down at the tiny Tweety Band-Aid already on her shoulder, in awe. I thanked the Nurse. This had, indeed, been quite easy."Oh, that was nothing. Your Daughter's great. Heck, I've stuck soldiers who were bigger babies than her."At the word "soldiers" my ears perked up. Soldiers?"I spent years in the Army. Just got my Honorable Discharge last month. Finally.""They let you out? I thought they were pulling 70-year olds back in to make quota.""It wasn't easy."I asked for the story."I was in Desert Storm. Not fighting, of course, but as a nurse. I trained soldiers on CPR, basic first-aid. Taught classes over there.""You were in Desert Storm?""Yeah. Talk about life-changing. But it was good. Anyway, that was years ago. I moved into the Reserves, did my weekends. Thought I was more or less done. I was inactive for almost six years.""Inactive? Then this Iraq thing started and they activated you?""Not right away. I had back surgery four years ago that didn't go so well. So that left me on their inactive list. But about six months ago, I got the call. I was shocked. But the orders were just to start teaching again at the base. So I figured I could handle that. Teaching first-aid is always a good thing."At this point, 2-year old Son started banging the window blinds and Daughter squirmed out of my lap. I wrangled Son away from the blinds."Sorry about that. I think he bent one of the blinds.""Oh, and he'd be the first toddler to do that.""Right. Sorry. You were saying? You got recalled?""Yeah. I went, no problem. Held a few classes. But then we got word they were shipping the entire unit to Iraq. Me included. I was going to be triage. Riding in on helicopters and picking up wounded in combat zones.""What?""No way was I doing that. I'd been inactive for six years. My back was supposed to keep me out of Iraq. They knew, it was in my file.""What happened?""They don't care anymore. They need bodies. Too injured to work? A little sun and sand'll do you wonders.""There's a lot of sun and sand in Iraq.""My doctor started writing letters. Bless him, but he wrote two a week, objecting. But I never heard one way or the other. A week before we were supposed to ship out I was going nuts figuring out what I was going to do.""You're here. You're not there.""I got my Honorable Discharge. It showed up in the mail. That's how they told me. And I was freaked out, because it came in a huge, thick package. I assumed the package was my travel orders. It was so thick. But I open it, it's 100 copies of my Honorable Discharge.""100? Really?""I counted. So I've got 100 copies of my Honorable Discharge, in case anyone ever asks.""Congrats.""It's like I was given a new lease on life. I mean what they wanted me to do, on the helicopters, that's a death sentence over there. The mood of the soldiers is so different [...]
2007-11-29T09:01:24.960-08:00Publically-Financed Adultery? Pulverizing the Myth of Rudy Giuliani Why is Rudy Giuliani the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination?Do Republicans even know who he is?Forget the fact the he's pro-choice, gay-friendly, and otherwise socially liberal. Do Republicans know that he had an affair? Aren't they the family values party?Pop Quiz:Which is worse?A) A man has an affair, is found out, apologizes to his wife and family, and tries to rebuild his marriage.Or…B) A man has an affair for years, then decides to dump his current wife for his mistress during a press conference.Which, to you, smacks of moral values?OK, true, they both have some trust issues to deal with, but Chelsea Clinton still likes her father. Rudy Giuliani's daughter isn't even planning on voting for him.So want, you say? Why should we care if a man has an affair? What does that have to do with what kind of President he'll be? Well first, if you say that, I hope you were saying that back in 1998. But second, at least Clinton wasn't making U.S. Taxpayers foot the bill for his infidelity.[Politico:]As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.Oops.But wait, what does that mean? Obscure city agencies could be anything, like, say, the Official City Agency To Get the Mayor Laid. Why is this news?The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.But he's a Republican, so this can all be filed under "Family Values" right? He was valuing his family by trying to hide his adultery and having New York taxpayers pay for it.As we toss yet another Giuliani disaster onto the pile, right next to all the glorious Bernie Kerik stories, it's time to take another look at why Rudy Giuliani is the Republican front runner.Hmmm…..It's on the tip of my tongue…. His massive Foreign Policy experience… no… that's not it.How he lines up perfectly with Republican core values… no. That's not right..Hmm…OH YEAH! He was Mayor of New York City on 9/11!How could I forget? Rudy was America's Mayor! Gosh, you'd think he'd mention that a few thousand times on the campaign trail to remind everyone.Oh wait, he does.Seriously, if 9/11 doesn't happen, Rudy Giuliani is touring the lecture circuit in the private sector. That's