Wednesday, May 31

Sports Beat

Here's what's happening in the sports world, relevant to my interests:

  • The Wonderful Saga of Ricky Williams continues. Here's the scoopula on running back Ricky Williams.  The New Orleans Saints traded all their picks one year to ensure that they could get him in the college draft.  They did.  He performed very well on the field, but didn't really fit in with his team-mates.  He got traded to Miami, and I was very excited for him to be a Dolphin.  He performed very well for Miami, then suddenly decided to retire. A couple of weeks before training camp started.  At first, his decision to retire seemed kind of noble - "football doesn't interest me anymore, and I'm more interested in pursuing other things in life".  While it was maddening to have him quit when he did, I could accept it.  Then it gets revealed that he's really retiring because he was going to be suspended a year anyway for drug violations.  He was an admitted marijuana user and was found in violation of the NFL's (too strict, in my opinion) drug policies.  He spends the season "finding himself", camping out under the stars in the Australian outback, finding spiritual enlightenment in Asia, being a generally odd type of person (as far as typical sports figures go).  He then claims he'd like to return to the Dolphins and play again.  He's given up smoking and wants to commit to the team fully.  This claim comes shortly before it's revealed that he owes the Dolphins something like 6 million dollars for breaking his contract earlier.  His commitment to football seems somewhat dubious based on his debts.  Still, after a 4 game suspension last year (the backend of his original suspension), he plays again for the Dolphins, primarily as a backup, and has a surprisingly good season.  By all accounts, he is the model athlete, and while still rather aloof to his team-mates, is in no way considered a disruption to the team.  The opposite, in fact.  After last season, it gets reported that he's broken the drug policies again (although this time it's not marijuana), and will once again be suspended.  He claims he hasn't knowingly broken the rules, and places the blame of the positive drug testing on some herbal supplements that are part of his vitamin regimine.  He appeals and loses.  He gets banned for the upcoming season.  Enter the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, who'd love to have him play for them.  The Dolphins (who still own his playing rights) say they'd rather not have him play in the CFL and expect him to be back with them next season (2007).  After assurances that he'll return to Miami as soon as this season of the CFL ends, the Dolphins coach gives him permission to play with Toronto.  So, now, Ricky is an Argonaut and will play this summer/autumn with them.  How much weirder can this guy's travels get?  And, still, after all the consternation he's caused us Dolphins fans, I'm finding that I'm still rooting for him to succeed.
  • Formula One raced last weekend at Monaco.  While it's hailed as the  prestigious race of the season (due to the exotic locale and racing through the streets of Monte Carlo and all), it's usually a bore of a race to watch.  Very little passing, and once you get passed the thrill of seeing these super-fast cars racing around very narrow streets at seemingly impossible speeds, it becomes not much more than watching cars parade around for a couple of hours.  At this race, more than any other, being on pole at the beginning of the race is critical.  Stay at the front and you don't have to pass anyone ahead of you.  Much better chance to win the race.  So, during the qualifying on Saturday, Michael Schumacher had the fastest so-far qualifying time, and as the hour of qualifying was drawing to a close, it seemed like he'd be on pole.  However, with only enough time to finish the qualifying lap each driver was currently on, Michael's chief rival, Fernando Alonso was on a lap that looked like it would beat Michael's already-posted time.  So, Michael, who was ahead of Fernando on the track, had some sort of mechanical problem, and stalled on the course.  This brought out the yellow caution flags and effectively ruined the last timing-lap of those behind him.  Therefore, Alonso lost his chance to beat Schumacher's time (and it seemed like he would beat it to, based on earlier interval times on the lap).  Michael shrugs off the incident and blames it on a lapse in concentration or some such thing.  Everyone else, though, cries foul, and accuses Michael of cheating.  Of purposefully ruining the final qualifying lap of Alonso.  A seven hour hearing is convened and results in finding Schumacher guilty of purposefully stopping on the course.  His penalty is rather severe - all his qualifying times are wiped away, and he's forced to start the race at the back of the grid.  Alonso, who had the second fastest qualifying time, then achieved the pole position.  Alonso then went on to win the race, and Schumacher actually performed quite remarkably, finally ending in 5th or 6th.  What makes this so interesting to me is that Michael Schumacher, in my mind, the greatest race-car driver ever to sit behind a wheel, has had more than his share of controversial moments in his career.  He was stripped of a season of points about a dozen years ago when he was found guilty of intentionally running into Jacques Villeneuve, who was his chief rival in the Drivers' Championship.  Other incidents, too, have marred his spectacular career.  But I don't recall any incident of his being so unanimously and vehemently chastised as this one.  The whole of Formula One is up in arms against him and it could potentially damage or tarnish his reputation as a champion.  And even through all of his dubious shortcomings, I still find myself cheering for him because of his immense and deep talents as a driver.
  • The World Cup is about to start, and I can't wait.  Being of Scottish heritage, I find myself forced to cheer on England.  Failing that, I usually sub-cheer for one of the Scandinavian countries, followed by one of the more underdog of the South American entries.  I find it hard to cheer for Germany or France, and all those African countries are just too much of a puzzle for me.  I am unable to cheer on the USA in any international sporting event, even in an underdog situation like this, where them doing well would likely increase the popularity of the sport here in North America.  Depending on how the officiating goes (not so many dubious calls in favour of the home country please), I'll go with my heart and say that this is the year that England wins.  And really, wouldn't that be the best?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, May 26

Not To Misqued Someone, But...

Did anyone read the full-page Walter Piccott ad in today's The Guardian?  Holy smokes!
Here it is, punctuated as printed:

A Family Passion
When asked what fuels the fire on the action corner Stephen Piccott General Manager answered quite promptly with , " that's and easy one its "PASSION" for this place I don't no if its right or wrong but both me and my dad Walter Piccott President share the same feelings down deep for Walter Piccott Chevrolet Cadillac Chevy Trucks its running through our veins and we have a connection here on this corner thats honestly, probably too much for a place to come to work but its naturally embedded in us.  I remember the night we had our grand opening of the new facility and both me and dad spoke for a few minutes to the guests and media and we both we're so overwhelmed with emotion that a lot of people questioned us after and our only answers were, it's what we're all about and to introduce this beautifu new facility to PEI is simply a dream come true for our family.
We're very excited about our 2006 auto show that will be held this weekend here at the dealership showcasing all the exciting new 2006 General Motors products and services and special auto show offers General Motors has had some negative press lately and I think a lot of it has been misqued in my opinion General Motors is the number one automaker in the world and has been for many years the GM commitment introduced earlier this year is a step made by General Motors that sets them apart from other automakers and lays it on the line with lowest suggested prices, most added features, best in class designs and top quality in every vehicle it's what I like to call A Home Team Story. General Motors is a North American company that takes care of its own and at the end of the day the hard earned dollars that consumers spend on the second biggest purchase of there life stays in North America with the home team.  I know that seems like a pretty powerful statement and thats exactly what it is, General Motors North American proud.  I invite all fellow islanders to drop by Friday from 4 till 8 and Saturday form 9 till 1 to experience for themselves a touch of this passion with the home team."
So, how did that happen?  Was it written in an email, with the horrible punctuation, and then transferred as is?  Was it intentional?  Was it a recorded statement that was later transcribed?  If so, why wasn't it corrected?
How is this allowed?

Thursday, May 25

Brokeback Prison?

I've been wondering about this for sometime now.  In the Elvis Presley classic, Jailhouse Rock, are the following lyrics:

Number forty-seven said to number three:
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company,
come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me."
So, what exactly is going on between Number 47 and Number 3?  Are they both men?  One would assume such, since I doubt the jail was co-ed.  In the '50's, when this song came out, I wonder was there any thought about the potential homosexual suggestiveness of this lyric?
I mean, what the hell is going on?  Questions need to be answered!!!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

I'll Say It... I'm In Love With Prince

So, there's about 15 minutes of air-time to kill yet, before the last-minute announcement of who is the next American Idol.  It's been an hour and 45 minutes of some really awful medley songs from "the idols" and some slightly better songs from some special guest stars.
We come back from a commercial break and Ryan's at the podium.  He tells us that that's it for the guest stars, no more surprises.  So, immediately I know there's gonna be another surprise.  Especially with 15 minutes left.  He continues talking and I'm wondering if it's gonna be some lame-duck music icon from decades past, or some lame-duck pseudo-icon from present day.  All of a sudden, Ryan gets interrupted by some horn blasts, and the lights go all funky.
It's a little jarring, and takes me about two seconds to realise that *this* is the surprise.  Okay, so who's it gonna be?  Cut to the stage and these two sexy women are dancing.  At the back of the stage, the doors open and somebody is silhouetted.  Somebody small.  He does some Michael Jackson dance moves (or should I say James Brown?).  Surely it's not Michael, I think to myself.  And then, even before that thought finishes, I understand.  I understand but cannot possibly comprehend.  Because, right there, on the TV, during American Idol... right there, is Prince.
Prince.  On American Idol. 
The thought that it's some Prince impersonator shoots through my mind, but I don't believe it.  Yet I cannot believe what I'm seeing.
Prince. On American Idol.
And I gotta say:  He frigging owned that stage.  He sings a coy version of Lolita (from his latest, great album 3121), and he looks like he's having lots of fun. 
Song ends and I'm very happy.  What a fantastic surprise!  And what a way to end the season.  Prince.  On American Idol.
Then he sings a second frigging song!  (Satisfied, also from 3121).
After that, I think Taylor Hicks won the competition.  I don't care about that, though.  Friggin' Prince was on American Idol.

Here's the YouTube video.  It may not be available for long, so watch it early:

Technorati Tags: , ,

Harper To Answer His Own Questions Only?

This is weird. Today I
got an email that I don't think was intended for me. Not sure how it
ended up in my inbox. Turns out it's an email from Prime Minister
Stephen Harper to his press secretary Carolyn Stewart Olsen. In the
email, he discusses all manner of business. But one part of it
raised my eyebrows a bit: a section where he discusses the recent
controversy regarding his decision to hand-pick which reporters are
allowed to ask him questions. I offer it to you here:

... further to this,
Carolyn, I think it would be prudent for us to begin the process of
deliminating the potential for criticisms of me and the government
from all future press conferences (funny, eh, how “press
conferences” starts with PC!!! maybe we could use that as a joke
sometime?) by initiating a strategy of, not only directing who gets
to ask me questions, but also, what the questions are that will be
asked. (it seems to work very well for Bush).

Here are some
questions, then, that I think would be good to be asked of me at the
next PC (ha ha). You know which of the coughjournalistscough are the
ones who we can count on, Carolyn, so you decide which of them gets
to ask these questions. Try to spread the questions out, in terms of
covering reporters from all across Canada.  You know, from BC to Quebec. And
make sure to include some from those reporters who are my so-called
“detractors”. If they refuse to ask them, just inform them that
the back of the reporter line is a long ways away from the TV

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, what is your opinion of the newest American Idol, Taylor
Hicks? (by the way, Carolyn, I think he's great! He sounds both rock
and roll, and churchy. And he kind of looks like me, don't you
think?) Followup: Any idea as to where the next Canadian Idol may
end up coming from? (would it be too pushy of me, Carolyn, to
suggest an Albertan might win?)