it. All his scandals would have broken by now, stopping any and all Giuliani political designs in their tracks. He'd be done. An afterthought.But 9/11 DID happen. And Rudy "God Bod" Giuliani was born.Why was he so special on that day? What did he do? Well, he walked around. He made good speeches. He walked the sister of a fallen 9/11 firefighter down the aisle a few days later.And of course he didn't let the firefighters continue searching for the bodies of their fallen comrades. He allowed everyone back into Ground Zero when he knew the air was toxic, overruling the City's Department of Environmental Protection. He offered to remain Mayor longer than his term of office because he thought it would help the healing process.And leading up to 9/11? Well, you've heard about the radios, right? The really bad radios that the New York Fire Department had to use on 9/11 because Giuliani… well, The Huffington Post says it best:Radios used by[...]
2007-11-28T05:13:24.492-08:00It's Not Christmas Until the Grocery Store Sound System Says SoIt was the Friday after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Retail Friday. Start the Diet Friday. Whatever you want to call it. Two-year old Son and I were at the grocery store, buying something, anything, that wasn't turkey or mashed potatoes.Son was not in a helpful mood. He was dilly-dallying in front of the iced fish section, fingering the carp. He was banging a wooden spoon on the bars of the Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow Cookie display. He was rearranging the Jesus candles in the Hispanic food aisle. He was not listening to me at all."Son? Son? Over here. We need to get coffee. It's down here. Son? Put that down. Please put that down. It's salt. We have plenty of salt at home. Just put it, would you please put it…? Where are you going? This way! Over here! The coffee!!!"I was trying to remain a calm, collected, sane parent. The Good Parent. But The Bad Parent was threatening my psyche. I should just pick Son up and buckle him into the seat. He will scream. He will cry. He will kick. He will Go Boneless (Thank you Mo Willems). But I will shop.When Son began dumping various bags of Lays chips into the aisle, Bad Parent won out. I reached down at this innocent, happy child, flushed with the intent to ruin his morning so I could get out of here before Dusk. But then he turned and looked up at me, smiling."Daddy!"I blinked. I choked up.I ignored the moment and picked him up anyway.But just before he began to scream, in that moment of uncertain stillness, I heard it. Over the intercom. Right there in the chips and salsa aisle.The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping."My God. I haven't heard that song in years.No. Not years. A year.Last Christmas.And it hit me. It's Christmas Season. Time to be nice to everyone. Time to enjoy a better world. Time to give things to people. Time to feel bad for not being poor.I put down Son, who hadn't yet devolved into hysterics. He laughed, threw some more chips into the aisle, and ran off.And I followed him, already in an immensely better mood. Who cares if Son's antics will keep me in this store long past the expiration date on the milk? It's Christmas!Son isn't being an obnoxious two-year old. He's the joy of Christmas incarnate. Everyone else looks at him and smiles, remembering their own childhoods, or thankful that their own children are well past this stage. The people working the store don't mind the mess he's making. It gives them something to do besides roaming aimlessly up and down the aisle, avoiding customers.And all because they're piping in Christmas music.Christmas Wrapping ended and just like that, George Michael and That Other Guy were singing "Last Christmas" which, by the way, is a really lame song and has about four words in it aside from the chorus.But it's Christmas music, so it rocks the world from late November to New Year's Day.Why does this music, infiltrating my brain non-stop for over a month, make me feel so happy? And why do I stop listening to it in January? Done right (meaning pretty much anything that isn't Clay Aiken), Christmas music can't help but get you feeling, well, jolly. I mean the entire year is sucky and filled with trials and tribulations and people who don't like you and bills and taxes and serial killers and stuff.But not Christmas.Christmas is filled with, well, lots of suicide. But aside from that, it's filled with goodness. Wholesome, family goodness. And the Barenaked Ladies singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is the soundtrack to all this phenomenal happiness. If grocery stores, post offices, elevators, and gas stations played things like Alanis Morissette or Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain during December, the world would be a rotten place. Puppies would die.So I say let Christmas ring! Give me Mariah Carey singing "All I Want For Christmas" in seven octaves. Give me Nat King Cole singing that damn Chestnut song for the googolplex-th time. Give me Dean Martin singing "Let [...]
2007-11-19T14:21:46.301-08:0088 Lines About 43 Presidents
2007-11-09T10:36:55.941-08:00Don't Impeach Bush and Cheney for Their Past, Impeach them for the Future. Impeachment of a sitting President or Vice President is not something that should be taken lightly.We all remember the circus of the Clinton Impeachment Hearings, how they dominated the news, nearly put the country on hold for months as a strongly-divided electorate took up sides along party lines.The fact of the matter is, Clinton lied. However, that was no reason to remove him from office. He lied about a personal matter that had no bearing on our nation. Republicans saw an opportunity to distract a political rival and took it, marring Clinton's remaining years and sullying his name enough so that Gore refused to use him as a campaign asset, which may well have lent itself to the election of George W. Bush. So as far as the Republicans are concerned, Impeachment worked. It was purely partisan, purely dirty politics, and it did the job.The other thing the Clinton Impeachment did was protect George Bush (or whoever would have won the Republican Nomination) from Impeachment himself. The idea being that if any articles of Impeachment were considered against a Republican President, no matter their merits, the specter of "Partisan Payback for Clinton!" could be raised and no one would take the hearings seriously.So here we are in 2007 and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has brought a motion to the floor of the House to Impeach Vice President Cheney. Wisco has already discussed the odd circumstance wherein Republicans ended up supporting the bill and Democrats as a whole did not. Of course, in Washington D.C., things are not what they always seem. Republicans kept the matter alive in an attempt to embarrass the Democrats. Many people would scratch their head and wonder at the wisdom of such a strategy, but it seems to have worked. Democrats, faced with actually doing something about this administration, ran like frightened children into the arms of their mommy."Mommy! Make the big, bad Articles of Impeachment go away!"Most people have a strong-enough understanding of the charges against Cheney, against Bush, against this administration. Lying to everyone in order to get us to go to War is a nice big start. But there are others. The fact is, Bush and Cheney have done things far worse than Clinton ever dreamed of. They truly have committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors against America. If ever there were a sitting President and Vice President who deserved, NEEDED, to be removed from office, it is this bunch.But that's not why we should Impeach them.We should Impeach them for the sake of our future.Right now, the chatter among the Democratic elite is that we shouldn't waste our time on Impeachment. In an appearance on the Ed Schultz show, Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz warned that the issue would distract the Democratic Congress from their work: [Daily Kos]"…remembering back to the dark days when the Republican Congress pursued impeachment against President Clinton, that is all that the media will focus on, that is all the attention that would be focused on in Congress, and we would not be able to spend the next 13 months focusing on the issues that are important to the American people…"She also warned that it would hurt Democrats at the polls."…we will squander the opportunity to move this country in a new direction when what we should be focusing on are those issues I just listed and many others, and focusing our efforts on expanding the Democratic majority and electing a Democratic President."Note that nothing in there indicates a reluctance to Impeach due to a lack of evidence of wrongdoing. Everyone knows crimes have been committed. Everyone knows that if the Democrats tried, they could very easily make the charges stick. It is, to quote the administration, a Slam Dunk.But again, that's not why we need to Impeach them.Quite frankly, if we wait out the last 12 months u[...]