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, do you think the Oilers will win the Western Division in
four straight? (Carolyn, there might be a chance here for a joke
about “that's the kind of majority victory I wouldn't mind having”.
Do you get it? Funny?) Followup: Should all Canadians be proud
of the tenacity of the Edmonton Oilers? (would it be too pushy of
me, Carolyn, to suggest an Albertan team might win? Can you find out
for me how many Canadian players are on that team? Also, is mentioning Gretzky in relation to the Oilers taboo?)

What do you think? Are
these a bit too soft-ball? Will the public catch on? Maybe we
should put one in there that is more, you know, directly related to
government stuff. How about this:

Question: Mr. Prime
Minister, the government seems to be running pretty smoothly these
past few months. Better, in fact, than all those years of wicked
Liberal domination. What do you think, then, sir, is the best thing
about what your government has done so far? (Carolyn, get the boys in
research to find something suitable as an answer.) Followup: Can I
have your autograph? (don't forget to order more 8X10' head shots of

Anyways, Carolyn,
that's what I'm thinking regarding that. On a related topic, I think
I need to get a new barber. One that knows how to do that Taylor
Hicks look. Seriously, I think we should play up on the similarities
between me and him.

And it goes on from  there.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, May 24

What Do You Do With The Mad You Feel?

Here's a wonderful clip of Mr. Rogers appearing before a 1969 US Senate committee that was deciding whether to cut funding in half (from 20 million to 10 million) to the newly developed Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Would it make me a softy to say that my eyes filled with tears watching this? His care and concern and soft-spoken gentleness is an inspiration.  I was never a fan of the program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, but I always had respect for the man.

Watch this.  It's only six minutes long.  Click on these words to view it.

Tuesday, May 23

A Professor Van Helsing Movie Quiz Answered

My pal, DaveS, pointed me towards this interesting movie quiz.  If you like movies, and feel so compelled, how about filling out your responses to the questions (I'll post them in order at the end of this post so you can copy and paste, if you want) and putting them in the comments section here?
You don't have to, but you might enjoy it.  I found I got more enjoyment in coming up with my responses than I thought I would.

It can be found here:


     1) What film made you angry,
either while watching it or in thinking about it afterward?

One film that made me angry as
I watched it was Waiting…  I could only
take a couple of minutes of that shit.   Another teeth-clencher was Master of
.  I couldn’t leave, because my
son was enjoying it.  Ugh.

A film that I tolerated as I
watched it was Crash, but then really, really grew to dislike it afterwards, as
I thought more about it, and as I saw the praise that was heaped on it.

2) Favorite sidekick

While I don’t think of them as
films, because I’ve only seen them on TV, Warner Bros. shorts are, I believe, acceptable
fodder for this quiz.  Therefore, I’d
say, without question, my favourite sidekick is Daffy Duck.  Although, I suspect he’d take issue with
being labeled as such.

3) One of your favorite movie lines

It was kind of a bachelor party
weekend for me, and I was in Halifax
with a couple of buddies.  We went to an
evening screening of The Untouchables. 
At the end of the movie, the reporter character asks Elliot Ness
(paraphrasing): “They say they may repeal the prohibition laws, Mr. Ness.  What will you do?”  Ness says “I
think I’ll have a drink.”  At the end of
a great movie, and with the prospect of an evening of drinking ahead of us,
that line really struck a chord with me, and was a great kick-start to the

Other than that, there are at
least two-dozen lines from Raising Arizona
that I could easily list as among my favourites.

4) William Holden or Burt Lancaster?

I’d have to go with Holden,
only because I’m not familiar with much of Lancaster’s stuff.  And my memories of Burt focus more on his
more recent “old man” roles, which isn’t fair.  The few roles I’ve seen Holden in, I thought
he was good.  

 5) Describe a perfect moment in
a movie

I hate to cite a moment from a
movie I was involved in making, but I really think I have to:

The movie is Florid, about four
street people, in the dead of winter on PEI,
trying to raise enough funds to move to Florida
so they can bum there.  At one point, Ed
Rashed’s character is standing, in the cold, in front of the Arts Guild,
bumming money.  Laurie Murphy walks by,
but is stopped by Ed’s question:  “Spare
some change for a coffee?”  Laurie looks
at him in a somewhat disapproving manner. 
She knows what he’d do with any money she gave him.  So, she says, in perfect condescension, “No,
but if you come with me, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”  Ed gives her a bitter, bitter look and says
“Fuck off!” as he turns away from her. 
Laurie, shaking her head, simply walks off.

6) Favorite John Ford movie

Of the few John Ford movies
I’ve seen, I’d say The Quiet Man would be my favourite.

7) The inverse of a question from the last quiz: What film artist (director,
actor, screenwriter, whatever) has the least–deserved good reputation,
artistically speaking. And who would you replace him/her with on that pedestal?

I’m not a fan of the acting of
two actors:  Julia Roberts and Rene
Zellwegger.   I think they get way more praise and credit than they deserve.  And I’m not going to
replace them with anyone, because I don’t like putting anyone on a pedestal.

 8) Barbara Stanwyck or Ida

I’m not really familiar with
Ida Lupino.  I know she was a some-time
actor and some-time director, so that’s cool. 
But it’s hard to go against Barbara Stanwyck, solely for her role in
Double Indemnity.

9) Showgirls--
yes or no?

I’ll say it this way:  Yes, to the question of did I enjoy watching
it once.  No to the question of do I ever
want to see it again.

10) Most exotic or otherwise unusual place in which you ever saw a movie

Not very exotic or otherwise
unusual, but I’d have to go with a little theater on the main street in Rockport, Maine.  I believe we saw Roxanne?

11) Favorite

I like M*A*S*H* quite a bit, but I think I’m going to say Short Cuts.  It had Tom Waits, too.

12) Best argument for allowing rock stars to participate in the making of

I’m going to go in a different
direction on this one, and say that Colonel Tom’s pushing Elvis Presley into
movies probably did more good in curbing future rock stars from following that
route than it did bad in ruining Elvis’s music integrity.  Perhaps it served as a cautionary tale to
others to stick to what they do best. 
Let the actors act and the singers sing. 
It’s kind of like letting one kid touch a hot flame so that the rest of
the kindergarten class can learn the lesson too.

So, the best argument for
allowing rock stars to participate in the making of movies ends up being the
one that hopefully makes them think twice before contemplating their
participation in the making of movies.

13) Describe a transcendent moment in a film (a moment when you realized a film
that just seemed routine or merely interesting before had become something much

It happens really early in the
film, and not only was it a transcendent moment of that film, but, for me, it
was a transcendent moment of Film.   The
little space ship zooms fast across the top of the screen, being chased by
weapon-fire.  What’s chasing it, you
wonder, as it disappears into the distance. 
Then, that huge, lumbering immensity of a ship appears at the top of the
screen, following the little ship, firing shots.  And it lumbers along, and grows bigger.  And lumbers along and grows bigger still.  And it doesn’t stop.  And it’s huge.  And then, finally, after what seems like an
eternity, the end of the ship is revealed, and the engines rumble and
boom.  That moment, for me, said so much
about what we, the audience in that theatre, were about to witness that

14) Gina Gershon or Jennifer Tilly?

I am not a fan of Gina Gershon,
really, and am fond of Jennifer Tilly’s performance in Bullets Over
.  So, Jennifer Tilly.

15) Favorite Frank Capra movie

It’s boring, I know, to say so,
but It’s A Wonderful Life.  So many
iconic moments for me.  So many moments
when I know I’m going to tear up.

16) The scene you most wish you could have witnessed being filmed

I haven’t given this much
thought, and there are likely others, if I put my mind to it.  Truthfully, I'd be wary to view the making of many of my favourite scenes, for fear of having their "magic" lost by seeing the process.  But this scene, I think, would be fabulous to
witness:  the “rushing the bridge” scene
in The Longest Day.  It’s a wonderful
long single-shot scene involving dozens and dozens of soldiers, all kinds of
choreography, and a real sense of “okay, let’s get this right, because we only
have one shot at this”.  I’d want to be
standing about 10 feet away from the director, and watch the whole thing

17) Robert Ryan or Richard Widmark?

Never heard of Robert Ryan, and
only vaguely familiar with Widmark.  So,
I’m just going to go with Richard Widmark, even without looking them up on

18) Name a movie that inspired you to walk out before it was finished

To my recollection, I’ve only
walked out of one movie:  Amos &
.  I, along with the group I was
with, walked out in the first ten minutes or so.  To be fair to the movie, it wasn’t given a
chance by the group I was with.  But it
didn’t start very well, and combined with the absolute dumbest pre-show
audience, we were all more than ready to leave. 
We got our money back and cursed the idiots who go to movies.

19) Favorite political movie

All The President’s Men.  In second place, some distance back, would be
the original The Manchurian Candidate.

20) Your favorite movie poster/one-sheet, or the one you’d most like to own

Never really been a poster
geek, but I’d like to have either the poster for Jaws, or The Good, The Bad,
and The Ugly

21) Jeff Bridges or Jeff Goldblum?

Bridges, because I think he
more often serves the movies he’s in. Goldblum is always, always interesting to
watch, but sometimes his acting gets in the way of, well, his acting.

22) Favorite Ken Russell movie

Honestly, I’ve only seen a
handful of his movies, but of the ones I’ve seen, the one I most enjoyed was
The Lair of the White Worm.

23) Accepting the conventional wisdom that 1970-1975 marked a golden age of
American filmmaking in which artistic ambition and popular acceptance were not
mutually exclusive, what for you was this golden age’s high point? (Could be a movie, a trend, the
emergence of a star, whatever)

The 1974 Academy Awards Best
Pictures nominations:  The Godfather part
II, Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny, The Towering Inferno

24) Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner?

Grace Kelly

25) With total disregard for whether it would ever actually be considered, even
in this age of movie recycling, what film exists that you feel might actually
warrant a sequel, or would produce a sequel you’d actually be interested in

Totally disregarding the fact
that they’ve already been made, and that they’re prequels, not sequels, I’d
love to see Star Wars episodes 1, 2 & 3 remade with much more attention to
the script and to the quality of the acting. 
I’d love to have George Lucas totally give them over to some writers and
directors, and only provide whatever Industrial Light and Magic was asked of
him.  I would love to see those movies

Here are the questions, if you want to have them for your own:

1)What film made you angry, either while watching it or in thinking
about it afterward?
2) Favorite sidekick
3) One of your favorite movie lines
4) William Holden or Burt Lancaster?

5) Describe a perfect moment in a movie

6) Favorite John Ford movie.
7) The inverse of a question from the last quiz: What
film artist (director, actor, screenwriter, whatever) has the least–deserved
good reputation, artistically speaking. And who would you replace him/her with
on that pedestal?

8) Barbara Stanwyck or Ida Lupino?
9) Showgirls-- yes or no?
10) Most exotic or otherwise unusual place in which you ever saw a movie
11) Favorite
12) Best argument for allowing rock stars to participate in the making of

13) Describe a transcendent moment in a film (a moment when you realized a film
that just seemed routine or merely interesting before had become become
something much more)

14) Gina Gershon or Jennifer Tilly?