2007-10-28T11:14:57.956-07:00The Movie I Wish I'd Never SeenDo you have a movie in your past that you wish you'd never seen? I don't mean just some bad movie that was a waste of your time, I mean something that you truly regret watching and forever etching the memories of said film onto your grey matter.I love movies, so I generally wouldn't think there could be one with that sort of parasitic hold on me. A few years ago, I reviewed movies on the Internet and saw my fair share of crap. Daredevil comes to mind, a film so bad in so many ways that it was physically painful to watch. But still, I'm not overcome with a burning need to vomit when I think about it. In fact, it led to my writing one of my favorite reviews of all time, so all told that horrific waste of celluloid leaves an almost nostalgically positive imprint on my memory.But there is a film that does, in fact, induce in me a vibrant need to spew chunks whenever I think about it. I try not to think about it much, forgetting it for months at a time, while filling my head with the latest and greatest pop culture icons on the screen. But eventually, without fail, something will remind me of that one, fatal film and I'll be overcome with thoughts and images and nausea, becoming almost sick to my stomach.I've discussed this in the past with friends. It's a good conversation starter. "Is there any film you honestly wish you'd never seen?" Some answers from others have included Faces of Death, 2,000 Maniacs, and Caligula. Each, in their own way, extremely disturbing. I myself have issues with the opening sequence in Cube, which is otherwise not a very disturbing film. However, the film which haunts me to this day is a little-known independent film called Frankenhooker.Perhaps you've heard of this film, perhaps not. First, it's not porn or anything, it's rated R. Nor is it straight horror, not by any means. It's a very dark comedy. Basically, a guy's girlfriend is dismembered in a lawnmower accident and he decides to rebuild her body using all the best parts he can find from various hookers. He lures all the hookers into a room and haves them smoke special crack that makes them explode. Then he gathers the body parts, goes home, and rebuilds his girlfriend.There ya go. A keeper.I don't know why I agreed to see this film way back when (it was released in 1990). I certainly didn't suggest it, but it must have been someone else's turn to pick a film. So for some reason, they picked this one. And I went. And have regretted it ever since.Why does this film disturb me so? I'm not sure. But I get two different scenes flashing into my mind when the film springs into my brain. The first is when all the hookers are exploding. The last one knows she's going to explode, and she's pissed, so she straddles the guy on the bed, leering at him, taunting him, dressed in skimpy lingerie. And then she explodes all over him.For some reason, the harpy-like look on her face just before she explodes has always been, for me, the epitome of evil. That faces haunts my nightmares.The second flash of imagery that gets me every time is the fully-completed, rebuilt girlfriend. It's ridiculously slapstick, every limb and body part stitched together in the worst homage to Frankenstien. The crowning glory is her head with a huge, zipper-like stitch all the way around it, where he's sown it to the torso with the biggest boobs he could find.I see that in my mind and want to puke.I really have no idea why I get such a visceral reaction to the memory of a film I saw 17 years ago. I've seen hundreds of films since then, most much better. There are plenty of those of which I have no recollections at all. I'd be surprised to learn I'd ever seen them. But this one, this one sticks with me. Popping up every few months for no reason other than I haven't been internally horrified enough lately.Not sure if there's any way to cleanse the images from my min[...]