15) Favorite Frank Capra movie

16) The scene you most wish you could have witnessed being filmed

17) Robert Ryan or Richard Widmark?

18) Name a movie that inspired you to walk out before it was finished

19) Favorite political movie

20) Your favorite movie poster/one-sheet, or the one you’d most like to own

21) Jeff Bridges or Jeff Goldblum?

22) Favorite Ken Russell movie

23) Accepting the conventional wisdom that 1970-1975 marked a golden age of
American filmmaking in which artistic ambition and popular acceptance were not
mutually exclusive, what for you was this golden age’s high point? (Could be a
movie, a trend, the emergence of a star, whatever)

24) Grace Kelly or Ava Gardner?

25) With total disregard for whether it would ever actually be considered, even
in this age of movie recycling, what film exists that you feel might actually
warrant a sequel, or would produce a sequel you’d actually be interested in

Friday, May 19

TAM Trailer Review - The DaVinci Code

Okay, so this must be one of those artsy European Movie trailers, because I've seen it a couple of times now, and I don't know what's going on.  I've not read the book (or was it a graphic novel?) that this movie was based upon, so I'm pretty much going to have to do a bit of deductive reasoning and look for meanings behind the scenes in order to figure out what's going on.  But, I think that's what this movie is supposed to be about anyway, isn't it?  Solving a puzzle?  Kind of like a Whodunnit?

Here's the link to the trailer that I'll be reviewing.

With ominous and foreboding "danger this way lies" music underneath, the trailer opens on what I believe to be an amusement park.  It's dark, so I can't really tell.  But there is all kinds of scaffolding for what I'll assume in a roller coaster.  It's night, and it looks like the park is closed (doesn't look like much of a fun-park, either.  More of the type that Cirque De Soliel would perform at.  You know, an artsy park.  Kind of like Victoria Park when the Shakespeare people take over for the weekend.
We hear someone whispering in a language that I do not understand.  I think it may be Elvish, which makes me think that maybe this could be a prequel to Lord of The Rings or Star Wars.  Probably LotR, because when we see a profile shot of the guy talking his crazy language, it looks just like the Elf King in LotR.  The next scene, though, makes me second-guess that thought (very Agatha Christie, Mr. Howard, keeping me guessing!).  This scene is a very scary one in which a guy self-flaggelates (can you believe little Ronnie Howard would ever show that in one of his movies?!?).  This clue makes me think that it might be Star Wars, because the guy whipping himself looks like what I imagine  Darth Blue-face-with-red-eyes looks like without his shirt on (that's not to say that I've ever imagined what Darth Bfwre looks like without a shirt on).
After the opening credits, I realise I'm totally bewildered, because now we're panning in on what looks to be Hogwart's school from Harry Potter.  AND, the voice-over sounds exactly like the headmaster of that school.  AND, to add further confusion, he also sounds just like Gandalf from LotR (and, maybe the bad guy from the X-Men movies!!!), so I now don't know what this movie is a sequel to.  Perhaps this is what the movie is about?  Perhaps the DaVinci Code is a puzzle to try and find that out?  I'm up to the challenge.
As Gandalf talks (I found his voice-over very much too expositiony) we see shots of various clues as to what movie this is sequelling. Here are my guesses as to what the Movie Sequel clues are:  one scene, the guy is crouching like Naked Arnold in Terminator movies, but he's on top of a glass building? just like Tom Cruise in the M:i series.  Next shot is definitely a clue about Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Next is House of Flying Daggers, then they walk into a room that looks vaguely like the set to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, then we cross-fade to someone picking up a Catholic cross (nice editing here, by the way).
Okay, I admit it.  I am totally flabbergasted.  I have lots of clues but I cannot piece them together.
Finally, we come to a picture of The Last Supper (this must be the DaVinci element to the movie), which makes me wonder "Life of Brian"?  I don't know.
Hey, it's Tom Hanks!  But it looks like it might be "serious" Tom, rather than "funny" Tom.  Cut to a guy (Sean Connery?) running through a museum, looking like he really wants to get out of there  (that's how I used to feel when we'd go on field trips to museums in elementary school).
Back to a guy in a black hooded cape (exactly like the capes the Darths' wear!) and then a bunch of quick-edit shots as the music soars and swells.  Some of paintings in museums (a museum heist movie?), some of Tom Hanks, a woman, car chases, grafitti on The Mona Lisa, people busting in through doors, falling down wells... ending with someone tossing into the air one of those anagram keychain thingys.
Holy smokes, I am totally frigging lost!  If anyone has any clues as to what this movie is about, clue me in.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Harmony With/In Sketch22

I realise I never did make a post with the name of the person that Sketch22 decided to have join the group this summer.
This post rectifies that, as I hereby type the name
Harmony Wagner

Harmony had a couple of really great auditions for us (although I think she thinks she didn't do well in one of them) and was our unanimous choice.  Now, when I say unanimous choice, that is not to discount the quality and excellence of other auditions, because practically everyone who auditioned was really good.  After the initial audition, we narrowed it down to a handful, and after their callbacks, it was narrowed further to two or three.  Finally, after some serious deliberations, we all decided that Harmony would be the person who would help take this summer's Sketch22 show in the most entertaining and interesting directions.
It's going to be really exciting, I think, to have Harmony in the group and I really look forward to seeing what she brings to the show.
Yay, Harmony!!  Yay, Us!!!

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, May 10

Music Request

Anybody know where I could get my hands on a copy of Haywire's song "Bad Bad Boy"?
If anybody has a copy and would consider emailing it to me, I'd really appreciate it.
Email is robmacd (at) gmail (dot) com

UPDATE:  Never mind.  Found it.

Tuesday, May 9

Wise Man Say, Fools Rush In

I always get nervous when American Idol has theme nights where they attempt to tackle songs that are so iconic, such as tonight's Elvis Night.  So many of these songs are so ingrained in our heads that it becomes really difficult to put your own unique, individual stamp on them.  Of course, when you're talking about American Idol, "unique" and "individual" aren't concepts that should be expected, so what difference, eh?
The Wise Man in this post's title refers, of course, to Simon Cowell, who absolutely got his criticism perfectly right for each of the performers.  He was spot on with each and every song.  And the Fools Rush In part refers, of course, to the voters who will vote Katharine through, and vote Elliott home this week, based more on their looks than on their talents.
It's pretty obvious to me that Elliott has been the cream of the crop these past few weeks.  (or, creme de la crap, if you're not a fan of his).  Yet, he doesn't stand a chance of going any further than this week, I don't think, because he's not the poster boy for Idolation.  Both his songs tonight were fantastic, I thought.  It will be interesting to see if his decision (I assume it's *his* decision and not a handler's) to sing lesser-known songs will work to his advantage or his disadvantage.  On one hand, he sang them beautifully and with emotion and feeling (something the other three lack, I think).  On the other hand, people may go "is that even an Elvis song?  I don't like him for not singing my favourite Elvis song and for making me think.  And for making me look at his face, as it contorts into weird shapes.  And that tooth-gap."
So, good luck, Elliott.  I will be totally amazed if you make it past this week, but you absolutely deserve to.  I wasn't a fan early on, as you never really seemed to reach the potential of your voice.  But lately, as Randy would say "Dude, you brought it!"
Taylor, quite simply, has got to stop doing that silly little step-dance-step dance thing that he does when he sings up-tempo "fun" songs.  It's an ill-fitting suit, that dancing, Taylor.  His performance of "In The Ghetto" started out okay, but as soon as he stood up, he seemed to lose the honesty of the song and tried to fake the emotion for the rest of it.  He lost me at that point.
Chris, again, did a really good job, but, again, he seems to lack any sense of emotion, or connection to the lyrics that he's singing.  But he fakes emotion really well.  I suspect that America will buy it and be satisfied with him as their Idol.
Katharine, in my opinion, deserves to leave the show.  I doubt she will, though, because that would mean no more women left, and we can't have that.  The last few weeks, she seems to be really reaching to find the truth of the songs she sings, and ends up, for me, over-singing.  That's what she did tonight.  While Paula may like the fun and bouncy Katharine from the first song, I did not.  I don't think fun and bouncy is her forte.  Sexy and seductive is her forte, whether we like it or not.  Her rendition of Can't Help Falling In Love missed the mark for me, too.  I'd say it suffered from the Rita MacNeil Syndrome.  If you've ever seen Rita sing, she always has a smile on her face, regardless of the content of the songs she sings.  Her smile often belies the sadness that is inherent in a song.  Katharine, too, falls prey to that effect.  Can't Help Falling In Love is a tricky song, when you look at the lyrics.  It's not really a straight-forward love song.  It's not like the singer is embracing the love that s/he is in.  It's just that s/he can't help feeling the love.  As she was singing that song tonight, I thought that the perfect direction to give a singer who's singing that song is to imagine that you're singing it to someone you love, but who is, say, physically abusive towards you.  I think in that direction, the sad truth of the lyrics could come out.
Anyway,  Katharine was, by far, the weakest tonight.  But she should be safe because she's the last female in the competition.
Elliott will go, because I sense that America just doesn't have the love for him that they do for the other three.  And American Idol is all about that love.  It's not so much about the ability to convey emotion or a sense of understanding the lyrics of what you're singing.   Just look pretty enough, honey, and the voice pitch machine will fix all the rest.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, May 4

Mission Impossible III - Trailer Review

This is the start of what may become a new semi-irregular feature here at The Annekenstein Monster - Theatrical Trailer Reviews.  It's not very often that I go to the movies.  While I don't find the admission price to be too much of a deterrent, the allure of the acutely-expensive popcorn/pop/etc, and the generally poor theatre etiquette of others are more than enough to keep me away.
But I like talking about movies, and since the trailers pretty much give away the whole plot anyway, I figure a smart (ass) review of the trailer should suffice.