2007-10-28T11:20:49.428-07:00The Self-Made Critic reviews Daredevil(Circe 2003)Now they're just getting sloppy. I enjoy a bad movie as much as anyone. I'll happily sit through an abomination such as Dungeons & Dragons or Supernova and revel in the excruciatingly painful level of suck while the poor folk I pay to be my friends squirm in their seats in utter agony. What makes these private Hells tolerable is the knowledge that everyone knows the movie is bad. Dungeons & Dragons stunk to high heaven and everyone from Alaskan hermits who hadn't stepped foot outside their igloo in decades to the potted fern in the lobby of the local Hilton knew it, and stayed away in droves. D & D made all of $50 and its creators are now serving you decaf lattes in a Starbucks near you. (Or at least, they should be.) But when an equally bad film approaches the $100 million mark, it's time to head for the hills. The sad, sad, sad success of the truly horrible film, Daredevil puts us one more step on the path to the end of civilization as we know it. Money talks. A bad movie making $100 million means studios will be inclined to make more bad movies. When those bad movies fail to make $100 million, they'll blame the marketing and make more bad movies. This hellish cycle will continue until the end of time, and we may well have Ben Affleck to blame for the downfall of human existence. Why is Daredevil so very, very bad? Have a seat, this could take a while. It's a comic book film, so you have to give it some leeway. But one thing every film, everywhere, MUST do is stick to its own rules. In DareDevil, our hero is blind, therefore all of his other senses are extraordinarily heightened. He can hear everything in the world at any moment, he can smell colors, his sense of touch manifests itself in his amazing balance, agility and strength, and of course, his heightened sense of taste allows him to.. I dunno, enjoy a Happy Meal like no one's business. His weakness? (All superheros have a special weakness, it's part of the deal, along with the tights and the snazzy catch-phrase.) Really loud noises. Since he can hear so very, very well, loud bursts of noise cause him great discomfort. This is repeated time and again during the film. So then, would someone care to explain why, during the requisite montage of "Look How Cool I Am Getting Up in the Morning," he walks by his stereo and turns the volume dial up way past eleven? Is there some rule that loud noise doesn't effect him when it's serious heavy metal? That's what I'm talking about. Follow your own rules. Also, I hate any movie that creates drama by not having the hero defend himself against incorrect accusations. "You killed my father!" "You're in a bad mood, so I'm going to run away like a coward and look guilty." And now we have conflict, because the two characters who really like each other are kept apart by this mistaken assumption. When what the guy should have said was: "You killed my father!" "No, I didn't. That guy did. Over there. The bad guy." "Oh. I didn't see him. OK. My bad. Let's go get him." "Aces!" If Daredevil were only sloppy in these story-related areas, I could begin to forgive and forget. But Dudes!!! When Colin Farrell reaches down to his left in the wide shot and then you cut to the close-up and he's reaching down to his right, I have to draw a[...]
2007-10-28T10:11:32.889-07:00Get Your Damn Hands Off My Pumpkins!I have a bunch of friggin' gnomes mucking up my Halloween decorations.Last weekend, 4-year old Daughter helped me carve some pumpkins. We did a happy face (two eyes, nose, smiling mouth), a scary face (two eyes, nose, frowning mouth with sharp teeth), and a silly face (one eye, no nose, mouth open in a delirious grin you'd likely find on a mental patient who's just been given his daily dose of Mirtazapine).We carried them down to the end of our driveway and set them up in a loving Halloween nativity scene, threw in an uncarved pumpkin to even the display out, and left it at that.They are gone. Not taken, mind you. Decimated. The happy and scary faces (which were the largest two pumpkins) are a mass of splattered pumpkin gore, as if Gallagher held a comeback tour in my driveway. The silly face remains intact, though shoved to the side, not worthy of the Gnomes' time or effort. It still smiles blankly, though now that it has stared death in the face and witnessed acts of brutal pumpkin horror, it is forever scarred, its gaze a glassy-eyed stare through which no reality can penetrate.I'm pissed.I don't know the names of these pumpkin-killing gnomes. I suppose it could be deer. The local herd likes to nibble from time to time at just about anything that isn't wrapped in chicken wire, but the carnage of the crime scene points towards a tool-using animal. Perhaps the same ones that bolted for safety in the glare of my oncoming headlights the other night, leaving behind a plastic bag filled with pears from my pear tree. I don't think deer