So, here's my review of the theatrical trailer for Mission:Impossible III, which opens tomorrow, world-wide:
As we open on a crisp, blue night-timey cityscape, it's apparent right away that there's gonna be some cold-blooded killing going on.  Close in on Tom Cruise, standing on top of a building.  A crisp, blue, glass-encased building, so you know it's just begging to be broken into.  Or, jumped off of.  Tom looks angry - "Tibbets Is Tough" Angry.  But we don't know why.  Perhaps he's just been interviewed about Scientology again?  Maybe the placenta tasted 'off'?  Zoom in, ever in, to perform a retinal scan of his eye.  Turns out it's the man they call Ethan Hunt, the Mission Impossiblist, and, judging by the thing that's burning (either it's a fuse, or his penis) he's angry because a) there's not much time left until something blows or b) Katie just gave him an STD.  Maybe the plot involves trying to get an STD antidote?
Immediatley after the credits, as soon as he puts on the welding glasses, the action starts and you get the feeling it won't let up again for the whole 2 or 3 minutes of the trailer.  BAM: get out a gun BAM: meet Truman Capote (maybe the plot does involve STD's?) BAM: meet the girl BAM: meet Larry Fishburne, the guy they got when they couldn't get Sam Jackson BAM: meet the explosives.  BAM: slow down for some expositional character acting, where the plot gets revealed. Something about Capote looking for some In Cold Blood Redux.  Great acting at this moment, from Cruise particularly, as he looks at the girl, looking all intense and not even moving, hardly.  Can you say "People's Choice"?  Then, right after the sell-line "This summer, the mission, begins" (excellent work by the way, PR guys.  Top notch line-selling), out of nowhere, comes the weld-spectacled Cruise and it's all "Explosives, meet BAM!"  And, literally, (SPOILER ALERT!!!) everything starts blowing up and things fly and fall everwhere as we see, I'm pretty sure, scenes from previous Mission Impossible movies (perhaps to catch us up?).  Helicopters zoom, boats zim, rubberized dummy heads shimmer, motorcycles motor, and people everywhere look so sexy and hot with all kinds of implements and devices in their hands.  I'll say this for Cruise, nobody runs with more intensity than Tom Cruise.  Except, maybe, Forrest Gump.  But for Ethan Hunt, Life is Like A Box of Explosives (you can have that one, PR guys), and to avoid it all, he runs and jumps and kisses and punches, and rides and drives and jumps some more.  Wow!  I'm exhausted!  And there's still 25 seconds to go!
Finally, we come to the climax of the trailer, and what a climax it is.  Check out this dialogue:
Cruise:  You'll never get what you want!!!
Truman Capote:  You don't think I'll do it!!!!! (and it is NOT a question!  Because you KNOW he damn well will!)
Then, in a marvellous super-agent moment, Cruise is running down a bridge, and a car explodes directly behind him.  Miraculously, instead of forward, the impact waves cause him to be blown sideways (don't think he hasn't asked Katie for that, either) into a car.
And that's the end.
All in all, an action packed trailer.  But, really, if you've seen one Mission:Impossible III trailer, you've pretty much seen them all.  Only check it out if you've got a huge Cruise Missile in your pants for Tom (you can have that one, E!DailyTonight guys)

Trailer for Mission:Impossible III

Technorati Tags: , ,

Ow, My &*$&#*#&(@) Earhole! - Update

Just an update to all you bleary-eyed troopers who likely didn't get an ounce of sleep last night, worrying over the state of my son's ear.
Sleep well, tonight!! He went to see the specialist (one of three on the Island) in Summerside, who inspected him aurally, and then told him orally that it'd most likely heal itself, hourly, and in about 4 weeks.  In the meantime, no water is to enter the ear, so earplugs were purchased.

Yes, friends, earplugs were purchased.

Did You Drove, Or Did You Flew?

Hey, all you cool and hip person who reads this site - I'm curious as to whether you actually visit this Typepad site (with its red and black and white and picture of me to the left etc) to read all the wonderfully funny and interesting, and, yes, poignant, things I write, or do you merely read the words from some sort of rss feed service and not get to experience the beauty and wonder of my online home?

If you could let me know by posting your answer in the comments to this post, I'd, like, really appreciate it. 

Wednesday, May 3

The Idol To Interest Ratio

I just realised that my CAAIQ (Caring About American Idol Quotient) is inversely proportionate to the number of contestants still involved in the show.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still interested.  I still watch.  But, as the numbers dwindle (there are, for only a few more hours, still five contestants left), my apathy as to who wins increases.  Of course, at the beginning of each season, I still don't care who wins, but I do have to admit that my CAAIQ is at least two points higher (with a 3.4 +/- accuracy rating).
Each week, it seems, it dawns on me with more clarity just how unlikely it'd be that I'd ever buy (or even illegally download) an album from any of these people.  None of the remaining contestants, I don't think, would produce music that would come close to my tastes in music.  That goes for every contestant whoever appeared.
So, with little care in my heart, here I go with my somewhat-weekly diagnosis of the week's performances and my choice of odds-on favourites to leave the competition.

Two songs each, last night.  Sometimes I think to myself, I should grab a pen and pencil (or get a laptop) and write down song choices, and thoughts as they came to me while I watched.  But that would seem too much like work, so no thanks.  I'll do that when somebody approaches me with money to write these worthless weekly wrapups.  That is to say, I'll not ever do that.

Elliott - I'm sorry, Elliott, but I don't know if your name has one or two 'l's or one or two 't's... I go with two of each.  I gotta say, Elllllliottttt has really turned it up a couple of notches the past couple of weeks.  Last night, I thought he was the strongest in terms of being consistently good with both songs.  His vocals have really seemed to improve, mostly, I think, due to increased confidence.  Or at least the appearance of increased confidence.  I still think his looks will ultimately fail him, as will Ryan's propensity to Jewify the pronunciation of his last name.  It might very well be the way it's pronounced, but I think The Ignorant Heartland of Ammurika would prefer Jewish names to be pronounced more like "Smith".  At this point in the competition, the fickle audience is looking for any reason to oust a competitor, and two plausible exit-strategies for Elliott are 1) his poor dental work and rather cro-magnon forehead, and 2) the pronunciation of his last name.  Number two wouldn't be an issue if Ryan (whose "Seacrest" is no doubt an Ammurikanized variation on Seacrestenberg) would pronounce it "YA-min" instead of "yah-MEAN".  His singing has grown on me over the past couple of weeks.  His personality, not so much.  Yet it is growing.

Paris - I believe a number of weeks ago, I wrote a post suggesting that Paris sing Prince's "Kiss", to really ruffle the "keep her a 16 year old virgin forever" puritans out there.  Last night, she sang it.  If my post had anything to do with her choosing it, I apologize to everyone.  I thought it was terrible.  She  took everything great about the song (the sexiness, the naughtiness, the purpleness) and blanderized it.  Maybe it was the arrangement.  No, it was Paris.  Her second song was no better.  I think the pressure's getting to her.  She's trying too hard at not trying too hard.

Chris - Speaking of trying too hard. Chris, buddy, you gotta open up your heart and let the sun shine in, friend.  You sing from a very dark place.  Admittedly, you sing really well from that dark place, but man, are you ever getting boring with your serious attitude.  Song One you knocked the socks off it.  Song Two you sang too hard and in so doing, exposed the weakness in your talent.  You give it all you have, from the throat up, but you give your songs no soul, which lies deeper.  (Ugh on me for writing that sentence).  Seriously, dude, you probably deserve to win, but man, lighten up.

Katharine - I realised last night what it is about her that keeps me from embracing her as much as everyone else.  She reminds me of Catherine Zita Jones Douglas.  She's got the same stature as the woman Michael Douglas has sex with.  Her closeups reveal the same sheen and glimmer of just-too-much makeup that CZJD has.  Mind you, if she reminded me of a pre-Douglas Catherine Zita Jones, then all bets off, she wins my heart.  But, the Michael-Douglas era Catherine has an aura of smirch about her.  And so does this Katharine.  Nope, can't root for her.  And once I made that Zita Jones connection, the performance of her songs became irrelevant to me.  I think, though, that her songs were rather ordinary. Nothing to write home about.

Taylor - Taylor has got to stop dancing and trying to force his goofy, jokey sensibilities on Ammurika.  Yeah he loves to sing, yeah he has a great voice, yeah he's passionate about it all, yeah he doesn't mind looking the fool expressing himself... all these things should add up to a winning guy.  But they don't.  Because of the dancing.  Because in that dancing, he shows us just how much (as Simon truthed it) he looks like anyguy at anywedding.  And, he's not strong with upbeat songs, I don't think.  When he does those, he becomes a moderate talent.  But when he sings soulful and bluesy, like he did on "Something", well, it's like he's another person altogether.  I really enjoyed his rendition of that song, and thought it only lacked due to the necessary brevity of its arrangement.

The five, in order of their performance last night:


I think Paris will go tonight.  At the beginning of the competition, I would have thought she was a sure Top Three candidate, but the last few weeks, she's been slipping quite a bit in both the quality of her performances, and in the number of votes she gets, comparitively.
If not Paris, then I can see anyone else, except Chris, leaving.  I would only be surprised tonight, if Chris leaves.

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, May 2

Elbows In Ears

Home sick, today.  With what, you ask.  Let's just say that if my bowel movements were a baseball player, they'd be Pete Rose, because whenever he gets a walk, he always runs to first base.
So, I'm home, just about to heat up a can of chicken noodle soup (the only food I'd have eaten in the past 30 hours), when the phone rings:
Dad, is there anyone there to come pick me up?
Why?  What's wrong.
I can't hear anything out of my left ear.
What?!?  How come?
I don't know.
Whattya mean you don't know?  How do you not know?
I might have hit it.
How do you not know?  What happened?
I don't know. I may have back into a tree.

After a few minutes of unsuccessfully Columboing the events of the incident, I said I'd pick him up.  Driving to his school, I was wondering how hard it is to learn sign language for the deaf. On the way home, I managed to get these details:  his ear feels like it's full of water or something.  He turned around as he walked into a bush, and a twig may have hit his ear.  He's not in any real pain, but every five seconds or so a sharp pain happens.  I suspected it could be a damaged ear drum.
As I was incapacitated and establishing a very close diplomatic relationship with our home's plumbing, my wife took him to the QEH.  Four hours later, they come home with the news that he has a perforated ear drum and that he has an appointment with a specialist in Summerside tomorrow.
I'm suspecting that the ear drum will heal itself in time and that he'll be good as new.

Monday, May 1

A Friend's MySpace Space

I don't have much experience with MySpace. I tried to set up a page there for myself, but found it too time-consuming. Plus, I already have this lovely site, so why do I need to bother with another.

However, I did receive an email today from a friend who just set up his own MySpace site. He even put up some of his music.

Check it out:

Moe Gorman's MySpace Page

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

The Not-So-Straight Story

This weekend, my son asked me if he could borrow the Canon A-510 digital camera and make a video.  He said that he and his friend, Keaton, had an idea to make a movie along the lines of "The Straight Story", by David Lynch.  (If you've never seen that film, you owe it to yourself to see it.  It's a wonderfully gently movie, starring Richard Farnsworth as an old guy who travels across country to visit his estranged brother, who is dying.

Since this sounded like a step up from their usual "two guys with swords chase each other and one dies at the end" plot-line, I gave them the camera for the afternoon.  They asked me to play a small (but pivotal, I think) role.  After the shoot was over, Cameron did a rough edit.  Then I helped out by tightening it up, deleting a couple of unnecessary scenes, adding music and titles, and finding an ending out of the non-ending footage they finished with.

Overall, I think they did a pretty good job, and even threw in a bit of an homage to the strangeness of David Lynch.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

TAM Daily Trivia - April Results

The first month of The Annekenstein Monster Daily Trivia is over.  Here are the results:

18 players played during the month.

Top Ten:

1. annekenstein (168 points, 6 wins)
2. Wessie (157 points, 3 wins)
3. TracyJ (146 points, 3 wins)
4. reverseflash (139 points, 5 wins)
5. paella (138 points, 1 wins)
6. misskris (104 points, 0 wins)
7. Cool Girl (83 points, 0 wins)
8. Frankie (78 points, 0 wins)
9. Grover (77 points, 3 wins)
10. desperation (65 points, 0 wins)

Thanks for playing, those who play.  I guess the challenge is officially on, now, to try and knock annekenstein off the podium.  Good luck, losers!

If you'd like to join in on all the trivial-ness (it only takes about a minute a day), bookmark this link and come back to it once every day:
The link to The Annekenstein Monster's Daily Trivia Page