use plastic bags. I could be wrong, but that's a guess.Why have these truant gnomes decided to take out their angst on my pumpkins? I'm not sure. I have noticed that ours were the first, and so far only, Jack-O-Lanterns on display in the neighborhood. It's our first Halloween here, so perhaps there is some curse on the street that afflicts those who dare carve a face in the Holy Gourd on All Hallow's Eve. Everyone else is aware of the curse, nobody bothered to fill in the new family. It's the perfect recipe for a Clive Barker story. Don't put out the Jack-O-Lantern, you'll only attract the Demons from Beyond the Grave.More likely, a bunch of damn kids are going around smashing pumpkins and their parents have given up trying to stop them.I could go to the authorities. I suppose random acts of vegetable violence could be cause for a community task force. But the truth is, this is a private matter, and I need to take care of it myself. Plus, they'll probably just say something like, "Oh, you live up there? Well, there's that curse and all. Sorry, you're on your own."The Gandhi option is to sit down with my pumpkins, wait for the vagrants to come by, and explain to them the errors of their ways. Jack-O-Lanterns are God's creatures, and they live a short but fruitful life. I can try to convince these hoodlums that it is in their soul's best interests to leave these smiling and frowning and drugged-out faces be, and to wander away from temptation.But that avenue will probably lead to me getting beaten senseless by a bunch of High School Musical wannabes. Screw that.I'm not going down without a fight.I don't mean to turn into Old Man Withers, but I have every intention of shoving justice into the faces of these damn, meddlesome kids. I have a plan.This weekend, we're carving more pumpkins. I'll let Daughter choose the faces, but we'll probably end up with another round of happy, scary, and silly. Though this time, I think the silly face is gonna have three eyes and a mouth open in surprise like on a blow-up doll.Next, we'll place them in the same area, baiting the trap. I'll probably spray them with hairspray to help preserve them from the weather. You know, take care of my pumpkins. They're my babies. I love them.Next, I'l[...]
2007-10-23T10:43:16.504-07:00Mike Gravel is Not Running for PresidentOutside of Ron Paul, and maybe Dennis Kucinich, the hottest presidential candidate for either party these days seems to be, on the Web at least, Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel.Which is weird, because near as I can tell, he's not actually running for president.As an aside, what does it say about the Internet that the most enthusiasm is found for candidates who poll just slightly above a lamp post?Anyway.As an open minded American voter (well, mostly open-minded. A pack of wild, rabid, leprous Jehovah's Witnesses couldn't get me to vote for Fred Thompson: Male Prostitute. No offense to any Jehovah's Witnesses out there.), I decided to learn all I could about this unheralded phenomenon. Who is Mike Gravel? And should I be rooting for him to steal the jeweled crown of the Democratic Nomination out from under the National Media Approved Three-headed Clintobamadwards behemoth?So I went to his web site to find out where he stands on the issues.That was my first hint that he wasn't actually running for president.See, when you go to Mike Gravel's official web site, you get a chance to sign up for Mike Gravel's email newsletter, a chance to donate money to Mike Gravel, a chance to volunteer to help Mike Gravel, and a chance to "learn more" about Mike Gravel.Learning more about Mike Gravel means you can read his bio- which includes high praise from Ralph Nader, or join Mike Gravel's YouTube Channel. Or interact with Mike Gravel's friends at MySpace. Or meet other Mike Gravel supporters at Meetup.com. Or talk about Mike Gravel at Google Groups. Or check out Mike Gravel on Facebook, virb, or Second Life.Curious what his position on SCHIP? Look elsewhere. Curious as to his views on all the FISA hullabaloo? Out of luck. Wonder if he would support raising taxes on beef products in order to fund a massive Thunderdome-like facility that would serve as the final destination of all Death Row inmates? No clue.But wouldn't that be really cool?The point is, there's not an ounce of information on Mike Grave's website that tells you what he'd like to do as President.Because he's not running.But he has an official campaign website, you say. That's proof enough, right?You know who else has an official campaign website? Stephen Colbert. And Christopher Walken. And McGyver. And, naturally, General Zod. Are they running for President? Like, with aspirations of winning? But they have official campaign websites!!!Ah, but running a campaign is more than just slapping up a fancy website. You need ads. Mike Gravel has ads. No really, he does. You can see them on YouTube. In fact, two of his ads have caused quite a stir.In "Rock" Mike Gravel stares silently at the camera for a few moments, then picks up a rock and tosses it into a pond. In "Twigs" he walks through woods, picking up branches. Then he makes a fire. Then the camera stays on the fire for seven minutes.Are you ready to cast your vote yet?When asked about his enigmatic spots, Mike Gravel explained that they were a metaphor. The ripples of the water represent the ripples that a small group of dedicated people can have on the larger world. The branches and twigs he collects represents wisdom, accumulated over a lifetime, and with the wisdom, he builds a fire of "light, heat, warmth. It's the sustenance of life."Now he may have a beautifully poetic point to make, but in an interview with MSNBC, he admitted that his campaign didn't generate the idea for these spots. Two young teachers approached him and asked to shoot the commercials. He didn't even understand what they were doing, or what the point of the spots were when he shot them. For all he knew, these two teachers thought Mike Gravel's candidacy was about helping pedophiles find new targets. I mean maybe throwing a rock into a [...]
2004-12-09T10:02:27.450-08:00What's so Funny About Peace, Love, and Anabolic Steroids Everybody and their mother have been knocking down my door demanding to get my take on all this Steroids hub-bub. It's as if the world can't move on to important matters until I've sounded off and impacted the prevailing wisdom. I'm that important. OK. What we all know. Giambi said in private, confidential testimony, that he stabbed his butt a bunch of times and injected Horse Urine into his body, or something like that. I think it was made from Elmo's umbilical cord or something. Oh, and he says it didn't help him. Bonds said, also in private, confidential testimony, that he rubbed K-Y jelly on his body but thought it was extract of mother's love and apple pie. We don't know what Randy Velarde said, but we mock him for even being involved. My first response goes out to whoever leaked this private, confidential testimony. I hope you're found out and sent to prison, where you can only WISH the only thing being jammed into your backside is a needle. These e players were promised anonymity, and that has been ruined. And this isn't a case of me whining about Bonds' and Giambi's privates. I'm thinking of the larger picture. You think BALCO is the ONLY company providing athletes with naughty substances made out of Satan's Left Boob? Open your eyes. Remember when Caminitti said 50% of baseball was using something? He may not have been that far off. Right now, there are a lot of players thinking "Thank God I don't play in San Francisco or Oakland. The New York (or Milwaukee, or Toronto, or Atlanta) office of Steroids Inc. is still secret." And let's be honest, the criminals in this case are the SUPPLIERS. The people we want behind bars are the ones MAKING this stuff and peddling it off to Desperate Athletes (Wednesdays at 9 on ABC) around the globe. So OK, we've toppled the big bad BALCO. And when we move in on CALCO (Chicago Area Lab and Concoctions Organization), you think we'll get a SINGLE witness to testify? Not anymore. Why testify if your "secret" testimony comes out and ruins your LIFE? You think Giambi is ever going to have a pleasant experience playing Baseball ever again in his LIFE? Bonds? (Well, maybe Bonds, but he's really weird) So that's my first thought. Whoever leaked this has seriously harmed MLB's (and NBA's and NFL's and everyone else's) chances of cleaning up professional sports. Thanks a lot. Dork. As for the players. Why bother? How upset was everyone in '98 when Big Mac was caught using a perfectly legal steroid? Fact is, if Bonds used the cream or the clear or the Credence Clearwater Revival, it wasn't against the rules in 2001. Or 2002. He's tested positive since then. Maybe he still uses and we can't detect. Maybe not. Maybe Cody Ransom used them and it made his hands too big to accurately field that damn ground ball in the 9th in game 161. Who knows? Athletes shouldn't use performance enhancers? What's surgery? Tommy John Surgery is a sick, sick thing. Totally unnatural. Anyone notice how lots of folk who have TJS become better pitchers? Anybody crying home to mother about it? It's one thing to say drugs are bad, M'Kay? But what's a drug? Where does the line get drawn? Some shout out "It's illegal!" Well sure, steroids are illegal... unless you can get a doctor to prescribe them. So let's say a doctor prescribes them to Yorvit and he starts hitting 50 HRs a year. They were prescribed, so they're not illegal. Now what? "They're against MLB policy." OK. But even as they are now going to bring da hammer to steroids under threat of public admonishment, how far can they go? If they ban specific substances, what about the next brand new thing that's created and isn't on the list? Ban all steroids? OK. But "the squeaky clean" wasn't a steroid[...]
2004-12-08T10:52:33.940-08:00Why? God, Why?
2004-11-30T10:37:01.153-08:00Are we actually spending money?
2004-11-23T12:29:25.320-08:00Starved for News... So I'm Leap-frogging around the Giants BlogSphere annoyed that nobody's updated today. Then, of course, I realize that I haven't updated myself and I wonder if anyone is periodically hopping into my neck of the woods only to growl with discontent at the lack of my own updates. I can dream. Of course, the main reason nobody is blogging is that there isn't anything to blog about. We signed Omar. Old news. Barry won the MVP. Old and obvious news. What else is there to talk about in the off-season? We are starving for news. Something. Anything that will get us to March. Oh sure, we were mildly interested in the happenings of the AFL, but aside from a decent (not fantastic, just decent) showing by Aardsma, there wasn't much of interest to chat about. It must be hard for those who actually PLAY the game. They need their time off, they want to get away. But we fans- we few, we happy few- want the latest every moment of every day. Even during the season, I sometimes feel that it's not enough. "What? We lost today? Are we playing again tonight? What!!! I have to wait until tomorrow? And it's gonna be a night game tomorrow? That's more than 24 hours without Giants' Baseball!" And don't even talk to me about the All-Star break. Why are we so addicted to this game? To the team, the players, the stats, the results? What drives this inner fire? Me? I like being a part of something greater than me. I married into a family of die-hard Red Sox fans. So I spent this last post-season living vicariously through them. From the lows to the ultimate high. When the Sox won it, my father-in-law and brothers-in-law were a part of a euphoria that can't be described in words. And I want to be a part of that. but if it's all about winning, why don't I just become a Yankees' fan and be done with it? Don't know. But it probably has something to do with going to games at Candlestick with my Dad at the age of 11 or 12. Watching Milt May crouch behind the plate. Living through the Randy Kutcher month. Getting Dan Gladden's autograph in Arizona when you could still walk up morning of and get a good ticket in Scottsdale. We all have those moments. I was there in '82 when Joe Morgan hit the homerun. I really was. Just as I was there in 1997 when Florida whooped our butts and the sell-out crowd left the stadium dejected, but for some reason chanting "Druckenmiller! Druckenmiller!" I got married on October 7th, 200, a date made easier to remember because that was when Estes made his bone-headed baserunning play against the Mets. The Giants are a part of my life. And I never want to be without them. And now, in the off-season, I am starving for my fix. How about you? [...]
2004-11-19T11:00:42.716-08:00Ch-ch-ch-Changes and a Thought
2004-11-17T11:20:05.596-08:00Could we GET any older?
2004-11-16T09:58:13.700-08:00What Do You Do With A Problem Like Pierzynski
2004-11-15T08:45:22.150-08:00Omar of the Hill People
2004-11-10T13:49:44.040-08:00Oh Please, oh please, oh please...
2004-10-11T16:47:43.890-07:00The End of the Season
2004-09-14T08:59:59.193-07:00String Him Up
2004-09-08T09:47:02.906-07:00Argh! (and other 4-letter words)
2004-09-06T09:44:09.886-07:00It's only the D-Backs